“The Lion King” Psychiatrized: What If Psychiatry Had Gotten Its Hands on Simba?

Lawrence Kelmenson, MD
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American kids are being indoctrinated with psychiatry’s medicalization of all unpleasant feelings and experiences, via websites, movies, school, government, medical authorities, etc. Propaganda about scientifically proven brain diseases and their effective medical treatments is in the air kids breathe. It’s thus firmly ingrained in their mind by the time they’re adults. That’s why Robert Whitaker’s1 and Irving Kirsch’s2 clear disproofs of psychiatry’s claims didn’t shake America’s growing faith in them.

It is time for a new strategy. Rather than try to get adults to question their entrenched beliefs, why not reach out directly to not-yet-fully-indoctrinated kids? This could be done by creating counterpropaganda-embedded entertainment that shows how ridiculous and harmful the medical model is. For example: If psychiatry got its hands on Simba in Disney’s 1994 film The Lion King, what would the result have been?

Scene 1: Mufasa is annoyed by hyper/exuberant Simba’s repeatedly awakening him, by Simba’s inattention to his and Zasu’s orders, and by Simba’s impulsive and reckless ventures beyond the prideland. So at Scar’s urging, he takes him to Rafiki, the monkey psychiatrist.

After a 10 minute evaluation, Rafiki proclaims: “I’ve used my mystical powers to look inside Simba’s brain, and have seen that it’s permanently broken due to a disease called ADHD.” Mufasa then asks: “Should we do a brain scan to confirm this?” Rafiki replies: “Nah. It won’t show up. Only us wise, trusted monkeys can see it — have faith!” Mufasa wonders: “How do you know Simba won’t outgrow it as he matures?” Rafiki replies: “My crystal ball has shown me the future.” The camera pans to a crystal ball which shows a waiting room full of sedated lion cubs, and Rafiki on a big yacht wearing a captain’s hat.

Rafiki explains to Mufasa: “As king, you need to understand that we monkeys and you lions exist together in a delicate balance, as follows: We shoot lion cubs with tranquilizer darts daily, in order to block them from learning skills needed to solve their own challenges. Since they never learn to master any challenges, they’ll always need to return to us in order to get shot by daily tranquilizer darts. We’re all connected in this great ‘Circle of Profit,’ and Simba must now take his place in it.”

Scene 2: Timon and Pumba bring their newfound friend Simba to Dr. Rafiki since he’s sad. After a ten minute consultation, Rafiki announces: “No normal animal would feel sad merely because he witnessed his father getting stampeded while saving his life, and was then forever exiled from his friends, family and homeland. So the only way to explain his symptoms are these two words…” He then breaks into a song entitled ‘Chemical Imbalance’ sung to ‘Hakuna Matata,’ with these lyrics: “Chemical Imbalance! What a wonderful phrase. Chemical Imbalance! Ain’t no passing craze. It means no feelings for the rest of your days. It’s the biggest scam in history… Chemical Imbalance!”

Rafiki says: “Simba has a severe medical condition called depression. And he has a prior history of manic symptoms such as euphorically laughing in the face of danger, grandiose ideations about what he’ll do as king, and excessive singing/dancing/socializing/traveling. So I’ve diagnosed him with bipolar disorder and his treatment now is… more tranquilizers!” Timon asks: “Is there a blood test to verify his abnormal biochemistry?” Rafiki answers: “Actually, no chemical imbalance has been found despite 60 years of research. But I assure you that we’re real close to an amazing scientific breakthrough!”

Scene 3: Nala begs Simba to return to the pridelands to take his throne, saying, “The zombified lions there are starving because the hyenas have stopped sharing their prey with them due to a drought. Many lions are overdosing on heroin or committing mass maulings!” Simba replies: “I can’t since I’d miss my day program.” He turns to Mufasa’s spirit for advice. Mufasa scolds: “Remember who you are — a helplessly dependent invalid. You must accept your chronic disabling illness, and give up on ever becoming anything. It is time to take your meds.” The camera then pans to Pride Rock, for Scar and Rafiki’s ceremonial presentation of psychiatry’s latest wonder drug: a mix of Xanax, Adderall, suboxone, ketamine and ecstasy. The song “How to Get High and Die in the Pridelands” plays in the background.

Most Disney films depict obstacles being overcome by resilience, resourcefulness, and adaptivity. Similarly psychiatrized versions of them could thus be produced, in order to get the truth out to more and more kids. Let’s take Mad in America’s vital message to a broader, more open-minded and malleable audience, before America completely collapses from psychiatry’s insidious parasitism. Teens in particular can reason abstractly and often question and rebel against authority (which is likely why they’re the ones most often psychiatrically labeled and drugged3). They’re thus the ones who will likely be most receptive and interested in hearing us, especially since most of their lives are still ahead of them.

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Whitaker, R. Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America. 2010, Crown Publishers, New York.
  2. Kirsch, I. The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth. 2010, Basic Books, New York.
  3. 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

83 COMMENTS

  1. Great idea, Lawrence. My marvelous little son LOVED the Lion King when he was a tot. He watched it over and over and over again. Psychiatrists and school social workers did eventually want to get their grubby little hands on my precious child, not because he was hyperactive or depressed or manic.

    But because I was handed over medical evidence of the abuse of my child, from when he was very young. And my child had healed from that appalling atrocity, without “mental health care” services, and went from remedial reading in first grade to getting 100% on his state standardized tests by eighth grade.

    Why the insane and highly delusional “mental health professionals” refuse to help a distressed mother with her child right after the abuse, but believe children who have healed from an atrocity need to be defamed, tortured and destroyed with the psychiatric drugs, is beyond me. Especially since their debunked “holy DSM bible” is set up such that today’s “mental health professionals” have NO way of EVER billing ANY insurance company for EVER helping ANY child abuse victim EVER.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-child-does-not-have-bipolar-disorder/201402/dsm-5-and-child-neglect-and-abuse-1

    But since these psycho “mental health professionals” want to help child abuse victims, only after they’ve healed. Maybe they should at least make helping child abuse victims a billable DSM disorder? Although, in reality, the DSM should be flushed.

  2. Sounds interesting. I don’t think you should be the screenwriter though, to wit:

    “Is there a blood test to verify his abnormal biochemistry?” Rafiki answers: “Actually, no chemical imbalance has been found despite 60 years of research…”

    Kids don’t talk like this or think in these terms, it is a predilection of people ensconced in “mental health” issues. But, if a sympathetic screenwriter should endeavor to present the blatant absurdities of child psychiatry in more cartoon-like terms, there’s a wealth of ironic humor to be mined, much of which might be more understandable to kids than their parents.

    Don’t know where that production budget would come from. But if you find it I totally recommend Auntie Psychiatry as the cartoonist, don’t know if she’s ever done animation but it might be a welcome challenge.

  3. Love this article Dr. K.

    I was thinking about my beloved girlhood novel Anne of Green Gables. Due to Anne Shirley’s mercurial temperament, impulsive behavior, and daydreaming she would have been a great candidate for psychiatry.

    “You laugh and cry far too easily,” grumbles Marilla, her adoptive mom.

    Yet Anne Shirley learns to act more responsibly as an adult than a young prepubescent. (Gasp!) Despite her tragic lack of life saving meds and diagnosis trail she has the audacity to lead a full and productive life.

    How dare you #Pillshame Anne! 😛

  4. “The images must be harder”

    Yes indeed.

    https://youtu.be/4YU6CHaTWb0?t=874

    ofcourse the deaths go on and on and on

    https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/jul/06/olaseni-lewis-mother-urges-mps-to-pass-filibustered-mental-health-bill

    “Olaseni, or Seni, Lewis was 21 when he had a sudden and unexpected mental health episode in 2010.”

    I do not know the facts of this case but that – ‘sudden and unexpected’ – smells of Akathisia. Most of us on here know this, we know the horror, how do we get this out to a wider public ?

  5. Lawrence,

    Excellent, as always. Adorable and so, so sad.

    We keep fighting the fight and telling the truth. For all those who push back, we have at least planted the seed of doubt in their minds, and the possibility of another narrative. In the process, we save lives, one at a time. Bless you for your speaking out. All the best.

  6. Myself, I’d try creating and promoting a video game of some sort that attacked these problems. It could be a free game that you download from a website that we would set up. This is the going thing these days, you create a new video game and rather than sell it you give it away free to anyone who wants to download it. You make your money by selling costumes and weapons etc. for real money and people use these things to customize their character that they create for the role playing game. You could reach thousands of Americans both adolescent and young adult. Of course, then we’d be accused of not taking the video game diagnosis as seriously as we should.

  7. Interesting post Lawrence. I like the general outline of the idea, even though the Lion King is already old. I would definitely encourage any endeavors to reach a wider and more receptive audience. However, it seems to me that the clear, undiluted truth about psychiatry must be published in as many venues and in as many ways as possible. I like the movie idea. What we need is a movie version of all of the research that has been done by Szasz, Breggin, Whitaker, Burstow, and others. A simple title would suffice: The Truth about Psychiatry, or The History of Psychiatry. If it were accurate and well made, we wouldn’t need any gimmicks. Those who would like to understand the truth about psychiatry would have their interest piqued.

    The research is there. The truth is available to those with eyes to see and ears to hear. I may need to write a book, and some articles. But since no one reads books anymore, and many people would rather watch a movie than read articles, there has to be a way to get the truth about psychiatry on the big screen.

    It may sound funny, but has anyone reached out to Tom Cruise with this idea? Of course the obstacle there is that he is a scientologist. But he has done some fantastic interviews on the topic of psychiatry, and he’s not a fan of psychiatry. Would there be any way to persuade a passionate opponent of psychiatry, and someone with the financial means and wherewithal to start creating the blockbuster film of the century? Can you imagine the uproar?

      • I saw a video of his 10 years ago. He acted very bizarrely. Kept ranting about conspiracy theories and laughing at things that weren’t funny. Like someone on cocaine. The Scientology cult tried to suppress it since it was an embarrassment.

        It’s pretty funny actually. But NOT a good case against psychiatry.

    • He’s not really a leader, he’s just a celeb who happens to be vocal about being a Scientologist. But I agree, involving anyone who is a Scientologist as a spokesperson would open us up to attacks, no matter how articulate and on-point their presentation. And to be quite honest, I didn’t find Cruise’s presentation about antidepressants particularly effective. He seemed to simply attack psychiatry without using any research or statistics or even specific anecdotes. I wouldn’t think of him as a good spokesperson, for both reasons.

      • Jumping on tables and yelling while denouncing psychiatry makes people view YOU as needing its services.

        I saw that video of his (that even the Scientologists wanted taken down) in my kool-aid drinking days. I honestly thought he was “off his meds” or on some mind bendingly awesome street “meds.” I still think the latter might be true. 😀

        • The above is mainly directed to Steve btw, my “edit” button seems to be missing.

          MIA lives in constant fear of the slightest association of what it does being associated with Scientology, which is reasonable up to a point. So don’t even bother contacting RW about this.

          • Hope that was coherent enough to understand. Anyway, anti-psych is already associated with Scientology due to the disingenuous propagandizing of our adversaries. We need to break that association, not encourage it.

        • He really isn’t. I know this. Unless he’s joined the “Sea Organization” lately. As far as I know, he’s just a “public person” with no official role in the church hierarchy. Let me know if you can find any documentation to the contrary, but I just looked and found nothing of the sort. I’m sure he contributes tons of $$$, but he’s not a decision-maker that I can tell.

          • ABC seemed to confirm this in their reporting as I recall, though maybe not via precise documentation, which would require internal sources leaking info. He’s a franchise player for sure. At any rate, for our purposes, he’s like a neon light flashing SCIENTOLOGY.

          • This is all I could find offhand:

            Neither Cruise nor any of his close friends spoke to Andrew Morton, but that hasn’t stopped him making some surprising claims — first, that Cruise is not just a member of the Church of Scientology but is now effectively the second in command.

            “They will deny this; they say he’s just an ordinary parishioner,” Morton said.

            Morton believes that to suggest that Cruise doesn’t hold a special place in the church is “disingenuous.”

            “If they could, they’d have him working there full-time,” Morton said. “It’s nonsense to say that he’s just a parishioner like everybody else. And when he’s within the faith, when he’s within Scientology, he’s treated differently.”

            Also (which I have always said myself):

            “The motivations for attacking psychiatry are multifold, and one of them is to eliminate a potential challenge and critic,” said Kent. “Scientology is at war with psychiatry and the mental health system. Its goal is to eliminate psychiatry and related mental health systems and replace them with Scientology techniques.”‘

            https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/drives-tom-cruises-true-mission/story?id=4155022

          • Sounds like pure rumors to me. One thing you can say about the Church of Scientology, they are very, very clear about who is in charge and what the chain of command looks like. I’m sure he’s as influential as he wants to be, but this reporter sounds like he’s talking through his hat to me.

          • One thing you can say about the Church of Scientology, they are very, very clear about who is in charge and what the chain of command looks like.

            Not sure how you would know that. Is there something you aren’t telling us?

            Lee Remick following her leaving COS spoke of Cruise as someone you could get in trouble for challenging.

            However, Morton, I believe, is also the reporter who went after Michael Jackson. So I’m not vouching for this stuff, just reporting it. I do remember the statement about Cruise being part of the top leadership from watching Nightline.

          • I do have a certain amount of knowledge about the CoS. A close friend was a staff person for a time. It appears to be a highly centralized and bureaucratic organization.

  8. No one is recruiting Cruise as a leader or a spokesperson. He is a celebrity. Millions of people watch his movies. He is an outspoken critic of psychiatry. In his interview with Lauer he speaks the truth as he sees it passionately, but also clearly and calmly. What if someone could educate him about the problems associated with scientology? What if Cruise understood how adherence to scientology is antithetical to his opposition to psychiatry? What if he and Whitaker and those of us who understand the truth about psychiatry teamed up to create the blockbuster film of the century: “The Truth about Psychiatry”?

  9. Actually I feel that as I worked with children for a short time that the best way to go about making any movie or cartoon for children is to in fact get a group of youngsters say from aged 4 to around 10 and interview them. All in the mode of playing. They know! They are the most important people here. Why is it that adults seem to think they know everything they need to know about little people.

  10. There is here in the UK a charity Kidstime and its founder is Dr Alan Cooklin he is a family psychiatrist. He does workshops with parents and children the parents having a mental illness. His work is very good. Although Dr Cooklin is a bio psychiatrist I feel that he could be consulted about this and would very interested in fact.

    I don’t know whether you would think it a good idea being American?

    • SPB — Szasz was apparently not much of a strategist or organizer, but at the time saw CCHR as the only game in town. He wasn’t a secret Scientologist or anything. Frank or Dragonslayer might have more precise knowledge of this.

      What’s interesting to me is that, considering Szasz’s distaste for the term “anti-psychiatry,” he collaborated with people who surely did, for whatever reasons, want to abolish psychiatry.

      • Szazs bashed psychiatry a good deal himself. Why did he sneer at anti-psychiatry? Sounds like he was essentially anti-psychiatry in all but the name.

        His disdain for Jack “the Dripper” Kavorkian also puzzles me since he supported people’s right to commit suicide. Maybe he was disgusted by a doctor charging money for something any high schooler can do. Ending life is easy; no need for a professional. 🙁

  11. Lawrence

    Psychiatry and their entire Medical Model is now firmly embedded within a profit based capitalist system and serves a very critical role in reinforcing and preserving this systems superstructure – ideology and class based institutions. And part of that role is to label, drug, incarcerate, and marginalize any and all potential political deviancy.

    You said: “We should be getting desperate here in the U.S., since pro-medical model propaganda is getting increasingly entrenched in our schools, government, scientific circles, media, and entertainment. Trillions of dollars have been spent on promoting/expanding the psychiatric system, which is drawing in an ever-rising percentage of our population – We’re losing the war, and “Brave New World” is quickly approaching… Are you really interested in stopping psychiatry from destroying our whole country, or are you content to just complain and chat about it with each other?”

    The desperation you describe here (which is very real) SHOULD NOT be directed towards drawing in other despotic individual or groups that promote and support FASCISTIC social and political agendas, no matter how anti-psychiatry they appear on the surface.

    Lawrence, we need to consider Revolutionary approaches to political change BEFORE this planet is destroyed. AND anti-psychiatry political action can be a vital part of this worldwide uprising that needs to take place.

    In past discussions when I have brought up an activist anti-capitalist perspective, you have been dismissive of these politics and claimed the mantle of some type of so-called “nonpolitical” approach. Yet here you are proposing the development of political alliances with neo-fascist groups like Scientology.

    I believe your anti-psychiatry writing and activism will NOT go very far, unless and until, you link up with an understanding of the oppressive Medical Model’s connection to maintaining and preserving a class/profit based economic and political system.

    Richard

  12. LK said:
    “American kids are being indoctrinated with psychiatry’s medicalization of all unpleasant feelings and experiences, via websites, movies, school, government, medical authorities, etc.”

    Same here, I fear. Millennials do not seem to question this at all, or even think to question it – I find this really quite disturbing. Generation Z is going the same way. Yes, I’ve had ideas about animating Auntie for YouTube- at first I considered short cartoons, but then I came across the RPG game “Undertale” and started thinking along those lines. Trouble is, I’m a bit mystified by the appeal of Undertale, all I know is that it’s very popular with Gen Z. Here’s how it starts…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs0QqiTAg28

    • Cool. The new video games seem to be a lot like those “Choose Your Own Adventure Books” that came out in the 80’s when I was a kid.

      Auntie, I have less experience with illustrating than you. (Though unlike many I have continued to draw and paint after childhood.) Maybe we could cook up something like Undertale. I could do the story line/narrative and you could do the graphics?

  13. Another idea. If we need a celebrity spokesperson why not Kanye West?

    He has refused to play the role of crazy sicko assigned him by psychiatry.

    A lot of people have noticed he got locked up and “treated” soon after insulting bigwigs in the pop music industry. I don’t think he’s a Scientologist either.

    • Don’t know what you’ve been watching. Last time I checked he was taking unspecified “medications” and claiming that he was having a psychiatry-induced “nervous breakthrough.”

      Maybe if he survives he’ll be available for anti-psych duty at a later point.

  14. I think these cartoon makings is a fabulous idea. The problem of course would be getting it promoted finding the right director etc. Which I think everyone is discussing. There are people who would be willing if there was a profit in it. Getting a star to make a voice over would promote it therefore there would be profit. I think actually going to approach Tom Cruise would be a huge step in the right direction. I think also he would be very willing. The general public despite the publicity Tom has had regarding scientology has not dismayed them has it. He still has a big fan club. It all depends on how successful at the box office this cartoon is and I think you anti-psychiatry would be amazing actually doing the background work. I do know somebody actually who has done the graphics for Star Wars. His brother is a best friend of my son. If you like I could approach him maybe possibly?

    • Fuck Tom Cruise.

      I think also he would be very willing. The general public despite the publicity Tom has had regarding scientology has not dismayed them has it.

      Yeah, and the more “willing” he is the more dangerous the whole proposition is. Ten foot pole time! People really need to get over this celebrity thing. Scratch the surface and a lot of people here actually worship these “name brand” people themselves and would genuinely feel “humbled” if they stooped to throw us a few crumbs.

      Fuck “celebrities,” period. Leonard and his colleagues should do some fundraising to get Auntie Psychiatry some funding and some technical consultants. She would do a far better job than any of these zillionaire modern-day pseudo-deities! 🙂 🙂

      Bippyone maybe you could assist with the bureaucratic part…