Mental Health

Without comment.

Every surgical, dental or medical treatment involves discomfort, risks or costs on the one hand, and expected benefits on the other. For most persons a reasonable approach is to weigh the discomfort/risks/costs against the potential benefits in deciding whether to undergo or approve the treatment.

Two special education students at the controversial Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton were wrongfully delivered dozens of punishing electrical shocks in August based on a prank phone call from a former student posing as a supervisor, a state investigative report has found.

Employees shocked him for aggressive behavior, he says, but also for minor misdeeds, like yelling or cursing. Each shock lasts two seconds. “It hurts like hell,” Rob says. (The school’s staff claim it is no more painful than a bee sting; when I tried the shock, it felt like a horde of wasps attacking me all at once. Two seconds never felt so long.) On several occasions, Rob was tied facedown to a four-point restraint board and shocked over and over again by a person he couldn’t see. The constant threat of being zapped did persuade him to act less aggressively, but at a high cost. “I thought of killing myself a few times,” he says.

School staffers contacted state authorities after they realized they had been tricked on Aug. 26 into delivering 77 shocks to one student and 29 shocks to another, according to Cindy Campbell, a spokeswoman for the Department of Early Education and Care, which drafted the report. Both students were part of a Rotenberg-run group home in Stoughton for males under age 22.


Sly Civilian, you have a knack for entering a discussion in such a way that—regardless of the validity of your point—you instantly piss everyone off and make them not want to engage with you. I’m not saying you aren’t entitled to your indignation. I’m just saying that it’s not getting you very far.

-Lizard, QotD, Shakesville

This is a statement which is of the type often called concern trolling. It presents itself as interested in the reception of your argument, but asks you to gut major portions of it so that it might be better appreciated by those who oppose you.

It’s a funny thing, really.

I don’t know what to make of it. Honestly, i know i’m a bit of an ass. But this stuff goes on day in and day out, and I’m pretty much out of fresh ideas. Bomb throwing seems like a pretty reasonable choice at the moment. And i’ll be joining a legion of kickass folks who have been told that they should stop being so strident, angry, confrontational, and so on.

Most of the time, even on queer stuff, i manage not to get this reaction. What is it about my relationship with disabilities activism that manages to make this sort of thing happen? Does my tone change that much? Is it my audience?

I’m not out to ban the word “crazy.” But this, like other things i’ve pissed and moaned about, conjures up particular images of mental illness to do it’s work. Kucinich doesn’t care if Bush gets “care.” He wants him out of power. And speech like this has an effect. Not on the targets, hardly ever. It’s the spill over, to the point that mental illness and political power are held not to be unrelated terms, but a contradiction.

Remember that study about how “crazy folks like Bush” that didn’t factor in incumbancy bias on a population that is held in restrictive settings and used a tiny little sample size unworthy of the name?

Some of the most common comment at liberal blogs were the expression of surprise that they “let” us vote.

Fuck it.

I’m gonna be angry. I’ll figure out that effective thing later, ’cause right now is my time to burn.


The SO and I had been talking about some of this stuff for a while…when you teach in a troubled school in a tough part of town, you face kids with emotional and behavior issues. So autism and other “EBD problems” had been discussed.

But I started talking about the Judge Rotenberg Center, and her mood changed. Sharply. What had been an animated conversation turned very soft as I explained what went on there, and how so far, it has been impossible to stop the brutality.

Finally, she said something welcome but unexpected.

“I think I just realized why it’s so important for you to read those blogs.”

More than once, I had been reading and she had begun to close my computer, not so subtly reminding me that I could be paying attention to her and not that. And it sometimes had grated her that I’d been willing to spend our limited time together doing work that wasn’t strictly necessary. I doubt I have a total free pass here, (nor am I seeking one) but it was a reminder that this information, these connections…matter.

I’m going back to school…and it’s tough on me right now. I’m listening to other people introduce why they care about classes that talk about marginalization and what’s wrong with the world. And I’m struggling to fight back the overwhelming sense of cynicism I feel about such declarations, about them, their motives, and ultimately….my own.

Back to the happier bit. We reprised this discussion later, when she was telling me about how a class she was taking (at a progressive school of education) had shown a video from Autism Speaks. And I went full bore in to “Not This Shit Again” mode and started showing her some stuff at ballastexistenz that challenges that kind of rhetoric.

She recognized it immediately. “This was the other source they used for the class.”

I’m still angry as hell that a school that claims to be at the vanguard of education would even give “equal time” to such viewpoints…in a show of the continued downfall of objectivity into amoral neutrality…but I was just so relieved that one of these online voices that I hear had made it into the world on its own.

This is why I read. After everything, I still have the crazy idea that it’s not too late to change the world. Perhaps I’m most drawn to this story in particular in proving that is that it has nothing to do with any of the mumbo jumbo that I have picked up as the language of my profession. I don’t mind speaking in post-modern, but I still have a soft spot for Orwellian honesty.

So I just wanted to say thank you.

You’re why I read.


A few entries that got me over the past few days…

Over at Slant Truth

In explaining why it was wrong for cops to beat a photojournalist…

“He has no history of…psychiatric problems”


It should go without saying that the ever cool Keven didn’t write this, and that the larger story is still very important. But in explaining the injustice, this man’s advocates repeated an idea that is harmful. And just plain dumb. If he’d been depressed, it’d be okay for them to wail on him and leave bruises all over his body? They don’t really think that. They wanted you to know how not scary he was. And to explain that, they have to rule out the possibility that he belongs to the boogie man category that makes otherwise unassuming individuals in to enemies of the state…blackcrazy.

And then over at Shake’s…

Melissa starts a great series on how “odd” news maligns and trivializes the suffering of women…so this is what they decide to post instead.

Perhaps I spend too much time being critical of Shakes…but because of Melissa, it’s the one of the only “big names” that i read with any regularity. And some of the stuff that’s been posted there by other contributors has been nothing short of rotten tripe, and the most banal stereotypes of mental illness.

Also, it should be noted that you don’t have to say “crazy” to crazy bait. I can see you winking, mmmkay? At any rate, this man experienced chronic pain and for some reason believed that he had to go outside the system for help. That’s an interesting and critical issue right there, not a comedy to relieve everyone’s political angst over the last few days.

To spacecowboy, i hereby confer upon you the “Oh, I See What You Did There” Award. Enjoy!

Oh, I See What You Did There



THE MOST IMPORTANT achievement of the early gay liberation movement was its pressure on the American psychiatric establishment to reexamine its evidence for classifying homosexuality as a mental illness. It was important because if gays weren’t mentally ill, it was hard to justify any kind of discriminatory policies or treatment.

I’ve talked about this before. Social issues are medicalized, and folks suffer for it. It’s real. And it’s worth resisting. Queer communities ought to contest the way in which their lives are made the subject of this kind of talk. What we must be careful to ask is how we are to resist.

Because the power relations that class sane and insane are still present after such a “liberation.” In fact, they are rendered all the more believable if medicalized labels reflect social practices. A liberal society that treats a gay man as a hysteric is thought to be archaic, but if they apply the same treatment to a woman who has been traumatized…well, that’s just good medicine.

Don’t fight the label. Fight the system that assigns it.


Hat tips to Allison Hymes and Flawed Plan.

In a patriarchy, wherein one class oppresses another for its own profit, there can be no ‘consent’ between oppressor and oppressed.

It sounds to me like these guys would rather be having sex with their male friends,

It’s no coincidence that “being fucked over” and “taking it up the ass” are synonymous with the most egregious examples of deceit and betrayal….Notice, too, how “bitch” has replaced the homophobic slur “cocksucker” as the most derogatory term a man can call another man. In heterodude terms, women are lower than “faggots” and as such, deserve to be brutalized and violated for the mere “thrill”. Or to put it more simply: why go out and bash “fags” when you can commit your own little hate crimes in the comfort of your own home?

Albert is slightly different from John psychologically: rather than being a sociopathic rapist, he seems to me to have a disastrously conflated madonna/whore complex and probable OCD
-Message Board

Sorry, that’s just too disgusting. I know more than enough about human anatomy & physiology to know that the anus was designed as an exit, NOT an entrance; therefore, anal sex violates that rule completely.

If that’s the asshat’s attitude, then I would invite him to bend over while I get the vaseline and my 10 inch thick black rubber dildo.

[This] also explains the increasing obscenity/violence in rap and music videos, movies, etc.

Pleasure, as well, has never been something I let be the all-important summit of to do/not to do–if this were the case the patriarchy could thrive evermore, for pleasure does not automatically parallel such things as: freedom, sexual liberation, choice, consent, needs, or will. People may receive pleasure from slapping their genitalia against a barbed wire fence–that doesn’t mean the reasoning is rooted in something sexually healthy.
-Message Board

For what it is worth I posted a comment on the article echoing the sentiment that it is rape, and upping the ante a little by listing why anal sex is bad for the recipient from a medical point of view.
-Message Board

For Best Results: Start with a chilled shaker with 5 cubes of ice, add 3 cups gin and 2 shots vermouth. Shake seven times, and empty into a chilled glass. Finish in one go, and headdesk until loss of consciousness is achieved.


PS: I’m quite purposefully not actually responding to the article itself, blameworthy as it might be.

She heard it in turn via Writhe Safely, which is annoyingly anti-feminist which I think is unfair to feminists (the post blames feminists for not knowing about an issue that has received zero media coverage; I think it would make more sense to blame the media) but I can totally understand why she’s pissed off, even though I think her anger is aimed a bit in the wrong direction.

Honestly, I think this speaks for itself. I was gonna write a whole long screed about who and anti-feminist is. I was gonna talk about nubian, bfp, ba, quare dewd, ren, ap, and a lot of others who have been tagged with that label. I was going to talk about Oaxaca and how “but the USA Today didn’t tell me about it” isn’t a valid argument, and how education is a proactive obligation for the progressive.

And then I realized that by the time i finished listing the folks that have been so characterized, I would have read down pretty much my entire blog roll. How, exactly, does that work?

Queer, ain’t it?


PS: The quote is from Amp, but this pattern extended elsewhere. Feministing linked to Reclusive Leftist, but did not acknowledge the original posting by Flawed Plan.

Edit: I thought i knew this, but google helped me remember. If folks think that linking to Violet Socks saves them the trouble of linking to a “problematic blog” they should recall that VS is on record as claiming that the difference between racism and sexism is that one is acceptable, and the other is not. Tread carefully, lest you summon the g*nm#r.

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