By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
As I scrawl the sloppy copy for my latest manifesto on a window pane between my thoughts on string theory and Kevin Bacon’s connection to 9/11 (Madoff made him do it!), I am sincerely struck by America’s latest outpouring of affection for the pathologically eccentric. We may be on the veranda of a new black death but it has never been a better time to be mad in America. Not only is the evening news waxing hysterical and joining the angrier voices in my head like a Henry Rollins gospel ensemble, but every corporate huckster from Viacom to Disney apparently wants to be alone with me (I’ll be Daria if you play Snow White).
Even before this country was strapped down into the straitjacket of corona pandemonia, a movement to normalize and destigmatize the scarlet letter of mental illness in mainstream America was well underway. Finally, it’s OK to be nuts! Fuck, it’s downright sexy. But this brings to mind a question that has long haunted me. What exactly is mental illness in this age of post-modern collapse and synergistic corporate hysteria? What does it mean to be crazy in such a sick sad world?
According to all the back-slapping do-gooders in the medical establishment, as well as the cultural icons who pander in their jabber, mental illness is just that, an illness of the mind. But just try and ask your therapist what the fuck that really means and he’ll likely smugly reply, “Well, what do you think that means?”, before charging you half a grand for his insightful Freudian evasive maneuver. The fine folks at the DSM seem to agree that mental illness is a condition affecting mood, thinking, or behavior in a way that negatively affects functioning in mainstream society. But that’s just it, have you taken a fucking look at mainstream society lately?
Palestinian children are starving next door to wealthy kibbutz’s, the coral reefs are bleaching like goddamn gym socks, the Amazon is burning to the fucking ground, supposed democracies are fighting a plague with a growing police state, and you fuckers still care more about Kylie Jenner’s bleached asshole than your own impending doom. If this is what passes for mainstream society, why the fuck would any person with half a conscience even want to function in it? I may be sick, but you people are fucking depraved. Let’s have another Whopper and bomb Iran, oh what a normal world!