[Marxism] People Say I'm Crazy

Rachel Mendoza aka at cts.com
Wed May 5 14:41:17 MDT 2004

It should be noted that John Nash never took drugs to get "better." He was
institutionalized against his will. However, Hollywood insisted on adding a
fictional line to Nash's award peace: something to the effect of: "they have
me on the latest medication."

I also wonder about the slave morality with so-called "mental illness."
According to his website, Cadigan says: "Stop drinking alcohol and using
drugs that aren't prescribed—they interfere with medication and make
recovery almost impossible"

The message: only modern medicine and the profit driven pill makers will
save you. Although, I seriously doubt Cadigan designed this website himself.
Cadigan needs to be empowered by the works of Peter Breggin, Thomas Szasz,
and others. These ridiculous labels such as schizophrenia and depression
have no place in a doctor's office. The label enslaves. Pfizer and Eli Lilly
do not operate out of love. Thus, their products should not be considered
worthy in any realm.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition"
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>; "PEN-L list" <PEN-L at SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU>;
<info at imagereal.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2004 11:57 AM
Subject: [Marxism] People Say I'm Crazy

> "People Say I'm Crazy" is a spare but effective documentary about what 
> it means to be a schizophrenic. Dispensing with the kind of melodrama 
> (and dubious medical science) at work in the far more ambitious "A 
> Beautiful Mind", it retains the same kind of inspirational value as it 
> tells the story of John Cadigan, a young artist.
> Like so many others, Madigan experienced his first psychotic break while 
> in college. As an art major at Carnegie-Mellon, he found himself 
> cowering in his room just like John Nash at Princeton. As was the case 
> with Nash, recovery was as much the result of support from friends and 
> family as it was with medication. As it turned out, his sister Katie was 
> a film-maker and she began documenting his struggles at the outset. The 
> film was co-directed by her and John Cadigan and produced by Ira Wohl, 
> who is best-known for the documentary "Best Boy", which details the 
> story of his older retarded brother's attempt to adjust to a new group 
> home after the death of his parents. Both films are imbued with a 
> humanitarian spirit that serves to make the most marginal figures in our 
> society less so.
> With the aid of medication, Cadigan has achieved a certain modicum of 
> self-sufficiency in Berkeley, California where his time is divided 
> between making woodcuts, working in a food pantry for the needy and 
> hanging out with friends who are also afflicted with mental illness. 
> Although it is not well understood by the general population, 
> schizophrenia is not manifested just by psychotic breaks. Even when the 
> sufferer is in a "normal" state, everyday is an ordeal as black 
> depression and fear threaten to submerge him or her into complete 
> inactivity. For example, when Cadigan is not given a nametag like other 
> volunteers at the food pantry, he immediately begins to think that this 
> is a sign that people hate him.
> His greatest outlet is his work, which is outstanding by any criterion. 
> (It may be viewed at the film's website at: 
> http://www.peoplesayimcrazy.com.) A few years ago an art show made up of 
> work by people with mental illness was assembled in Washington, DC and 
> Cadigan's work was included. He was also interviewed on NPR's "The 
> Morning Edition". This was in a small way the counterpart to John Nash 
> winning the Nobel Prize. Another victory for Cadigan was being accepted 
> into a building designed for people with disabilities in Berkeley, for 
> which, like all such facilities, the demand far exceeds the supply.
> I was reminded of this in my own building, which is going through a 
> "nimby" (not in my backyard) outbreak right now. When it was announced 
> that the 3 bedroom apartment down the hall from me was being rented to 5 
> mentally retarded men with Cerebral Palsy and their two male attendants, 
> a group of tenants began circulating petitions filled with hysterical 
> formulations about the "fear factor" attached to living in such close 
> quarters to this threat. Eventually I will give the organizers a good 
> piece of my mind.
> The stigma attached to mental illnesses and retardation is deeply rooted 
> in bourgeois society. It is to the great credit of film-makers like Ira 
> Wohl and Katie Catigan that they attack these prejudices at their heart 
> and make our less fortunate brothers, sisters and neighbors more 
> recognizable. What you will discover in "People Say I'm Crazy" is a 
> story about the struggle to live a decent life--something we can all 
> identify with.
> The film is now showing at Cinema Village in NYC. Highly recommended.

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