Insanity in the News

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First off, do not miss “Will We Remember Tucson? Was It Enough? Is Anything?” at Esquire (via Balloon Juice).

[Update: Must read — “The Voices in Jared Loughner’s Head Shall Not Be Respected.”]

The Los Angeles Times has posted a video made by Jared Loughner that got him expelled from community college. I understand this is pretty standard schizophrenic “word salad” talk, although I don’t have a lot of direct experience with schizophrenics. Actually, some of it could pass for beat poetry.

My concern is that Loughner is being turned into a sideshow freak. Schizophrenia is not a character flaw; it’s a disease.

Elsewhere — Ron Reagan, Jr., has published a book that says signs of his dad’s Alzheimer’s surfaced during his first term as president. Apparently there are some discrepancies between what Ron Reagan remembers and what this historical record says, so Ron Jr.’s memory may be off.

It’s the sort of thing that can’t be proved, because Alzheimer’s develops very slowly, and the early signs may not be apparent even to doctors. It’s only after the diagnosis that people look back at this or that odd little episode and think maybe they were signs of Alzheimer’s. But there’s no way to know for sure. We all have our less than lucid moments.

However, it’s also my understanding that by the time Alzheimer’s is diagnosed, probably it’s been there in very early form for a long time, maybe years.

What bothers me about this story at U.S. News are the comments attached to it. Hundreds of people hurled hateful invectives at Ron Reagan Jr. for insulting his father. And while I am bothered by the tone of the comments, what really bothers me is the attitude that saying someone has Alzheimer’s is some kind of insult. It’s not a character flaw; it’s a disease.

It would be a really good thing if people could get their heads out of the Middle Ages regarding psychiatric disease or dementia.

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10 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 15, 2011 @10:48 am

    “It would be a really good thing if people could get their heads out of the Middle Ages…”
    Why? That’s where they want us to ‘head.’

  2. Dan  •  Jan 15, 2011 @11:41 am

    The fear of mental disease IS a character flaw, however…

  3. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 15, 2011 @11:52 am

    Here’s some more insanity:
    Utah’s new ReTHUGlican Senator, Teabagger, Mike Lee on, and no, I’m NOT making this up – “Child Labor Laws.” And no, folks, he’s not specifically FOR them, but it don’t sound like he’s that agin’ ’em either.
    http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/it-was-inevitable-new-tea-partying-r
    Time for a new NAMBLA:
    North
    American
    Manufacturing
    Boy
    Labor (or Love, they both work well)
    Association
    The girls can stay home, barefoot, pregnant, and cookin’ dinner. Or at least they’d BETTER be cookin’ DINNER, cause if they’s doing any other sort of cookin’, they’ll be barefoot, pregnant, toothless and maimed! But still cookin’ dinner. You don’t expect a man to do that, do you?

    If you need a few laughs, here’s Bill Maher’s, new rule: ‘Teabaggers – The Founding Fathers would have hated your guts!’
    http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/new-rules-bill-maher-teabaggers-founding-f

    Oh, and keep Ron Jr. in your thoughts. You know he’s going to be the latest target for the ignorant thugs on the right. Let’s just hope they keep it to words this time.
    I don’t even want to think about what that hateful half-brother of his Michael will have to say.
    And, for all of the religious-like reverence they have for Ronald Reagan Sr., today, he’d be booted out of the party for being a RINO.
    Finally, as much as they need to remind themselves that Alzheimer’s IS a disease, we need to remind ourselves that Conservatism ISN’T a disease – it’s largely genetic. And so we should be thankful that we, as Liberals, don’t have that “KKK” kromosome. (sic)

  4. A Canadian Reader  •  Jan 15, 2011 @12:32 pm

    My mother-in-law passed away suddenly of a massive heart attack two years ago. She was 82.

    Throughout her life she was a bit of an iconoclast, fiery of temper, kind-hearted, and fiercely loyal to her blood relatives. She also had an endearing ability to mangle names: one of her favourite movie stars was the man who first played the role of 007, Sean ConnerLY. Once she got a notion in her head, nothing could dislodge it. That was just the way she was, long before I met her for the first time in 1989.

    About six months before her death, she asked my husband and I to hold a guaranteed income certificate statement in safekeeping for her. The statement had absolutely no value and in fact, she had received numerous such statements in the past and never asked us to hold them. I put the statement in my purse and told her that as soon as I got home (we lived in different cities), I would send her a photocopy. As luck would have it, I got caught up in preparing my kids’ things for sleepover camp and didn’t immediately make the photocopy. Two days later, she called us and started screaming that I was trying to steal her money.

    Although my husband tried valiantly to explain that a) I would never do that and b) the statement had no value, for the remaining few months of her life, she told the whole family about my dastardly attempts to fleece her. I found this out after her death. The last time we saw her at a family gathering, she got roaring drunk, never smiled (she was known for how much she smiled and joked) and snapped at me at every possible opportunity.

    Clearly, she was starting to suffer from dementia, but at that point only my husband and I could see what was going on. I suspect that certain members of the family still think there had to be some truth to what she was saying about me. That’s the horror of dementia.

  5. jugheadjack  •  Jan 15, 2011 @1:16 pm

    Ron Regan Jr. is right.

  6. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 15, 2011 @1:19 pm

    Canadian Reader,
    Sorry to hear about your troubles. That doesn’t sound like it was a fun situation at all.
    And yeah, dementia’s horrible. That’s why I hope I never live long enough to get it. But I think the real horror is that you never know when you do. But, maybe that’s the only blessing. I don’t know, and I don’t want to find out.

  7. Neo  •  Jan 15, 2011 @2:35 pm

    Keep you children out of the room when viewing this video …
    it may cause them to go to sleep … boring

    Oliver Stone must be shaking in his boots.

    “Pink Flamingos” was better.

    Based on this film, I can see why they suspended him from PCC … to raise the standard of films produced by the school.

  8. tom b  •  Jan 15, 2011 @6:41 pm

    When Reagan completed his second term I felt sure I’d never see such a sorry excuse for a president again, that he was so awful people would all get out and VOTE in the future to make SURE it never happened again. Just 8 years later, W…….

    Jerry Ford is looking more and more like the best GOP prez of the 20th century……Reasonably inoffensive– except pardoning Nixon– and he was gone in two years.

  9. Pat  •  Jan 16, 2011 @3:08 pm

    There are tests…scans of the brain, that can reveal the beginnings of Alzheimers even during ones early 40s. It’s relatively cheap, around $300.00, I believe. After my Dad died from other physical problems during mid-late stage Alzheimers I am considering it. Someone asked me whether I really wanted to know. I think so.

    If what Reagan Jr. said was true then we were governed by a committee during the Reagan presidency.

  10. Pat  •  Jan 16, 2011 @3:10 pm

    I’d trust the impressions of Ron Ragan Jr. before the “historical record.” I don’t know whether that test was available back then…

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