Don’t you just love the media? An entire class of people gets paid for playing the telephone game; changing something that was said (or not said) into something else entirely, which then becomes part of the popular historical record. The latest? Joy Behar of ABC’s The View calling Vice President Mike Pence mentally ill for talking to Jesus.
First of all, after working on construction sites in Southern California for 30 years, I’ve had several conversations with guys named Jesus (Spanish pronunciation), so I know from personal experience that—technically speaking—it can be done, and that you don’t have to be crazy to do it. But I digress…
If you enjoy sophisticated discourse, you’ll just loooove this. Here’s how it went: Omarosa Manigault said that Mike Pence said that Jesus said something to him, then Joy said that it’s okay for Mike to talk to Jesus, but if Jesus talked to Mike then Mike is mentally ill. Then Mike said that Joy said that Christians are all mentally ill.
Now, don’t we all feel uplifted and edified? (And these are all “adults” over 40 years of age, mind you.)
How an English-teacher-turned-comedian became an expert on “mental illness” is something left out of Joy Behar’s bio on Wikipedia, but hey, she’s on TV so she must be an expert. Right? Pretty much anyone can be an expert on any subject that is not defined, loosely defined or constantly subject to personal bias, cultural bias, regional and personal interpretation. In fact, for creating “experts,” the subject of mental illness is a veritable 24/7 production line. All you have to do is learn a few fearsome, pseudo-Latin- sounding, multisyllabic names (so you can label people you don’t like) and Bah BOOM, you’re an expert. So let’s examine, at least, the legal definitions of “mental illness” or “insanity,” just for clarity’s sake.
“The traditional test of insanity, the “M’Naughten Rule,” in criminal cases is whether the accused knew the difference between right and wrong.” By that definition, we might as well throw up a fence around both Wall Street and Washington, D.C., and be done with it. Let’s keep looking.
Insanity, noun.“mental illness of such a severe nature that a person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct her/his affairs due to psychosis, or is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior.” Well, this one makes me uncomfortable. I was watching a clip from The View and all that cackling brought on a strong “impulse” to go out to the chicken coop and start collecting eggs.
Here’s a general definition I find appropriate for this subject: Insanity: n. “lack of sense, significance, or ideas; silliness; shallowness; superficiality.” Sit through five minutes of The View and judge for yourself.
Since Christians and most other Not-Hollywood-Approved religions are under constant attack, I want to make some suggestions so that your average religious person may escape detection by “mental illness experts,” (See third definition.)
First of all, substitute the word “God” with “The Universe” whenever you have a wish or desire, or when something good comes your way. The idea that a bunch of space, rocks and gasses goes out of its way just for little old you is evidently considered to be completely sane and logical in Hollywood and media circles. Its use as a substitute has the added advantage of making you appear trendy.
Instead of saying you talked to your pastor, priest, rabbi, etc. simply say that you consulted a medium or shaman. You’ll not only pass as an insider, but get kudos to boot.
Instead of saying that you pray, use the words “meditate” or “visualize.” You will be thought of as deep and “mindful” by the Hollywood/media crowd.
Just fly under the radar until your religion is given its passport renewal by the members of The View and their ilk.
If you experience a spiritual or divine knowledge or inspiration; if you go for the words “realization” and “light”; or if you really want to make them think you are deep and mysterious, say that you received “a sapience.” They won’t know what the hell that is (because I just made it up. You’re welcome), and they’ll head straight for Google the moment you are out of sight.
The important thing here is to avoid being labeled “mentally ill” because you still practice a religion which has gone temporarily out of fashion in the Hollywood-New York media complex. Just fly under the radar until your religion is given its passport renewal by the members of The View and their ilk. Just remember that they’ll eventually get bored hating on you and yours and find something or someone else to hate and cackle about.
They’re really quite predictable.