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mental health mondays :: mental health day [again]

i'm going to claim post-traumatic stress disorder from all the 9/11 coverage in the last week as the reason i didn't get together a piece for mhm this week. i was actually thinking of doing something on post-traumatic stress disorder itself, since it seemed appropriate, except that it occurred to me that the name of the condition actually pretty much tells you everything you need to know about it.

something bad happens.

your brain can't quite deal with it.

the stress of dealing with it causes your brain to start malfunctioning.

really, all diseases and conditions should be so clearly labeled. [i know that george carlin decried the term as an example of soft language, and i see his point, but you do have to admit, it's a lot more specific than saying that someone has antisocial personality disorder, which means that they're dangerous, but sounds like they just don't like to go out very much.]

the good news about ptsd is that, despite the fact that a majority of us will undergo some kind of trauma during our lives, only a tiny minority will actually develop a disorder as a result. it turns out that, appearances occasionally to the contrary, the brain is actually pretty good at dealing with the horrible things that can happen to it. the bad news is, the world is still full of the acute horrors that do actually cause the brain to start collapsing on itself like a dying star.

i chose to distance myself from the past week's reliving of the 9/11 attacks not because i found it stressful, but because i found it grotesque and exploitative. the psychological sciences haven't yet come up with a name for a mental disorder that drives people to use the most painful moments of others for their own gain- political, financial or otherwise- but the condition seems prevalent enough that it warrants being labeled. and studied. and fixed.

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losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …

don't speak

you might think that it sounds dramatic, but linguistic genocide is something that happens. people in power will go to great lengths to eradicate certain languages, not just for the sheer joy of making the world a lesser place, but as a way of beating down the culture that's associated with it. language has a unique reciprocal bond with culture, and every group that has attempted to break down another has recognised that forbidding a cultural group from communicating in their own language is an extremely effective way to tear apart their culture.

there are lots [and lots and lots and lots] of examples of this sort of thing, some successful, some not, but far too many to cover in one blog post. however, i thought it was worth looking at some languages that have been the subjects of active repression, and what the political consequences of that have been.

devastation :: the native north american languages :: it should come as no surprise that the largest genocide in history [by a ma…