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mental health mondays :: crazy like a fox?

have you ever wondered where the rule that says you get treated differently if you've committed a crime
if you're a crazy person came from?

if you have, and you haven't bothered to google it yourself, let me enlighten you: it stems from a british court reaction called the m'naghten rules. the reaction came to a case against daniel m'naghten [or "mcnaghten"], a scottish woodworker who killed a highly placed tory civil servant, believing him to be prime minister robert peel [who gives his name to a number of different fixtures here in montreal].

m'naghten believed that he was the target of government spies, who were conspiring against him and who meant to do him harm. when brought to trial, even the prosecutor was forced to admit that it would be unfair to try the man, because he was so clearly delusional. as a result, m'naghten was acquitted. the ensuing furore caused the government to put questions to the court concerning how it was to be determined that someone could be acquitted on the basis of mental defect. you can read the record of that here [conveniently highlighted].

from the beginning, there were problems with the definition, because so much was unknown. more than a hundred and fifty years later, things haven't really become any clearer. particularly since it's often suspected that the people who claim to have been insane are actually playing the system, claiming that they were incapacitated for increasingly specific periods of time, under increasingly specific circumstances, all the while hoping to avoid lifetime in prison or the death penalty.

however, it might be interesting for you to know that, in fact, there was more than a little controversy over even the case of poor, deluded daniel m'naghten who thought the government meant him harm. you see, at the time of his arrest, daniel was carrying £750, the equivalent of about $60,000. carrying that amount of money was about as unheard of in his day as it is in hours and lead some to speculate that, rather than being a sad schizophrenic sack who imagined conspiracies all around him, that daniel m'naghten was actually part of a conspiracy and pretended to be a conspiracy theorist in order to save his co-conspirators.

how crazy is that?


as long as you're here, why not read more?


i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:

am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

mental health mondays :: where even the depressed ones are happy

this past week saw the publication of the annual world happiness report, a look at nations around the world and how people in each of them feel about their lot in life. i started following this a few years ago, and this year it occurred to me that it would be fun to look at how the happy places compared to the crazy places. i mean, what if those countries aren't really all that happy, but just have an extremely high rate of psychotic/ delusional disorders?

so, i set to work putting together a comparison. as it happens, that's a bit trickier than it sounds, because information on any kind of disability is more difficult to come by than you might think. and no type of disability is more controversial than a mental illness, which means that there are even more complications around definitions, seeking treatment, prognoses, record-keeping... it's hard to tell how reliable anything you're looking at is. [not that there aren't some good sources.]

and what sources there …

making faces :: soft touch

ah winter, how my lips hate you. it's too bad, really, because the rest of me likes winter, down to about -12 or so. but there's no arguing that i get dried out. nuxe rĂªve de miel is my super best friend at this time of year, even more so than otherwise. [i gave bite's agave lip mask a try only to find out i'm allergic to something in it.] but our [still] new apartment is somewhat drier than the old one [electric vs hot water heating], which meant that, for a long stretch, virtually every kind of lipstick was uncomfortable. the horror. [i wrote a post a while back about the formulas that are friendliest to chapped lips.]

faced with this dilemma, i decided to try something not exactly new, but [for me], out of the ordinary: being a gloss girl. now, i don't mind glosses. i buy them from time to time, and i used to buy more until i discovered that i just wasn't using them near enough to justify the continued purchases. my issues with glosses are that they feather…