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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?

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dreamspeak

ok, so i've been lax about posting here. i apologise. there are reasons. i don't know if they'ree good reasons, but they include:


i've had a lot of work to do, which is nice because i'm a freelancer and things tend to slow down in the summer, so the more work i get now, the less i have to worry about later [in theory].i started watching the handmaid's tale. i was a little hesitant because i didn't actually like the novel very much; i found it heavy-handed and predictable. the series relies on the novel for about 80% of its first season plot but i nevertheless find it spellbinding. where i felt that the novel beat readers with its politics, the series does a better job of connecting with the humanity in the midst of politics. i'm dithering on starting season two because i am a serial binger and once i know damn well that starting the second season will soon consign me to the horrors of having to wait a week between episodes. i don't know if i can han…

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

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making faces :: written in the stars [in lipstick]

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