Thursday, October 20, 2005
What are we going to do with the crazy people?
I know they provide a valuable service wandering America's streets, muttering to themselves, entertaining American high school boys everywhere. When I think about all the drugs those boys aren't taking or all the cheerleaders they're not out there having unprotected sex with while they're spending time driving around slowly at night so that they might throw things at the crazy homeless people, well, it's hard not to see the immediate value of crazy people. They're an invaluable natural resource in that respect. Kind of like coal or timber. Except crazy.
The problem is that every once in a while, one of the crazy people gets loose and actually does something crazy like shoot up a McDonald's, eat a neighbor or invade Iraq. This week one of them threw her own children off a pier into the San Francisco Bay.
I'm going to put myself out there and tell you people--consequences be damned--that I don't think dead children are particularly funny. In fact, I would go so far as to say dead children are the exact opposite of particularly funny. I know some of you are confused because you'd been working under the assumption that the opposite of "particularly funny" was Jay Leno. You're not necessarily wrong. I'm just saying there's room for more than one thing at the extreme.
When things like this happen, honestly, I tend to overreact a little bit. Maybe it's because I have little children of my own and the primary driving force in my life is to keep them from dying, generally at their own hands. They want to carry the scissors, they want to see if the fork will fit in the electrical outlet, they want to lean against the screens on the upstairs windows in order to "see better", they want get out of bed and... like... walk around and junk. All very dangerous.
So when the crazy people drown their kids in their tub or drop them off a pier, I tend to get a little temporary Michelle Malkin. You know, concentration camps but for the crazy people instead of Arabs. Big happy playgrounds of high concrete walls covered with brightly colored padding and topped with festive bow-tied razor wire with streamers on it. Feed 'em, house 'em, dope 'em all into a stupor and--this is important--never let them procreate.
But then I calm down after a while and the potent admixture of panic and bile recedes. And then it occurs to me: man, that Michelle Malkin must be exhausted all the time. That kind of reactionary hysteria is really hard on the body. How Bill O'Reilly isn't dead, frankly, is beyond me.
What makes it easy for me to calm down is that I realize that--besides the teenage-boy thing--crazy people also provide many other valuable services to our country. Sometimes the state of craziness is simply the ability to see things outside the bounds of the social conventions of thought we categorize as "sane".
Take this guy:
No, I don't mean Russell Crowe (although... no, that's another post). I mean the guy he's playing in this picture, Nobel laureate John Forbes Nash. I would have included a picture of Nash himself only a) I know the level of the room and b) Nobel laureate mathematicians in general tend to be less photogenic than people in Mr. Crowe's profession. I have an aesthetic to maintain here.
See, people thought Nash was crazy because he... OK, because he was batshit insane what with the talking-to-people-who-didn't-exist thing and all. But he also had that thing where he would spend hours and hours looking for government conspiracies and secret spy messages in every day printed material at the expense of his own health and personal hygiene.
It all sounds so nutty (not to mention smelly) until you read stories like this. When the government admits it is using secret invisible codes in commercially available laser printers that can be used to identify the origin of individual printed pages, well, I think maybe I'm too hard on the crazy people. It wasn't Mr. Nash himself who achieved this landmark of substantiated crazy-ass paranoid thinking, but I'm sure he was in some small way (or at least Russell Crowe playing him was) the inspiration for the crazy person who thought this one up and then exposed it.
Or maybe it was the voices in his/her head that guided them moreso than John Forbes Nash. But how do we know the voices in his/her head don't take the FORM of John Forbes Nash? The answer is we don't.
We can't say for sure and most of us don't really care. The point is that if they're engaged uncovering government conspiracies we know they're leaving the children alone.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.1