by Philip A. Kumin
I’m a self-taught author, and a good one at that. I tried for years to get my well written vignettes published in almost every publication imaginable including the great, the wonderful Rolling Stone Magazine. I sought merely to partake of the joy of creative writing while simultaneously publicizing the existence and history of an unheard of, but thoroughly libertarian, movement of former mental patients. I soon came to see that since I was revealing myself to be one of those activist patients in each piece I’d written, I was being censored accordingly. For years afterwards, I couldn’t conceive of any rational, substantial reason why this was being done to me or any of the other patient authors, whom I had heard we’re also being censored.
Eventually I accrued a mountain of silly rejection notices from a motley crew of superfluous editors and publishers, (F. Scott Fitzgerald has nothing on me.) I decided to put together a compilation of the stories I’d written along with all the matching rejection notices for each one of them. I then put together a description of what I was trying to accomplish and posted it on a since-forsaken segment of MIA’s website. While advocates are always decrying the slander of mental patients in the news media and Hollywood movie industries, (however ingenuously,) none of them are aware that the discrimination patients incur from the news media and Hollywood takes the form of a double edged sword. And, frankly, none of those advocates could care less about this either. After I posted my ad in MIA, I did get a handful of takers. Since then I’ve begun bringing an original of the collection with me to each year’s Alternatives conference. After I get there, the first thing I do is seek out the nearest Kinko’s where I have eight copies of this collection run off for me at my own expense. I take them back to the conference and leave them on a display table for people to take.
Well, it wasn’t until just last year that a particular reason why publications shamelessly censor us sank in on me. They must be concerned that there are multitudes of opportunists amongst the public who would happily jump on the bandwagon of a movement of former mental patients were they to find out about it. This implies that the media has some concern about the well being of patients, and therein lies the fallacy/fantasy.
WHAT?!! The media is worried that no harm be done to mental patients? Well, you surer than hell could have fooled me with that! Does it look as if they’re worried, judging by their never ending slander of us? This is no way to treat a lady.
It goes without saying that the perpetrators of the mental health system would never have the day in/day out success that they do in making a mockery of the human rights of patients, if they were targeting any other population than us. Some day, the Epiphany patients have been waiting for will arrive. It will then become clear that the stigma against us which the media and Hollywood are hellbent on slinging out is the glue which holds the entire scandal together. Only then will we see deserved heads roll.