Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The Psychotic Love Affairs of Ally McBeal

The central character Ally McBeal, from the American comedy series of the same name, is a pretext character, for a mostly hopeless and useless plot, that says very little about the causes of her alienation and madness, nor the causes of the madness she comes up against in society; reflected through her imaginary dialogues, where her fears, wishes, desires, and fantasies, get increasingly blurred with reality, into parody and emotional turmoil.

All this leaves us, the viewer, as a witness of a dialogue and plot, where reality and fantasy become increasingly indistinguishable and somewhat absurd, but this gives us an opportunity to have some idea of what she might be experiencing, imagining, or perceiving. We can then understand and admire her as a character, and empathize and relate to her struggles for love, and for meaningful relationships, and she’s a rebel without a pause who certainly has a place in my heart.

Some of her imaginary ridicule, of the petty-bourgeoisie and their delusional superiority, is intense, astute, very funny, and highly amusing, as it reveals both her repulsion at the society she lives within, and her tendency to day-dream about affairs that are not even started yet, or that don’t exist at all in reality.

Ally’s emotional obsessions, even get displaced and focused upon some of the other female characters, and which perhaps reveals a hidden subtext of meanings, but her mind also wanders into thoughts of sexual deviation and sexual fantasy about men, which makes her a very unique and human character for me.

What is so relevant about the character and series to me, is that it looks at the ways that the whole idea of relationships can be distorted out of all proportion, and how many people these days no longer really want to get to know other people properly, before they enter into any kind of relationship with them, even within their work and everyday environments. In this respect, Ally McBeal is a very poignant piece of social commentary on modern-day loss of love, and alienation.

In the storming, norming, and forming process of relationships, Ally gets stuck in the first stage, of storming (her mind is a mass of endless regurgitated ideas and information), and most of her relationships are over or fail miserably, because they never really get started in the first place.

She has a socially imposed image her self, and in some ways she allows others to negatively impact upon her, as her thoughts and feelings seem to operate within an interpersonal and social vacuum, without really focusing on the real social skills of open communication, shared interests, partnership and friendship.

Ally McBeal is not attractive as such, but she has great character in appearance (which I think is much more important than simplistic beauty), and what I admire about her as a character, is that she is never happy with the mediocrity, or merely content with very mundane relationships, and her sentimentalism and creativity refuses to be emotionally repressed, by the petty-bourgeoisie who misunderstand her, and who she has a very healthy mistrust of.

Ally McBeal, I love you, if no one else will.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Children and Insanity

"Lost in a Roman, wilderness of pain, and all the children are insane"

Taken from the song The End, by The Doors

According to some radical psychiatric patients rights groups, like Mindfreedom, there is a huge recent increase in psychiatrists forcibly drugging children, with anti-psychotic drugs, and with amphetamine drugs like Ritalin for hyperactivity. MindFreedom, say that the reason for this, is that the psychiatrists who do this, are making huge amounts of money, out of the pharmaceutical industry. This may be the case, but it’s hard to know to what extent this is happening, and the main protest points that MindFreedom make, do not look into the whole grey areas of the nature of children, as sane or insane human beings.

One thing that needs to be realised and understood about all of this, and which is pivitol fact, is that by nature, children are more insane than adults, in a positive and a natural sense, and not including disturbing symptoms that children may experience, such as nightmares or hallucinations, as a result of being bullied by other children or abused by adults. If a child does experience these negative symptoms, then we have to investigate what is happening in their lives socially, at school and home, and do something to change any bad or harmful social influences, rather than forcibly drugging them.

Children are less inhibited than adults, their thoughts and emotions, are less socially structured or connected, and they think and act more spontaneously and imaginatively. All of this, makes them sort of insane in a way, and which proves that insanity is something somewhat natural, but which is conditioned out of as adults, in order to fit into so-called sane society. Fitting into sane society, means that we are supposed to tolerate some abuse, exploitation, and bullying, and suppress our natural and spontaneous emotions, and our freedom of thoughts and imagination.

The point here, is that some insanity is a natural and good thing, in children and adults, and the psychiatric drugging of it, is due to a misunderstanding of children, and to some extent a very cynical and misanthropic view of human beings. This needs to change, along with accepting the unique culture and values that diagnosed and non-diagnosed mad people have, and which is important that those values remain both separate, and yet part of the similar altruistic values of society.