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The Crackpot Files

Insanity is the only sane reaction to an insane society.

 — Thomas (“Mental illness is a myth”) Szasz

  “…lunatics from the hospital up the highway, psycho-ceramics, the cracked pots of [society].”

 — Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

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On Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood, there is a museum displaying torture devices and other gruesome evidence of the sadistic nature of mental institutions. The guy who greets you in the lobby is really, really nice, and ever so happy to see you. The place, it turns out, is a front, a recruiting arm of Scientology. How nuts is that?

How much insanity can be tolerated? How can a man who states with a straight face that Satan is afoot in America get close to a presidential nomination, yet others, who make perfect sense, are laughed off the national stage in short order? What does that say about millions of Americans?

Are any of those UFO sightings and “purported” videos for real? If the videos are all faked, imagine the time devoted to making them. Is that not at least a little crazy? Or, in light of the fact that humans on earth now build machines that travel to other celestial bodies, is it crazy to deny that such civilizations and machines could exist elsewhere in space? Did we land on the moon in 1969? Or is it all an elaborate hoax, and for what? Which is the crazier notion? Is it more insane to think 9/11 was an inside job, or to believe a bunch of Arabs did it? Is Dick Cheney getting a heart transplant not fabulous irony? Have a heart, Dick.

What if the “tinfoil hat” people really can hear radio transmissions and other electromagnetic signals? It’s not as though there aren’t a million of ‘em everywhere. Voices telling you what to think? Just turn on the TV. I can’t play electric guitar where I’m staying because there are 50,000-watt radio transmitters on huge towers less than a mile from here and the amplifier picks up the signals loud and clear. It hears voices. I don’t think wrapping it in aluminum foil would block the radio signals, either. The amp would look like a big casserole and I would look nuts.

There was a guy in Sausalito in the early 70’s, who walked around all bent over at the waist, so he had to turn his head to the side and look up to talk to you. And what he always said was, “My name is John O’Connor and I bring joy.” Not sure if he was crazy, but he was definitely a liar, because no joy was forthcoming. A man we called the Bee Junkie was occupied with just two things. He bummed cigarettes from everyone who walked by, this was when he wasn’t catching honeybees and injecting the stingers into his veins. Was he loony or did he know something we don’t about bee venom?

It makes me twitchy when people who cannot or will not conform to social norms are dismissed as nut jobs. I would like to say that killing other people is de facto insane. But a murderer can get off with a good lawyer and an insanity defense. Can we presume then, that the entire global military/law enforcement establishment, for whom killing is a basic social norm, is therefore insane?

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