Critique of a Certain Cracked Article, Part 2 - The Ugly
Before we get started, I want to say something. I am very, very snarky in these posts. This is because Cracked is a very popular website and they promoted this article ostensibly to demolish myths about mental illness in the media. They did a great job on some of them. If they had stopped there, I would have been pretty happy.
They did not stop there.
The majority of the things they say are not only inaccurate, but downright wrong. They promote new myths about mental illness instead of actually addressing and countering existing ones.
Alright, we’ve seen the good, now it’s time for the ugly. These are the ones that while not totally and completely wrong, there are too many inaccuracies to be considered “Good”.
I’ve never seen the film, so I may not be fully qualified to comment. However, it is a common misconception that autistic people are unfeeling, disconnected from others, lack empathy, when in fact the opposite is true. Most of us are overly empathetic and sensitive, and avoid social interactions for other reasons (constant rejection or a feeling of being overwhelmed by others’ thoughts and feelings). So if a character is portrayed as being a calculated killer because he’s autistic, then that’s totally messed up.
However, that’s not to say that it’s impossible for an autistic person to be a psychopath. Every single autistic person is totally different, so there are plenty of crazy assholes in the mix. Assuming the film *doesn’t* try to claim that this guy is crazy *because* he’s autistic, the thing to be horrified about here isn’t so much the suggestion that such a person could exist as it is that in one of the few portrayals of an autistic character in a film, they chose such a negative one, when society’s attitudes towards autistic people are already so negative overall.
In case you couldn’t tell, @thingsairafound is a much nicer person than me :). I was on the fence about this one being in the Good or the Ugly posts, so it’s kinda inbetween.
This critique comes from @thingsairafound:
Yes, the odds of any one person being a savant aren’t super high, but that film is based on a real-life actual autistic savant, Kim Peek. He exists and the actor spent a lot of time with him to prepare for the role, so he’s even fairly realistically portrayed.
I suspect the point the author was making is that not all autistic people are savants, which is true. Most are not. But a surprisingly high percentage are (estimated about 10% - that’s not “incredibly rare”, that’s one in ten people). Of course, they don’t actually define what a savant is here. It generally just means “better than would be expected of the average person” at one or more things. The thing that’s actually rare are prodigious savants who are so good at something that their skill would be superhuman even if they weren’t otherwise impaired. There aren’t too many of these people in the world. My favorite is Daniel Tammet, who can learn a new language in a week and is able to do incredibly complex mathematical computations almost instantly in his head.
They say about half of savants are autistic and half are the result of things like seizures, brain injuries, etc. So if you’re autistic, the odds are fairly good you’ll be a savant. If not, the odds are extremely low, unless you hurt your brain somehow.
Shrink’s taking the helm now. Buckle in, Shrinky-dinks. I get fucking MAD in this post.
First. Why the fuck is Law and Order SVU up there? They don’t ‘profile’ criminals. It’s a normal cop procedural show. They investigate crimes - any profiling they do is incidental.
Yes, profiling has its inaccuracies. However, saying that it’s “nothing more than cold reading” is laughable.
And you know what? Criminal profiling is a really fucking new practice. It’s only been around since the 1970′s. You know what dominated the first 40-ish years of psychology?
That doesn’t mean that the entire school of psychology as a whole is worthless. Psychology has evolved and become more accurate over the years, and criminal profiling will do the same.
This particular thing is correct in that psychologists would not classify Norman Bates as a psychopath.
“Psychopath” is not a term used by modern psychologists. It’s dated, unscientific, and inaccurate.
IT IS NOT A FUCKING PERSONALITY DISORDER.
The term you’re looking for is “antisocial personality disorder”.
Okay, yes, movies tend to overemphasize a sudden ‘breakthrough’ from the character’s past that suddenly cures their mental illness.
But what the fuck? Are you serious? REVISITING PAINFUL MEMORIES JUSTIFIES AND RATIONALIZES A PERSON’S ANGER, PAIN, AND RESENTMENT, MAKING IT WORSE?!?!??!
Are. Are you serious. What. This is a fucking insult to everyone with PTSD. You can’t treat PTSD without addressing the trauma in some way.
Tell me, are the feelings of someone who is traumatized by the abusive actions of another person something that needs to be “justified”, in your eyes? Or are they whiny babies who need to move on from their mental illness?
Also, why the fuck are you citing YOUR OWN PODCAST, Cracked? Are you too afraid someone will actually fact check you?
Uh. Seizures? THAT’S NOT A THING.
And that last sentence. What in the actual hell?????
Also, why the fuck is the source from Prezi? WIKIPEDIA WOULD BE A BETTER SOURCE THAN PREZI. At least there is SOME kind of peer review process and there’s a chance that an expert could have looked over it.
First, no one says “shock therapy”. And ECT stands for Electroconvulsive THERAPY, not treatment. Also, there’s no hyphen in the name.
Seriously, did the author even bother googling “ECT”? THE CORRECT NAME AND SPELLING ARE LITERALLY THE FIRST RESULT.
While ECT is by far less severe and nowhere near as brutal as the movies depict it, it is not without its risks. For some people, the aftereffects (especially memory loss) are far from mild.
Also, why wouldn’t you mention that ECT takes place when the person is UNCONSCIOUS? They literally don’t feel a damn thing while it’s happening. I think that would be worth mentioning, but then again, I write about clinical psychology, not badly-researched “comedy” listicles.
First off, wow. This is really, really insulting. Way to completely ignore the fact that people with schizophrenia are more likely to be victims of violence than be violent themselves. You brought this up in one of the “Good” things! Is your memory really that short?
Also, what the fuck is with your source for this? It’s a website where you ask people to refer you to treatment centers. It’s not a reliable source of information.
There is a grain of truth in this that part of schizophrenia involves “disorganized” symptoms. But saying that all schizophrenics “definitely wouldn’t be able to stay focused on a week-long murder plot” is like saying that all of your writers are too lazy to perform a simple google search when writing their articles. I’m sure it’s true for some people, but you can’t say it’s true for ALL of them.
Stay tuned for part 3, where somehow, I get even angrier.