My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?
Superficially there are some interesting parallels between Vice President Dick Cheney and President Thabo Mbeki. Not naturally warm, not media friendly and prone to making assertions that seem at the very least eccentric and at best wrong and dangerous, both have had their fare share of criticism.
Mbeki denied the link between HIV and Aids while Cheney claimed 18 months ago that the insurgency was “in its last throes” and last week said that
Of course, Mbeki’s politics is far to the left of Cheney’s and he does seem to have a much better grasp on reality than Cheney who seems completely bonkers of late.
In any case, when I saw this clip by comedian John Stewart completely demolishing Cheney after he had been particularly unhinged when interviewed by Wolf Blitzer last week, I realised that it was not possible for any TV comedian in
Somehow, we are not ready yet. Things are too tricky, given our apartheid past, to ridicule a leader in such a brutal way. The Hansie Cronje effect would kick in and Mbeki would garner much sympathy from many South Africans.
O well, meanwhile, sit back and enjoy a really honest comedian doing what he does best.