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?
The premise of this satirical piece from Jon Stewart’s Daily Show is of course not entirely correct – as anyone who reads the letters pages of South African newspapers (or the comments section of this Blog!) would attest, but the way in which it mocks that arch-racist Dan Roodt is brilliant. By mocking Roodt (seemingly without him realizing), the interviewer is not giving him the power to make his racist views potent and hurtful. Roodt merely becomes a buffoon and a laughing stock – and hence powerless.
A lesson for South Africans, perhaps?
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Oliver – World Cup 2010: Into Africa – The Amazing Racists|