Thursday, June 10, 2010

Darth Vader's Diagnosis...and Yours Too

Today's thought:
An article discussing Darth Vader and mental illness is not really the worst problem in our society. We are.

See CNN article on CNN by Elizabeth Landau titled What is Darth Vader's Diagnosis?" along with the comments section after the article. Link below:

The ChipperMuse Extra:
I know, I know, I feel the same way you do. FINALLY, Darth Vader is getting some psychiatric care and it's about time! He has destroyed worlds, choked people left and right, and violated fashion rules by wearing all-black in space (it's as bad as wearing white after Labor Day). H has been crying out for help, and now he is getting it from psychiatrists who have diagnosed him--at last--with borderline personality disorder (BPD).

The CNN article I'm referring to is supposed to be light-hearted reporting that responds to a letter to the editor in the professional journal Psychiatry Research. There is a legitimate reporting aspect here, however thin. I intended at first to write about that, because it's funny that these people think Darth Vader is a great way to educate the public about a genuine mental disorder. Ooo-kaaay.

But in reviewing the article's comment section, I realized that I need to talk, not about Vader, but about people in general. About us. Because based on the comments, I'd say we all need a diagnosis, perhaps more badly than Vader does. The article is only six paragraphs long, yet it generated a total of 384 comments. 384! Where do these people find their time? Why don't I have that kind of time on my hands?

If you've ever taken the time to read the comments section on any web article (or as I like to call it--masochistic punishment), you already know what I'm about to say. I have questions about people who take the time to actually comment on articles. Some comments are unnecessarily vitriolic (harsh, brutal). Others are the same-old, same-old. But the comments to this (and pretty much any) online article reveal a lot about people and personalities (and our issues and problems).

Here are my observations and my own, totally unprofessional diagnosis of the commenters:

The mention of Star Wars always brings out the fans. The Comic Book Guys. The ones who insist on preserving the Star Wars canon. These people might make good librarians at the Library of Congress, because they are so focused on detail. But instead, they are using their superpowers for the mundane. They go on about how the psychiatrists just don't understand the genius of Lucas' writing or the subtleties of Vader's character. They ask, "Did you even see the movies?" And they insist on discussing whether the original movies (episodes 4, 5, and 6 if you're a nerd) are better than the prequels (episodes 1, 2, and 3). Diagnosis: Obsessive tendencies with possible delusions and hallucinations

Then there are the religion haters. These people comment everywhere they can. It doesn't matter if the article is related to religion or not. They just hate Christians, or God, or both, and they feel the need to attack everyone because of it. If you've got a beef with religion, fine. I don't mind. But do you really feel so hateful that you have to diagnose God with BPD? Do you honestly think Vader is just like a person abused by Catholic priests? Diagnosis: Obsessive tendencies and anger management problems

Then there's the guy who complains about the nerds who insist on psychoanalyzing fictional characters because they have too much time on their hands. Even though he apparently has enough time on his hands to write a comment himself. Diagnosis: Classic projection of one's own problems onto strangers

Some of the commenters have relatives who suffer from BPD. Many of them were upset at the article because they felt it was a mean-spirited comparision that did not help people suffering with BPD. Others, however, applauded the article because they felt it was an accurate depiction of what life with their sick relative is like. Diagnosis: Comparisons are in the eye of the beholder

One person felt the need to write a dissertation rather than a comment. He went on for paragraphs and paragraphs, much longer than the actual article itself. I didn't even read what he said. Diagnosis: Diarrhea of the keyboard, coupled with egomaniacal tendencies

Two people said things that actually made perfect sense in relation to the article and Vader's motivations. They said we do bad because it's so much easier than doing good. And if the dark side existed, many people would choose it because it gives them what they want...power, success, etc. Diagnosis: Totally sane, and the voice of reason

There were a few bottomline types too. These people said the psychiatrists were overcomplicating things, and that understanding Vader is simple. He's "a total douche" and "just a jerk." One wondered, "Whatever happened to crazy?" Good question. Diagnosis: Totally sane pragmatists

Then there are the people who said what I might have said if I had taken time to comment on the article (which I didn't). They asked, "Now that this issue is settled, can we please cure cancer?" and "Does this mean that when Vader threw his boss down the reactor shaft, he was making a great psychological breakthrough?" Exactly what I was thinking! Diagnosis: Fairly sane, with a strong sense of the satirical and ironic

I leave you with this question: Where do you fit in the diagnosis section?

Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

1 comment:

  1. I would post a comment but then I might have too much time on my hands.


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