BOOK REVIEWS (2013): Darryl Cunningham’s (2011) Psychiatric Tales: Eleven Graphic Stories about Mental Illness

25 October 2013


Viewed from one angle, Cunningham’s text offers an earnest attempt to illustrate a way out of the problem of mental illness, socially and individually. He does not intend his book as “only for him,” but viewed from another angle, in presenting his individualized solution to the problem of his own experience of mental illness, he can hardly avoid prescribing more of the “cure” that originated the problem in the first place. The tension between these two readings of his text seems essential.


Last year in 2012, I set myself the task to read at least ten pages per day, and now I’m not sure if I kept up. I have the same task this year, and I’ve added that I will write a book reaction (or reply) for each one that I finish (or give up on, if I stop). These will not be Amazon-type reviews, with synopses, background research done on the author or the book itself, unless that strikes me as necessary or if the book inspired me to provide one when I read it. In general, these amount to assessments of in what ways I found the book helpful somehow.

I may say stupid stuff, poorly informed stuff. There are some in the world who expect everyone to be omniscient and can’t be bothered to engage in a human dialogue toward figuring out how to make the world a better place. To the extent that each reply I offer provides a here’s what I found helpful about this, then it becomes up to us (you, me, us) to correct, refine, trash and start over, this or whatever we see as potentially helpful toward making the world a better place. If you won’t bother to take up your end of that bargain, that signals of course part of the problem that needs a solution.

A Reply To:  Darryl Cunningham’s (2011)[1] Psychiatric Tales: Eleven Graphic Stories about Mental Illness

The last chapter of this set of graphic essays—they’re not so much “tales”—describes the author’s own battle with depression and ends, with notes of encouragement, on the obvious fact that he found a way to work through it, subsequently to become a published author.

He had previously worked in an acute mental health care ward (in England), but what makes this disclosure by him at the end somewhat disappointing involves how it shows his vested interest in writing an drawing book, in offering on the one hand an exposé (albeit a very gentle one) and on the other a clear and loud plea for understanding and tolerance about mental illness. I say disappointing because it seems so often the case that only people who directly experience some social ill or malady feel compelled actually to do something more than merely speak up against it.

The qualifiers on that last claim: we can all (if we have Internet access) add our name to a petition—I would more call that speaking up than actually doing—and an entity like itself, as a channel for leveraging political power, takes an (admirably) non-personal interest in many causes but not solely for the sake of the cause championed but also for the purpose of increasing that organization’s social capital and (more basically) generating some kind of income for those running the show. The social contract or conceit of this proposes that by merely speaking up and putting my name on a petition (or one by some similar organization) that counts as actually doing something, because presumably that petition will have some sociopolitical effect. And if it does have the desired end, great—I have no objection to that.

Meanwhile, we more often see non-white people speaking out against white supremacy; we see non-heterosexual people decrying religious and social intolerance against homosexuals; and we see people who have suffered or still suffer from mental illness writing books about ignorance and prejudice that surrounds mental illness. Or, as one last example, I met someone who described an interaction he’d had with someone online who allowed himself to vent all of the usual sort of bile about a sex offender he knew about. The person telling me this story descried how he’d challenged the other person and soon found himself as a voice of one against a whole chorus on Internet folks agreeing with the bile-spewer. Not exactly a surprising turn of events, but I remained impressed with my acquaintance’s willingness to speak up on behalf of defending human dignity in all people regardless of their past actions. I became less impressed when I later learned he had a record as a sex offender himself.

So I found myself disappointed to learn that Cunningham’s willingness to speak up on behalf of those suffering from mental illness himself had experienced it. I don’t fault Cunningham for this, of course. As someone non-heterosexual, I can never forget for too long that as a very small numerical minority, we must depend a great deal upon the kindness of strangers[2] to ensure that what recognition of our inalienable rights we obtain does not get repealed. This needn’t involve enthusiastic championing, of course; it seems that most people simply can’t see why anyone would give a fuck regarding whichever set of genitals get rubbed against one another. Indifference to the “problem” that foaming anti-queers insist upon serves just as well (perhaps) for sociopolitical progress. But the downside to that otherwise useful indifference links immediately to the appalling silence of good people Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. referred to in the face of then-ongoing racial violence.

This book offers a rather startlingly unselfconscious and very earnest presentation about mental health (prejudices) (in England). That the author struggled, overcame, and encouragingly tells his readers, “And so can you,’ wraps the whole somewhat gently in what (Volkan 176)[3]calls the “egoism of victimization,” although wholly without the sort of pathological violence he identifies in the course of his attempt to explain terrorism and the like. Cunningham’s “sweetness,” if you will, makes taking his book to task seem small-minded or even cruel. But only to the extent that the egoism of victimization itself masks its own original sort of “cruelty”.

With the “egoism of victimization,” we see how the victim gets placed at the center of an unapproachable and inviolable circle; Silk and Goldman (2013)[4] raise this premise not simply to an approach but to an ideology, a demand—a command even.

Draw a circle. This is the center ring. In it, put the name of the person at the center of the current trauma. … Now draw a larger circle around the first one. In that ring put the name of the person next closest to the trauma. … Repeat the process as many times as you need to. In each larger ring put the next closest people. Parents and children before more distant relatives. Intimate friends in smaller rings, less intimate friends in larger ones. ¶ Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. … That’s the one payoff for being in the center ring. ¶ Everyone else can say those things too, but only to people in larger rings (emphasis added).[5]

Silk and Goldman’s article distinguishes itself by its obnoxiousness, but I only want to refer to it to illustrate how people talk about the egoism of victimization when they want to try to dignify it as desirable and permissible. So when the person at the center of the ring tells you (or tells her child), “You’re dog shit and I hope you die a terrible death before tomorrow,” Silk and Goldman say no one, in any of the three worlds, may speak against that.

In Schiller’s (1801)[6] essay on aesthetics “On the Sublime,” he begins (curiously enough) by raising the problem of violence:

Nothing is so unworthy of man than to suffer violence, for violence undoes him. Whoever offers us violence calls into question nothing less than our humanity; whoever suffers this cravenly throws his humanity away (¶2, from here).

Schiller does not specify, but I find it hard to imagine his point applies only to literally physical violence, so that any command that had the force of enforcing another’s silence, when she or he wished to speak, would constitute violence as well—a violence that therefore calls into question nothing less than our humanity and which, if we cravenly endure it in silence, throws our humanity away. A violence that insists, when the person in the center ring calls her child a piece of shit, no one may speak against that. Schiller continues:

But he is supposed to be a human being unconditionally, and should therefore under no circumstances suffer anything against his will. If he is no longer able to oppose physical force by his relatively weaker physical force, then the only thing that remains to him, if he is not to suffer violence, is to eliminate utterly and completely a relationship that is so disadvantageous to him, and to destroy the very concept of a force to which he must in fact succumb. To destroy the very concept of a force means simply to submit to it voluntarily (¶4).

I must note: while Schiller here favorably recommends voluntary submission in this sort of situation, this does not mark the end of his essay or argument; he has more to say, most of which transcends this voluntary submission. Schiller’s point here simply means that when one does not have the power to resist violence that we may maintain our human dignity by such voluntary submission—a classic example being, “You can’t fire me, I quit!”

So, in  similar way, when someone offers verbal violence—and statements made out of the egoism of victimization that would silence us, as Silk and Goldman make into an actual program—we must resist that violence by speaking out against it—despite the “command” to remain silent—or we may maintain our human dignity by voluntarily submitting to it.

It will continue to seem cruel or small-minded to “accuse” Cunningham’s book of cruelty (or violence) arising from an egoism of victimization, but the very fact that out of something like no desire to hurt the feelings of an author who has struggled so hard against his own experience of mental illness should already signal to us that something like an egoism of victimization lingers in the air. And, of course, this only comprises a part of the picture. Cunningham does not do this with malice aforethought, and his book does not lose its value as an earnest plea for tolerance and understanding for those with mental illness.

The earnestness of the book itself poses the problem of oversimplifying things, of course—not more so than in the fact that Cunningham does not, in fact, write any “tales” at all, but instead provides mini-essays on different aspects of mental illness, like suicide, bipolar disorder, dementia, &c. The earnestness in this case may make any desire on Cunningham’s part to dramatize or fictionalize seem to him inauthentic or to risk misrepresenting the actual state of affairs in the mental health world, which he remains keen to put before the public eye.  I do not think, however, that the general public had some sort of lesser sympathetic response to something like Kesey’s (1962)[7] One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, simply because it resorted to fiction, not even when the (1975)[8] movie shifted wholly away from Chief’s radically strange point of view an gave instead a much more conventional view of life in a psychiatric ward. And no shortage of wildly fantastic or utterly impossible fictions have seemed somehow to more cogently embody “the truth” than heaps of non-fiction.[9]

As part of the terribleness of mental illness, Cunningham (who wrote his book from notes of observations taken while working in the acute care ward) tends to focus on “gross” details, e.g., the old Spaniard who regularly would squat in the middle of the hallway and defecate and urinate. Except that

On one occasion, the Spanish patient had left  bowel movement in the corridor. By the time the turd was discovered, it was unfortunately in the hands of another patient, who was eating it as if it was a chocolate bar” (12).

This anecdotes occurs in the first tale”; soon after, a tale devoted to cutting and self-harm includes the detail that a woman had cut off her nipples and flushed them down the toilet. Gruesome details then generally fall away, in the chapter “Blood,” “there once was a man and a hammer. The man took the hammer and repeatedly hit himself in the face” (69) and then later, a suicide at home “had taken an overdose of furosemide, a drug used in heart failure and edema. Then drank whisky, and followed that with bleach” (116). In the chapter on anti-social personalities, Cunningham reprises a point he makes in the chapter “Blood”: “When I first began working on the ward, I was baffled as to why anyone would elf-harm” (70), but gradually came to understand the rationality of it; similarly, he raises the question whether anti-social personalities really comprise mental disorders or whether they indicate character traits. He notes in particular the kinds of traits that psychopaths can have that foster success in society; of one man he knew who seemed a psychopath (one not in the ward), Cunningham ends by noting the man became a lawyer.

These resorts generate a tension in Cunningham’s book.  Someone might fairly accuse Cunningham of using the “gross” details in an exploitative or sensationalistic way, just as dominating culture will put on display “cultural freakishness” on the part of Muslims, Africans, &c. Canetti (1960)[10] resorts to this often enough in his Crowds and Power, but also cites numerous offenders, particularly the accused Nazi collaborationist and French journalist Titaÿna and the nineteenth century founder of modern race theory Gobineau. As I wrote previously to document an especially dense example of this:

Canetti substitutes a lengthy quotation in place of exposition,[11] here providing the testimony of Joseph Arthur Comte de Gobineau (from the bottom of page 149 to one-third down page 152, with a twelve line interlude at pp. 150–1) on the Shi’ite passion plays performed as part of Muharram.[12] This testimony, published in 1865, is by the man considered the father of the Aryan master-race theory—a point considered so non-controversial, Wikipedia blandly summarizes this:

Gobineau also questioned the belief that the black and yellow races belong to the same human family as the white race and share a common ancestor. Trained neither as a theologian nor a naturalist and writing before the popular spread of evolutionary theory, Gobineau took the Bible to be an true telling of human history and accepted in An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races the day’s prevailing Christian doctrine that all human beings shared the common ancestors Adam and Eve (monogenism as opposed to polygenism). Nonetheless, he suggested that but for the Church’s teaching there was nothing else to suggest that the colored races were foreborn, like the white race, from Adam, since “… nothing proves that at the first redaction of the Adamite genealogies the colored races were considered as forming part of the species”.

Gobineau believed the white race was superior to the other races in the creation of civilized culture and maintaining ordered government. However, he also thought that the development of civilization in other periods was different than in his own and speculated that other races might have superior qualities in those civilization periods than in his own. Nonetheless, he believed European civilization represented the best of what remained of ancient civilizations and held the most superior attributes capable for continued survival. His primary thesis in regards to this theory was that European civilizational flowering from Greece to Rome and Germanic to contemporary sprang from, and corresponded to, the ancient Indo-European culture, also known as “Aryan”. Gobineau originally wrote that, given the past trajectory of civilization in Europe, white race miscegenation was inevitable and would result in growing chaos. He attributed much of the economic turmoil in France to pollution of races. Later on in his life, with the spread of British and American civilization and the growth of Germany, he altered his opinion to believe that the white race could be saved.

No small part of the exposition by Gobineau that Canetti quotes is taken up with the needles and chains with razors on them with which some of the participants (only men, I believe) wound themselves. Gobineau is moved to remark, “one feels pity, sympathy and horror all at the same time” (qtd. in Canetti, p. 150). “Horror” is the word I want to emphasize here. Gobineau was a major source for the Nazi ideologues, although they had to redact his favorable remarks about Jewish people. There’s nothing like getting a “pass” from a white supremacist!

Another block of quotation comes from a quotation of a book within another book. Which I point out only to keep in the reader’s mind Canetti’s punctiliousness about wishing to be seen as dealing with concrete realities, rather than imagined or represented realities.[13] Here, the quoted passage in question is by the pseudonymous Titaÿna, the pen-name of Elizabeth Sauvy-Tisseyre (1897–1966), a journalist for Paris-Soir and traveloguist whose reputation got sullied by accusations of collaboration during the Nazi occupation of France. She made a name for herself publishing works on cannibals,[14] headhunters,[15] prisoners in the United States,[16] and other exotics,[17] the last being the one quoted by de Félice, a French theologian, in his (1947)[18] text on the collective ecstasy of delirious crowds, which he describes as an “essay on some lower forms of mysticism”. Canetti says of this female-authored passage, “It would be hard to find anything more compelling or more frightening” (153). At least three times Titaÿna emphasizes the madness of the crowd—“500,000 people, seized with madness … infecting them with their own madness …there is not one man who retains the balance of his mind” (qtd. in Canetti, 153)—and then closes with:

The madness seizes the children, even the very young ones. Beside a fountain, a mother, drunk with pride, hugs a child who has just mutilated himself. Another woman comes running, shouting, ‘He has gouged out an eye. In a few minutes he will put out the other.’ The parents watch it with delight (qtd. in Canetti, 154).

It seems quite clear what a reader should make of this: that Muslims are insane savages—or at least they become that when they get into a religious ecstasy. We might rely on them to sell us some awamat or a nice piece of knefe, but let them “go to church” and horror, madness, and nothing more frightening could occur.

In the 1980s, one could also regularly find in the pages of rags like the Weekly World News a story about bizarre African kings and the like that served an identical function.

As Said (1978)[19] makes clear, one needn’t be a card-carrying member of the dominating social group to pick up its discourse more or less consciously.  For someone like Titaÿna or Gobineau, the use of such Otherizing imagery need not function in the same way as for Cunningham, but I also do not want to completely excuse Cunningham while just as certainly throwing Gobineau or Titaÿna under the bus wheels. Ultimately, we should not lose sight of the fact that merely individual reactions to experiences (or to representations of experience) tend to obscure (when we encounter them) their structural function in culture as representations—the egregious recent version of this in US culture involves how people reproduce racist tropes in dialogue with others while trying to frame the verdict in the Trayvon Martin murder case strictly or solely in terms of legal elements of the case. Fraser (2013) echoes this point similarly when she notes how the social critique of feminism got turned to individualistic ends:

In a cruel twist of fate, I fear that the movement for women’s liberation has become entangled in a dangerous liaison with neoliberal efforts to build a free-market society. That would explain how it came to pass that feminist ideas that once formed part of a radical worldview are increasingly expressed in individualist terms. Where feminists once criticised a society that promoted careerism, they now advise women to “lean in”. A movement that once prioritised social solidarity now celebrates female entrepreneurs. A perspective that once valorised “care” and interdependence now encourages individual advancement and meritocracy (¶2, from here)

This individualistic focus provides the sleight-of-hand distracting us from structural or systematic features of our culture.

In Gobineau, it seems often that a combination of fascination and disgust has seized him, whereas with Titaÿna a sense of deliberate sensationalism, perhaps even outright fabrication, seems in play, but both serve the social function (whatever their individual reactions or motives) of Otherizing Muslims as non-civilized. If Gobineau arrives at his white supremacist theory of race because of what his (culturally chauvinistic) experience showed him, Titaÿna seems more simply to dish up what she thinks will sell copy, whether she really saw it or not, but both authors readily lend themselves to a discourse that makes albanocentric culture “superior.”

Of course, neither of these authors seem especially sympathetic to the Islamic people they observe, while Cunningham—again from first-hand accounts on his own part—definitely aspires to generate sympathy in his readers. But just Titaÿna’s and Gobineau’s reports—by design or not—serve structurally to generate a distinction of superiority on the part of and in the mind of their non-Islamic readers, even in Cunningham’s attempt to generate sympathy for those suffering from mental illness, his selection of details like hall defecators, turd eaters, and women who cut off their nipples also Otherizes such people and creates a distinction (in the readers’ minds) between the readers’ sanity and the represented peoples’ insanity.

Out of this arises the tension in Cunningham’s text I referenced early—on the one hand he goes out of his way to erase the distinction between the sane and the insane: in one chapter he states bluntly that anyone might succumb to mental illness and later notes how many of the traits of the anti-social (or psychopathic) personality not only help one to get ahead (in a dog-eat-dog culture) but even may garner praise—hence the observation that his (psychopathic) acquaintance became a lawyer. But on the other hand, if the distinction between the sane and the insane seems blurred, as Cunningham wishes to assert (as part of a rhetorical strategy to humanize people otherwise dehumanized as crazy by the dominating discourse), then details like toileting in hallways, eating feces like chocolate bars, and slicing off nipples undermine that. We see, or it begins to seem—as also becomes extremely apparent in many portions of Canetti’s (1960) Crowds and Power—that utilizing this kind of pathologizing terminology like “psychopathic” or “crazy” or “anti-social personality” on people that no one in society has ever actually institutionalized serves as merely a rhetorical feint.

I’d sooner not go off on a seeming tangent about this, and have discussed it some previously (see here especially), but it seems more and more inadvisable to ignore or overlook the seemingly accelerating tendency in our culture to mentally pathologize people. Partly this occurs due to the influence of the psychopharmaceutical companies, with their endless proliferation not only of new drugs but also new diagnoses, but the more “dangerous” part of this involves how we gradually and subtly start to take these diagnoses s truths rather than representations:

Another reason for insisting upon exteriority is that I believe it needs to be made clear about cultural discourse and exchange within a culture that what is commonly circulated by it is not “truth” but representations. It hardly needs to be demonstrated again that language itself is a highly organized and encoded system, which employs many devices to express, indicate, exchange messages and information represent, and so forth. In any instance of at least written language, there is no such thing as a delivered presence, but a re-presence, or a representation. The value, efficacy, strength, apparent veracity of a written statement about [crowds or power] therefore relies very little, and cannot instrumentally depend, on [those phenomena] as such. On the contrary, the written statement is a presence to the reader by virtue of its having excluded, displaced, made supererogatory any such real thing as [crowds or power] (21, italics in original).

Ever since Fromm coined the term malignant narcissism, which he described as a “‘severe mental sickness’ representing ‘the quintessence of evil’ … and as ‘the most severe pathology and the root of the most vicious destructiveness and inhumanity’” (from here), one may now fin all sorts of off-hand, amateur “diagnostics” for spotting malignant narcissists in your life, &c. Given the way that State power often dispenses with trouble-makers by locking them away in asylums, as “crazy,” rather than taking the more extreme resort of executing them, informally or otherwise, should further give us pause for any enthusiasm we have about calling people “crazy”.

In attempting to forge a link of understanding between a non-institutionalized readership and Cunningham’s representations of institutionalized people, he has at least two basic strategies: he can (1) attempt to foster empathy by showing that those on the inside differ from those on the outside only to the extent that they suffer from a disease much like one might suffer a physical disease—because, in general, most people do not lose all sympathy for others just because they learn someone has the flu. But as soon as one says this, any number of historically terrifying diseases come to mind that precisely revoked sympathy: AIDS being the most obvious recent example, but also syphilis, leprosy, and just about any other communicable disease. And even with something like the Spanish influenza or the black Plague, whatever sympathy people might have felt toward the infected, the fear surrounding contracting the disease still kept people at more-than-arm’s length. Or, (2) a second direction he might take involves showing how people on the inside differ only in people on the outside to the extent that either the institutionalized have more severe symptoms or, what one more often hers, that those on the outside just haven’t gotten caught yet. From what I have already said, this second rhetorical move sets up all sorts of undesirable vectors in culture,, particularly in the way it lays the groundwork for State power to pathologize people it wants to do away with. Volkan (1988)[20] correctly keeps this in perspective when he points to the social or organized instrumentalization of the egoism of victimization as a factor in the origin of terrorist activity, and not simply an individual’s personal egoism of victimization; Palaver (2010)[21] identifies the State-sanctioned version of this instrumentalization when he notes:

What makes our situation today even worse is the fact that counter-terrorism, too—especially Bush’s war against terror [as also Zionist discourse against Palestine]—has been strongly influenced by the temptation of a vengeful religious lament (cf. Tönnies 46-49)[22]

All of this brings a great deal more to bear than Cunningham simply intends. Out of his own experience, he has offered a narrative of hope, and this does genuinely seem very sweet of him and kind.[23] Dr. Patch Adams, who has said he never dispensed psychotropic medications to anyone because in all of his years of practice he’d yet to meet anyone he disliked that much, and who has also said that the vast number of cases of depression speak more simply to loneliness, has their echo here as well, when Cunningham describes his own experience of depression in terms of loneliness. If, then, I take his text in these terms, the redemption he speaks of—whether some pill helped him or not—involved (1) increasing recognition for his ability to draw, especially through Internet for a, and (20 obviously, the wider social connectedness that publishing a book brings. In other words, his loneliness decreased, and his mental health improved.

I do not, like Tom Cruise, deny absolutely that clinical depression has no basis; I say, rather, that the exponentially increasing numbers of diagnoses for depression either betokens an unprecedented and catastrophic change in our human environment physically that results in these sorts of biological changes or, on the other hand, that the systematically necessary isolation and loneliness inherent to consumerism has gotten seized upon, by psychopharmaceutical companies and thus “solved “accordingly. Occam’s razor suggests the former explanation, even as very genuine cases of absolutely clinical cases of depression occur.

So I would suggest that we might read Cunningham’s text less for its overt lens in light of his own experience of loneliness, rather than depression. It remains, in this way, still a text that offers hope. The primary shift of emphasis involves where the path to that hope lies: (1) in not identifying oneself as some variety of “crazy” in the first place, and (2) by locating the cure for one’s condition not in a psychotropic medication. This doesn’t mean those legitimately clinical cases must not get addressed in a  clinical way, but only a very few of us percentagewise truly warrant a clinical designation. We see this nowhere more obviously than in the sloppy way we pretend that psychopaths abound in legions in our lives—who, truly, in your life warrants likening to John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, or Jeffrey Dahmer?

Especially since precisely this kind of excessive designation as criminal and crazy must surely play a role as well in the mass incarceration in the United States that has numerically and per capita resulted in the highest prison population in the world.


[1] Cunningham, D. (2011). Psychiatric tales: eleven graphic stories about mental illness. 1st U.S. ed. New York: Bloomsbury.

[2] Notwithstanding and not ignoring that Tennessee Williams meant that famous line as funny, by the way.

[3] Volkan, VD (1988). The need to have enemies and allies: from clinical practice to international relationships. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, Inc.

[4] Silk, S., an Goldman, B. (2013, 7 April). How not to say the wrong thing. LA Times [online] Accessed 3 October 2013 from here.

[5] For completeness, the deleted material here included:

When you are done you have a Kvetching Order. One of Susan’s patients found it useful to tape it to her refrigerator. ¶ Here are the rules. The person in the center ring can say anything she wants to anyone, anywhere. She can kvetch and complain and whine and moan and curse the heavens and say, “Life is unfair” and “Why me?” That’s the one payoff for being in the center ring.

Additional material that follows from this passage includes the further commands:

When you are talking to a person in a ring smaller than yours, someone closer to the center of the crisis, the goal is to help. Listening is often more helpful than talking. But if you’re going to open your mouth, ask yourself if what you are about to say is likely to provide comfort and support. If it isn’t, don’t say it. Don’t, for example, give advice. People who are suffering from trauma don’t need advice. They need comfort and support. So say, “I’m sorry” or “This must really be hard for you” or “Can I bring you a pot roast?” Don’t say, “You should hear what happened to me” or “Here’s what I would do if I were you.” And don’t say, “This is really bringing me down.” ¶ If you want to scream or cry or complain, if you want to tell someone how shocked you are or how icky you feel, or whine about how it reminds you of all the terrible things that have happened to you lately, that’s fine. It’s a perfectly normal response. Just do it to someone in a bigger ring.

[6] Schiller, F. (1966). Two essays by Friedrich von Schiller: Naïve & Sentimental Poetry, and On the Sublime (trans., ed. JA Elias). New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co.

[7] Kesey, K. (2003). One flew over the cuckoo’s nest. New York: Penguin Books.

[8] Warner Home Video (Firm)., Zaentz, S., Douglas, M., Forman, M., Goldman, B., Hauben, L., Nicholson, J., Fletcher, L., Redfield, W., Crothers, S. M., DeVito, D., Lloyd, C., Sampson, W., Dourif, B., Kesey, K., & Fantasy Films (Firm). (2002). One flew over the cuckoo’s nest. Special ed., Widescreen. Burbank, Calif.: Warner Home Video.

[9] A problem imputed to the political Left notes that its recurrent appeal to facts makes a weak or unconvincing argument by comparison to the political Right’s appeal to values. I recently read about a study where they showed how framing even a math question in politically unpalatable terms could induce people to make basic errors of calculation.

[10] Canetti, E. (1981). Crowds and Power (trans. Carol Stewart), 6th printing. New York: NY: Noonday Press

[11] Whether this quotation is exact or not I am in no position this time to confirm; the inaccuracy of previous quotations, particularly from the sources on aboriginal culture, do not give cause to believe the quotations are intact here.

[12] In the bibliography, Canetti records that Gobineau’s Religions et philosophies dans l’Asie central was published in 1865, but in the notes to the chapter only alludes to it being the new edition, 1957. As a question of propriety, and not assuming that later research must always be better, there is, nevertheless, likely something of a difference between material writing in the mid-19th century compared to the mid-20th.

[13] No, let’s not be trite. All representations of the Other are representations, of course, but there are representations and there are representations. Whatever problems Spencer and Gillen (1904), as white Australian males at the turn of the 20th century writing about the native inhabitants of Australia, those problems are at the very least present in Gobineau and Titaÿna along with several others that are of a more problematic nature. If the perils of representation propose an infinite regress finally, then at least the aspiration of the attempt is still representation rather misrepresentation, whether with malice aforethought (as is likely the case with Gobineau) or mere spectacle and venality (as is likely the case with Titaÿna).

[14] Chez les mangeurs d’homme (Nouvelles-Hébrides) (1931), Paris: Éditions Duchartre, collection “Images” (photographies par A.-P. Antoine et R. Lugeon).

[15] Une femme chez les chasseurs de têtes (Bornéo et Célèbes) (1934), Paris: Éditions de la nouvelle revue critique, collection “La Vie d’Aujourd’hui”; reissued and expanded as Une femme chez les chasseurs de têtes et autres reportages (1985), Paris: Union Générale d’Éditions – 10/18, collection “Grands Reporters” No. 1735 (préface par Francis Lacassin), (ISBN 978-2081254251).

[16] Ombres d’hommes. Version Française de Titaÿna des révélations de Jim Tully sur les prisons américaines (1931), Paris: Louis Querelle, collection de la revue “Jazz”.

[17] La Caravane des morts (1930), Paris: Éditions des Portiques.

[18] Félice, P (1947). Foules en délire, extases collectives: essai sur quelques formes inférieures de la mystique, Paris: Albin Michel.

[19] Said, E. W. (1979). Orientalism. 1st Vintage Books ed. New York: Vintage Books.

[20] Volkan, VD (1988). The need to have enemies and allies: from clinical practice to international relationships. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, Inc.

[21] Palaver, W. (2010): The ambiguous cachet of victimhood: Elias Canetti’s “religions of lament” and Abrahamic monotheism, Forum Bosnae, 49: 19–31 (available here).

[22] Tönnies, S. (2002). Cosmopolis now: auf dem Weg zum Weltstaat. Hamburg: Europäische Verlagsanstalt.

[23] I will not even say well-intentioned, because that phrase now seems so often to have a stink of pejorative about it.


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