It Hurts Like Crazy

In movies, in advertising, even in political rhetoric, the offhanded portrayals of the mentally ill add to the pain

DC Comics Superman editor Mike Carlin, hoping to boost newsstand sales, declares that "an escapee from a cosmic lunatic asylum" named Doomsday will murder the Man of Steel. The state of Pennsylvania touts itself as a place for "multiple personalities" to suggest it has much to offer tourists. A character on Roseanne argues that only "murderers, psychos and schizos" can beat a lie-detector test. On election eve, Ross Perot tells a cheering crowd, "We're all crazy again now! We got buses lined up outside to take you back to the insane asylum."

At a time of growing sensitivity to racist and...

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