Your "Mental Health Symposium" [October 3-9] made a great impression on me, although I doubt it was the one the participants wished to make:
1) The article was accompanied by pictures of individuals whom I immediately assumed were patients with mental dis orders. However, the captions identified them as the mental-health professionals participating in the forum.
2) In a case study that was discussed, one of the "symptoms" of a mentally disturbed woman was the fact that she was living in a camper! I now realize that my current desire to buy a camper is symptomatic of a deep underlying disorder. And to think I believed that I merely wanted to live in the mountains awhile and breathe the fresh air.
3) A participant regards favorably the practice in China of regular door-to-door searches by the authorities for the mentally ill, who are then dragged off for mandatory treatment. That practice must result in some exquisite Or wellian exchanges, e.g., "No! Don't take me - take my wife! She's the crazy one!"
I have always believed that more harm is done by white-collar stiffs with the "moral authority" behind them than by all the gangbangers in the world. Maybe that camper lady had the right idea. It might behoove all of us to have wheels under our feet when the authorities come knocking.
-S. MooreCulver City
Your roundtable discussion on "mental illness" illuminated the fact that the so-called "ex perts" are the real danger to so ci ety. The son of one of your panelists had a mental breakdown at the age of 18. Of course, it would never occur to her that this might be the product of her own poor parenting skills rather than a "chemical imbalance" in the brain. In stead, she regrets not feeding him more drugs.
She has the support of her esteemed colleague: "If I had an 18-year-old son who was experiencing psychosis for the first time, I would get meds into his bloodstream for a year no matter what. I would sprinkle it on his Post Toasties. I would tie him up in a room . . ." Sound, professional advice!
Who the hell are these kooks that you call "some of the county's most impassioned voices"? I wouldn't let my child near any of them, and I pity their children. Psychiatry kills!
-Rainer DuveSilver Lake
AN ASSAULT ON TRADITIONAL VALUES
On the strength of David Chute's "Special Events" Calendar section review [October 30-November 5], I went to see the Japanese film Wife To Be Sacrificed, and I was utterly appalled. The story concerns a prim Japanese woman who is kidnapped by her fugitive ex-husband and tortured into sexual submission. The camera lingers over scenes of the wife's suffering and abject humiliation. By the end of the film, the wife learns to enjoy her own captivity and debasement. The not-too-subtle message of the film is that all women are latent masochists, and they only need the right man to teach this to them, however unwilling they may be.
Wife To Be Sacrificed is a very dehumanizing film. It not only appears to condone rape, torture, sexual humiliation and pedophilia, but actually to glorify them. Yet Mr. Chute's only comments on these degrading practices is that they are "fetishes embedded in the [Japanese] culture."
Perhaps Mr. Chute sees redeeming elements in Wife To Be Sacrificed that rescue the film's more problematic aspects. If so, I would be genuinely interested to know what they are. But I can't understand why the film's dehumanizing treatment of women and children didn't even register as a blip on his critical radar.
-Robert PayneStudio City
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Re: "Sorry Site" [October 16-22]. I'm writing to compliment Stuart Timmons on the excellent coverage of the Jefferson Middle School in South-Central Los Angeles. The L.A. Weekly has had the foresight to cover the story while other papers have decided, for whatever reasons, not to. Our organization has worked diligently for the past two years to ensure the Los Angeles Unified School District be held accountable for building a toxic site and, secondly, that it make sure the school is now safe for children to occupy. On behalf of our community - and, most important, the children - we applaud the Weekly and hope you will continue to cover this ever-unfolding saga.
-Juanita TateExecutive Director-Melodie DoveEnvironmental OrganizerConcerned Citizens of South Central Los Angeles