Before you hit the ground there’s a moment of bliss

I’ve just found this amazing bluesy hip hop track by George Watsky and the GetBand about having an epileptic seizure in front of a girl you’re trying to impress.

As well as being an astute observation of the experience of seizure it’s defiant, fast and funny and Watsky just rolls through the rhymes.

You don’t remember how the hell you ended up indoors
You don’t remember whether you were wetting your gym shorts
in front of Amanda, the girl you’re after
who already thought you were a fucking disaster
It’s not like a last will, it’s making me laugh
unless you get your next one while you’re taking a bath
I’m seizing the mic fast at middle school dances
I’m done being seized and I’m seizing my chances

Watsky notes on the video page that the track recounts the experience that led to him being diagnosed with juvenile epilepsy in 7th grade.

By the way, I found the video on the fantastic Art of Epilepsy blog that keeps track of epilepsy in music videos, film art and literature.

Link to video for Seizure Boy on YouTube.
Link to The Art of Epilepsy blog.

Online teen drama

The New Yorker nicely summarises a recent study on how teenage girls make sense of online bullying and harassment in a way that is more acceptable to their peer group.

The article is on the tragic story of a gay teen who committed suicide after being surreptitiously filmed with a lover, captured through a webcam by his room mate.

It’s well worth reading in full and during the piece it makes the point, based on a recent study by two sociologists, that many teens do not see online harassment in the same way as adults, because it doesn’t help them manage the situation within their social circle.

A recent paper by two scholars of new media—Alice Marwick, of Harvard, and Danah Boyd, of N.Y.U.—describes the tendency of teen-age girls to categorize even quite aggressive behavior as mere “drama,” in the same category as online gossip and jokes. Policy-makers and television anchors talk of “bullies” and the “bullied,” but teen-agers tend not to, in part because “teens gain little by identifying as either,” the scholars explain. “Social stigmas prevent teens from recognizing that they are weak, and few people are willing to admit that they purposefully hurt others. . . . ‘Drama’ also implies something not to be taken seriously, to be risen above, while the adult-defined ‘bullying’ connotes childishness or immaturity to teenagers.”

In the academic article the researchers note that “Understanding how “drama” operates is necessary to recognize teens’ own defenses against the realities of aggression, gossip, and bullying in networked publics. Most teens do not recognize themselves in the “bullying” rhetoric used by parents, teen advocates, and mental health professionals.”

An important point when we’re trying to communicate with teens on how to stay safe and sane online.

Link to New Yorker piece ‘The Story of a Suicide’.
Link to study on online teen ‘drama’.

Inside Broadmoor

Broadmoor Hospital is one of the highest security psychiatric hospitals in the UK and it has made a series of videos that describe what goes on behind their very high walls.

Broadmoor is possibly one of the most famous or infamous hospitals in Britain – largely due to being featured in outraged media stories about ‘sick killers’.

Case in point – a typical article from the pun-obsessed UK tabloid The Sun: “Resident Wii-vil: Serial killers including the Yorkshire Ripper are enjoying £5,000 of Nintendo Wii gaming at taxpayers’ expense”).

What most of the papers miss (or ignore) is that Broadmoor is not a prison but a hospital that treats patients with severe mental disorders who became dangerous when ill.

This means it often receives patients from court cases where people with mental illness are tried for murder or violence. The verdict may be the equivalent of ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’ with the patient remitted to hospital, or ‘guilty’ (meaning that the person was mentally competent when they committed the crime) with high security hospital treatment still required because mental illness increases the chance of violence.

Due to popular stereotypes and, it has to be said, its somewhat Gothic architecture (it was founded in 1863), it lives with a sort of Arkham Asylum image that is a long way from its actual work.

The videos do a great job of communicating the reality of Broadmoor Hospital and the practice of forensic mental health.

Sometimes striking, sometimes mundane and consistently interesting.

Link to a video tour of Broadmoor Hospital (via @DrPetra).

Dressing psychologists as wizards in court

From we hear that in 1995, New Mexico state senator Duncan Scott introduced a legislative ammendment providing that

When a psychologist or psychiatrist testifies during a defendant’s competency hearing, the psychologist or psychiatrist shall wear a cone-shaped hat that is not less than two feet tall. The surface of the hat shall be imprinted with stars and lightning bolts. Additionally, a psychologist or psychiatrist shall be required to don a white beard that is not less than 18 inches in length, and shall punctuate crucial elements of his testimony by stabbing the air with a wand. Whenever a psychologist or psychiatrist provides expert testimony regarding a defendant’s competency, the bailiff shall contemporaneously dim the courtroom lights and administer two strikes to a Chinese gong…

The amendment, which was intended satirically, was passed unanimously but removed removed from the bill before it became law.

Link: Original post at Overlawyered
Thanks Pamela for the tip!