June 12th, 2008
I thought the furor over the Weston name change had died down a little, but evidently not. There’s a protest demonstration planned at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum this weekend. Adding fuel to the fire perhaps is a new t-shirt being sold by the Jordans. The shirt (pictured above) says, “I went nuts at…” on the front, and “Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum” on the back. The “I went nuts at…” part is undeniably crass. Depending on your sense of humor and feelings about proper terminology, you might chuckle or you might be incensed. But the list of reasons for admission is the really funny part and adds something to what appears to be a simple-minded joke at first.
Okay, it’s not funny as in I’m laughing myself sick, but it definitely made me smirk and think a little. Some of the reasons are so ridiculous: dissolute habits, bad company, laziness, egotism, political excitement, deranged masturbation… Who hasn’t experienced these things?
Okay, hopefully not that last one. I was just kidding about that. (No, I swear! Really!)
All joking aside, there were a lot of such seemingly absurd reasons for being admitted to an asylum back in the early days. By including them, the shirt provokes you to think about what mental illness is, what it used to be, and maybe what it will be in the future. It shows how much things have changed and pokes fun at the fact that maybe we’re all a little “unbalanced” depending on how the term is defined.
It seems like the Jordans are going to continue walking the line between political correctness and incorrectness (and often lose sight of the line altogether:). Something good that’s coming out of it is bringing to light a topic that many people don’t think about much, if at all. It’s also obviously raising awareness of the Jordan’s efforts to save the Kirkbride building.