“A Thai mother has been accused of killing, cooking and eating her sons because she thought they were pigs, the Bangkok Post reports. Hallucinations may have played a role in the tragic crime.”
No, Borowitz did not write the above quotation – it’s word for word from the Huffington Post of August 22, 2012. There’s more to the story but I don’t think you’d want more details. The mother’s behavior was such that you would surely agree that hallucinations had to have played a role.
Speaking of which, it occurs to me that hallucinations might explain some American politics. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines hallucinations as “something (such as an image, a sound, or a smell) that seems real but does not really exist and that is usually caused by mental illness or the effect of a drug.”
I think mental illness might be rampant in the GOP (God’s Own Party). The positions of Republican Presidential, Senatorial and House candidates seem real to them but are not supported by reality. They are having hallucinations.
Consider just a few examples:
* The Republican nominee for Senate in Missouri, Todd Akin, believes in “legitimate rape.” He believes the female body can, in some mysterious manner, repel the seed of a rapist. It’s unlikely any medical doctor (except John Willke) would support this belief. Mr. Akin has two related hallucinations, including the impression that abortion raises the risk of breast cancer and is linked to mental health problems. (Paradoxically, his rape idea suggests there may be a link between fanatical opposition to abortion and such problems.)
* Most Republicans publicly profess belief in “Intelligent Design” and a 6,000 year-old universe, which has no scientific basis, and reject the theory of evolution and a 15 billion year-old universe, which does.
* Just as Republicans are starting to arrive in Florida, the National Weather Service has forecast “Tropical Depression Nine” could strengthen into a hurricane and smite Tampa. What will Republicans say about that? After all, prominent Party members have been known to hallucinate about specific causes of hurricanes and other disasters, always with reference to divine displeasure. For instance, during her recent run for president, Minnesota Republican Representative Michele Bachmann said an East Coast earthquake and Hurricane Irene were attempts by God “to get the attention of the politicians.” This was part of a Republican tendency to see the work of an angry Deity inflicting woe on those who support policies or lifestyles they oppose. Other Republican hallucinators of record are broadcaster Glenn Beck (the Japanese earthquake and tsunami), Pat Robertson (the Haitian earthquake), “End Times” televangelist John Hagee (Katrina) and of course the late Jerry Falwell (Sept. 11 being God’s wrath on feminists and the ACLU).
* Finally, there’s the alcohol-induced frolic involving 30 Republican lawmakers in the Sea of Galilee while in Israel on a “fact-finding” mission. One of the celebrants, Kansas Representative Kevin Yoder, hallucinated that he could go bare naked in a sea of holy water without media types taking note. Now that’s really crazy.
Personally, I have no problem with swimming in the buff. I do it every chance I get, which regrettably is not often. However, I would not do so after consuming alcohol (let alone if inebriated). Nor would I swim naked in a body of water that locals and Republicans believe Jesus walked on (while calming a hurricane, converting water into wine and performing that business with loaves and fishes). In deference to my hosts, I’d wear a Speedo.
If I were asked a (ridiculous) hypothetical question to identify who among the above noted hallucinators I would vote for if I absolutely had to vote for one of them, I’d go for the Thai mother who murdered, cooked and ate her children. Why? Because some hallucinations are sad and tragic, and others are grotesque and reprehensible. I have sympathy and compassion for the former but only contempt for the latter.