More Funding for the Will to Live: Robert Gebbia and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
|by Eleanor Lane|
File under: Fake Labor 10 May 2013 18:50 EDT
The operant mentality in our current culture is that of a hypochondriac, constantly diagnosing him or herself with a thousand different conditions. These diseases all require a specific plan of treatment, typically very expensive and involving powerful government and corporate interests.
Notice the paranoid concern infesting every sector of our lives: subsidized insurance companies, regulated medical professionals, and massive police forces are all necessary to execute our one commandment, that nothing bad ever happen. Of course, all of these endeavors are inevitably failures, at which point the hypochondriac starts searching for new sources of illness and the sociopath, in turn, is happy to sell him all sorts of self-serving cures.
A very clear and obvious example — decades after the American public started feeding on a routine diet of media-hyped murders, and decided now was the time to eliminate ALL CRIME from human life forever, we're left with basically unchanged rates of wrongdoing, yet skyrocketing rates of incarceration:
Clearly, in our obsessive quest to root out criminals (who seem to inhabit about half of all air time on American television), the cure's been worse than the original problem. God help us when the inevitable budget cuts in coming years demand the closing of prisons, and people who've been locked away on trumped up charges (drugs) and have nothing productive to contribute to a collapsing economy are let back out in public. Of course, then people really will have a problem, and calls for martial law, already popular in the comments on many crime stories, will abound, and the controllers that created the problem will be all to happy to oblige.
But interestingly, even this crime problem is being overshadowed by a rise in suicide rates. Even as of 2009, suicide far outpaced homicide as a leading cause of death, and rates have only been rising.
If not so grim, this would almost be a funny absurdist reality for the way it tricks our obsessive hypochondriac mentality. If people feel like they've got nothing to lose, how are we going to motivate them to show up to work in the morning like normal? How in the world are we going to come together as a nation and ensure that people don't kill themselves? Play reruns of Bishop Fulton Sheen's "Live Is Worth Living"?
No, not quite. Instead, we're going to trot out a really sleazy-looking professional not-for-profit director on CNN Opinion and have him use the human misery around us as a selling point to shake down more funding for mental health services. Here he is, Robert Gebbia, executive director of the eerie-sounding American Foundation For Suicide Prevention, the man whose very appearance just fills one with warm life affirmations:
Just who is this man who can talk us all down from our societal ledge of desperation? Is he a visionary, a prophet who crafts sublime meaning from all the darkness? Nope, he's got the credentials of a salesman as well as the appearance. From the AFSP's website:
So let's be clear here — he's a businessman that has no special insight into how to help the suicidal, other than as a part of the generic not-for-profit program, which treats all complex human emotions as causes to be won through slick marketing. The only comment concerning this organization on Guidestar.org, a site that provides information about not-for-profits, would seem to confirm this:
Just one account, but Mr. Gebbia's comments on the middle-aged suicide crisis on CNN don't seem to dissuade one of this opinion. It seems to be primarily written as a fundraising tool, trumpeting the need for new 'research':
Well that covers about everybody, doesn't it! It sounds almost like a parody. We're all sick and only our voodoo god Non-Profit Research can figure out what ails us. It has nothing to do with the qualitative condition of contemporary life. Yet, he never mentions any actual results this research has ever produced, and with good reason. The entire mental health apparatus in Fakenation is a scam that creates far more problems than it solves, as in the case of all the drugged-up school shooters who DID receive treatment for their 'mental illnesses'. But the failure is just more reason for more funding, right?
There is a cheaper way forth: set up a state of surveillance of everybody by everybody, wherein 'expressions of pessimism' and 'sleeping problems' should prompt increased scrutiny, and maybe even grounds for gun confiscation:
Failing that, shovel more money in our direction! After all, Mr. Gebbia needs to keep funding his salary in excess of $200,000. You don't think he got those Harvard credentials to live like Mother Theresa, do you? Send in those checks. We promise, we're going to crack the code of all those mysterious 'diseases' that make people lose their minds!
Quite amusingly, people who've self-identified themselves as the targets of this concern were having none of it in the popular comments:
So much for trying to force people to enjoy living with activist editorials. The entire premise is so absurd, and it shows a real reduction of mental health in the attempt to show concern for it. The choice to live or die is one so incredibly personal that 'suicide prevention' is a service that's never targeted at people who could actually use it — if they're serious, they aren't actually going to confide in somebody who may stop them, least of all a stranger from some obnoxious not-for-profit. The myopic focus on 'suicide', as if it were an isolated problem, shows a superficial cheapness of regard for those most in need of genuine attention. It says, "We don't really care about how you're feeling unless you decide to do something that makes us feel uncomfortable and guilty."
Hopefully, this way of thinking is killing itself with such a forthrightly manipulative exposition of its exploitative motives. Let's get back to living, people. It is a poor doctor who revels in the number of his patients.
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