5.14.2006

The Three Faces of Homsar

I was doing some recreational reading lately in my old high school textbooks, and picked up my high school psychology book to look at the chapter on mental disorders, mostly dissociative stuff like dissociative identity disorder (a.k.a. multiple personality disorder), schizophrenia, psychogenic fugue, amnesia, and other stuff. I was reading the chapter on schizophrenia and it was interesting, but what was more interesting was the chapter on DID (dissociative identity disorder), and decided to do some additional research on the world's best encyclopedia.

(I must explain here the phenomenon that one encounters when reading anything at Wikipedia. I find their discussions to be very thorough, but to have many, many other terms that I am unfamiliar with or interested in that have links to their pages. The right-click, “open in new window” function leads me to having eight or ten windows open after reading one entry, and each of those spawns a few of its own peripheral readings. Check out the passage here about schizophrenia. If you were looking at this article, in the first paragraph, you would notice links to: diagnosis, mental disorder, perception, reality, delusions, hallucinations, Cognition, behavior, and Eugen Bleuler. These are not especially exciting, but are of mention simply because of the abundance of extra stuff, and when I see really super medical terms dealing with these things, I want to read, like, all of them. Hence, the time spent reading all sorts of things on things I had no intention to look up at the outset… thus leading us to conclude that I’m a geek.)

Anyway, I looked up dissociative identity, which lead me toward dissociation, and then all sorts of things like psychosis, delirium, dementia (yes, dementia), psychopathy, insanity, and also to a phrase something to the effect of “thought disorganization” leading people to speak, write, think, or act in jumbled, disconnected ways, often associated with schizophrenia, and a red flag that there IS a serious mental issue.

Aside from the very serious and uncomical aspects of that, the definition of thought disorganization as related to speech is called Word Salad, and they explain it as just that. If you’re not going to go read it, I’ll mention here one of the examples they use: (this comes from Wikipedia.org; I’m not plaigarizing): “In some cases word salad can be a sign of asymptomatic schizophrenia; e.g. the question "Why do people believe in God?" elicits a response like "Because he makes a twirl in life, my box is broken help me blue elephant. Isn't lettuce brave? I like electrons, hello."”

Why am I saying this, you might ask? Well, because ths psycho-medical stuff is fascinating, but also because Wikipedia’s “Pop Culture,” section of the word salad page says this: “The character Homsar in the animated internet cartoon series Homestar Runner is known for speaking in word salads, as are …” I dunno was at GoodSoup yesterday and did his very best HomSar impression, just without the Word Salad, but it’s always encouraging to know that a home-based American internet cartoon character is a solid diagnosis for a serious mental condition.

 

2 comments:

StrongSad said...

I just have to post under that name, Polyglot (aka StrongBad), in conjunction to Homestar. The whole time I was wondering where that was going, although I was reading the links. According to the links, a more people are schizophrenic than are probably diagnosed. Don't think I'm gonna post under that name again...ever. I'm going back to Anonymous after this. Oh and I did copy+paste the Williams and they are accompaning James Joyce and me to Florida, just so ya know. I'm going to give them some time because I actually had a thought about them (a happy one thank you very much), but I don't know if it'll fit.

The Polyglot said...

well, be sure to document it and let me know. I'm interested in anyone's possible thoughts. I haven't posted the last bit yet: there's probably two more posts, about a page each, that I still have, but i'd be interested to see what anyone has from any point along the thing.