Brock Turner, Oscar Pistorius: how white privilege works.

I sometimes examine white privilege in my crim justice writings, and I'm doing so in a memoir I'm currently working on.  What's interesting about Brock Turner, Oscar Pistorius is that they may've been given light sentences because they were white and outstanding athletes. They are athletes in cultures (America and South Africa) where athleticism is prized. In such cultures super athletes, for sure, are treated leniently by their justice systems because of it. I've written about Pistorius … [Read more...]

Facial symmetry & why some clowns scare us.

  Stephen King's It— a 1000 page epic of a shape-shifting evil from beyond time— features a clown named Pennywise. The clown doesn't This dancing clown grins through all the horror and gore in It and exudes malevolent wit. While King’s villains are often frightening, Pennywise's wit approaches camp without really being funny.Zach Handlen describes It as "set largely in a single small town in Maine. [W] hile it spans decades, the main action takes place in two distinct time periods.—1958, which … [Read more...]

Lookism’s #1 pageant to help cleft lip kids.

"Lookism" can surprise you. The current Miss Universe—and fellow "lookers" models Christie Brinkley and Kristen Taekman— are "ambassadors" for the cleft charity Smile Train. (Singer Jessica Simpson and models Vanessa Lachey and Molly Sims likewise beat the drum for Operation Smile).My favorite "looker" supporting clefts is Roma Downey, an Irish actress known for her nine seasons as Monica, the tender-hearted angel on the TV show Touched by an Angel.  Ms. Downey is more than just a looker, she's … [Read more...]

“Heroes and villains” & Brian Wilson’s psychological disorders.

 The overall theme of this website is Heroes, Villains and Fools, tho admittedly I concentrate on the heroics of kids (and their helpers) who overcome bullying and facial differences stemming from, say, a cleft lip and palate. So, it's no wonder that I've been intrigued by the Beach Boys' song "Heroes and villains" over the years. Turns out it's got a complex history, not unlike that of Brian Wilson whose battle against mental illness was told in the biopic "Love & Mercy" which hit theaters … [Read more...]

Robin Williams, bipolar disorder?——II

I've studied depression and its variants all my life—as a psychology major, as a med student, and as an observer of those around me. I've chosen to weigh in on the debate over Robin Williams for that reason, and also because depression is an important theme in my memoir, Cleft Heart. Before delving further  into the Williams case,  I'll address some of feedback I've received regarding my assertion that Williams suffered from bipolar disorder. And since there have been new revelations about … [Read more...]

Robin Williams bipolar disorder?

I'm continuing my examination of Robin Williams mental state for two reasons. First, I admired his wide ranging talent and have had nothing but good feelings for him over the decades. Second, I've spent much of my life thinking about depression and related diseases since people close to me have suffered from such afflictions. I've chronicled some of this in Cleft Heart: Chasing Normal.  Funnyman-in-Chief had bipolar disorder?  Our nation has lost its Funnyman-in-Chief, and this is doubly … [Read more...]

Oscar Pistorius——not mentally disabled, but a psychopath?

No mental disability when fired shots. It's been a month since various media shouted the news that Oscar Pistorius didn't have a mental disability when he killed his girlfriend. So technically, he has only one disability, his amputated legs. However, it's been over a year (Feb 2013) when I speculated that Pistorius might be a psychopath along the lines of fallen and disgraced sports heroes like Lance Armstrong and O.J. Simpson. I'd have to say the "jury is still out" regarding whether … [Read more...]