Mental illness is goth clean fun!

I heard an ad for this place on the radio driving to work today and started thinking about how odd it is that a nightclub on the Las Vegas Strip seems to be glamorizing mental illness. Live from Las Vegas, it’s Skizofrenia, the Nightclub:

check your sanity at the door
check your sanity at the door

Skizofrenia features “dark alternative music” every Friday at the Harmon Theater. I guess because it’s an alternative/industrial/goth night thing, the place is supposed to be “dark.” Well, schizophrenia’s a pretty serious medical condition that doesn’t sound like a fun night out to me. Here are some of the early symptoms of schizophrenia from

–A blank, vacant facial expression. An inability to smile or express emotion through the face is so characteristic of the disease that it was given the name of affective flattening or a blunt affect.
–Staring, while in deep thought, with infrequent blinking.
–Clumsy, inexact motor skills
–Involuntary movements of the tongue or mouth (facial dyskinesias). Grimacing at the corners of the mouth with the facial muscles, or odd movements with the tongue.
–Parkinsonian type symptoms- rigidity, tremor, jerking arm movements, or involuntary movements of the limbs
–Appearing desireless- seeking nothing, wanting nothing
–Suicidal thoughts or suicidal ideation
–Rapidly changing mood- from happy to sad to angry for no apparent reason (called labile mood)
–Increased withdrawal, spending most of the days alone.
–Becoming lost in thoughts and not wanting to be disturbed with human contact
–Neglect in self-care- i.e. hygiene, clothing, or appearance
–Replaying or rehearsing conversations out loud- i.e. talking to yourself (very common sign)
–Overpowering, intense feeling that people are talking about you, looking at you
–Overpowering, intense feeling you are being watched, followed, and spied on (tracking devices, implants, hidden cameras)
–Thinking that someone is trying to poison your food
The First Signs of Schizophrenia

All the ingredients for a great night out on the town, huh? Why not just call the club “Leukemia” or “Emphysema” or some other debilitating disease? It’s nice to know that a life-threatening mental disease is considered “cool.”

It’s not like I’m coming at this as some kind of joyless Puritan or member of the PC brigade. They’ve got the right to call their club whatever they want to. But I also have the right to tell people how idiotic it is. Do they know exactly what schizophrenia is, outside of “something that is bad?” Like building a casino in the shape of a tomb, it’s one of those things that probably seems like a really neat idea to someone who doesn’t know much about the subject, but is, in fact, dumb.

I wonder if they have “Facial dyskinesias Fridays–display your involuntary muscle spasms and drink for half-price until 2!” If they’re raising awareness of mental illness that’s one thing, but assuming that it’s all about latex nurses and straitjackets doesn’t do anyone any good.

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