WEIRDLAND: Schizophrenic Process: World War II, Mr. Robot, The Heart Goes Last, Tillflyktens Hus

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Schizophrenic Process: World War II, Mr. Robot, The Heart Goes Last, Tillflyktens Hus

Rami Malek with his "Mr. Robot" co-star Portia Doubleday at PEOPLE's 'Ones To Watch' Event on September 16, 2015 in West Hollywood

Portia Doubleday as the Surrogate Date Isabella in Her (2013) directed by Spike Jonze

Their first night in Consilience, Stan watches uneasily as Charmaine goes into raptures over the dishwasher, “cooing over as if it’s a kitten”. But he adjusts quickly, rock music forgotten as Doris Day sings “Paper Doll” over the headphones. When The Heart Goes Last opens, Stan, is reeling. Nevertheless, he keeps his wits as life in Consilience goes haywire, largely by recalling his love for Charmaine. Despite her desperate longing for safety and stability, for immaculate sheets and scented fabric softener, she falls into a crazed affair with the alternate Max. The novel’s characters are drawn in shades of gray; only Ed is a wholly nasty piece of work, his income strategies nastier. He’s got a lucrative line in Possibilibots, high-end, custom made robotic sex dolls. Charmaine may love Stan, but like so many Atwood heroines before her, survival predominates. True love ultimately endures in The Heart Goes Last, but so do the real terrors present in Atwood novels, all too often manifesting in ours. Source:

Rami Malek as Merriell 'Snafu' Shelton in The Pacific (2010). If Band of Brothers’ soldiers were fighting the last kind of war (World War II), in many ways The Pacific’s are going to fight the next one. They land on their first beach in a flotilla of armored ships, and we, like them, are dreading the kind of D-Day firefight we saw in Band of Brothers, and before that in Saving Private Ryan. Instead of tank columns and shelled European cities, they find oppressive heat, disease and an enemy using guerilla tactics, suicide missions and sometimes civilians. There are poisoned wells and bugs in the rice (“Think of it as meat”). It’s part Vietnam, part Iraq, part horror movie. Source:

Regarding the incidence of new cases of schizophrenia, no published studies were apparently carried out in Germany prior to World War II. The first postwar study was done in Mannheim in 1965, 20 years after the last patients had been sterilized or killed. Heinz Häfner and Helga Reimann at the University of Heidelberg identified all new cases of schizophrenia reported during the year among the city's 330 000 inhabitants. They reported an incidence rate of 53.6 per 100 000, which the authors noted was “more than twice as high as the mean of 21.8 per 100 000 calculated in 1965 by Dunham from different studies and two to three times as high as the rates of 23.8 or 15.8 respectively, … for the U.S.A. and England and Wales in 1969.” The German rate, they added, was comparable to the “rate of 52 per 100 000 given by Walsh for Dublin in 1969.” The sterilization and murder of hundreds of thousands of patients with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders in Nazi Germany between 1934 and 1945 was the greatest criminal act in the history of psychiatry, based upon a mistaken belief that schizophrenia was a simple Mendelian inherited disease. Current research suggests that the cause of schizophrenia involves dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of genes and includes common variants such as single nucleotide polymorphisms. The cause of the high schizophrenia incidence rates in postwar Germany is thus not apparent and is an appropriate subject for additional research. Source:

Elliot is one of the more complex characters to grace primetime during this golden age. He views himself as a kind of vigilante superhero, yet his actions – regardless of their intent – often cause extreme distress for others. He wants to be in control, yet he is addicted to morphine and Suboxone. And he suffers from various mental illnesses, rendering him unreliable to both the audience and himself.

-Popular Science: There have been studies that link people will mental illnesses to alcohol or drug abuse. Were you cognizant of this when you were creating Elliot?

-Sam Esmail: Yes, absolutely. Mental illness is such a sensitive topic in general, but they tend to try and manage their emotional distress through either self medication, closing people off, or creating a persona to sort of hide it. I found, because I actually suffered from social anxiety as well as compulsive disorder, that the biggest thing is hiding it. I did have friends who have suffered from schizophrenia and mild dissociative identity disorder, as well as more extreme cases of social anxiety disorder. Source:


As early as in her debut children’s book, De vita björnarna, (1969; The White Bears), Åsa Nelvin (1951–1981) depicts the conflict between the self and the world that will underpin her entire body of works. ‘N’ wants to be a third thing, neither man nor woman, but a ‘She/I’ or “the princess without blood or weakness” who meets the world as a new person. This gender-transgressing person can only gain new content if we imagine something that does not exist yet. To get there, ‘N’ must undergo a painful transformation, during which her personality traits and gender characteristics are shed and destroyed.

The road to the loss of identity in Tillflyktens Hus is a passage through hell, and in the blurb, the author calls it a schizophrenic process. When ‘N’ has hatefully settled with the traditional female roles, there remains a step into the darkest corners of the self. ‘N’ escapes to a boarded-up house that takes on several meanings: the house is the self, it is the body, and it can also be a hospital for the mentally ill. By the end of the book, ‘N’ decides to survive. What may be happening is an opening towards something unknown, which might be the utopian potential of a dissolved identity: the third gender, or the new human. The motto of the book is Simone de Beauvoir’s “Real sexual maturity only comes to the woman who accepts being flesh for better for worse.” But the novel transcends the motto, and must be read ironically. Source:

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