I’m not a huge fan of FaceBook, although I do still use it to keep in touch with people, and I’ve used it quite a lot in the past. In particular, it made a great platform for a very interesting art project on the nature of identity. No doubt some of you are more than a little familiar with Adelie High.
Anyway, some of the things that continue to pop up on FaceBook are for the purposes of increasing awareness of various things, and I’m pretty sure that increased awareness is probably a good thing. Let’s talk about stuff. Let’s share our experiences of important things. Talk to me about whatever you like. I’m happy to share my opinions, and, if I have them, my experiences.
I’m just not sure about scale.
For example, I notice that a number of people are sharing, on FaceBook, a YouTube video of Stephen Fry talking about Manic Depression, perhaps more commonly known as Bi-polar Disorder.
I do not know Stephen Fry, although, let’s not pretend I don’t have an opinion or two about him, largely based on his output in the media, and, most recently in the realms of social networking, which have caused me to more-or-less discontinue taking any concerted interest in him. He is, in my (I’m terribly sorry, not always ever-so-humble) opinion, someone whose output benefits from consideration, a period of thought (the ability to ‘sleep on it’ generally doesn’t occur to him (oh... perhaps that’s the mania talking)) and from a good deal of editing. He is, undoubtedly clever. He is not, however, always as charming as he has been led to believe he is, and some of his thoughtless remarks simply come across as ignorant. Being Stephen Fry does not, for example, excuse him from knowing what and where a clitoris is.
Anyway... Can I expect that watching a YouTube of Stephen Fry talking about Manic Depression will increase my or anyone else’s awareness of the condition? I don’t know. I wonder if this is more about Stephen Fry and increasing my awareness of him, and excusing him. I wonder if this is somehow a way of shining a more sympathetic light on one individual than it is a public information film.
That might be too harsh, but I think that my point is this: Most people who suffer from Manic Depression are not Stephen Fry. In fact, no one else who suffers from Manic Depression is Stephen Fry, just as no one else who suffers from Manic Depression is Ruby Wax or Russell Brand or Robert Downey Jr, or Carrie Fisher or Sinead O’Connor. I wonder in the end how much it matters whether I like or admire any of these people, whether I consider them clever, funny or talented. I wonder if most people who suffer from Manic Depression want or need an ambassador of his kind, or, perhaps, of any kind.
With at least one percent of the population affected by the condition, it shouldn’t be difficult to find someone of your acquaintance who is dealing with Manic Depression, so, if you want to increase your awareness, why not talk to him about his experiences? And, if all else fails, why not talk to me?