The man in the tree.

I was very interested in this story that occurred this week in Seattle. An agitated man with a long beard and disheveled clothes climbed a 80 foot Sequoia tree and remained there for the night. He refused to cooperate with police and spent the night in a makeshift fort that he made in the tree. It was only when he came down for a snack the next day that he was taken in. Some would say that he was simply a philosopher gone mad with city life. Of course, no need to be a philosopher for that.

Now it is clear that the man was probably in some sort of mental distress as he was yielding a knife according to witnesses. And of course climbing trees in the middle of a city is not exactly something mundane. What is surprising is how this man was treated by the social media. Quickly someone created a twitter account to parody him and even the Seattle police on its account created some tweets, some of which were jokes. There was even a live feed by local news with a newscaster narrating the antics of the man in the tree. In other words, a real circus

The newscaster saw in the whole affair a metaphor; would not some of us climb up in a tree and forget about the world we live in? Or forget our problems?

Mental health is no joking matter, and we obviously have some ways to go before some of us understand this. For the Seattle police to joke about someone’s mental health is dismaying to say the least. Shame on them. For news station to consider this event as news is typical of them. Another slow news day perhaps in Seattle…..

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2 Comments

Filed under Essays, Uncategorized

2 responses to “The man in the tree.

  1. It sounds like the coverage of this man in the tree was verging on or actually cruel and I think this is what you are objecting to. I have been diagnosed with god knows how many mental health disorders and there is a history of schizophrenia and psychosis in my family. I do poke fun at my own mental health problems and that of my family members in my blog as some of the things I have got up to have been frankly ludicrous. I think there is a role for humour in writing about mental health as while a lot of people with severe mental health problems are disturbing rather than funny some people’s sayings and behaviour do have comic elements. My uncle who is schizophrenic had wild and extravagant hallucinations as he wouldn’t take his medication and pronounced that a very unpleasant prison in South London was “the best hotel he’d ever stayed in in his life.” After he no doubt started asking for room service they threw him out..

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