Monday, September 25, 2006

Looney Tunes in Kudzu

It's been a long time coming, but the News & Observer has finally printed another letter to the editor re: the comics. My guess is that with The Boondocks on hiatus, the paper has gotten fewer letters complaining about the comics. So, yesterday's paper had this letter:

Malpracticing 'Kudzu'
I have enjoyed Doug Marlette's work for years, but am very disappointed in his Sept. 17 "Kudzu" comic. It appears to equate depression with an "addictive personality." While the the disease of depression can co-exist with addictive disease, most persons suffering with depression are not addicts. I consider this irresponsible on the part of Marlette and The N&O to misrepresent an illness that so many Americans battle every day of their lives, and further perpetuate the stigma of mental illness.
Mary Bracey, R.N.

I think it is important to point out that Ms. Bracey is not the one accusing Kudzu of malpractice. That's just the letters editor having a little exaggeration fun. But Ms. Bracey does say that it is “irresponsible” of the artist and the paper to print this mis-information about mental illness. Really? You’d have to be totally off your rocker to get your mental health information from the comics. I mean, you’d have to be a total lunatic. Oh, wait. . . maybe that’s her point!

OK, for all my liberalness and PC-ness, I can’t help poking fun at the mentally ill. Actually, no I can. They definitely deserve our consideration and shouldn’t automatically be lumped in with drug addicts, that’s for sure. But it doesn’t seem to me that this comic is equating depression with addictive personality. It seems to be making the joke that the patient in question is now reliant on drugs to control his depression. And, I do believe I have read somewhere that many of the most effective anti-depressants are addictive. Stopping them can cause severe headaches, exhaustion, and other withdrawal symptoms.

I think that the drug manufacturers would have more of a beef with this strip than mental health advocates would. It seems to be implying that anti-depressants are addictive, NOT that depressed people are drug addicts.

But it’s Kudzu, and I think if you are going to get your mental health education from a comic strip, it shouldn’t be Kudzu. Kudzu is where you should get your religious teachings. For mental health education, I think I'd recommend Cathy.


Blogger Austin said...

I just read somewhere that anti-depressant drugs were addicting, too.

And, I mean just read it. Right in that Kudzu strip.


4:18 PM  

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