Friday, October 9, 2020

The Passive Voice

It was explained to me this morning by a former Elgin Mental Health Center “patient” (i.e., psychiatric slave) that on the plantation nothing is ever done by any identifiable person. Things get done or just happen, but nothing is done by anyone. The active voice is an essential, strict taboo, for all narratives, all documents, all communications.

This will need to be checked in progress notes, court reports, treatment plan documents, etc. But it is expected that the point will be observed to be very, literally, true. The passive voice is absolutely dictated by the culture of the nuthouse.

This explanation is well validated by the recent phenomena of Tom Zubik’s reported panic over it being said by Gus that improprieties were committed by individually named staff, and Zubik’s subsequent insistence upon the record being set straight with me (especially while/if it had been reported to, or was known about by, Master Corcoran).

It seems difficult or awkward to me, to speak/write entirely in the passive voice. (It probably feels like an odd style to readers here.) But on the plantation it has become instinctive and normal. 

Always: “The patient was redirected...” — never: “Staff redirected the patient.”

Always: “PRN was offered...” — never: “Nurse offered PRN.”

Always: “Mental health education is recommended by the treatment team...” — never: “The treatment team recommends mental health education.”

Always: “Activities are restricted during COVID...” — never: “The administration restricted activities during COVID.”

Omnipresent generalities and euphemisms are also noted. 

What exactly is meant by “redirected” in the context of any specific incident? What is meant by “offered” when the object is a psychiatric drug? How exactly is “education” applied to a totally subjective, disputed field of pseudo-medicine? It can be suspected that what’s meant is, more accurately, controlled, ordered, and propaganda/bullshit.

Who exactly is identified by “staff” or “the treatment team” or “the Administration”? The question has frequently been asked by legal counsel: “WHO, dammit? Give me a name! Testimony under oath is demanded as my client’s right.” 

This question is resisted, direct answers are avoided like the plague.

So when a notebook is carried by a patient and times, places, events and perpetrators are industriously chronicled, when the slaves are trained and incited by an attorney to violate this strict plantation taboo against all use of the active voice and against any identification of individuals or responsibility, screams of offense are heard from the overseers and the plantation managers and the masters.

Now that this dynamic is understood more clearly, it can be used to even better advantage for the cause of abolition.

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