Welcome back to Personal Ramblings. This is where I put my heart, soul and dignity (at points) out on display for those to ponder and wonder “Who the hell is this guy anyway?” Let’s change pace from the past two weeks of horrid breakups and disappearing women to the oddest date I have ever had to this day.
Me, You and Psychiatry Too
Me and my girlfriend Angelique Enos were about to go out on a date night. Being a couple for over a year, we usually have a big “balls to the walls” or well-thought out date once a month. Most of the time we are together usually involves food, which is a lovely beautiful in its own right, yet I always love doing something extravagant for the both of us. The plan was set in motion. I had planned a lovely day of classy food, exploration in the Ameoba selection and a evening at the Egyptian Theatre to watch The Last Starfighter on 70 mm.
We would go to Grill Em All, a metal-themed gourmet burger place in Alhambra, California that is beyond compare in cuisine and pure thrash goodness. My girlfriend was excited as hell to be with me in her hand made Louise Belcher hat complete with ears and Kristen Schall’s sass.
Anyway, before I lose my head into the details of horrendously beautiful piles of meat, after our meal we left to Hollywood via the Metro. We went into Ameoba on Sunset diving into their endless selections of quality music, classic cinema and the endless barrage of hipsters, stoners and afficianados walking around the store on a Thursday afternoon. It’s basically what Taco Bell would be if it had more conversations about David Lynch versus David Croenberg and John Coltrane playing every now and then. We had our filled of records for the day and proceeded to go down Sunset and seek out something to entertain us till the film started.
As we walked down the dirty graffiti riddled streets, we thought about finding a cheap museum to get our kicks.
“There is the Hollywood Death Tour, but I think the Museum of Death would be better,” she said.
“Why would I do that?,” I asked.
“Seriously, it’s not that bad. Sure, you get to poke human flesh and see brutal shit, but it cannot be bad,” she replied to me happily.
“That’s a bit sadistic, but I’m game…but it’s all the way back there,” I say.
“Oh…well, that isn’t happening then,” she says as she sees a curious sign.
“Free Museum – PSYCHIATRY: AN INDUSTRY OF DEATH”
“What’s this?,” she asked.
“I don’t know. It’s kind of shady isn’t it?,” I ask.
“A bit, but we have a few hours to kill, so we can do it,” she said.
I looked at the building the sign was in front of. It was a building you see in science fiction stories about people going back in time to relive the past of their ancestors with pure white walks and metallic grey aligning the building trims. It was the headquarters for Citizens for Human Rights, an organization that I had never heard of, but suspected was associated with typical Hollywood weird shit. We started to debate more about the decision to enter until a handsome man appeared. He was similiar to Will Smith not only in his complexion, but in his mannerisms.
“Hey, you know is free. Just come on in and take a tour. It’s okay,” he said guiding us into the unknown. The inside was like the outside with nothing white and grey and the Citizens of Human Rights logo staring at us from below the lobby desk. To the left of the desk was a door to the museum and above in big blood red letter was PSYCHIATRY: AN INDUSTRY OF DEATH against a harsh burnt background. It was as if a metal artist had requested the sign. We were both briefed on the museum and ready to enter.
“Before you go in, please leave your drinks and stuff ourside. There is also no video recording or photography permitted for the approximately two hours it takes to explore everything,” Will said. I shall call him Will for the duration of this piece as I forgot his name.
We enter the doors into a padded room that had a screen. Me and Angelique sit down as Will begins to play an introduction to the museum as if to say, yes, this is what you are about to enter. Queue a video filled with the pains psychiatry has done, doctors explaining the facts of the industry and experts on pseudoscience giving their two cents on the matter.
“I saw this on YouTube already,” Angelique said.
“What do you mean?” I asked in surprise.
“Yeah, it’s all there. I do not know what is in here but now I’m curious. The fact we are in a padded room is a bit mu ch, but it’s a start,” she said.
“A bit much” is the understatement of the year with what was about to come up. The film ends and Will tells us the museum is in the door on our side. We walk into the point of no return as Will leaves us. The first room is designed to look similar to the dank castles seen in classic Universal Horror films. It’s filled to the brim with torture devices, demonstrations visitors can control to experience and visual elements about the leaders of psychiatry from with B.F. Skimmer, Sigmund Freud and Stanley Millgram at the forefront on this giant board stating what they have done and the “horrors” they created. The demonstrations ranged from dropping mental patients in cold water with them knowing to making them seat in a spinning chair, all through the use of wood figures to capture it. Honestly, that part was rather well done and was fun to mess around with in a sadist form of humor.
And Then the Holocaust Happened
The Holocaust of World War II is a horrific tragedy of death, systematic destruction of a race and complete disregard for people. So why not decorate an entire section of a Psychiatry museum to it with propaganda posters filling the entire section, faux shower heads above and faux ovens near the floor on the walls? There sat a copy of Mein Kampf behind a glass while pictures of Jewish people writhing in pain, children dying and bodies upon bodies. All of this was not caused by the Nazis, but that evil bastard psychiatry. I was losing it and I was uncomfortable.
“Are you okay? Can you do this? I’m sorry,” Angel began saying.
“I’m fine. I hope. No, wait, I’m not. I’m okay though. Why can’t we leave?,” I asked deciding if I was okay to even stay.
“Oh, no. I’m really sorry. Look, we can keep going, but if something really makes you say no, then we can stop,” she said.
I begrudgingly agree in order to tough it out as the big strong b bastard I look like, only for my soft fluffy nature on the inside to keeping shouting “why are you doing this?” After that section came the racism section containing the civil rights movement, pictures of black men with whipping scars on their backs and a encased copy of, I shit you not, The Theory of Eugenics. My girlfriend decided to throw in some humor that would be controversial if we were not already in a place that controversy built.
“Damn, the water fountain does not work,” she says fiddling with the White/Colored fountain.
I chuckled. I chuckled hard. I know it was inappropriate, but I did not care. I needed out of this place. As we progrssed, we stumbled upon a family just relaxing watching a video on electro therapy aka shock therapy right next to a section about the Russian gulags complete with shocking picture. In the shock therapy area was a demonstration of the amount of volts that can go inside someone’s head. The demo was set up with a dial switch you can turn up to as many volts as you pleased accompanied by a visual element that seems to replicate the feeling of shocking Mysterio’s head like a pissed off Electro. The section also devoted time to poor Frances Farmer and her alleged lobotomy treatments. The horror only grew.
The next rooms focused on the evils of the medicine industry with graphs and information about the causes of death. It was small and tamer than the others before and the others after. The next oom was done up as a mausoleum with celebrity photograph lining the wall, all either having death with mental health, drug overdose of suicide and firmly blaming it on the psychiatry industry. From Frances Farmer to Kurt Cobain, it was a wall of pure heartbreak and tragedy that left an impression until the next room.
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
Those were my words entering the next section. It was a classroom adorned with lockers, fake spurts of blood and some lockers with bullet holes. Columbine was covered in this room rooting it in what psychiatry does to children by making them go crazy. Columbine, the infamous school shooting that changed the way we think about gun control, was being shown as a set piece. It was horrendous and unsettling.
“We are leaving,” I said.
“You sure?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said.
She saw the pain in my face. The disturbed sadness of my own sanity was taking hold. The last moments of my innocent naivety drifting from me. I was close to being a hallowed shell. This museum was a church of overblown exaggeration, cherry picked facts and disgust. I needed to leave.
“Okay, let’s go. There is a bathroom near the end and we can jet after that,” she said. “I see you want to go and we can go.”
We left through the rest of the sections devoted to terrorism, the perverted psychiatrists that did wrong and, for a bizarre turn of events, a gift shop with pamphlets, a vending machine and the bathroom. The vending machine was a nice return to reality as I stared into the wholesome eyes of Yellow on the M&M’s Peanuts in the machine. We went back to the lobby were Will asked about what we thought. I gave a complete bullshit answer explaining how I enjoyed myself and the design of the place. Me and Angel were given paper forms to fill out with our thoughts and info and we left.
Angel kept apologizing for the museum and I forgave her despite the museum not being her fault. We continued our date talking about the weird and strange ideas we saw. We kept conversing about it and our own experiences with other oddities over some pizza at Stefano’s across from the Egyptian in what turned out to be a pretty nice date. We saw The Last Starfighter in a gorgeously worn, but beautiful print with other cult film fans of cheesy sci-fi. We got to witness a Q & A with the stars of the film, including the awesome Lance Guest, and had a lovely evening. There was nothing b horrible and the date is actually a favorite of mine.
Message from Angelique Enos
The next morning, I woke up to find a message from my girlfriend saying “Don’t pay attention to what the museum said. It was created by the alien huggers.” Citizens of Human Rights is a front for the Scientology Centre in order to make the museum. I’m not one for denouncing anyone’s religious beliefs, so if you believe in it, that’s fine by me. I do not agree with all the beliefs, but I understand where they are coming from with the issues of psychiatry. A $20 million dollar way to go about it, but I see the reasoning for the paranoia and scare tatics.
The museum is an odd one and a harsh memory in my mind. It’s plagued me more than once as it is sickening, horrific and absolutely fun to talk about. In an odd way, I would not be writing about it if I didn’t leave with a sense of “I need to talk about this.” Vice Magazine has an article about it u nder the title “Scientologists Really, Really Hate Psychiatrists” that dives a bit deeper than I do that is a great read. In fact, I would recommend going to the museum, but only if you are drunk, high or bored out of your mind.
“Let’s go to the Psychiatry Museum” – Mine and Angel’s go to “joke answer” when friends ask where we should go.