The Ethics of Making Fun of an Illness
The DSM-IV classification of mental illness is, I suppose, an important tool that the psychiatrist uses as a help to make a diagnosis. I suspect that the pages of the document are well turned in every psychiatrist’s office. Well.. as a change of pace in contrast to the rather serious mood of my recent postings, I decided to offer another way of defining the various mental illnesses. I found the following humorous interpretation of psychiatric behaviors at Aha! Jokes
Hello. Welcome to the Psychiatric Hotline
If you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 repeatedly.
If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2.
If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5, and 6.
If you are paranoid-delusional, we know who you are and what you want. Just stay on the line so we can trace the call.
If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you which number to press.
If you are manic-depressive, it doesn't matter which number you press. No one will answer.
If you are anxious, just start pressing numbers at random.
If you are phobic, don't press anything.
If you are anal retentive, please hold.
You may wonder what this all has to do with bioethics. There are many jokes around about illness. Do you think it’s ethical to make fun of an illness and thus the anonymous ill patient? Do you see any benefit for the ill patient to hear the joke?
Do you think that joking about illness is the human way of dealing with something perhaps over which we have no control.. and it's OK?
Oops! I’m getting serious again! ..Maurice.