David and Debra on our back deck, “home and in love.”
Today a documentary about 10 ½ minutes long, by my good friend David Zupan, airs on statewide TV and you can see it online for free, details below.
You can see:
Me tear up my psychiatric label “psychotic”
Martin Luther King call for us all to be “creatively maladjusted”
A re-creation of my big fall that broke my neck
What screwing up your vocal chords can sound like
Support from my amazing wife and community
Us protest for global revolution because of climate crisis
Yes, making revolution visible now all over Earth is a great way to be creatively maladjusted to global warming, and this documentary shows that if I can do it, then so can you!
Here is an actual movie-trailer about one minute long for this documentary:
Producer David Zupan said, “Creatively Maladjusted shows how human rights activist David Oaks and his wife, Debra Nunez, creatively respond to tough realities with the help of courage, community and humor.” The piece will be shown on the Oregon Lens series.
Okay, here is the actual documentary, you can see it free now, via the Oregon Public Broadcasting site:
I remember an experienced psychiatric survivor activist always said, “An expert is defined this way: X is an unknown quantity, and spurt is a big drip!” In other words, we truly are all equal, and even if I ever do become any kind of celebrity, even a minor one, your support is still needed, if possible.
At the moment, the need is for me to make noise. Let me briefly explain.
I have started working with my brother Tony and my friend David Zupan on something we are calling Project Amplify. The point of Project Amplify is to activate my network to find and build a team of experts who can help me address some the technical challenges I face communicating.
Specifically Project Amplify is for when I:
email and get on the web (I use a human)
use my smart iPhone
talk in my van over the road noise
use public address systems at larger venues
or just plain talk to folks in noisy situations.
So far we have a draft powerpoint and plans for some short videos about my Project Amplify needs. Stay tuned.
A Free, Easy Poster You Can Download & Post in Your Home, Today
Debra and David welcome you to our home, “Mad Swan.”
A radio personality distorted and verbally attacked the work of Associate Professor Kari Norgaard, a world-acclaimed expert on global warming denial, then kept a transcript of this falsehood-filled show on his website for the past three years, where it still lingers to this day.
His show called Kari a “Wacko.” Rather than dwell on his incivility, here’s something fun, free, and positive we did and you can do, too!
You may print out a simple poster so that your family’s support for a “Revolution,” as Pope Francis has encouraged, is undeniable. Sound crazy? Perhaps, but that is no coincidence! Prof. Norgaard points out that denial of climate crisis is a collective act by us all. One antidote is to make our resistance visible. Talk about this in your daily conversations!
You can also just click and print out this one-page, black-and-white, 8.5 x 11 inch poster:
Here is what your simple black-and-white version of the poster will look like. You or a child may color it if you like! But please post it where it will be seen!
You or a child may color it if you choose. Post this by your door or some other place people will see it. While a poster may not win a revolution, at least a reasonable person would agree your home is in a revolution, now!
Why Break the Silence?
I often hear some of these metaphors used about humanity today:
Our combined ability to think and act are paralyzed.
We the public seem suicidal.
We are addicted to oil and consumerism.
We are blind to alternatives.
We are deaf to the cries of the poor and planet.
We hallucinate, such as believing that money and technology are more important than our values.
Paralyzed suicidal addicted blind deaf hallucinating. Sure sounds like a disability to me. So maybe the social change movement led by people considered disabled have something to offer now? We, one of largest movements on Earth, are not all about curb cuts!
By coincidence, I introduced Kari on the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The father of the ADA, my friend the late Justin Dart, Jr., called for what he described as “a revolution of empowerment,” see my brief video here.
On 26 July 2015 I spoke for a few minutes in front of more than 100 people from our local community in Eugene, Oregon, USA. Many of the audience members were from my Unitarian Universalist church where this event took place. I introduced Kari Norgaard, an Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies from University of Oregon.
Associate Professor Kari Norgaard of University of Oregon is author of a book on ‘denial’ and climate crisis.
Three years ago, a famous extremist mistook a news report about this author and devoted part of his radio show to insulting and misinterpreting the research of Dr. Norgaard. Her book, Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions and Everyday Life,looks at why the whole society, using Norway as an example, is not doing enough about the climate crisis.
Because I organized this off-campus speaking gig for Kari (thankfully delegating 99% of the actual work to Sue Craig and others at our church), Kari gave me the honor of introducing her. I should have thanked that radio show because as a result our local newspaper ran a big headline about this controversy. That is how I first found out about Kari, read her book, met with her, and spoke out about this radio show distortion.
Unfortunately, as he is known to do frequently, this radio show host went over the line of decency when he talked about Kari. Even three years later, on the day of this event, his website still carries a transcript of that show, which you may read here:
Note that this radio show refers to Dr. Norgaard with these exact words: “Wacko” (twice), “nuts” (five times!), and “lunacy.” Perhaps on the day of the show, several years ago, we might find an excuse for his factual errors because the show relied on an unprofessional newspaper article that was published in England on March 31, 2012 (UK Daily Mail). The radio show has had three years to investigate, retract mistakes, and apologize publicly.
Fallen Old Growth But Still Alive!
Dale Kegley & David imitate fallen old growth at Delta Campground, McKenzie River, Oregon
There are many lies on that show transcript that I could discuss, but I will just focus on one. Kari loves nature and obviously encourages us all to get out-of-doors and enjoy the real world. Yet somehow that radio show distorts Kari’s work and claims she discourages wilderness activity! Here is a recent photo of me (on right) at a wheelchair accessible hike among old growth trees at the Delta Campground east of Eugene. My friend Dale Kegley imitates a stump, while I do a weight-shift and imitate a fallen tree. An old growth tree, which can stand for hundreds of years, can sustain more life after it has fallen and as it lays on the forest floor, decaying for about as many years as it stood. This love of life is a great metaphor for humanity as we collectively seem to lie on the ground paralyzed. As the ancient peasant song says, thoughts are free!
As Kari’s book plainly shows, her research on climate denial is about society as a whole. Norway is a good choice because this prosperous, well-educated nation of active citizens, one would think, should be a leader in our troubled world. I have had the honor of speaking twice in Norway. I have a bunch of wonderful friends in Oslo. I visited the beautiful Resistance Museum and Viking Ship Museum. Individuals who are skeptical of climate scientists are not the subject of Kari’s research. Quite the opposite, Kari examines why the general public and its institutions seem to be “paralyzed” about this enormous challenge.
You may listen to a recent Canadian broadcast radio show about climate crisis and anxiety, with one of the guests being Kari, here:
I would add one thing as an activist who has challenged the psychiatric industry for decades. In this brief interview a Toronto psychiatrist advises us to act even if our actions might seem minor. He was probably referring to things like picking a better lightbulb. Yes, of course I agree with him. However, I would add that we should also choose seemingly-minor acts that contribute to grandiose, enormous, global revolutions, too.
Think of a butterfly. Scientists now know that because nature and existence emerge from many feedback loops, that the flap of a butterfly wing may influence when and where a storm hits thousands of miles away. This is literally true and has been backed-up by scientific evidence. In other words, while your actions may lead to a powerful ripple-like result, it may be impossible to exactly predict the outcome. But flap your butterfly wing! Now, now, now!
You may watch a short, three-minute video excerpting my intro for Kari, placed on Facebook by my good friend David Zupan, even though my disabled voice is a bit weak:
You may watch a 36-minute video of Kari speaking last year, at a different event, about why we do not see more action about climate crisis:
Disability Movement Activists May be Helpful Right About Now
It seems that every time I hear about climate crisis, inequality, and other big global problems, the experts appear to have solutions but the same ending question:
“Do we have the political will to change our world?”
Martin Luther King frequently warned about the “paralysis of analysis” which he saw causing delay. He avoided this paralysis and he performed civil disobedience 69 times!
So I have a new phrase for the moral disease that’s apparently holding back our whole society, myself included: normalysis paralysis.
Normalysis paralysis is the combination of normality and over-analysis that leads to inaction.
Celebrate a Little of Your Craziness, Now!
David Oaks and Patch Adams discuss global revolution and nose picking at 2015 Oregon Country Fair.
My friend Patch Adams, MD is even more blunt, as he was during last month’s Oregon Country Fair. To paraphrase, Patch, who you may recall was portrayed by Robin Williams in an Academy Award-winning movie, said that the mental health industry, with its centuries of abuse and labeling, has held back our passion and innovation, right when we need them most.
Patch survived teenage suicide attempts and psychiatric institutions, and has devoted his whole life to overthrowing the medical system. Patch decided years ago that he personally would never touch a computer. Perhaps this is why he is the most approachable celebrity that I know of. He reads all paper letters that he receives, twice, and he personally responds to every note. Just do not ask for an autograph, or you will get a form letter back that says “no.” You may write: Patch Adams; PO Box 307; Urbana, IL 61803
How do we know the revolution has started? How does it feel?
I am reminded that in ancient days the Native Americans had very many languages, sometimes changing every few miles, so sign language was the closest to a universal way to communicate. While in the western world, we point to our heads when we say “I think” or “I am,” the Native American sign language for this phrase was to point to their hearts, the middle of their chests.
The history of the word “Thank” originates as “Think.” So when I thank you for passing the salt, I am really saying that I am thinking of you for a moment, you are in my consciousness!
Debra has named our piece of this “Love Earth Revolution Celebration #LERC,” but whatever you decide to call your piece of this global revolt is fine.
Be like Ike
The biggest human endeavor so far was D-day, when the Allies and Americans landed with great bravery on the coast of France to eventually win World War II. This time we need a new D-day that involves everyone in the whole world! My father was in D-day, landing on day 5. I read a thick book about D-day and I was amazed by many facts, here are two:
a) Even though of course there were major mistakes, the Allies did not stop, there would be future decades to rehash history. For example, the Allies created all traffic to Berlin one way! If a vehicle developed engine problems, I understand they simply towed that vehicle off the road and kept going to Berlin! There was no stopping the Allies!
b) Though Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower was the Allied Supreme Commander, Ike did not issue any commands on D-Day itself. Ike spent D-Day in his trailer, smoking cigarettes, reading westerns, and relaxing. Meanwhile, Hitler slept in that morning, leaving orders that no troops move until he says so, but he guessed at the wrong beach! The Allies had quite a few hours before Hitler woke up, changed his mind and finally moved his troops. While the Allies were not perfect, they had prepared enough before D-Day, that they were almost self-organized, and that horizontalish organizing is what we need now. Today, you are Ike!
We ought to have a mutually-respectful dialogue with citizens who hold very different opinions, as long as we stay civil, take turns listening and do not seek to change minds as much as we seek to understand other perspectives. Some good practice would be these innovative right/left coalitions in the USA:
Another call to have a left/right coalition is from one of the architects of the Occupy movement in the USA, Micah White, PhD who has settled in Oregon. I watched a fascinating speech by him where he calls for a surprising innovation this fall, specifically using write-in candidates to disrupt the “normal” election process. He hopes this campaign will elect at least one governor, because that official could pardon protesters. You may find his website here: https://www.micahmwhite.com/
Hey, Richard Nixon sure had many flaws, but he helped create the Environmental Protection Agency. Seriously, guess which president of the USA stood tall, believed scientists and signed important treaties to fix the ozone hole? That would be Ronald Reagan! Some other folks who were often thought of as Republicans include my friend Justin Dart, President Herbert Walker Bush (who signed the Americans with Disabilities Act) and maverick-governor of Oregon, Tom McCall who helped lead the call for the first Bottle Bill and to clean up the then highly-polluted Willamette River (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_McCall).
Let us prevent Earth from becoming like Venus, which is now more than 600 degrees because of its global warming! Locally, I look for a way that our community may take up a way to peacefully dialogue with a head of our Summit Bank, because he is the elected leader of our local Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, but he ignores my emails.
Here are my written notes for my intro of Kari. I added some improvisation such as comparing Kari to Hypatia. I ended by suddenly surprising members of my church by asking them to sing a spiritual song we have as one of our main local songs in our church. It was a lot to expect for people to have this song by memory, so at the bottom of this is a Youtube of this song:
David W. Oaks, #ADA25, 26 July 2015, Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene, Oregon, USA.
Kari Marie Norgaard is Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies at University of Oregon where she has been on the faculty since 2011. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the U of O. For 15 years Dr. Norgaard has published and taught in environmental sociology, gender, race, and emotions. She researches climate change denial. She also researches the Karuk Tribe on the Klamath River in California. High profile media outlets have covered her work: Washington Post, National Geographic, National Public Radio and more. Her 2011 book Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions and Everyday Life has received international acclaim. She has over a dozen peer reviewed research articles. In the past 18 months she has spoken across the US plus in Iceland, Norway, Sweden.
In 2012 I first heard about Kari, because our local newspaper ran a headline that the radio host Rush Limbaugh verbally attacked her work. He encouraged listeners to complain. I immediately obtained her book and found out that Rush Limbaugh was totally wrong. I checked his web site today, and lies about Kari are still being put out.
[I ended by asking people to sing a song to welcome Kari rather than use the normal applause. Here is the song, with lyrics:]
My big brother Tony Oaks, friend Rev. Phil Schulman, wife Debra Nunez and me.
Update 28 July 2015: Tony is open to even doing a good volunteer job, such as a bike coordinator in Eugene. Plus, while I do not want to take up his busy time, even a one-time note of encouragement to him would be great. His email address is below.
Do you know anyone in Oregon? Maybe you live in Portland or Eugene or in between? My brother, Tony, who has an amazing range of talents, is looking for a job here and if he finds one, he will relocate from Texas!
I sure am glad the economy is stronger here than it has been in years, because that means that Tony may find the job of his dreams here soon, and I truly love my only sibling!
Quick story: I was in the emergency room back in December of 2012 and my neck was badly broken because of a fall. The first call I made was to Tony, and within hours he flew from Houston, and was by my side for much of the time since then. Tony is a great ally for those of us with a disability, learning my rehab needs, helping to build our accessibility with Habitat for Humanity, raising money for my trust account for my independent living and much more.
A few months ago, Tony came back to Eugene and helped our mom during her departure from our planet at the age of 97. Mom, Violet Oaks, had us two children and definitely treated us as loving as any parent on Earth. Our dad, also Tony Oaks, died back in 1988, but along with our mom, raised us with tender loving care on the south side of Chicago.
To quote his Linkedin page, Tony is “Looking for Project Management Opportunities in the Pacific Northwest.” Tony has many skills beyond his MBA, computer wizardry and Project Management certification. Bicyclist, wilderness first aid, improvisational theater humor, parent with the amazing Charlene of four wonderful adult children, great chef, lover of film and so much more! Nora, Tony’s youngest, makes her dad so proud as she excels at Oregon State University, developing champion solar cars, saying “yes” to Ethan’s proposal, planning their departure next year for the PeaceCorps, etc.
Those who would like more info, especially with any leads about northwest jobs that might lead to bringing this fantastic Texan to Oregon, please see his Linkedin profile here:
Tony has told me about some interesting ideas about his career, and is very open to changes beyond his IT work. A smart employer would ask him about that. In fact a good employer anywhere with a fast Internet would inquire about hiring him in Oregon wherever they are located.
Something that anyone can and should do for me would be to thank Tony for being such a wonderful brother for me. You may email Tony: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also leave a public comment with your encouragement and/or glowing praise here on this blog entry. Lead on, Tony!
In the Oregon Country Fair, you will find a number of us who work for social change in the Community Village. (Photo by mylerdude via Flickr.)
Your mental wellness requires a global revolution. In fact, your physical wellness requires one, too.
For many years, I have noticed that there are people doing good social change work for mild reform. That is nice, but during my work in what we affectionately call the “mad movement,” I have often called for revolution, because the change we need is so big! Please do not misunderstand me, we need to attempt a peaceful revolution, which I do not think has been adequately tried; however, I am not a pacifist.
How do you know that a revolution has started? How does it feel? Maybe one has started but we did not get the memo? Or maybe you will start one? What is the connection between peaceful, nonviolent revolution and violent revolution, if any?
Given global warming, inequality, and so many other problems such as bee colony collapse, etc., etc., most people I talk with agree that there needs to be a revolution. My amazing wife, Debra, has helped name our revolution “Love Earth Revolution,” and maybe your name for this revolt is different?
It seems that whenever I hear about big problems in the world, the person concludes by saying that we know what needs to be done, we have the technology, a solution is affordable, but we need to act urgently and the main question is, “Do we have the collective will?”
There is a moral paralysis that blocks necessary revolution. Even Pope Francis is calling for a revolution because of global warming and poverty!
Hmmm, paralysis, seems like I might have some tips about that subject, in fact, maybe the disability movement might be able to help? Many other social change movements have also called for a nonviolent revolution.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said in his speeches and essays for about a decade that we all needed to be “creatively maladjusted” to oppression. In fact, he said that the future of the world lay in the hands of the “creatively maladjusted.” MLK said that we are in dire need of a new organization that he called, “International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment.” Because this was an obvious reference to NAACP, many in his audiences would laugh, but there is a very serious side here.
As many readers of this blog know, a few years ago, the mental health activist group MindFreedom launched Creative Maladjustment Week to help make MLK’s vision real. Tomorrow, July 7, is the start of this year’s CM week. Each day has been given a theme which you can read below:
7 July – Day of Creativity
8 July – Day of Action & Movement
9 July – Day of Laughter & Joyful Noise
10 July – Day of Kindness: This Friday, by the way, I will celebrate out at the Oregon Country Fair. The honorary chair of the IAACM has long been the real Patch Adams. Patch will speak at the Front Porch at 1:00 PM, however, we hear that he will be at the Community Village stage at 5:00 PM to kindly address creative maladjustment. Folk singer David Rogers will do a sign-along of the ancient freedom rebellion song, The Thoughts Are Free!
11 July – Day of Self Care
12 July – Day of Community Care
13 July – Legacy of Lunacy
14 July – Day of PRIDE: This is also Bastille Day and for decades, psychiatric survivors have used this day for international protest about changing the mental health system. When the revolution in France overthrew the Bastille, a psychiatric survivor was in there!
Your Leadership is Needed!
We know that leadership is best when it is near equal and everyone is a leader! This leaderful approach is known as a horizontal approach. That means you are in charge of creative maladjustment week, if you choose to! As long as your activity is in sync with the values of MLK, the sky is the limit.
Tomorrow, July 7, which this year happens to be a Tuesday, what will be your creative act of maladjustment to the seeming moral paralysis that is holding us back?
You may leave your answers on this blog’s comment area below. Or, if you are on Facebook, please search for our FB page https://www.facebook.com/IAACM , and you can leave your ideas there.
MindFreedom set up a webpage to promote Creative Maladjustment Week and you can read about that here: http://cmweek.org/
There is plenty of more info on the web, try these search terms: mad pride, MLK creative maladjustment, IAACM.
This year, for the first time, we will not have the activist present in this world, Leonard Roy Frank. This great psychiatric survivor worked in our movement for decades and died this year. My friend studied revolutionary social change by reading a lot about MLK, Gandhi, and many others who worked for social justice. Leonard was born July 15, 1932, and died January 15, 2015. So the next day after CM Week, Leonard would have turned 83. Personally, I think starting a global nonviolent revolution for justice on his birthday would be a great gift!
Here is a little-known aspect to CM Week that you might not know. There is actually a good reason to start this on July 7. From a Wiki article about Alleged Lunatics’ Friends Society:
“On July 7, 1845, Richard Paternoster, John Perceval, and a number of others formed the Alleged Lunatics’ Friend Society. A pamphlet published in March the following year set out the aims with which the Society was founded:
At a meeting of several Gentlemen feeling deeply interested in behalf of their fellow-creatures, subjected to confinement as lunatic patients.
It was unanimously resolved:… That this Society is formed for the protection of the British subject from unjust confinement, on the grounds of mental derangement, and for the redress of persons so confined; also for the protection of all persons confined as lunatic patients from cruel and improper treatment. That this Society will receive applications from persons complaining of being unjustly treated, or from their friends, aid them in obtaining legal advice, and otherwise assist and afford them all proper protection.
That the Society will endeavour to procure a reform in the laws and treatment affecting the arrest, detention, and release of persons treated as of unsound mind…“
Today is the Fourth of July, 2015, a day to celebrate the USA ideals of liberty, revolution and freedom! We put aside political divisions, and thank our Veterans for their service and sacrifice. Many Vets are returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with serious mental and emotional problems. A popular doctor in the media is Dr. Daniel Amen, and he warns that many of these Vets will be given psychiatric drugs in a haphazard way, or as he puts it, like throwing “darts in the dark.”
You can see Dr. Amen’s Ted Talk, less than 15 minutes long, from a couple of years ago, entitled “The most important lesson from 83,000 brain scans,” here:
While I learned a lot about how head injury tends to be ignored by much of psychiatry, this talk by Dr. Amen should also address how many of the psychiatric drugs, such as the neuroleptics which are also known as antipsychotics, can cause severe damage to higher level brain functions. Too often we focus on the fight between those who hate and those who take psychiatric drugs. But the real struggle is getting out the best information about the way non-drug alternatives have been shown to be more effective especially in the long run.
As this 2011 US government article explains, current mainstream medical research has confirmed that the main psychiatric drugs used for people, including Vets, who are labeled schizophrenic can decrease the volume of their brains: