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Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

Crazy Man Pants & the Wild Goose Chase

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: October 2010

Ah crazy… that word seems to be floating around these days with alarming regularity. I believe it’s safe to say that most everyone has met someone who would fall under the blanket of “crazy”. The “crazy blanket”, if you will. How we go about defining such a term can prove a little… varied, shall we say. For some, charging four dollars for Bud Light at a local music venue is crazy. For others, crazy would be a term liberally applied to the verbal gold that spews from Christine O’Donnell’s craw at any given point in time. Examples you say? Well then, examples ye shall have! How about this little beauty, on masturbation: “It is not enough to be abstinent with other people, you also have to be abstinent alone. The Bible says that lust in your heart is committing adultery, so you can’t masturbate without lust.” More you say? How about this little ditty on Mike Castle: “These are the kind of cheap, underhanded, un-manly tactics that we’ve come to expect from Obama’s favorite Republican, Mike Castle. Mike, this is not a bake-off, get your man-pants on.” Well, even though I’m sure there are some who might support the whirling dervish of bat shit insanity that is Christine O’Donnell, it’s probably safe to say that most people can agree that O’Donnell belongs under the crazy blanket.

In any case, the word of the week is “crazy”. Sometimes I think I might prefer the company I keep to be a little on the “crazy” side of the sanity spectrum. Not that I really know how that should be defined anyway. You might say crazy is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Or perhaps crazy is spending hours at a desk, looking at pictures of animals in costumes with sassy expressions… (Eric Wendt, I’m looking at you).  Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of crazy things in my life. Grown man chasing geese in order to pet them? (More “cute” than “crazy”) Check.  Festival of locally made pornography? (Incidentally, it was AWESOME) Check. Homeless man in black spandex onesie and platform shoes? Check. The comic of the week however, made me want to re-evaluate my definition.

Cuckoo, written and illustrated by Madison Clell, is the brain-stomping autobiographical tale of one woman’s experience living with Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as Multiple Personality Disorder. It’s safe to say that if all you ever had to go on to understand Dissociative Identity Disorder, reading Cuckoo would be a pretty accurate summation. Each issue is written from different personalities perspectives, and as the story progresses, you begin to see her clearly, from the cause and root of her disorder, to how she came to be in her current state. Winner of the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Series and Outstanding Comic, Cuckoo isn’t a sunny, happy tale, but it isinformative, touching, and an accurate look into something thathas fascinated people for years, but been difficult to pin down under one clear definition. 

Arielle Mullen