28 December 2016

The Return of Stephen Normal

In addition to Carrie Fisher going into cardiac arrest a couple days before Christmas and then passing away two days after Christmas Day, Argentine film director and writer Eliseo Alberto Subiela passed away on Christmas Day. Eliseo Subiela wrote and directed the 1986 movie Hombre mirando al sudeste (Man Facing Southeast), which was featured in this music video by the fictitious character Dr. Stephen I. Normal:

The fictitious backstory of Dr. Stephen Normal, whose original working name was Dr. Sigfraud, included another psychiatrist named Dr. John Balbesa (Йоан Балбеса). While most of the fictitious story has never been made public, Dr. Balbesa admits to his culpability in some of Dr. Normal’s decline in mental health. Dr. Balbesa was one of those very rare psychiatrists who does not make use of harmful psychiatric treatments; however, in order for him to gain the credentials of a psychiatrist, he paid his fellow med student, Stephen Normal, to take his place in the required ECT training. (It is a simple matter to check with the Royal College of Physicians, the General Medical Council, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and likely most other such institutions, to learn that it is impossible to become a psychiatrist, specifically in the English speaking world, and likely elsewhere, without committing crimes against humanity.) John Balbesa thought this was a necessary deception to eventually do some good after receiving the credentials of a psychiatrist. He later realized he was wrong as this action of his added to the trauma that eventually led to his friend Stephen having ECT himself.

Another interesting thing about the fictitious Dr. Balbesa is that he is an Eastern Christian. While many in the west know December 26th as the Feast of Stephen, as mentioned in the popular Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas, Eastern Christians commemorate the Holy Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen on December 27th.

Since actress Carrie Fisher passed away on what would have been the Feast of Stephen for Dr. John Balbesa (assuming his parish doesn’t use the Julian calendar), the latest two Dr. Stephen I. Normal videos will now be shared beyond just the ECT survivor community. Dr. Stephen had pretty much disappeared from the public eye a year and a half ago, but he appeared again for an interview at the beginning of December. (You do realize this is all fictitious, just like Star Wars is fictitious, don’t you?):

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