May 15, 2007

The delusion that an impostor has replaced your loved one.

It's called Capgras Syndrome. And poor Tony Rosato -- of Saturday Night Live and SCTV -- seems to have it.

20 comments:

Jennifer said...

Why has he been in jail for two years for symptoms of a diagnosable mental illness? And why has he been in jail for two years without a trial? (In Canada, so let's not start with the US tortures and imprisons people blah blah blah schtick.)

Ron said...

So my suspicions that my wife is not Morgan Fairchild have a scientific basis, eh? I knew it all along...

andthenblammo! said...

Jennifer said:

(In Canada, so let's not start with the US tortures and imprisons people blah blah blah schtick.)

Good observation. If I can trot out one of my favorite hobbyhorses; it's always a hoot to hear someone blather on about how much more progressive and well-ordered some country is in comparison to the US, without any knowledge of the strict laws that keep them that way. Secret trials, arrests with no bail, summary deportation, judges with arrest powers for anyone they think should be prosecuted, quick 'n easy commitment for 'mental illness', paramilitary 'national police forces'; this stuff is found in many of the 'enlightened' countries that like to howl at the US for locking up armed francs-tireurs captured in battle.

Theo Boehm said...

Oh, but Jennifer, it's really the U.S. that's doing it. The nice country of Canada has been abducted and secretly replaced with the evil United States. There are clues everywhere, if you only know where to look! My God, they've even elected a Conservative as Prime Minister.

It's shocking, really.

Susan said...

Have they checked his basement for pods?

Galvanized said...

"Rosato's situation raises troubling questions. Why must he wait so long for a trial? And if he is suffering from mental illness, why isn't he in a hospital room instead of a jail cell?"

"A person with mental illness who gets arrested is often caught in a Catch-22. 'If you're mentally ill in jail you're likely to spend on average three times as long on remandand in some cases obviously it can go on longer and longer,' says prison psychiatrist Glancy."


It's inexcusable for the mentally ill to fall into the cracks. There is no argument for that.

amba said...

Yea Susan!! I was going to say, it's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." It's the idea that made those films so terrifying. (There was a third, just called "Body Snatchers" or "The Invasion" I think. I've only seen the first two, both utterly terrifying.)

Pogo said...

I have taken care of patients with dementia who harbor similar delusions. It's devastating to a family when it occurs. There is unlikely to be any nice outcome to this.

The truly shocking item to this story involves the unlimited power of the state to imprison citizens without a trial. But a nation willing to give up their rights in order to gain a national health care system predisposes them to similar power grabs by the state in every other facet of their lives.

Why they can't see this connection is a mystery.

Hey said...

It well and truly sucks, but he has been hampered by his own actions. He's being held without bail because he's a danger, and thanks to going through a number of lawyers (delusional paranoiacs LOOOOVE to fire their lawyers) he hasn't been able to get a bail review. He know has a tough enough, committed enough lawyer who can put up with a troublesome client and get the paper-work straightened out.

This happens in the US, Canada, and many other places. Canada isn't France in terms of evil judicial and police system, and it's because of the pervasiveness of the de-instutionalisation movement that horrible things like this happen. We need to greatly increase the power and frequency of involuntary committment. Most homeless people need to be in hospital, not on the streets, and deeply troubled individuals like the VT killer should be there too, instead of getting a few pills and being sent on their way to sink or swim.

Ron said...

Canada is a long term covert effort on the part of the US to create the World's Largest Putt-Putt Golf Course...Think it's not working? You Fool!

John Stodder said...

My former wife died of mesothelioma eight years ago. Sometime during the last month of her life, she experienced the variant of this syndrome in which she didn't recognize me. In fact, the very sight of me terrified her. She was in UCLA Medical Center's emergency room, where I'd taken her because a tube draining her chest cavity had fallen out. But she didn't want me to take her because she didn't know who I was. I left her alone with the doctors, and next thing I knew, a UCLA police officer detained me and questioned me regarding her allegations. I had to prove we were, in fact, married and convince him that I hadn't kidnapped her. I came very close to being arrested.

She recognized her friends, fortunately, and over the course of two or three days, they were able to talk her into accepting that I was, in fact, her husband. But for the first 24 hours after that, it was kind of like a first date, until finally she snapped out of it.

She was on loads of pain medications, anti-anxiety meds and other things. The syndrome never recurred, but she died a few weeks later after it was learned the cancer had spread to her brain. So maybe it was the meds, or maybe it was the brain lesions that we didn't know about yet.

I never knew this was a syndrome with a name.

I'm flabbergasted that Rosato has been in prison for this condition. How incredibly cruel and stupid. I'm going to have a hard time reconciling that with Canada's image as the most highly evolved civilization on the planet.

Theo Boehm said...

Hey:  Are you saying that France has an "evil judicial and police system?"  I don't know where you get that idea.

Why, I remember one time seeing shackled prisoners being taken off a bus in front of the Conciergerie, obviously on their way to court, being moved along with good whacks up the side of the head with those truncheons the French police are well-known for.  It was, of course, in front of one of the few Medieval secular buildings still standing.

Taking place as it was in an area of cultural heritage, it gave one a certain frisson to witness it.  The same sort of thing in Los Angeles would have been brutality, but in France it was more akin to historical re-enacting or performance art.  Plus, most of the prisoners appeared to be Arabs, and the State must protect itself.  C'est logique, non?

Cradock said...

I'll always think of Tony Rosato in his recurring role on Night Heat, where he was hustling a different scam on the sidewalk every time the cops came by. Ironically, the one that sticks in my head is when he offered to take your photo with life-size cardboard cutouts of famous people like Thatcher and Reagan.

Galvanized said...

Mr. Stodder, I'm so sorry for your trials and loss. My heart goes out to you and your loved ones.

Two Miles Molie said...

The brilliant writer Richard Powers' latest novel, The Echo Maker, has a main character with Capgras.

Highly recommended.

Ann Althouse said...

John: I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to your wife.

And everyone has the right idea about Canadian justice, so why doesn't Canada get it?

John Stodder said...

Galvanized,

Thanks. Life is long and lots of good things have happened and will happen to me and my family. As with all of us. I figured it added to the discussion to tell this story.

Theo Boehm said...

John Stodder: Let me add my voice to those who have expressed their sympathy about your wife. I also want to apologize if it seemed thoughtless to post an attempt at a humorous comment immediately after your story. I should have been more careful while hurrying to get a pre-written comment up during a rushed few minutes. What you said was sobering and added a great deal to the understanding of this story, while I was merely being flippant. Again, I apologize.

John Stodder said...

Theo,

My former wife was the funniest person I've ever known. She could be flippant with the best of them; and she thought the French were ridiculous.

Really, not to worry. What happened to her was tragic, and no one should die so young. But with the passage of eight years, you see a deceased loved one's life in full, not just how they died, and you come to a different feeling about it. I was lucky to know her. The experience was wonderful but now it's over. I still get to see the world through her eyes; that's one of the many blessings that linger from our marriage.

Like, she would find it hysterical that I'm a "blogger." It sounds like a I'm a character in a video game.

Galvanized said...

I see it like that, too -- a little flippancy, irreverence -- forms of humor, coping mechanisms that make life bearable. No harm, Theo.