Mary Therese McCarthy (June 21, 1912 – October 25, 1989) was an American novelist, critic and political activist, best known for her novel The Group, her marriage to critic Edmund Wilson, and her storied feud with playwright Lillian Hellman. McCarthy was the winner of the Horizon Prize in 1949 and...
How many women, she wondered, had poisoned their husbands, not for gain or for another man, but out of sheer inability to leave them. The extreme solution is always the simplest. The weed killer is in the soup; the man is in his coffin. . . . Murder is more civilized than divorce; the Victorians, as usual, were wiser.
Once, perhaps, the God-intoxicated few could abscond to the wild frontiers, the forests, the desert places to keep alive the perennial wisdom that they harbored. But no longer. They must now become a political force or their tradition perishes. Soon enough, there will be no solitude left for the saints to roam but its air will shudder with a noise of great engines that drowns out all prayers.
Conservatives have historically seen people falling through the cracks in society and said, That's the way things work, survival of the fittest. Liberals see people falling through the cracks and say, We've got to do something about those people falling through the cracks, so we need a strong government that can provide programs and assist those people. Populists say there shouldn't be any cracks; let's fix them.
All that remains to the mother in modern consumer society is the role of scapegoat; psychoanalysis uses huge amounts of money and time to persuade analysands to foist their problems onto the absent mother, who has no opportunity to utter a word in her own defense. Hostility to the mother in our societies is an index of mental health.
Being considered or labeled mentally disordered — abnormal, crazy, mad, psychotic, sick, it matters not what variant is used — is the most profoundly discrediting classification that can be imposed on a person today. Mental illness casts the "patient" out of our social order just as surely as heresy cast the "witch" out of medieval society. That, indeed, is the very purpose of stigma terms.