Some folks on YouTube keep begging for more Pandemonium (Give us our DVD release already MGM!), and since I never get tired of the movie, here’s another clip.
B-fans out there might recognize David McCharen, the guy playing the chicken patient, as he popped up in a number of early 80s releases doing his bird shtick before moving into voice work. Given my tastes in entertainment, it should be no surprise that Mr. McCharen is one of the first things that came to mind the other day after I began listening to the LibriVox recording of Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton and heard the following passage.
“To the insane man his insanity is quite prosaic, because it is quite true. A man who thinks himself a chicken is to himself as ordinary as a chicken. A man who thinks he is a bit of glass is to himself as dull as a bit of glass. It is the homogeneity of his mind which makes him dull, and which makes him mad. It is only because we see the irony of his idea that we think him even amusing; it is only because he does not see the irony of his idea that he is put in Hanwell [Asylum] at all. In short, oddities only strike ordinary people. Oddities do not strike odd people. This is why ordinary people have a much more exciting time; while odd people are always complaining of the dullness of life…
If the madman could for an instant become careless, he would become sane. Every one who has had the misfortune to talk with people in the heart or on the edge of mental disorder, knows that their most sinister quality is a horrible clarity of detail; a connecting of one thing with another in a map more elaborate than a maze. If you argue with a madman, it is extremely probable that you will get the worst of it; for in many ways his mind moves all the quicker for not being delayed by the things that go with good judgment. He is not hampered by a sense of humour or by charity, or by the dumb certainties of experience. He is the more logical for losing certain sane affections. Indeed, the common phrase for insanity is in this respect a misleading one. The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything except his reason.”
Chesterton, being the smart fella he is, expounds on this argument to savage the philosophies of materialists, pantheists, and best of all, those who “believe in themselves”. (Incredible. Was “just believe in yourself” already a mantra in Chesterton’s time?) Anyway, feel free to check out what more G. K. has to say about madmen in the Librivox link above, or you can read it here.
Oh, and on the off chance that any materialists, pantheists, or anyone who just believes in themselves happens to have stumbled across our dark corner of the internet here, well, we don’t want you to feel too slighted, so here’s a little song just for you.