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September 29, 2005 - Image 19

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-29

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Setting the bar on Rick's
With Superman and Batman

Ivsuperma~n
As I stated a couple weeks back,
there are certain guilty pleasures in life.
Is the protector of the free world proud
of these, well, no. But it is what it is.
I'll say it, maybe not as loud as I
should, but I like Rick's. There I said
it; I enjoy that dingy bar. And I'll let
you all in on a secret, the only reason
Batman doesn't like it is the whole
jilted lover thing. Yup, before him and
Robin shacked up, there was a lonely

night in February where he thought he
could take home a girl. Side note, she
was probably about a 1.8 out of 10, but
that's beside the point. She turned him
down, and Robin cried with joy when
Batman came home with his balls in
his hands.
Sure, sometimes it's a little smelly
in Rick's, and too often that frat boy
pisses you off, but where else are you
guaranteed as good a chance at fine
booty as Rick's? Yeah, drinks can get
pricey, but everybody knows some-

one who knows another person that
works there, and boom, drinks aren't
as expensive.
But back to the important thing, get-
ting ass at Rick's is easy. Let me tell
you from experience, when me and ole
Lois were on the rocks, some nice little
tart made me forget all about double L's
sweet body. The best part? I never had
to talk to this girl again.
400 of my closest friends and I are
gonna shake it at Rick's then get some
food at Backroom Pizza.

B\ 9batman
Oh that den of inequity near
Backroom Pizza.
On any regular weekend night
you r' smell the stink of despera-
tion and cheap rum in the air at
Rick's. For someone like you Clar
... I mean Superman, who moves
between the inhuman and mortal
world like some trumped up deity,
the lure has got to be appealing.
Unaware citizens pumping their
guilty, guilty livers full of whatever
before simulating sex on another
power-puffed, gaudily dressed person
who's been tanned, fried and stoned
more than a piece of Prime Rib?
That's your biggest fan base.
Yes, I fight for the puked on,
sexually harassed and no-nonsense
people who see Rick's for what it
is: a blight of dually over/under
sexed kids with nothing better to
do then strip to glorified undies,

waste money on drinks jacked up
to five times their original worth
and sulk around when their oh-so-
special crush leaves the building.
Bars are for drowning your sor-
rows about dead parents in hard,
unflinching tumblers of scotch and
bourbon. Clubs are for mingling
cigar smoke with quiet asides to
member of the crime underworld, all
the while plotting their downfall.
Yes Superman, you'll never
stop at preventing the people from
learning the truth: Rick's does not
uplift your spirit with its sloppy,
double-chinned revelry, it is the
soma of this fair city, lulling your
once sharp minds into believing
you are having a good time.
Good times are had sulking in the
fading grey light of a well appoint-
ed mansion, trapped in the twilight
between sin and vengeance, tearing
yourself apart in the name of justice.
And justice is not a $8 mixed
drink.

The lives of the sicker patients,
however, are scarcely reflected in
the newsletter. Those patients who
were too disruptive to be kept in an
open ward with other patients spent
much of their time in solitary con-
fin ement.
The post-World War II era saw the
construction of two new wards, bring-
ing the hospital's capacity beyond 4,000
patients. It also saw an explosion of
new research activities, ranging from
mundane epidemiological studies, to
"finger-painting as a diagnostic and
therapeutic aid," to work involving a
substance referred to as "L.S.D. CID
#527." Dr. Jonas Salk honed the skills
that would later lead him to develop the
polio vaccine by testing flu vaccines in
Ypsilanti State Hospital on what even a
U.S. military medical history website
describes as "volunteers," in quotes.
The late '40s also saw the expan-
sion of another therapeutic technique
- the lobotomy. To patients who failed
to respond to psychotherapy, lobotomy
offered a last hope. To the hospital, it
offered a means of managing the most
difficult patients. Indeed, suicidal or
combative behavior was one standard
the hospital staff used in determining
whether to lobotimize patients.
Lobotomies performed at Ypsilanti
State Hospital were somewhat less grue-
some than the so-called "ice-pick lobot-
omy," in which a surgeon hammered a
metal spike into the skull through the
patient's eye socket to slice through con-
nective brain tissue. A lobotomy, how-
ever, was still a serious matter. Of the
65 lobotomy patients in 1953, five died,
and only one-third improved enough
to leave the hospital or to require less
supervision within it, according to a
journal article by members of the hos-
pital staff.
Chemical or electric shock treatments
or extreme procedures like lobotomy
had no effect on many patients. Schizo-
phrenics had particularly poor chances.
Of the 4,077 patients in the hospital on
a given day in 1955, for instance, more
than half were diagnosed with schizo-
phrenia. Throughout the nation, large
public mental hospitals housed these
people whose conditions could scarcely
be treated. More than 20,000 people
were confined to Michigan's mental
hospitals in the '50s.
Many of these people were insti-
tutionalized for years and were aban-
doned by their loved ones. A Friends
and Family Circle was formed at Ypsi-
lanti State Hospital in 1951 "to further
the welfare of our patients, especially
those, of whom there are over 1,000,
who lack personal contact with relatives
or friends."
It was about this time that Ypsilanti
State Hospital gained the greatest fame
it is likely to ever have. Milton Rokeach,
a social psychologist, decided to try
group therapy with three patients who
all had delusions of being Jesus Christ.
The logical contradiction of having two
other Christs in the room wasn't enough
to cure the patients. But the resulting
book, "The Three Christs of Ypsilanti,"
was required reading in many psychol-
ogy classes for a generation.
Healthy Progress
The '50s saw the era of the large state
mental institution begin to pass. During

that decade, doctors had access to the
first effective anti-psychotic and anti-
depressant drugs. There was finally a
weapon against the terrifying delusions
and suicidal depressions that haunted
so many of Ypsilanti State Hospital's
patients.
The new pills, especially in the early
years, had dangerous side effects, but
they were safer and far more effective
than insulin treatments or electroshock.
Hospital staff faced a new challenge -
for the first time ever, they had to turn
away patients from dances and movies
because too many were feeling well
enough to participate.
The medical directors worked on
developing active programs of therapy
appropriate for healthier. patients. A
publication commemorating the hospi-
tal's 25th anniversary in 1956 noted that
the new drugs were being incorporated
into "a total psychiatric treatment of the
mentally ill." A survey of the hospital's
buildings in 1969 found that they were
functionally obsolete because the units
"were all designed for custodial care of
the insane and are not well suited for a
therapeutic program of care and treat-
ment for the mentally ill."
What happened, at Ypsilanti State
Hospital and across the nation, was not,
for many patients, a "total psychiatric
treatment" or "therapeutic programs
of care." Recognizing the potential of
new psychiatric drugs and the shortfalls
of large, impersonal state hospital, the
Kennedy administration passed leg-
islation encouraging the development
of smaller, community-based mental
health facilities.
Decentralized community mental
health centers have worked well for
many patients, who have been able
to reunite with their families or seek
employment while keeping their condi-
tions in check with the aid of psychiatric
drugs. But the drugs didn't work for all
patients.
Those patients, and patients who
stopped taking their drugs after being
released or who couldn't afford them,
have often fared poorly outside men-
tal hospitals. Many of the mentally ill
have ended up in prison; others have
become homeless. A recent survey by
the Washtenaw Housing Alliance found
that 42 percent of homeless people
interviewed reported suffering from a
mental illness.
Thanks to the new drugs, many
patients were discharged from men-
tal hospitals. Across the nation, state
officials dealing with budget shortfalls
noticed that their mental hospitals were
operating at less than full capacity and
that Medicaid didn't reimburse them for
care in mental hospitals anyway, so they
began to close them.
In Michigan, Gov. John Engler sought
to cut state spending on mental health.
Under Engler, State Mental Health
Director James Haveman Jr. sought to
close all the state's mental hospitals.
Ypsilanti State Hospital - by now
renamed Ypsilanti Regional Psychiatric
Hospital - was one of the first to go,
closed in 1991. Of the state's original 28
mental hospitals, only three for adults
and one for children remain in opera-
tion today.
A small portion at the back of Ypsi-
lanti State Hospital, ringed with barbed
wire, remained in use as the Center for
See HOSPITAL, page 16B

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The Michigan Daily -

12B - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 29, 2005

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