Thursday, 21 May 2015

The St. Aloysius Mercy Lodge Charity Mental Hospital Long-Term Secure Care & Moral Re-Education Unit For Wayward Girls Deemed Mentally Incompetent

Hi Folks!  Blindingly sunny here, so I SHOULD be in a good mood.  Well, sort of I am, in a way.  But I am about to take the middle daughter on a shopping spree in the Stratford (East London) Westfield Centre mall for her birthday – and that’s gonna cost a bomb (oops!  Shouldn’t put that in case it gets picked up by the security service’s filter) OK! It’s gonna cost a kidney then! (Oh lord! Now it sounds like I’m trying to sell a kidney).   

But the REAL thing troubling me (vexing me – as they say around these parts) is that I’ve ended up spending practically ALL DAY knocking out THIS thing, when I SHOULD have been updating the website, having started out pulling together some material to update The Original Institute Website (which I’ve begun struggling with some technical issues with theses last few days).  

 Trouble is, I came across a couple of nursey pictures and I have no bloody control!  I also should have been writing AND doing something for Roger Benson and a zillion other things which have fallen by the wayside…Oh well!  I’m off out shopping.  And perhaps some good will come out of it if it stimulates a few imaginations and so on… Eh?
THE ST. ALOYSIUS MERCY LODGE CHARITY MENTAL HOSPITAL LONG-TERM SECURE CARE & MORAL RE-EDUCATION UNIT FOR WAYWARD GIRLS DEEMED MENTALLY INCOMPETENT.  It all comes down to who judges what.  Who decides what constitutes mentally incompetent?  Who is it called upon to decide what it is that defines ‘wayward’ behaviour?  That was both the weakness and the strength (depending on which side of the barred windows you happen to be on) of some of those old Church-run establishments way back.  But given the assumption this is some real residential experimental psychology investigation our heroine has stumbled into, what then fascinates me is the power of labels, not only in governing how others treat her – including those she is mixing with as well as those in authority – but also in affecting how she begins to feel about herself and the affect that has in turn on her ability to stand up for herself and battle against the repression and disciplinary zeal of the system she has become tangled up in.   


Anonymous said...

Should there be a private court to decide these matters? Young women accused of serious crimes such as masturbation could be brought for trial and sentance to very long periods of incarseration and treatment.

Toyntanen said...

Absolutely not! As soon as officialdom becomes involved there is raised thorny issues such as human rights, ethics, moral questions and so on; all those stumbling block which once were so easily sidestepped by greasing a palm or two with the dirty lucre. That is why it is so tempting to revisit the Victorian period when writing of such things.

But that does not mean some sort of unofficial kangaroo court run by concerned private individuals might not be be conviened behind the high walls and bolted doors of an old-time church-run 'industrial school', workhouse or charity home for wayward girls and young women in moral peril.

This is a subject which has actualy been tackled in mainstream cinema believe it or not. If possible check out a movie going by the name 'House of Whipcord' (circa 1973 I think) by the British film company, Hammer, best known for their horror films (which I guess it kind of is). Be warned though: it has a snuff ending, which is kind of a shame.

Anonymous said...

A kangaroo court, run by like minded individuals who approve of the rigorous institutionalisation and discipline of young women would be a fantastic idea! I hope the members of the cort would have many original and highly punative ideas to apply to those unfortunate young women who appear befor it.

vlad said...

Like you say at the bottom of the image, it does sound like the premise of Institutionalized, I'm sure there is plenty of scope for fresh exploration into reform and punishment. Just please publish something soon, it has been a long spell between books. Personally I think a story based on this institution and a girl declared retarded could be great, as could the home based treatment or the kidnapping.

imreadonly2 said...

One of the delicious ironies of these situations is that they are so devilishly difficult to change, as the whistle-blowers can so easily end up ensnared in the very system they wish to reform.

Dr. Elizabeth Howell was an up-and-coming star until she took it upon herself to file a formal protest of the conditions at St. Aloysius. Lest the hospital be slandered the clerk forwarded the documents to Judge Raptor, who immediately ordered Dr. Howell committed for 30 days of observation.

Adjudicated insane, stripped of her medical license, and with her possessions auctioned off to pay for her care, our dear little Lizzy nows spends her days changing other patients diapers, scrubbing floors, toilets, and bedpans, and using her charms to attempt to convince the very Doctors she tried to defrock that she no longer requires regular doses of corporal punishment & electroshock therapy.

Toyntanen said...

There is quite a bit of milage to be had there, but as I said to the previous correspondent, it has been done before as a plot device. Check out that film I mentioned as a good example, especialy as related to 'moral wealfare'.

Toyntanen said...

Hi Vlad. Yeah, very much inspired by INSTITUTIONALISED Volume 1. But the labling aspect is more related to the events depicted in volume 3. Do remember though that the premis was related to a behavioural psychology experiment at least part of which is based around the effects of pre-expectation on the interaction between protagonists, i.e the way an inmate may be treated or an authoriatarian's attitude to her based on what that person has been led to believe and the effect that treatment in turn has on the subject, whether that pre-expectation be based on overt labling such as suggested by this image or something subtler and more covert such as the way she is dressed.

Toyntanen said...

Hi 'imreadonly2'

I quite like this idea, although it has been done before. The problem that always arrises in such scenarios is when the subject is missed and the search and investigation begins. How to cover the paper trail, make the dogs lose the scent.

But OMG! That name you chose, old chap! Scary! Frighteningly close to my supervisor on one of my master's degrees (yeah, I've got more than one - and you can probably guess one based on what I wrote about eating disorders in response to a comment left on that compulsory weight gain piece I wrote a while back).

imreadonly2 said...

In the science Fiction movie FROM BEYOND a “girl wonder” female psychiatrist contemptuous of the barbaric treatment of mental patients becomes involved with these inter-dimensional creatures that kill everyone. The police cheerfully chuck her in the asylum under the care of an older female doctor she had openly scorned in the opening scenes, leading to his classic exchange:

DETECTIVE: She’s in your custody now.

PATIENT: No, no, no! You can’t lock me up! Not here. PleaZZZZZE!

DOCTOR BLOCK: I can’t do much with her in this agitated state, she’ll upset the other patients.

DETECTIVE: Do whatever you think best.

Doctor Block smiles sadistically as the Detective leaves.

PATIENT: Doctor Block, please! You know that I’m sorry for everything that I’ve done. You have got to let me…

DOCTOR BLOCK: Don’t tell me what I have got to do, girl wonder! You always have all the answers, don’t you? You’re my patient now, and I got a few answers myself. (To the nurse) Prepare her for electroshock therapy.

NURSE: But Doctor Block! Hospital policy dictates...

DOCTOR BLOCK: Hospital policy dictates that the nursing staff should follow orders.

NURSE: Yes, Doctor.

A bit far fetched, but I love the scenario. You can see this at the 54 minute mark on Youtube.