Geoff Reaume speaks out against lobotomy billboard
09/30/2007 03:23 PM
Letter to the Editor<Notes://simcoe/85256ECB006C34F5/5B7A35CC2BB6B3B385256EEE004596DC/396D821D6EB050768525736600686FA7>Link
Lobotomy. For some people this word is a joke. Like the people who put up a billboard across from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health on Queen Street West during Nuit Blanche this past weekend. The ad offered a “Quick Lobotomy”, gave a phoney address linked to the name of the neurologist who developed it in 1935, and placed their office location near “Rosemary Kennedy Subway Stn”. Rosemary Kennedy, the sister of the future president, had a lobotomy instigated by her father when she was 24, which robbed her of a life that people like those who put up the billboard can only take for granted. In Ontario between 1941-67, at least 1000 people had lobotomies inflicted upon them. Some of them lived at the facility directly across the street from where this grotesque billboard was placed. The message and location of this billboard is as repellent as if an ad had been placed making a “joke” out of violence against women directly across from a women’s shelter. It is designed to hurt and insult an already marginalized group – in this case people in a psychiatric facility – who have historically been discriminated against by those who would laugh at such a message. I happen to have met two people who had lobotomies, one of whom had been a young woman at 999 Queen Street West when she was forcibly lobotomized in the 1950s. Her life was devastated by this barbaric “treatment”. Lobotomy is no more of a joke than any other act of violence. Those people who created this billboard, along with the billboard company that made money from it, contribute in their cruel way to attacking the personal integrity and humanity of people who are among the most discriminated members of our community. Some joke.
Critical Disability Studies Graduate Program
416-736-2100, ext. 22058