One of the many chants heard outside of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s campaign headquarters before the Iranian presidential election was “Doctor boro Doctor,” which means “Go to the doctor, Doctor.” This chant refers to Ahmadinejad as its subject (“Doctor” because he has a PhD in civil engineering), and it suggests that he see a doctor, namely, a psychiatrist, to get his head checked.
I’m the last person to take any mental health issues lightly, as I’ve had more than my fair share. But when it comes to racking up crazy points, Dr. Ahmadinejad wins the prize. And how am I qualified to make this assessment, you might ask. Well, as an outspoken advocate for those with bipolar disorder (A.K.A. myself), I know a thing or two about insanity.
One of the few benefits of having completely lost your mind is that you can spot crazy a mile away. Or in this case, thousands of miles away thanks to the wonders of technology. Not only can you spot it moreover, but you can also learn to distinguish some of the many distinct flavors of madness. There’s the blue-raspberry flavor, for example: the kind that makes sense only to the person tasting it but baffles all those around her, watching in awe and revulsion as her tongue and lips turn an unearthly shade of blue. Then there’s the lemon-lime variety that leaves no visible stains but can wreak havoc on the psychological pH. And of course, there are the countless even weirder permutations: kiwi-strawberry, cranapple-grape, pineapple-mango, açaí-pomegranate. And forget about all the other peculiar combinations that pass for “punch.”
So, where does Ahmadinejad fit in this rainbow of fruit flavors? Well, from the looks of things, he’s got his hands in every color, and they’re starting to bleed. Perhaps if we try to sort out each hue, we can begin to understand this mutant and learn from him.
The most prominent shade of insanity in Ahmadinejad’s current arsenal of ingredients is psychopathy, a term that has as of late lost favor with much of the medical community. The preferred term today, as identified in the bible of psychiatric diagnoses known as the DSM-IV, is “antisocial personality disorder.” This new label, no matter how politically correct, however, is highly misleading. I mean, I hate most people and don’t particularly enjoy socializing—does that mean I have antisocial personality disorder?
Dr. Ahmadinejad might like people and love parties, but he clearly enjoys torture and bloodshed as well. I would argue that the latter traits are more diagnostically significant than the former ones. There has to be some sort of bright-line rule that separates the misanthrope from the murderer.
Thus, I propose that the medical community move to formally and exclusively resurrect the term psychopath where the honor is due, if only for basic public health and safety purposes. If someone is identified as a psychopath, then people immediately know what they’re dealing with. No conscience, no sense of morality, and little, if any, impulse control.
“Antisocial personality disorder” just doesn’t sound like what it means, and as a writer, this annoys me. The beauty of a label like “psychopath” is that it evokes such strong and immediate associations. As Iranians today, perhaps our closest associations with the word “psychopath” are now Ahmadinejad and Khamenei, and I would argue that the title is well-deserved. As they continue their campaign of terror, they are earning new and even more appropriate titles by the day, and none have yet come close to capturing the ever-widening spectrum of insanity that has come to define these leaders’ motivations.
Ahmadinejad is now being called AhmaGHInejad and Ayatollah Khamenei is now being called AyaKHOLlah Khamenei. In Farsi, “ahmagh” means imbecile and “khol” means fool. They are certainly living up to these monikers and far surpassing them. To be stupid, sick and foolish is unfortunate. But to be violent and homicidal is a recipe for retribution. Many Iranians, including myself, would have more remorse for killing a fruit fly than they would, say, for killing either Khamenei or Ahmadinejad today. But not so fast. Maybe we can capitalize on Iranians’ respect and aptitude for research and medicine and apply some of the lessons of science’s dear drosophila here.
There is no psychiatric drug as of yet that can cure a psychopath. But why not begin to research the possibilities of creating one with these two gentlemen as our first human subjects? I can think of no two finer specimens for such a study, and I have no doubt that the Iranian medical community would happily allow them to contribute to the field of medicine in this small way until they do us all the honor of departing this earth.