Amanda Bynes, Robin Williams, and the Spectacle of Mental Illness

Mental illness is not funny when it happens to your sister, your friend, your parents; why the french toast is it funny when it happens to celebrities?! Robin Williams was and is probably still being mourned, but Amanda Bynes? Well, for one thing we don’t know that she legitimately has been diagnosed with anything, and for two she’s not dead yet, so it’s funny, right? No. Wrong.

Let's Queer Things Up!

Internet, we need to have a talk.

I’ve had a number of readers ask why I’ve neglected to write about Amanda Bynes this last year. It’s simple, really. I don’t believe that celebrities are “fair game,” and that, when they have very human and very difficult struggles, I should capitalize on those things by writing an article, however well-intentioned. I believe they are deserving of privacy and respect, by virtue of their being people.

However, I’m making an exception here, because in the midst of the negative and callous press that Bynes has received, I think it’s time we had a chat about it from a different perspective. And then, after we’re done, I think it’s time we stop speculating about it altogether. Deal?

First and foremost, there is no way for us to know what, if anything, Bynes has been diagnosed with. The family has denied schizophrenia and bipolar…

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