Wednesday, September 19, 2007

September 19: Frances Farmer (1913-1970)

If a person is treated like a patient, they are apt to act like one.

--American actress Frances Farmer, born on this date in 1913, in Seattle, Washington.

Farmer was in and out of mental hospitals for much of the 1940s. She was originally committed on the basis on erratic behavior that was caused primarily by alcoholism. I didn't realize that the most sensational later accounts of her treatment have been debunked: there is apparently no credible evidence that she was ever subjected to a lobotomy, although biographies and the film Frances (1982) depict that event as a biographical fact.

4 comments:

Sara said...

Wow! I had no idea about the debunking, either. Amazing catalog of errors/lies you've linked to there. Really amazing, and as the author points out, so easily avoided.

Thank you.

And now I'm thinking about this in connection with the next carnival. The flipside of the supercrip is the sensationalized victim. Either/or seems to be the default understanding of disability in our culture, too, which naturally excludes any possibility of a sense of range or inclusiveness.

Paul Mc said...

She did not in fact receive a lobotomy but was in fact subject to electroshock therapy against her will.

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