I, Dalton Lewis, turned on the television for a few minutes the other day. The Flash, a CW hit show, aired one of its episodes — a part of a five-parter. The Flash started out talking to a redheaded man who said that reality might be destroyed. This is something that is mentioned way too often in these stories, and it should be used sparingly. Nevertheless, this red-headed man warned the Flash that the Flash himself might destroy reality and therefore has to die. The Flash refuses to believe that he would be capable of such a misdeed and asks for some details. That’s when it happened.
The Flash is told he will descend into madness and destroy reality.
This is the second time this year I’ve had this rant. The first time was after I read the book about Konrad Kurze: Night Haunter. This is the most common trope about mental illness, that mentally ill people destroy reality or blow up planets or poison the water supply or blow up the hospital or try to blow up the ferries or work for the Joker.
The idea: the Flash will destroy reality if he descends into madness. Well, writers, my name is Dalton Lewis, and I am a mentally ill person, and I’ve destroyed zero realities. I don’t even want to destroy reality. I like reality. Reality has a lot of wonderful people in it, and I would never want to hurt them. Come to think of it — I don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t like violence in the real world at all.
The Flash had a number of strong seasons of television. I thought that the character of Barry Allen was a smart, strong young geek who wanted to save lives and do the right thing. I liked that. I liked that the CW was willing to have a show with a positive outlook on the world and a character who was a geek who could fight. I was glad that he wasn’t someone like the MCU characters who were all clever and successful and dominated their professions and their fields. He was more of a humble forensics tech, and that was a refreshing change. He liked a girl who was with someone else, and he couldn’t tell her that he was the Flash, and that caused some tension.
They had a season where an alternate Barry Allen was the bad guy — it was a shock to see Barry as the villain. I didn’t like it. This Barry, however, didn’t destroy reality or anything like that. No, in the current Armageddon storyline, Barry succumbs to mental illness and the world ends.
I’m disappointed. This is three prominent storylines in which the mental health crisis leads to a mentally ill person causing massive destruction. In Batman Begins, Jonathan Crane poisons the water supply to cause chaos and anarchy. He is the nut running the nuthouse. He is a mentally ill psychiatrist who uses fear gas to spread chaos and anarchy. I’m a mentally ill person, and I don’t try to spread it to anyone. I don’t think that people try to torture people just because of a mental illness.
If you look at the overall Batman mythos there are a lot of crazy bad guys. In the Dark Knight there’s a guy who’s a schizophrenic. That’s the kind of mind that works for the Joker, according to Batman. Also Harvey Dent decides to flip a coin to decide if someone lives or dies. He is clearly in need of help. The Joker is an anarchist who — in the movie called Joker — is clearly a mentally-ill, struggling citizen of Gotham City. He turns into a villain because society demeans and forgets and insults him.
In the Konrad Kurze story the character is a crazy person who loves to cause fear and chaos and is a chaos space marine — a space marine who worships daemons. He knows the future and this causes him to collapse under the weight of knowing what will happen to him. Also he destroys a planet because he’s just evil. The mentally ill guy is just evil.
Barry Allen has to fight to not become a mentally ill person, or he’ll destroy the planet, too, or all of reality. Mentally ill people destroy reality in these stories. This is such fucked-up bullshit. It just shows ignorance and fear. I’m a mentally ill person who’s never intentionally hurt anyone. I don’t want to destroy anything. I want to help and support people.