When It's Crazy.

As my child gets, ever so slightly, older and wiser (not necessarily for the better), the demands of language become more pronounced. About four or five months ago, she started using the word “crazy” to describe certain things that don’t quite make sense or aren’t right or are, in general, outside the normal scope of daily affairs. For instance, she might say that “that guy looks crazy” because he’s wearing a large red hat. I know she got this from me and a few other select sources, because I would say something similar, probably ironically.
It’s the other sources that I wonder about. Television and other communication mechanisms use the words “crazy,” “insane,” “ridiculous,” “loony,” “nuts” to describe things that don’t make sense and “nut job,” “nut ball,” “loony tune,” “dumby,” “dumb-head,” “dumb-ass,” “stoopid,” “crazy ass,” “shit head,” “shit for brains,” “lunatic,” “mad hatter,” “crackpot,” “crazy,” “crackhead,” or “bonzo” to describe people that don’t make sense.
I wonder where all of this stems from. The Surrealists, who were essentially shoved under Magritte’s umbrella by popular culture, were highly attuned to questions of mental stability, insanity and its cousin, inanity. For the Surrealists, culture was a kind of submission to our dreams and mental disabilities, our nightmares and fears. I remember reading, many years ago, that Breton believed that our real lives are lived in our dreams; I believed him. It could be said that all good artistry is a recognition of the surreal, or the components of life that are not easily explained and it was really the Surrealists that brought this gift to us.
Going back to our need to call things “crazy,” I wonder if the increased use of the word and its synonyms has to do with the super-rationalized, hyper-realistic, and over-informed world we inhabit. Capitalism, in all of its glory, has taken those living in the West for a linear ride of structured living. From Ikea to Microsoft, the object is to partition and contain and enhance and support—not to combine, expand, destroy and deny, which is what crazy people do.