Petitioners want Thorpe Park to shut down "asylum" attraction

Posted Tuesday, October 22, 2013 9:04 AM | Contributed by Jeff

The Asylum maze has been part of Thorpe Park's annual Fright Nights for more than eight years. Campaigners claim having actors chasing people around an asylum stigmatizes mental illness.

Read more from The BBC.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013 12:44 PM

Really?! Again?!

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013 7:20 PM

Yeah, this is a repeat of the Cedar Point thing from a few years ago. My thinking has come around on it a bit. People with mental illness were once caged, essentially, instead of treating it like a disease. That's pretty weird. I could almost see it as paying homage to a less enlightened era, but I probably fall in the camp of not appropriate anymore. I've seen too much depression, bipolar disorder, etc., to be OK with it.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013 11:03 PM

Oh, this is for real? I didn't read the article, but just assumed from the title (and park) that this was another publicity stunt.

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013 11:41 PM

With so many stunts, how can anyone tell the difference?

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013 6:52 PM

I work right next to the lady who spear-headed the campaign against Cedar Point's attraction.

As a therapist and someone who has overcome my own mental illness (panic disorder) and someone who teaches quite a bit about the historical and modern perspectives on this stuff, it's not OK in my book.

My argument is always the same on this issue. There are so very many avenues one can take in terms of a haunted house (i.e., vampires, ghosts, zombies, movie villains, etc.) that don't offend a particular group of people quite blatantly, why keep choosing this? Just to be stubborn? Just because you can?

I'm not an overtly "PC" person by any stretch of the imagination, and perhaps it's because this topic just hits home, but I just don't get it when there are endless other ideas/options to use.

John H. was actually very kind in the dialogue he provided Tammy Daily (the psychologist who works alongside me) with regards to Cedar Point. She's much, much more passionate about the issue than I am, but I support it.

Last edited by OhioStater, Wednesday, October 23, 2013 7:04 PM
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013 7:18 PM

I wonder if you could still do "asylum" style attractions, but by adjusting the plot a bit. Instead of being terrorized by escaped patients or what have you, have the visitors experience the horrible abuse asylums have inflicted on patients in the past. I don't think most horror events can pull off such subtle differences, though, so maybe it's best just to move on from the entire concept.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013 8:45 PM

I'm of two minds on this.

On the one hand -- mind? -- I think that Thorpe Park should be able to put on the attractions and their guests should be able to partake, or not, as they choose.

On the other, as someone who has spent time in a psychiatric ward, this is probably not a haunt I'd want to enter.

I guess Sagretti is right: err on the side of caution.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013 9:36 PM

Well I happen to agree. The Washington Redskins have a right to keep that name. Parks should have a right to put on an asylum-based attraction if they choose. Chick-Fil-A has a right to not be open on Sundays, and their owner has a right to be a bigot. None of this crap we get our panties in a bunch about are illegal, nor should they be.

That said, I certainly wouldn't make that choice "If I ran the Park"...and if it was called to my attention, I would at least try to listen to the voice of reason and find a compromise, or god forbid, change my position altogether.

I think Cedar Point actually did a great job of listening to a very loud voice of the public who were offended.

If you're wondering how powerful the stigma of mental illness is, chew on this; the average adult who suffers from depression waits 8 - 9 years before seeking help. 8 - 9 years. The main reason? Stigma.

That said, does Thorpe Park have a right to do it? Sure. Does it shape my impression of how they run their park? Yep. Does anyone else care? Probably not. :)

Last edited by OhioStater, Wednesday, October 23, 2013 9:37 PM
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013 9:57 PM

Jeff said:

I could almost see it as paying homage to a less enlightened era, but I probably fall in the camp of not appropriate anymore. I've seen too much depression, bipolar disorder, etc., to be OK with it.

Yes, and Snow White stigmatizes little people because it depicts them all as fat, ugly, and with big noses.

It's fiction. It's not real. People can understand the difference between mental illness and a theme park attraction.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013 10:26 PM

You need to work on your analogies.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:01 PM

Just to stir the pot:

OhioStater said:

I'm not an overtly "PC" person by any stretch of the imagination, and perhaps it's because this topic just hits home, but I just don't get it when there are endless other ideas/options to use.

I bet most "overtly PC people" assume they are in this camp.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:32 PM

Sorry if I missed it, but what camp? Not really feeling stirred. :)

Last edited by OhioStater, Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:34 PM
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:35 PM

OhioStater said:

Sorry if I missed it, but what camp? Not really feeling stirred. :)

The camp of "I'm not PC. I just get tweaked by this one issue." I don't think anyone goes around saying, "I'm super PC!"

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:35 PM
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:42 PM

I guess I don't think in such black and white terms. I said I'm not overtly PC. On certain issues would I fit in that category? I suppose so, but I also preach the gospel of South Park with regards to everyone being open to scrutiny, including my own beliefs.

I don't walk on eggshells with regards to what I think is right, but I'm sure I have opinions that fit the current mold of what is PC, which is constantly in flux.

What a fun tangent. :) No matter who you are, I would certainly hope there are some issues that you care about enough to try to change the society you live in to make it a better place. The trick is not being a dick when you go about that process.

Last edited by OhioStater, Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:51 PM
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Thursday, October 24, 2013 12:18 AM

On a somewhat related note, it seems that Universal Studios Hollywood has canceled Bill and Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure for the remainder of the event due to concerns about offensive content.

Last edited by TimChat2, Thursday, October 24, 2013 2:27 AM
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Thursday, October 24, 2013 3:28 AM

That's disappointing, Bill and Ted was the best thing Horror Nights has going for it when I visited a few years ago.

As for the asylum stuff, actual history wasn't all that different from what many of these attractions are depicting. Does that mean it should be depicted? I don't know. I have no problem with it, but then again, I can't recall a time when I was ever offended by anything, so I'm probably not the best person to ask.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013 8:58 AM

After reviewing the article in TimChat2's link I can see where I might've found it offensive.

Somebody out there in Hollywood, of all places, wasn't thinking clearly. I imagine shows like this are written for the teen/young adult demographic, and especially these days, a scene like that conveys the wrong message. Funny how that scene might've been just fine, hilarious even, five years ago.

I'm surprised they didn't do a quick re-write rather than close the entire show. Bill and Ted's More Correct Halloween Adventure.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013 9:15 AM

bjames said:
Yes, and Snow White stigmatizes little people because it depicts them all as fat, ugly, and with big noses.

That's the stupidest analogy you could ever make. Really?

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Thursday, October 24, 2013 9:46 AM

That Bill and Ted sketch reaches pretty high levels of "What were they thinking?" I'd let a few gay jokes slide, but that's just a giant ball of nasty stereotypes. Essentially, Superman's gay now, so he's weak, useless, and sex crazed. I'm shocked they couldn't re-write that rather than cancel the whole show. How hard is it to come up with a plot point other than make Superman a negative gay stereotype? Heck, it'd be more funny if Superman got hit with the gay ray (ugh), said "I like guys now, so what?," and proceeded to beat everyone up anyway.

Last edited by Sagretti, Thursday, October 24, 2013 9:49 AM
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