Articles and Essays, Kettle-Cooked Epaulets

Behavioral Health by Brainwashing and Horror [draft]

A Lit Review of the Exposing of the (For-Profit) Teen “Help” Programs

Concern from a friend over the shock tactic and lack of large study sources for this Cracked article on troubled teen treatment programs prompts me to surf from that starting point, with my magnifying glass out.

My summary response to statistics for sourcing is to put in a plug for Qualitative Analysis of Narratives and Interviews.  That covered, . . . .

It looks to me like that Cracked article is a personal experience account. Granted, it is an essay written with some emotional rhetoric including sarcasm and maybe some sensationalism, it is a “sensationalist” (horror) story she’s been through. Also, the links are more “legit” articles, like “causing . . . [teens’] . . .problems _TO_WORSEN_” leads to a Washington Post article (though hasn’t that top newspaper has had a few of its own issues?) by the author of the book “Help at Any Cost: How the Troubled-Teen Industry Cons Parents and Hurts Kids,” journalist Maia Szalavitz.  Several of the articles linked to are stories based on the book or the findings of the book, including the Vice.com article the next link at “_MY_STORY_IS_NOT_UNIQUE_,” but this article also includes quotes from new interviews with not only author Maia Szalavitz, but also a former teen sufferer of one of the programs.

I followed a link from this article about the 6 deaths in the past 8 years ( D: ) at programs under Aspen Education, one of the main, for-profit companies behind many of these teen “rehabs.”   A Salon article “Dark Side of a Bain Success” proved very comprehensive–and the finding of the for-profit political torture goes all the way to the top. Beware, more information into these programs and their far- and high-reaching backing by former and candidate Republican presidents just makes the reader sicker.  TRIGGER WARNING if you’ve had a negative teen, or adult addiction, rehab program experience.

What’s even sadder, though, is that the Wikipedia article on Aspen Education DOES NOT CONTAIN MENTION OF THIS CRITICISM or even links to it, and only mentions ONE of the young people who died in their “care,” of those SIX teen deaths!  Let’s change that!
In fact, the “Criticism” section on the Wikipedia page is actually self-serving to Aspen Education and their programs, critiquing the fact that programs were closed and staff switched, without mentioning why, because of the consequence of interrupting the continuity of a treatment plan–in fact, therefore, promoting sub-textually that the centers not be investigated or shut down . . . when this is exactly what the real critics are calling for!
(c) Copyright Sabri Sky January 18, 2014

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Fiction or so, Kettle-Cooked Epaulets

Go Ahead and Fuck the Middle Class [rough draft]

My mother doesn’t really have any friends. It makes me so sad.
She’s always just been raising children, then working, and working and working and working, and never had any money to go out and do anything. And middle class people just look down on it, don’t understand at all a life of taking the bus home, of never, literally NEVER being able to go to a movie late, because there aren’t any buses when it’s over, and a cab is too expensive, it’s not worth it, especially after shelling out for a movie.
That’s how her whole life is, ALL of life. It’s not just like, “oh, it’s kinda expensive,” it’s like, you just *never* get to do anything like that.  So she just never does anything on Sunday. Cause there are no buses.  Anyplace she ever went on Sunday, ever, she walked to.
She never goes out on Saturday night, because she could not get home, because the buses stop at 6:30pm on Saturday.
So–if you’ve  been raising 3 children as a single mother, on $400 a month, for 15 years
how are you gonna get started meeting people to make friends, with limitations like you can just never go out on Saturday night or all day Sunday, period.
(Sunday unless it is close enough and/or the weather is not too hot and not too cold and not too windy and you don’t have to carry a lot, cause you’ll have to walk back.)
I’m afraid that you would just never be seen with us; you would just be totally humiliated to even be seen with us.
When i go “shopping with my mother” last night–we go to Goodwill.
We take a bus, that we have to wait 45 minutes for, then walk some, in the poor neighborhood (that i grew up in and my mother lived in until June)
then we skimp and scrounge because my mother *does not even buy full price clothes at Goodwill*  without budgeting and worry and regret; she has a limit, and very often refuses to buy anything that’s not the half-price sale color tag.
We are both wearing a knapsack, chock full of whatever we had to carry that day–an extra sweater or jacket, a flashlight for *walking* home when it’s dark, an umbrella, plastic containers and baggies from carrying lunch with you.   And we are also each carrying another bag, also from whatever we had to carry that day: my mother also has her purse from work, like a “normal” female coming from work.
So, we walk around in our bulky coats to protect from the cold and wind, since it’s fall now, and our knapsacks, and i’m so happy to be wearing the purple striped cloth backpack you got me. And we’re wearing hats and scarves before anybody around is, that is, before in the season or time of year, because they all are only out walking from their fucking cars to the door of the store, 50 feet through the parking lot, and it hardly even affects them whether it’s 60 degrees and sunny or 40 degrees and a little windy.  They do things like “toss a hoodie into the backseat of the car”
whereas our entire regimen changes, and the amount that you’re carrying
And we also have to think of WHAT ELSE WE NEED TO WEAR AND CARRY for
FOR WHEN IT GETS DARK AND COLDER
because we will still be out that late, to get home, taking the bus.
My entire life except for the one year i drove with my rich bitch daddy’s girl ex-girlfriend, I have lived like that
… by the time I finally get home after taking two buses in the cold, and now it’s dark, and I had to walk home from the bus stop or to the bus stop a quarter of a mile from wherever i was, and therefore had to bring with me a flashlight and an extra sweater, and a scarf and a hat and an umbrella since they said there’s a 40% chance of rain. . .
by the time i get home– you have been home an hour and a half
had supper
taken a shower
started your homework /
watched a tv show
It is 9:30pm.
I am just getting home
from the activity or store that I went to at 5:30pm.
But you went there right after school, at 4pm.
For 20 minutes of shopping, or turning in some paperwork form to a business or office, I have to leave at 2:30pm     to catch a bus at 2:48pm
then i get dowtown (bus interchange) at 3:15pm
and the next bus, the bus i have to transfer to,       doesn’t come until 4pm
so I have to wait downtown.
And, i have to wait doing nothing, because i don’t have any money to do anything. I can’t go to a cafe, because it costs money to spend $4 just for waiting for the bus, on a drink.
So–you’d better make sure you have a book to read with you! Something else to carry.
And you just sit there, with all the middle school kids from the Black neighborhood.
Then the bus finally comes, at 4pm, and it gets to where I need to go at 4:21pm.
I have to RUSHHH from the bus stop to make sure i get there, in the door before 4:30 pm, when they *close early to avoid rush hour traffic*
Then when I turn in the paperwork, I take it out of my backpack–which the snooty lady behind the desk in high fucking heels in the middle of winter scowls at because it’s considered unprofessional–
and when i take the paperwork out of my backpack, some liquid slime from my lunch that i am also carrying, and have been carrying walking around bouncing around all day in my backpack…. has leaked onto the folder, and it smells like sour tuna fish and mayonnaise.
The lady behind the counter wrinkles her nose into a pucker tighter than a WASP’s asshole, and says, down her nose, “Don’t get that on our counter!”
So, I have to let the folder drip onto their floor, take out my paperwork, and hand it to her.   She says, “Oh, a such and such form. Let me see if Larry’s still in, he processes these–he usually gets them from the mail room.”
Then she turns and asks someone else, Did the mail room intern ever bring the batch to Larry?
She turns to me and says, You should’ve just mailed it.
I look down at the piece of paper in my hand. In bold letters on the top the instructions remain the same as they did when I received the form: MONEY ORDERS MUST BE HAND DELIVERED.   “But it says it has to be turned in in person…” I tell her, my face becoming a little knotted in confusion, and ….
trying not to let it be visible how my stomach is also turning and twisting into knots and my ears turning hot.
“Oh, no no no nonono, that’s just what it says on there,” she says.  Then she tosses her head back and forth like she were trying to burrow her nose farther into Charlton Heston’s behind.

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