Join 3,556 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Massive Head Trauma: It's what's for breakfast
May 12, 2009 10:29 AM   Subscribe

Mental illness and doughnuts do not mix. Psycho Donuts in Campbell, California takes donuts "to the next demented level." Mental health advocates are not enthusiastic. The store itself comes with nurses, a padded cell and "group therapy" area. offerings include the Massive Head Trauma, a jelly donut with red filling oozing from the side and the Bipolar, half nuts and half coconut topping. The shop's owners respond to the controversy.
posted by otherwordlyglow (143 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Annoying protesters. Some of those donuts look delicious, especially Manic Malt.

Why can't I have a psycho donut, like a normal human being?
posted by adipocere at 10:33 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


You know, speaking from my expertise of being a donut, donuts mix well with everything.

Seems to me if people lightened up a bit, developed a sense of humor and had a donut, there would be less mental illness in the world.

Just saying. Tempest teapot and not even with a lovely donut.
posted by eatdonuts at 10:34 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I dunno, horizontal-scrolling sites definitely drive me bugfuck crazy.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:36 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Imagine a shop that made fun of cancer; it wouldn't be funny."

...or as scrumptiously appetizing.
posted by HumanComplex at 10:37 AM on May 12, 2009


The loa are so totally coming for these guys.
posted by dersins at 10:37 AM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


I would like to protest the design of their website.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:38 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


God I hate the PC police. If nothing else, I hope this drives business to the donut shop.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:40 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Cancer doesn't have nearly as many puns.
posted by I Foody at 10:41 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


It puts the sprinkles on the donut or else it gets the glaze again.
posted by mattdidthat at 10:41 AM on May 12, 2009 [45 favorites]


The massive head trauma one doesn't actually fit the theme well, though I do want to eat one.
posted by ORthey at 10:41 AM on May 12, 2009


Company thinks of marketing angle. MetaFilter falls for it. Film at 11.
posted by DU at 10:41 AM on May 12, 2009


Do they just call the "original" a Phineas Gage. 'Cause they should.
posted by rosswald at 10:42 AM on May 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


Attacking this would have been ballsier....
posted by zarq at 10:43 AM on May 12, 2009


"Imagine a shop that made fun of cancer; it wouldn't be funny."

Well, not if run by humorless killjoys like you, Brian Miller. By the way, don't you have some cartoons to protest? Between Looney Tunes and Krazy Kat, you should have your hands full for a while.
posted by explosion at 10:43 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


People who protest the name of this business are stupid and, dareIsay, crazy. There, I said it.

However, poor English cannot be forgiven. In their blog response, they said "irregardless." Therefore, they must die.
posted by Edgewise at 10:43 AM on May 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


You know what drives me crazy? Using "irregardless" instead of "regardless":

North Korea is testing their Nuclear muscle; our economy is at the brink of disaster. Go find a donut shop you like, or focus your concerns on something other than two guys trying to sell donuts. But irregardless -- the crowds of people who have a sense of humor will keep coming...

Also, what's with this:

People come in and openly tell us about their own stories of life with bipolar disorder; they even order a bipolar donut with their voice turning to laughter as they place their order.

I hate to be a PC buzzkill, and I understand Schizo Scones or Bi Polar Bear Claws or whatever is not the biggest problem facing mental health advocates, but this really is one issue that already suffers from a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding. I'm not seeing how being all crazed with a glazed is helping matters much. Just saying.
posted by ornate insect at 10:43 AM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


They could do Survivor's Chocolate Guilt and Post Traumatic Stress Donuts for people coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.
posted by XMLicious at 10:45 AM on May 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


posted by rosswald Do they just call the "original" a Phineas Gage. 'Cause they should.

They could also sell donut holes and call them "Dr. Walter Freemans."
posted by mattdidthat at 10:45 AM on May 12, 2009


All I wanted was a donut! Just a donut! And they wouldn't give it to me!
posted by Joe Beese at 10:46 AM on May 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


I want a crazy donut now. All we have nearby is a Dunkins. Why does life have to be so hard?
posted by Bageena at 10:47 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hope they never meet Crazy Dave.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:47 AM on May 12, 2009


"God I hate the PC police. If nothing else, I hope this drives business to the donut shop."

Amen.

Exaggerated sensitivities run amok. (The last time I wrote that here I was chastised but I think it appropriate and accurate both then and now.)
posted by bz at 10:48 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mental illness and doughnuts do not mix.

Similarly, loneliness and cheeseburgers are a dangerous mix.
posted by The World Famous at 10:48 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Imagine a shop that made fun of cancer; it wouldn't be funny," he said.

Certainly not as funny as a smoothie shop who sells blends like Watermelanoma, Bluekemia, and Chemo Kiwi.
posted by uncleozzy at 10:51 AM on May 12, 2009 [32 favorites]


"Mental illness and doughnuts do not mix."

Oh, I'm pretty sure that doughnuts mix with anything.
posted by camcgee at 10:52 AM on May 12, 2009


Did you guys hear about the donut with bacon in it? It's four kinds of awesome. Read about it here.
posted by Mister_A at 10:54 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


As one who suffers from hemorrhoids, I take objection to all donut shops.
posted by bondcliff at 10:56 AM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


If they sell Post Traumatic Strudel or Munchausen by Chocolatey I'm there.
posted by benzenedream at 10:56 AM on May 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


Imagine a shop that made fun of cancer; it wouldn't be funny

Could be, if all the donuts had hugely long names in Latin, or were named after people, so that you'd have no idea what exactly you were getting when you ordered a Not-Jenkins' Doughnut or an Autoosteopharynguloanterior Sarcoughnut.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:57 AM on May 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


Hertz, donut!
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:57 AM on May 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Exaggerated sensitivities run amok.

Except they're not always exaggerated, or more to the point it's not always clear where the line is to be drawn.

Presumably a taco shop with a lynching-theme or a sandwich shop called "Wife Beating Heroes" would not go over so well. I would submit the current store in question is less obviously in poor taste than those two examples, but I would also venture that that's due at least in part to the fact that we don't really "do" mental illness well in our society.

So maybe there's a middle line between being offended and being all LOLCRAZIES.
posted by ornate insect at 10:57 AM on May 12, 2009 [14 favorites]


All I can say is, only in Campbell.
posted by blucevalo at 10:57 AM on May 12, 2009


Biscotti and I are someday going to move to Nazareth PA where we'll be cheesemongers at Cheeses of Nazareth, located next to our S&M-themed bakery called House of Pain. We won't slice your bread for you, but we will punish it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:58 AM on May 12, 2009 [16 favorites]


My first thoughts when I drove by the shop sign was "edgy, but funny", then I read the local newspaper article about them, where they harassed some young customers by acting "crazy" (har, har) and the rest of their humor seemed generally heavy-handed and plonky (e.g. dress up in a straitjacket for a photo). So I think I'll boycott them on the basis of them making their tasteless jokes badly rather than being tasteless in general.

Shame, since I bet their donuts are actually quite tasty.
posted by mdoar at 10:58 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I want to get married at this donut store, myself. They used to have NyQuil flavor ones til someone had a freakout and made them take it off the menu, as I recall.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:04 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


We won't slice your bread for you, but we will punish it.

Oh geez, now you've gone and reminded me of a friend's kid who was obsessed with using a knife to dig the raisins out of loafs of raisin bread. "Mom, can I torture the bread? Please? Please?"
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:06 AM on May 12, 2009


Northern California needs to take that stick out of its ass.
posted by cazoo at 11:08 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


So maybe there's a middle line between being offended and being all LOLCRAZIES.


That's a reasonable point. What ARE the standards to determine whether something is cheeky versus whether it is legitimately offensive? I don't know if that means this particular case must split the difference, but I'd like to see someone try to define a good line or test to distinguish between oversensitivity and reasonably offended.

Any takers?
posted by Edgewise at 11:08 AM on May 12, 2009


As a Toroidal-American, I, too, take offense at all doughnut shops.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:10 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm afraid I may have to write them and ask about the sushi donut. Because I like sushi, and I like donuts, and either the combination will be fantastic or revolting. I want.

Please, please tell me that they have an unagi variety. I would like so much to have a loop of eel made into a donut.
posted by adipocere at 11:11 AM on May 12, 2009


"Except they're not always exaggerated, or more to the point it's not always clear where the line is to be drawn. "

I agree. That is reasonable. How serious the purveyor of such marketing takes themselves might help establish The Line Which Must Not Be Crossed.
posted by bz at 11:13 AM on May 12, 2009


Everybody needs a gimmick. Especially in this economy.

Also, donuts are good.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:14 AM on May 12, 2009


This would be awesome if it were an hour north, in San Francisco, and it were an oblique Twinkie Defense reference.
posted by gurple at 11:14 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yum! They have donut fries. That's pretty crazy in itself.
posted by Xurando at 11:20 AM on May 12, 2009


Presumably a taco shop with a lynching-theme or a sandwich shop called "Wife Beating Heroes" would not go over so well.

Seattle used to have a tex-mex restaurant, Two Dagos From Texas. yp.yahoo.com would only list the restaurant under the name "Two Dudes From Texas".
posted by nomisxid at 11:26 AM on May 12, 2009


bitter-girl, you know that linking to Voodoo Donuts is to cortex as the bat-signal is to Batman, right?
posted by Mister_A at 11:26 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I like to imagine that the shop owners are genuinely severely mentally ill, and they're trying to convey the horrifying nature of their internal lives to the public, but their mental illness is such that they can only communicate their suffering via the medium of donuts.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:27 AM on May 12, 2009 [30 favorites]


"Crazy" doesn't bother me but "The Bipolar" is coming close. I'm not sure why.

Also: the bacon donut at Voodoo was, sadly, just OK. I think it would have been better warm.
posted by JoanArkham at 11:28 AM on May 12, 2009


posted by gurple This would be awesome if it were an hour north, in San Francisco, and it were an oblique Twinkie Defense reference.

It would be even more awesome if they offered donuts with EXACTLY the same size and amount of sprinkles and called it The Asperger Special.
posted by mattdidthat at 11:29 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


If they did that, mattdidthat, then everyone would think they wanted to have it, some would even swear to their friends on the internet that they had it, but in honesty, only a small percentage would have actually had the Asperger Special.
posted by Mister_A at 11:30 AM on May 12, 2009 [17 favorites]


"Two Dagos From Texas" - Wow! I used to eat lunch there in the early 90s. They had a smoking spicy hot chicken sandwich that I really liked. Haven't thought about that place in years.
posted by bz at 11:34 AM on May 12, 2009


"Crazy" doesn't bother me but "The Bipolar" is coming close. I'm not sure why.

B/c it's trivializing a serious illness.

Our society is still in the dark ages when it comes to dealing with mental health issues, and a lot of the comments on this thread confirm that. I'm not at all an overly sensitive or easily offended PC person, but mental health is an issue that remains misunderstood
posted by ornate insect at 11:34 AM on May 12, 2009 [15 favorites]


There goes my "Extra Chromosome Coffee Shop" idea.
posted by The Deej at 11:35 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Mefites would only be up in arms if this donut shop made fun of their Aspergers.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 11:36 AM on May 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


So why is it that mental illnesses are the only illnesses you can still make fun of?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:37 AM on May 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


I made fun of the food poisoning a friend got after eating some cold cuts that had been sitting out for the better part of a day.
posted by Science! at 11:40 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Do they scoop up the donuts with butterfly nets before giving them to you? When you order, do they use the Socratic Method to determine what you really want in a donut? Do they offer delivery service to those whose acute social anxiety prevents them from leaving the house?

Well, then. They may think they've all Gone There but buddy, these amateurs have a long way to go.




also, I'm nthing the "horrible web design" complaint.
posted by Spatch at 11:43 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


The shop's owners respond to the controversy.

"Thanks for the free publicity, which we obviously were seeking when we came up with this in-your-face idea!"
posted by davejay at 11:43 AM on May 12, 2009


do they use the Socratic Method to determine what you really want in a donut?

Okay, this made me laugh out loud on a conference call. And then I had to explain why. Well done.
posted by davejay at 11:44 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not offended so much by their choice of gimmicks as at the sheer level of gimmickiness that they're displaying here. The side-scrolling website, the over-reliance on candy-encrusted donuts, and of course, "Oh yes, it's only logical that we are an art gallery as well. " Judas Priest! Hey, I've got a "crazy" idea, how about they make some good fucking donuts and roll with that? Bah. *unwraps protein bar, stares at it with some dismay*
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:45 AM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


You can also make fun of syphilis herpes swine flu gingivitis elephantiasis eczema progeria dwarfism diarrhea probably scoliosis and obesity too. I don't think you can really make fun of alzheimer's though. I mean obviously you can, but it is considered in poor taste in the same way that cancer is. I know some of these are too obscure to really have much in the way of jokes about them but there was the movie Jack so that's something. I'm also not saying that I think these are more or less appropriate to make jokes about.
posted by I Foody at 11:52 AM on May 12, 2009


Seconding ornate insect: it seems a little odd, that's all. Like having your gimmick be based on alcoholism, or substance addiction.

Not that I think anything should necessarily be done about it. Lots of places have despicable business ideas, like that goddamn Dicks restaurant where you pay to be insulted, or Monsanto.
posted by odinsdream at 11:53 AM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Years ago on CBC radio a woman was giving an interview -- her son was a schizophrenic who had killed himself -- and she started saying that people who don't have to deal with mentally ill loved ones treat mental illness as a joke. Then on the verge of tears she hissed that there was even a bicycle shop chain that called itself CyclePath, a pun on the word "psychopath". I somehow doubt that whoever came up with the company name had this woman's son in mind in particular, but it's still salt in the wounds for a mother grieving for her son.

Offensiveness is where you find it. Back when I was going back to college and struggling to make ends meet, I passed an investment firm that had a "Brokerage" sign in the window, and for a few seconds I was furious because I had read the sign as "Broke Rage". Then again, if I was dealing with a psychological condition and I happened to pass a snack shop that sold jelly donuts called "Massive Head Trauma," it would take me a while to see the humour in it.
posted by spoobnooble at 12:01 PM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can't believe that, for once, I'm more PC-offended by something than the hive mind.
posted by decagon at 12:08 PM on May 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


What ornate insect said, plus the comforting fact that businesses like this never last. It's almost always shitty food backed by a tasteless fratboy one-note joke, and the life cycle basically moves through "assholes think the fratboy gag is funny, realize the food is overpriced and not that good, they stop going, business closes" pretty fast.

"Wacky" business ideas get 15 minutes of fave, 5 minutes of business, and 7 years of bankruptcy penalties for the people that start them.
posted by Shepherd at 12:08 PM on May 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Er, 15 minutes of fame, but "fave" kind of works as well.
posted by Shepherd at 12:09 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


The flavor... it has metastasized!
posted by munchingzombie at 12:11 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


WinnipegDragon: "So why is it that mental illnesses are the only illnesses you can still make fun of?"

Because it's never lupus?
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:12 PM on May 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yeah, poor taste.

To paraphrase umpteen MeFites, freedom of expression includes the ability to express yourself in ways that upset people – and for them to express their disapproval back. I’m not aware of any effort here to engage the state to ban donut themes.

We're not trying to shut the place down, just raising concern," said Patty Eaton of the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center.

Whatever, you PC fascist Nazi(cake) Stormtroopers.

on preview: It's almost always shitty food backed by a tasteless fratboy one-note joke

Yeah, no kidding. I don't know where the above posters got the idea that gimmick = great food.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:13 PM on May 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


astrozombie:

Voodoo gave out coupons for a free hertz donut, a friend of mine had a few, and supposedly if you went in and handed it to the cashier, they were supposed to slug you in the arm and deliver the punch line.
posted by idiopath at 12:15 PM on May 12, 2009


Heavens, it's steps from the Zero childrens' saturday morning language class.

Thankfully we don't have the "no primary research" rule like on Wikipedia.
posted by GuyZero at 12:16 PM on May 12, 2009


There goes my "Extra Chromosome Coffee Shop" idea.

You mean Down-The-Hatch Syndrome Coffee?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:21 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hertz, donut!

Speaking on behalf of the American Car Rental Association, we have feelings, too. Shame on you, sir.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:23 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


ornate insect: "[The Bipolar is] trivializing a serious illness. "

Maybe that's okay, though. There's so much stigma around mental illness, and people are so terrified of even saying these words. Maybe if we all just relax a bit about it, it could help people be more open about their own mental illness.

That said, the doughnuts look awful and the sexxxy nurse shtick fails to amuse. Perhaps if actual mentally ill people were running the business, the humor would be original and actually amusing. (No idea if the doughnuts would be better, though.)

posted by The corpse in the library at 12:24 PM on May 12, 2009


Anyway, they can't use my "Flying Fuck" donut idea. After years of that idea rolling around in my head, I finally got it patented.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:25 PM on May 12, 2009


Northern California needs to take that stick out of its ass.

Nah, it just needs to bend over so we can get a good game of Donut Ring Toss in.

Everybody wins.
posted by chambers at 12:29 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is there a "Godwin's Law" equivalent to the phrase "PC police" instantly killing any worthwhile discussion on a topic in an Internet forum? Seriously, I'm wondering. Because I'd like to propose one. Even if I agree with the poster's feeling, as soon as I see it used, I'm instantly against them.

Also, examples like this always chap my hide:

People come in and openly tell us about their own stories of life with bipolar disorder; they even order a bipolar donut with their voice turning to laughter as they place their order...

You know what that might give you the right to do -- make fun of that person. Anybody else who might be offended still has the right to be.

That said, I hereby give any MeFite with enough start-up capital the right to mock my gayness or any diseases I have in doughnut form. But the shop -- and all pastries -- must refer not only to my special characteristics but also to my name. You're welcome/
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:37 PM on May 12, 2009 [6 favorites]


The coupons should look like little prescriptions, and a dozen donuts should come in some huge bucket-sized pill bottle.
posted by chambers at 12:37 PM on May 12, 2009


This + Voodoo Doughnut = fodder for "Californians and their crazy dougnut stores" article.

That is all
posted by Avelwood at 12:42 PM on May 12, 2009


Like having your gimmick be based on alcoholism

Example: Tuman's Alcohol Abuse Center.

There are almost certainly dozens (hundreds?) of bars that do this; Tuman's is just one that came to mind.
posted by aramaic at 12:45 PM on May 12, 2009


Yeah, by crazies this would have been funny. At crazies? Not so much.

"Like having your gimmick be based on alcoholism, or substance addiction."

You mean, like every bar ever?
posted by klangklangston at 12:46 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even if I agree with the poster's feeling.....
Just to be clear, I don't really have a strong feeling about the donuts in question one way or the other. The first sentence in the post was from the article.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 12:47 PM on May 12, 2009


"That said, I hereby give any MeFite with enough start-up capital the right to mock my gayness or any diseases I have in doughnut form."

"I'm sorry, sir, we only sell the Long Johns with Long Johns and the doughnuts with doughnuts. You can go to a heteronormative shop if you want them mixed."
posted by klangklangston at 12:48 PM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Like having your gimmick be based on alcoholism

Betty's in Toronto used to be "The Betty Ford Clinic" until they got C&D'ed and all that. Stop by if you feel like having a few dozen pints with the aging beat reporters from the Toronto Sun. For breakfast.
posted by GuyZero at 12:52 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even if I agree with the poster's feeling.....

Just to be clear, I...


Sorry, otherwordlyglow, I should have been more clear too. When using the term "poster" upthere, I was actually referring to "generic Internet commenters who use the phrase 'PC police'", not you as poster of this topic, nor anybody who brings up the topic of anybody being "too sensitive." Yes, I recognize the term is useful shorthand, but it still drives me crazy.

(see what I did there?)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:53 PM on May 12, 2009


"Like having your gimmick be based on alcoholism, or substance addiction."

You mean, like every bar ever?


I knew one bar that you give you a free drink for turning in your AA chip, which they would then nail to the wall. They had hundreds on that wall. Even having struggled with alcoholism myself, I can only find this funny. People need to lighten up.
posted by Avelwood at 12:53 PM on May 12, 2009


You know what's psycho? The design of that site. 122k for a 60X60 thumbnail?

FAIL.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 12:54 PM on May 12, 2009


Ooh, I have an edgy sense of humour too! I have a few ideas for their menu:

the [g]Rape-filled Trauma: it's a jelly donut that you can only order depending on a set of circumstances of which you are completely unaware and are beyond your control, served to you forcibly while no one helps you. Later, employees call you at your home to inform you that it's your fault because you didn't say no.

the Skittles-o-Frenia: A candy-coated donut laced with LSD unbeknownst to you. sometime after eating it, employees will whisper macabre suggestions over the intercom, just under the music.

The Gla-Z-Boy Body Dysmorphic Disorder: Before you even order it, you're shown a funhouse style mirror that distorts your reflection to make you appear hideous and misshapen, while employees tell you what a disgusting failure you are. Customers are asked to give you disapproving glares. The actual item is a reasonable food item, but if you even think of eating it, you will be mocked and derided, as complete strangers give you unsolicited lectures on health and personal responsibility, simultaneously insulting you and demanding you improve your self-esteem.

The Berry Abusey This initially appealing item can only be purchased by giving the shop access to your financial information and bank accounts. Shortly afterwards, you are coherced into purchasing more of these, each one tasting worse than the last. Your accounts are then frozen and your assets are seized. You are forced to live in the back of the restaurant, reminded that given your initial consent to the purchase, you chose this, you want this, and deep down inside you know it.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 1:09 PM on May 12, 2009 [13 favorites]


If we shut down everything that bothers us in America, we'd end up with...

Oh wait, we do that now, don't we? Well I guess we'd just end up with America.
posted by Malice at 1:20 PM on May 12, 2009


Is there a "Godwin's Law" equivalent to the phrase "PC police" instantly killing any worthwhile discussion on a topic in an Internet forum? Seriously, I'm wondering. Because I'd like to propose one. Even if I agree with the poster's feeling, as soon as I see it used, I'm instantly against them.

God, yes. Yes, yes and yes. It has a lot of the same effect of evoking Hitler - it trivializes the topic, oversimplifies, ignores nuance, and generally doesn't contribute constructive discussion. I realize it's edgy to be anti-PC, but can't we come up with some better metaphors? Like, say, "PC antibodies" or "chicken inspectors" or "Rory Calhouns"? Somebody nudge that Victrola already, the record's skipping.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:25 PM on May 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


If we shut down everything that bothers us in America

Except no one, that I know of and according to the links, is calling for the store to be shut down, so the implication of your statement is misleading.

Oh wait, we do that now, don't we? Well I guess we'd just end up with America.

No, we don't. There are plenty of people who want to shut down Planned Parenthood, for instance, but they can't b/c of Roe v. Wade.

I, for instance, would like to shut down the Pentagon...
posted by ornate insect at 1:26 PM on May 12, 2009


I don't have a problem with Psycho Donuts. But, say, Psychic Donuts, hell -- I'd be up in arms.
posted by grounded at 1:30 PM on May 12, 2009


If we shut down everything that bothers us in America

Except no one, that I know of and according to the links, is calling for the store to be shut down, so the implication of your statement is misleading.

Oh wait, we do that now, don't we? Well I guess we'd just end up with America.

No, we don't. There are plenty of people who want to shut down Planned Parenthood, for instance, but they can't b/c of Roe v. Wade.

I, for instance, would like to shut down the Pentagon...
posted by ornate insect at 1:26 PM on May 12 [+] [!]


Tongue in cheek comment. Failed, apparently. My thoughts were mainly on the many things that are suppressed by people (usually religious) who are offended by absolutely everything.
posted by Malice at 1:31 PM on May 12, 2009


I've worked in mental health and dealt with mental illness personally. There are dozens and dozens of other issues that are much more pressing than a stupid donut shop. Is it in poor taste? Sure. But why are we wasting time hand-wringing over something that is so trivial? Thousands of mentally ill people across this country are homeless, or without health insurance, or languishing in jails that cannot treat them, or struggling to receive quality care...and so-called advocates are whining about a donut shop.

Priorities, people.
posted by catwoman429 at 1:31 PM on May 12, 2009 [8 favorites]


our S&M-themed bakery called House of Pain

Wow, I never though I would have competition for my hypothetical 'Doughminatrix' store.
posted by Hermione Dies at 1:37 PM on May 12, 2009 [5 favorites]


But why are we wasting time hand-wringing over something that is so trivial?

I believe it's possible to be bothered by the theme of the restaurant and advocate for people with mental illnesses.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:38 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


ArmyOfKittens, I didn't say it was impossible to do both. I'm bothered by the amount of time spent being offended by the restaurant when there are larger issues to deal with.
posted by catwoman429 at 1:42 PM on May 12, 2009


I've worked in mental health and dealt with mental illness personally. There are dozens and dozens of other issues that are much more pressing than a stupid donut shop. Is it in poor taste? Sure. But why are we wasting time hand-wringing over something that is so trivial? Thousands of mentally ill people across this country are homeless, or without health insurance, or languishing in jails that cannot treat them, or struggling to receive quality care...and so-called advocates are whining about a donut shop.

Priorities, people.
posted by catwoman429 at 1:31 PM on May 12 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]


They're all just angry they didn't get free doughnuts.

Free doughnuts would easily solve this problem.
posted by Malice at 1:48 PM on May 12, 2009


Free donuts? That's crazy talk.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:03 PM on May 12, 2009


I don't understand the problem. My mother has always had bipolar disorder, and I've gotten past the fact that she is coated with nuts on one side and coconut on the other. I accept it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:05 PM on May 12, 2009 [13 favorites]


I don't have a problem with Psycho Donuts. But, say, Psychic Donuts, hell -- I'd be up in arms.

I knew you would say that.
posted by The Deej at 2:15 PM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


What would a Schizophrenic doughnut look like? Would it have a lot of eyes?
posted by Malice at 2:19 PM on May 12, 2009


I passed an investment firm that had a "Brokerage" sign in the window, and for a few seconds I was furious because I had read the sign as "Broke Rage".

As a kid, I was always a sort of horrified/fascinated with this one billboard for a funeral home that seemed to have the image of a twister on it (in oklahoma)...it just seemed like incredibly poor taste. Eventually, I was riding on the bike path that goes near the base of the billboard, and realized it was not a tornado, but a very faded quill pen.
posted by nomisxid at 3:25 PM on May 12, 2009


Heart Attack Grill - "Taste Worth Dying For!"
posted by Wet Spot at 3:29 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: I definitely think "chicken inspectors" is a better term than "PC Police" - UH OH! Here come the chicken inspectors again!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:30 PM on May 12, 2009


I don't care for this shop's theme, I've struggled with OCD for years and it's not fun or funny at all. I can't imagine dealing with one of the "heavier" disorders like schitzophrenia. I'm live and let live - I wouldn't protest this shop or argue they should change their shtick, but I am not an idiot for not liking this or finding it offensive and unnecessarily cruel towards those called "crazy" in our society. And the owners seem totally tone-deaf - their response to the controversy is the cheapest little kid argument ever (geez, have a sense of humor!). They say right out that they don't understand the problem - that means you should listen closer (not necessarily agree, but listen). Sheesh.
posted by agregoli at 3:32 PM on May 12, 2009 [9 favorites]


I am not a psychologist, but I am do have a mental condition and I'm a doughnut connoisseur. They look like they have too much icing, which overwhelms the delicate balance between sugar and fat which is the hallmark of excellent fried dough sweets.
posted by jb at 3:41 PM on May 12, 2009


Like having your gimmick be based on alcoholism, or substance addiction.

When I make gingerbread cookies I always decorate them like narcotics. Orange icing with orange extract (because the actual tablets are citrus flavored) for the Suboxone, white icing with blue or green sprinkles for the Lortab. The hexagonal cookie cutters were difficult to find, but the lids from those big plastic mayonnaise jar work great for the Lortab.
posted by little e at 3:47 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Asperger Special

Given what I'm told is the correct pronunciation of "Asperger," I do not think it would be a good idea to associate such a word with food.
posted by hifiparasol at 3:53 PM on May 12, 2009


God, I hate the expression "PC Police."
posted by LMGM at 4:03 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Freud.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:25 PM on May 12, 2009


For me, the term "PC Police" costs you 99% of your credibility to comment on anything some people are sensitive about. Maybe MeFi could set up a function that automatically prevents anyone using that term in a comment from making any further comments in the same thread (and there are a few other phrases that can apply to).

BTW, when MeFi went offline a while ago, I thought it was caused by Designated Donut-ist cortex consuming a Massive Head Trauma donut.
posted by wendell at 4:27 PM on May 12, 2009


Whenever someone lobs, "PC police" (or some variation thereof) that's code for, "I'm defending something that's not actually that clever/funny."

It's not that I'm humorless; it's just that your joke sucks.
posted by availablelight at 4:46 PM on May 12, 2009


"the term "PC Police" costs you 99% of your credibility"

Hmm. That seems a bit hysterical as well.
posted by bz at 5:13 PM on May 12, 2009


Are you trying to CENSOR US?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:21 PM on May 12, 2009


The OCD baker's dozen is exactly ten doughnuts.
posted by klangklangston at 5:29 PM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


But they count them ten times for you.
posted by klangklangston at 5:30 PM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


bitter-girl, you know that linking to Voodoo Donuts is to cortex as the bat-signal is to Batman, right?

Voodoo Donuts? Outrageous! This is an insult to Astro Zombie, munchingzombie and all those Zombie Fire Ants who shamble into picnics in search of sweet treats.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:17 PM on May 12, 2009


I'm a little torn on this. I try to avoid using the word 'offensive'; rather than asking whether something is offensive, I ask myself whether it's harmful or insulting. Even people who talk about "the PC police" should recognize that harmful and insulting things are bad. (Plenty of things that are said to be offensive are neither harmful or insulting, and in those situations, I think the word 'offensive' is being abused.) Given the responses of the store owners, I think the shop is probably insulting. Which is too bad, because it didn't need to be.

Anyway. They should have some hemiplegia donuts that are iced only on the right.
posted by painquale at 6:46 PM on May 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


"That said, I hereby give any MeFite with enough start-up capital the right to mock my gayness or any diseases I have in doughnut form."

They already have Bear Claws what more do you want?
posted by tkchrist at 7:10 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Candle no hold to Krispy Kreme glazed (hot).
posted by scose at 7:21 PM on May 12, 2009


Hey, just got a message from someone here who was offended by my OCD crack, so I'd like to take a moment to talk about it.

They asked me if I thought it was funny to make a joke about OCD, and the answer is, well, yes. Not howlingly hilarious or anything, but yeah. At the same time, I am sorry for hurting feelings over it. The person said that I don't understand being caught in a loop, doing things despite realizing how irrational or harmful they are, and that loss of control. I remember when I was being tested for ADD, one of the tests regards impulse control, and I do remember being unable to stop myself from choosing the wrong answer because I just couldn't stop myself; I struggle with and humiliation over not being able to stop yourself from doing something, though in a different way.

I do think it's fair to call me out about my earlier comment, that this would be better if it was folks with mental illness serving the doughnuts, as it regards to my comment. Since I was adult diagnosed, I don't really have the identification with disability culture that might come from a longer sense of owning the identity or a more severe (or less common) affliction. While it may smack of Some Of My Best Friends, I do think that folks like Mark Maynard (MarkMaynard.com) do a great job of finding the humor in mental illness, so, yeah, I do think that (aside from mine) jokes about OCD can be funny.

I also recognize the in-group/out-group thing going on—I have no problem making jokes about mental illness or disability with my friends, because they know me, and know the spirit in which the jokes are intended. And for me, part of the problem is that I think of Metafilter as part of that peer group, and expect the comments to be understood like that. But there are a small city's worth of MeFi users, and not everyone will get that, and I shouldn't necessarily expect them to.
posted by klangklangston at 8:21 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, but the donut fries are genius - it may just be the pregnancy talking but HELLO! OVER HERE!
posted by lottie at 8:38 PM on May 12, 2009


An appropriate date for the post, I guess; it was an upcoming May 12th in the life of Virginia Cunningham in "The Snake Pit" that finally sent her....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 8:51 PM on May 12, 2009


WTF? I'm OCD and I'm totally totally totally totally totally totally totally totally totally totally totally totally totally totally fine with it.

If you can't laugh at afflictions, what can you laugh at? If you haven't got your health, what have you got but your humor?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 8:51 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Suicidal ideation?
posted by klangklangston at 9:08 PM on May 12, 2009


I think it helps when the jokes are actually funny. Not laughing at jokes about the mentally ill may not be a sign of prudishness necessarily. It could be that your joke just sucks. The OCD donut (not "doughnut", what is wrong with you?) joke did make me smile, though.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:10 PM on May 12, 2009


I also recognize the in-group/out-group thing going on—I have no problem making jokes about mental illness or disability with my friends, because they know me, and know the spirit in which the jokes are intended.

This is kinda how I relate to mainstream culture, actually - there's an in-group (straight, white, able-bodied, etc.) and the culture primarily services them and not me. And I'm totally fine with that, I'm used to it; every so often I wince when I see jokes aimed particularly close to home, but meh. It's seems to be taken as read that everyone in the in-group knows that everyone else doesn't really mean it when they crack jokes about the out-groups; we're all good people, right? And then of course, people are flabbergasted that people in the out-groups are sometimes offended by what the in-group says about them.

It's as if we were discussing a restaurant called "Dead Baby Burgers", which included on its menu... well, the jokey names write themselves. And as we're talking about that, some bereaved parents say, well, actually, that'd be really upsetting for us to come across as we go down the street, and we think it's insensitive and offensive to use something that is a great source of private pain as a marketing gimmick. PC POLICE RIGHT? They're totally telling us people in the in-group what we can and can't say! I hope more people eat there, just to rub it in their stupid dead baby faces! Serves them right for asking the in-group to think about the consequences of their actions! And then some other people who lost a child might come along and say, well, actually the name doesn't really bother us and we think it's pretty funny. And instead of thinking, hey, that's a valid position, and so is the position of the other guys, the in-group uses that as more ammunition to paint the offended parties as over-sensitive, hyper-PC killjoys.

this comment kinda gives out here as I'm up early with cramps and need to be... somewhere else right now
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 9:25 PM on May 12, 2009 [7 favorites]


I want these donuts so bad. It's better than foodporndaily. That's all I have to say on the subject.
posted by munyeca at 10:50 PM on May 12, 2009


So the gimmicky names aside -- are these actually, like, any good?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:24 PM on May 12, 2009


I'm no expert in mental health, humor, or anything, really, but it seems to me that this gimmick works because it's offensive. For some to find it funny, others by definition must be offended. And I don't know what the name for that kind of humor is, but I'm pretty sure there's one out there somewhere. It's been talked about here before, in threads where I've seen the theory that every joke has a butt.

This isn't satire, nor does this particular brand of humor seem calculated to encourage any kind of change. I'm okay with that, and I actually do enjoy the idea behind Psycho Donuts, just like I enjoy the branding behind Big Ass Fans. Somewhere, in the offices of some advocacy group for the overweight, someone is taking offense. And they're in white Kentucky, the more sensitive members of which I could see potentially taking offense at their co-opting of local vulgarisms. Someone, somewhere, is going to take offense when you come up with a gimmick.

I think the success of this kind of humor, as a branding instrument or otherwise, is dependent on how well you legitimize the object of your humor as a target that deserves to be mocked, while keeping malice out of the mix. You need to find just the right target, one that will get slightly prickly, just enough to make the mockery feel naughty, but one that's rapidly losing stigma. This is why lol xtians works on metafilter.

And then, if you're going to base a business on it, you obviously need to back your gimmick up with a good product, but you also need to make sure the object of your humor is backed up with sympathy and genuine appreciation for what it has to offer society. Yes, you can mock anything you like, but at the same time you need to affirm the value of what you're mocking. Big Ass Fans does a damn good job at it. Poke around their website. Psycho donuts...I hate to say it, doesn't. That's why it's really not funny. Chris Rock, in his latest Johannesburg/London/New York special, got booed hardcore for his line about how black women get jealous of other races...and then he came right out and said that black women do so because black men will screw anything that moves, while black women have standards. And then he turned around and said that black men screw anything that moves because anything that moves will screw black men! Okay, not the best joke, but a damn good example of how affirming satire is done. Same with his, "If you're one of the few people in this world lucky enough to get your hands on a steak, eat the shit out of it." That's saying to vegetarians, yeah, you're silly for not eating a steak, but you're also some damn lucky people to have that choice. He's very, very good at this.

Psycho donates to a charity for the mentally challenged, they pay lip service to the universality of mental illness, and that, at least on the web, is only in response to criticism from the "PC police". They make misinformed, lowball puns with their donuts, dress up in straitjackets, and just really kind of fail all around to do good, informed, and affirmative humor. They're doing little more than PC trolling at this point, and it's sad to see such a good concept get such a poor treatment. This could be funny. I love the "Asperger's special" idea (although it'd be tough to sell). They could do workshops for the mentally challenged, teach them to make donuts. They could do discounts for mental health professionals. They could expand their "psycho" offerings to things like "psycho ex" and "psychosomatic symptoms" (I'm not sure what kind of mystery ingredient would go in that one), and move their gimmick out of the realm of mockery of asylum inmates.

All around, I'd give them a D+. They need to either prove to the community that this isn't just lolcrazies, or they need to close up shop.
posted by saysthis at 11:46 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mental illness and doughnuts do not mix. That's the message mental health activists John Mitchem and Brian Miller sent Psycho Donuts as they stood in front of the Campbell store handing out "stigma-free" doughnuts, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Get a fucking life.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:12 AM on May 13, 2009


I'm bipolar and I find this really, really

makes me want a doughnut.
posted by mippy at 5:52 AM on May 13, 2009


Get a fucking life.

I think they have lives, and they choose to spend them finding peaceful ways to protest against businesses that want to build notoriety and success by stigmatizing and belittling people who by the nature of their illness often can't fight back themselves.

Spending your days suggesting that people who make money by mocking the ill and disabled could find better ways to earn a living seems like a pretty good way to have a life, actually.

I'm sitting at a desk in an office right now, and they seem to have this "get a fucking life" trick down a little more effectively and positively than me at the moment.
posted by Shepherd at 6:12 AM on May 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


bitter-girl, you know that linking to Voodoo Donuts is to cortex as the bat-signal is to Batman, right?

I'm waiting, Mister_A, I'm waiting....................................................... (for cortex to box up some donuts and send 'em over!)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:16 AM on May 13, 2009


There is this, that's nuts but this is CRAZY.
posted by pianomover at 8:24 AM on May 13, 2009


There are a couple "Cardiac Burgers" near us. Totally set up like doctors offices, but they sell 3500 calorie megaburgers, and you're served by chesty nurses in fishnets.

Similar, but different. Kitsch is the new black.
posted by TomMelee at 8:34 AM on May 13, 2009


It seems that most of us with one of these illnesses find this funny. Interesting.
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 10:14 AM on May 13, 2009


"Cardiac Burger" at least makes some sort of sense, in a cause-and-effect sort of way. If you eat our food, you increase your chances of developing a potentially fatal heart disease. I don't think the donut shop is actually contending their donuts will give you the attributed mentall illnesses. Or are they?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:25 AM on May 13, 2009


Here, nonreflectiveobject, have a Confirmation Bias Cruller.
posted by XMLicious at 10:31 AM on May 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


XMLicious, that was hilarious.
posted by nonreflectiveobject at 10:42 AM on May 13, 2009


Armyofkittens, have I told you recently how much you totally rock?
posted by echolalia67 at 5:05 PM on May 13, 2009


A tedious overthinking of this whole thing over here.
posted by Shepherd at 1:53 PM on June 3, 2009


« Older John Michell, who has died aged 76, was an old Eto...  |  The Medea Hypothesis: Is Life ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments