For Cereal, Internet?: I Has A Hotdog edition

I love looking at pictures of cute animals on the internet. Cats, dogs, monkeys, dolphins, turtles, otters – whatever. And I find that skimming through a few LOLcat macros during the workday can do wonders to perk up my mood or give me a smile before diving back into work. Which is part of why I get so annoyed when the LOLcat sites do something offensive or wrong – this is supposed to be my fun time, not my get-my-rage-on time! I have a whole other folder of RSS feeds for rage time!

So I got mighty cranky when I saw this at I Has a Hotdog, the spinoff site from I Can Haz Cheeseburger that has LOLdog macros:

A group of identical white pomeranians, with the caption "Multiple Personality Disorder: you're doin it right."
A group of identical white pomeranians, with the caption "Multiple Personality Disorder: you're doin it right."

Ok, FOR CEREAL??? This is not only offensive, it doesn’t even make sense. A person with Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), which is more commonly and more accurately termed Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), does not manifest in multiple identical bodies. The whole point is that there is one body/mind that manifests multiple, distinct identities or personalities, called alter egos. A person who could split themselves into multiple identical bodies, all with distinct identities, is not a person with MPD or DID, but instead is some kind of magical self-cloning person who should probably be off fighting crime in Gotham City.

This underlined for me how DID is a go-to joke, a punchline often used in contexts or situations that make absolutely no sense to anyone who actually understands what DID is. It’s a lazy way to make a joke about a “bizarre” or “outlandish” mental illness without even taking time to understand the diagnosis being thrown around so cavalierly. For me, it reads as a shorthand “hahaha saying the name of a mental illness is funny isn’t that funny??”

I can’t imagine how this use of DID as shorthand for “exotic and hilarious mental illness” must affect people who actually experience DID. Given that the second google link when I searched for “multiple personality disorder” is to a site discussing whether MPD or DID actually exist or whether they are made-up movie illnesses, I imagine there’s an extraordinary stigma experienced by people with DID and an overwhelming tendency to doubt and discount their experiences at best, and to mock and ridicule them at worst. These kind of “jokes” only add to those issues. And they should not be tolerated.

13 thoughts on “For Cereal, Internet?: I Has A Hotdog edition

  1. i really hate it when cute animal pics are captioned offensively. i look at cute animals to escape from triggering bs.

    a more accurate caption would have been something to the effect of mentioning Multiple Man from x-men–he actually could create duplicates of himself, which would make more sense in this context.

  2. I had a friend who had DID and even getting a therapist to admit she had it was like pulling hen’s teeth (according to most therapists, DID/MPD doesn’t exist, it’s an excuse). I had known her well enough and long enough to get to know some of her personalities quite well and know when the ones I knew were “out”. They all had their own names, and all were different ages, some were female, and a couple were male. Pat’s gone now, she died 12 years ago, but I still miss her. One of our inside jokes was that I had a lot of friends, but they were all in one body. She wasn’t always easy to be best friends with, but I wouldn’t have missed having her for a friend for anything in this world. That caption on that picture of puppies gives a completely erroneous picture of DID/MPD and makes light of the seriousness of the disorder.

  3. “A person who could split themselves into multiple identical bodies, all with distinct identities, is not a person with MPD or DID, but instead is some kind of magical self-cloning person who should probably be off fighting crime in Gotham City.”

    Well, someone just got told. *grin*

    For reals this type of crap has got to stop. I also go for the lols and haven’t run into ableist things before, but a ton of really sexist stuff. It’s not okay.

  4. Yes! I got to sites with cute and funny animal pictures to relax. People need to stop being jerks and learn that they can be funny without flaunting their privilege.

  5. A person who could split themselves into multiple identical bodies, all with distinct identities, is not a person with MPD or DID, but instead is some kind of magical self-cloning person who should probably be off fighting crime in Gotham City.

    Actually a Marvel character, Multiple Man. /comics nerd

    I wonder if the increase in mocking “multiple personality” has been accompanied by a decrease in the mocking use of “schizophrenic” (meaning DID, not schizophrenic)? I haven’t actually heard that use of “schizophrenic” in a while, now that I think of it.

  6. Funny — the first thing I thought of when I saw the caption was this self-portrait by a multiple group (found through the Multiples-of-DA group). It depicts three differently-clothed versions of the same body, photoshopped together so that they appear to be a group of identical people in different poses. Obviously it’s not the physical reality, but they feel it reflects their internal sense of themselves.

    That’s not the only example of this experience. A video on awesomeastrid’s YouTube channel (featuring a series that discusses depictions of DID in the media) had one personality explain that she was co-fronting with another, which felt “like she’s sitting right next to me.” This strip from the webcomic Gemini depicts two multiple groups as a total of five people, even though there are only two bodies involved.

    All of which leaves me decidedly surprised by this post. It seems to be based on the principle that “if you write/draw/macro a situation other than the physical reality of something, you don’t understand it”. We accept that to be nonsense in the case of trans people; why not accept the same thing in the case of DID?

  7. Erin – unlike the excellent pictures you link, the puppies in the original post seem to be all the same. To me, this was mocking the idea of multiple identities by picturing one identity multiple times. A picture of, say, several different puppies, even different coloured puppies, could be a good graphical representation, but this, to me, was not.

  8. lilacsigil – they strike me as having different postures and attitudes. A photo of puppies in different shapes and sizes might be a more accurate representation of a multiple’s internal perception, but in that case there’s no visual signifier that differentiates them from “a group of individual puppies”, and a block of explanatory text tends to ruin a macro.

    Instead, this feels like an attempt at visual compromise between the physical world and the internal perception: several persons, physically the same but with their own individual minds and mannerisms (as an outsider would see them), displayed in the same space and time (as they perceive themselves). Which is basically the idea of that first photomanip.

  9. @ Erin: in the example syou post, the person creating them is self-identified as multiple. That is different from when someone who may not be multiple, posts pictures/captions that could be interpreted as mocking multiplicity. It is not clear from the picture abby jean discusses here that the creator is self-portraying, so it is likely to be read as a depiction of multiplicity in general, which could be offensive to multiples.

  10. Yes, it seems like DID/MPD has been the go-to haha mental illness for as long as I can remember, although I agree that it used to be that people said schizophrenia meaning MPD.
    What has always upset me most about using DID as a punchline is the ignorance and/or callousness about what DID is, which is a coping/survival mechanism from severe and/or prolonged trauma. The women I know with DID (1) keep it very hush because of the stigma, although they sometimes are open about other “more acceptable” mental illnesses like depression, and (2) have DID as a result of horrific histories of sexual abuse. So, yeah, hahaha that’s hilarious.

  11. @Morgan – always happy to get people into good webcomics 🙂

    @Astrid – the impression I got from abby jean’s post was not “this macro does not depict multiplicity in general”, but “this macro is not a valid way of portraying multiplicity at all, and would not have been made if the creator knew anything about DID.” You’re acknowledging the possibility that the creator might be part of a multiple group. In that case, your objection (that it could be misinterpreted) might still be valid, but the original post would be downright patronizing.

    I’m not entirely comfortable with the implication that multiples would need to out themselves before making macros in the first place. The stigma mentioned by Sharon still exists over the Internet.

    (Sidenote:, which hosts Gemini, also contains a couple of other websites by multiple groups that don’t consider their multiplicity to be a disorder, or the result of trauma. It’s a serious consideration for many groups, but not a requirement for all of them.)

  12. My friend, Pat, who was a multiple, had very distinct looks for each of her personalities. I don’t have the pictures we took of her when her different personalities were manifesting, but we laid those photos side-by-side and you would have sworn that there were 6 different people in those 6 photos. She had photos from when she was a child through her teenage years (when most of her personalities were formed) and anyone looking at those photos would have sworn that none of those kids were related, let alone that they were all the same child.
    Knowing Pat as well as I did, I think her caption for that photo would have been: MPD – UR DOIN’ IT RONG!

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