NOTE: This originally appeared in 2011 on another of my blogs but yet it still applies
You know you’ve thought it. The answer is, “No.” All Peter Gabriel fans are not mentally ill. Just some of us. I have been diagnosed with endogenous recurring depression, which is a mental illness. It’s not a fun mental illness that makes you see neat things or go for days without sleep, but it’s still an incurable mental illness.
Source of Misconception
PG himself began calling his fans “lunatics” back in 2002 in conjunction with the release of Up. (The moon was one of the major symbols of Up and the Growing Up Tour. “Luna” = moon. However, PG has kept using the term for nearly 10 years.) In a 2011 “Welcome to My Facebook Page” message, Peter says, “If you’re a PG nut …” in a way in which was probably not meant as a compliment.
Trickery of Memory
The human memory works on identifying patterns. This can be helpful, such as knowing that all animals with fangs may bite, but can also lead to generalizations in thinking, such as all Peter Gabriel fans are mentally ill. If you meet just one mentally ill Peter Gabriel fan, that’s going to stick out in your memory. That strong memory will overshadow the other 30 normal Peter Gabriel fans. Mentally ill people are generally considered to be dangerous. Anything dangerous sticks out in your memory. Normal people are not dangerous and more easily forgettable. See how it works?
What If You Meet a Mentally Ill Peter Gabriel Fan?
It depends on the mental illness, how well it is managed and on just how much of a natural asshole the person happens to be. Liking Peter Gabriel’s music, unfortunately, does not magically remove assholery from people. If you’ve ever met me, you’ve met a mentally ill PG fan. And I’m a natural asshole, but a harmless asshole. The worst I’ll do is curse you out and talk about you behind your back. However, your wallet will remain in your pocket and your back will remain knife-free or any-other-weapon-free.
So now, that this issue is clear as mud, let’s watch a video. This is a demo for a song called “Funny Man” that PG recorded in the 1970s but has never seen an official release. Until next time, kids, this is Rena off to pop a Prozac: