ONTD Political

Remember the homophobic rant lady? Yeah, about that....

6:23 pm - 05/13/2012
Referencing back to this post on Friday.

Video of testifier's anti-gay words goes viral, but there's more to the story

A video of a woman testifying against the anti-discrimination ordinance at the Lincoln City Council this week went viral, but her family says she is diagnosed with schizophrenia and shouldn't be taken seriously.

Jane Svoboda, 52, made several bizarre and disjointed statements during her five minutes of testimony at Monday's meeting.

"A huge percent of gay men in school grounds molest boys, partly because they don't have AIDS yet," she said.

"Whitney Houston was found without clothes in a bathtub. Every corpse found without clothes has a partner who did away with them.

"Hillary Clinton's roommate four years in college was a gay woman. To avoid going gay like Clinton did, college students need single rooms and single gender dorms."

The Huffington Post, MSNBC and popular sites such as Gawker and Reddit published the video and stories Friday with little context and Svoboda's name misspelled. The stories garnered more than 100,000 views.

The HuffPo's post got more than 1,000 comments, many responding to what viewers saw as hate speech. Many seemed to not recognize Svoboda's mental illness.

Svoboda lives at an assisted-living facility in Lincoln and is listed as a protected person, according to court documents. Her brother, Patrick Svoboda of Ogallala, is her conservator because she is incompetent, the documents say.


He was unaware of the video's popularity, but wasn't surprised -- he knew it would be a matter of time before she got in trouble somewhere.

He said he's disappointed the video garnered such attention and jokes without the whole story.

"To me, it shows how little society really cares about people with mental health issues," Patrick Svoboda said. "She does have a very tender heart ... but anything she says is certifiably schizophrenic ... she's not some crazy conservative."

He said her family has tried to get her help multiple times, but unless she harms herself or others, there's not much more they can do.

It wasn't the first time Svoboda has testified before the council. She also is a registered lobbyist at the Capitol.

She usually speaks twice a month during the council's open mic sessions, where citizens can talk for up to five minutes on any topic. The council sits patiently until she is done.

Svoboda has talked about Chinese "subliminals" that come through cellphones and other electronics, paradise on earth and family members being killed by doctors.

She once brought in a large stick figure that she said was her mother's ghost, but the council told her not to bring in props anymore.

She's also well-known on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, where she's handed out thousands of fliers.

Students have dubbed her "Crazy Blue Protesting Lady" because of the blue coat she often wears. A Facebook page about her has nearly 3,000 members.

"I think this whole thing just reflects on the general society," Patrick Svoboda said. He said mentally ill people have rights unless they are trying to hurt themselves or others.
zombieroadtrip 14th-May-2012 05:31 am (UTC)
If you think about it, the mentally ill like this woman (not all mentally ill people, obviously) are the only ones who are actually taking conservative rhetoric at face value, and parroting absolutely everything they've heard, albeit with less coherence. None of the arguments she gave in that speech weren't things we haven't heard in bits and pieces before.

The only reasons other conservatives would disagree with her is because hearing all of their ideas but so succinctly, not dressed up in Biblical quotes, and all together like this makes their opinion seem, well as ridiculous as they really are. She's a direct window to conservative ideas, and frankly that scares the rest of them. So they'll laugh her off too. "Of course no one would ever think that! Haha, what a kooky old lady!"
tnganon 14th-May-2012 05:57 am (UTC)
no, i'm pretty sure lots of conservatives take conservative rhetoric at face value.

seriously homophobes who aren't mentally ill say shit like this all the time.
zombieroadtrip 14th-May-2012 07:54 am (UTC)
Yes, the only difference is that she's making no effort to make it palatable. I'm agreeing with you.
tnganon 14th-May-2012 05:37 pm (UTC)
i do get what you're trying to say but this: If you think about it, the mentally ill like this woman (not all mentally ill people, obviously) are the only ones who are actually taking conservative rhetoric at face value, and parroting absolutely everything they've heard, albeit with less coherence is not true, and a really poor way to express it.

lots of conservatives take conservative rhetoric at face value. it's still wrong to use mentally ill people as an example here, and it really wasn't necessary.
tnganon 14th-May-2012 05:44 pm (UTC)
actually i think premor said it best upthread - it's not the content that's indicative of schizophrenia but the way she presents it.

i am being really inarticulate today, but what i mean is that conservatives say shit like that all the time while taking it at face value, without trying to make it palatable. i also feel really uncomfortable anyway when people generalize that a particular negative behaviour (usually violence, in this case bigoted rants) is always indicative of mental illness.
zombieroadtrip 14th-May-2012 06:08 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that was terrible wording on my part. I didn't at all mean to use mentally ill people as an example since that's not really what this post is about.

What I'm trying to say is pretty close to what you're saying. That is, that this woman is only parroting conservative sound bytes we hear from people without mental illnesses all the time, so I think any effort conservatives put forth to write this woman off based on her mental illness are ignoring the context of her words. They're actively contributing to these thoughts, biases, and theories, and I was pissed off in advance that they're not going to be taking responsibility for any of it. Instead they're going to handwave her as not being a part of their movement. I think that's drastically irresponsible.

it's not the content that's indicative of schizophrenia but the way she presents it.

IA entirely. That's what my first comment was clumsily trying to say.

i also feel really uncomfortable anyway when people generalize that a particular negative behaviour (usually violence, in this case bigoted rants) is always indicative of mental illness.

Especially since other, more lucid conservatives spout this shit all the time, they've just organized it better than she did.
chaya 14th-May-2012 07:34 pm (UTC)
it's not the content that's indicative of schizophrenia but the way she presents it.

Yep. The easiest way to describe this video to somebody who hasn't seen it is "a Daily Show clip montage of homophobic comments on FOX News". Each individual sentence - even the Whitney Houston nonsense - could come out of the mouth of a neurotypical bigot somewhere. It's the lack of any connection between statements, each of which is its own shiny pearl of "umm, no", that sets off the red flags.
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