Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Alex is a member of my record label
Teenager though he is
He joined the Ever Reviled Records collective
And the indy music biz
Well his parents didn’t like such turns of events
So they sent off a couple of thugs
To bring him back to Utah, lock him up
And pump him full of drugs
They say he’s got problems with authority
Yes this is what they claim
And their psychiatric analysis
Has even got a name

Oppositional Defiant Disorder
I think I got it, too
Oppositional Defiant Disorder
He’s sick and so are you

If you think the average politician
Is a scoundrel and a liar
If you fantasize about setting
Your local Wal-Mart on fire
If you don’t like Wolf Blitzer
And you think he’s full of it
And you feel that a Rush Limbaugh punching bag
Might be kinda fun to hit
If bombing other countries
Makes you feel appalled
You have got a problem
And this is what it’s called


If you think school is boring
And your teacher is a fool
If you don’t like your congressman
And you called him a corporate tool
If you were not standing
To sing save the Queen
If you turned down hamburgers
And ate rice and beans
We’ve got a diagnosis
No matter whether you agree
Just do what the doctors tell you
And thank God for psychiatry


Sheet music to this song may be found in Songbook Vol I (1997-2004).

“Oppositional Defiant Disorder” originally appeared on Songs for Mahmud (CD, 2004) and later on the live CD, the Commons (2007).

One of the members of the Ever Reviled Records collective was essentially taken as a teenager from Vermont and transported to some kind of institution in Utah, where he was held and drugged on the premise that he had Oppositional Defiant Disorder.  I’m assured by psychiatrists I know that this is a real thing, but in the case of this kid, it seemed to be more about him being a punk kid with conservative parents.  I’ve heard especially back in the 1960’s, holding young people (hippies, generally) against their will in institutions and giving them this diagnosis was more common.