Do you think there is stigma surrounding mental illness, or do you find people to be more understanding and more aware?
There is a stigma around illness in general. Many people like to believe that they have control over their health and therefore some people believe that those who become ill when they are young (and don't have simple genetic disease) have brought it on themselves (at least in an indirect way), or are still ill because they have chosen not to find a suitable treatment. (never mind that for many illnesses there aren't any good treatments).
I think it is due to ignorance and uncertainty, but those with mental illnesses tend to get the short end of the stick, I think because of our notions of mental illness interfere with our notions of someones identity. Is a depressed person who later takes antidepressants still the same person?
Does it bother you that many artists (such as Michael Jackson) have 'plagarised' other artists as part of their work?
Sampling isn't plagiarism. It is using music legally as PART of a new song...like making a visual collage. Sometimes the sampled song is better than the original (like I think Kanye West's "Through the Wire" is a much better song than Chaka Khan's "Through the Fire" though I like some of her other work)...or sometimes it draws attention (and sales!!!) back to the original, giving the original song the exposure it rightly deserves. Many times sampling is a tribute or homage to an artist that the new songwriter loved growing up or at some point in the past (this was the reason for Mariah Carey using a sample of the Tom-Tom Club's "Genius of Love" in her song "Fantasy").
How much do you know about the history of music in the 20th century?