The Spectacle Blog

Re: Don’t Like The Drugs?

By on 12.13.05 | 6:19PM

How exactly you expect to purge the user-lists of Paxil effectively by listing how bad it is for them is still a mystery to me, particularly since the reason people should be getting off Paxil isn’t simply because of side-effects but because it’s not actually helping their recovery. That’s another area you didn’t cover â€" how effective it is.

In fact, because the side-effects have so little to do with why these folks shouldn’t be taking it (I understand that “Look at what you’re doing to yourself†point, but it’s a tertiary jab), you run the risk of shaking people off that might need to stay on. Again, I think you’re overestimating the argument you offered in the article. I don’t think you’re entirely wrong in your general principle that society is over-medicated, I just don’t think you grasp it anywhere in your article.

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Re: Don’t Like The Drugs?

By on 12.13.05 | 6:17PM

I can see you will not be bludgeoned quietly into submission here. Good.
First, and fairest enough, the hucksters deserve their own thousand words of public revilement. But blame in this instance is not a zero-sum game, and heaping ignominity on doctors who act as particularly expensive and interactive vending machines does not require that we shovel away the other dunghill piled around Glaxo.
Second, "our insane" described the really unbalanced people who require medical attention, not the unfortunates who are presented at every opportunity on television and in popular culture with drumbeats and parades of fresh disorders and the saving power of Pill Grace. Tom Cruise's attack on medicine isn't chic; the way we accept the turning of every attitude and emotion into a disorder is. The way we medicate our children at the drop of a hat, without any eye to when we might stop medicating them, is. The way that the postmodern malaise of endless wants and sexual disgracefulness is breeding ingrained soul-sickness is.
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Re: Don’t Like The Drugs?

By on 12.13.05 | 5:59PM

I like my article the uninflated size it is, at which neither truth nor comedy are distorted. Inflatio ad absurdum is just as dangerous, my brother, as reductio. But its gross tumescence is even less attractive, which is the whole problem with Paxil. Fattening up, hypersymptomizing, discomfort is bad enough; calling a "chemical imbalance" in the brain that "makes" one feel uncomfortable in public settings a disorder instead of a symptom itself is not just a cheap trick of semantics but a trick turned, as well, by the medical profession -- for a pretty penny indeed, with several tens of millions lined up at the hopper.


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Don’t Like The Drugs?

By on 12.13.05 | 5:58PM

James, I can’t see myself abiding by your article, which really gives the impression that you’re against medication with side-effects. I could inflate your article to the point where you would say the pay-offs for drugs treating schizophrenia aren’t worthwhile seeing as how they often make someone very uncomfortable, but I’d rather stick to your article on point â€" which really begs the question, why were you trying to scare people off of a drug that’s actually quite helpful?

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Bishops and Tookie

By on 12.13.05 | 4:36PM

Catholic Church leaders had plenty to say about the execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams' execution. Unfortunately, a short news article only scratches the surface of these differences within the Church. And the brevity of the quotes leaves them open for a variety of interpretations. For example, Bishop John Wester of San Francisco

asked Californians "to ponder carefully whether the use of the death penalty makes our society safer."

He said "a moratorium is needed to evaluate whether the death penalty serves the common good and safeguards the dignity of human life. We are convinced that it does not."

Bishop DiMarzio of Brooklyn wrote Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, concerned that "this execution can only compound the violence that already exists in our society." He went on, "We do not believe that you can teach that killing is wrong by killing. We do not believe that you can defend life by taking life."

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The Election Begins

By on 12.13.05 | 3:24PM

Iraqis began voting yesterday to choose their first permanent government since Saddam's fall. A couple of hours ago, I was on a conference call with a senior Defense Department official speaking from Baghdad. He said that yesterday, about 140,000 members of the Iraqi Security Forces voted, as did 90% of the detainees. (No word on if Saddam voted, though he will be allowed to.) The other Iraqi Security Forces will vote today and tomorrow, enabling them to be on duty on Thursday.

Long lines at polling places are anticipated. In the constitutional referendum in September, it was a simple up or down vote. The ballot this time is four pages long, with a huge variety of combinations of candidates and coalitions. I've seen it: to me it looks like an IRS form (that statement is not impeached by the fact the ballot is printed in Arabic). It will take a long time for people to vote. Security at the polls is a very big concern, as is voter fraud.

American forces anticipate some big move by Zarqawi and al-Qaeda. They can't let this pass without some action or they will be seen as irrelevant. Stay tuned.

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Re: Iraq Pullout Planned

By on 12.13.05 | 3:17PM

Jed, Thanks for the clarification. It appears the confusion afflicts more folks than just the Times. The U.K. Spectator's link to the story reads, "UK & USA Plan To Leave Iraq From March, Iraq Foreign Minister Warns Of Chaos." Indeed, the actual information in the article is a drawdown. The foreign minister's quote applies to a withdrawal.

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Re: Iraq Pullout Planned

By on 12.13.05 | 3:06PM

Guys: The Times report confuses -- like most of the rest of the media -- a drawdown with a pullout. The military has always said that it would reduce the size of our force there after the election this week. The senior commanders I spoke with in Iraq said that we may indeed draw down to a force of about 90,000 by the end of next year. If the events allow it, that's what we'll do. Our strategy is event-driven, not media-driven. There is no plan -- none, zero, zip -- to withdraw. The terms are important, and the rhetoric misleading.

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Defending Happy-Pills

By on 12.13.05 | 2:47PM

Regarding James G. Poulos's silly anti-Paxil rant: Paxil is not a "serotonin-bomb." It contains no serotonin; rather, like all Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, it affects the way the body processes the serotonin that it creates. And no one on Paxil would be "staggering around hiccuping" with "discolored skin, enlarged breasts, and [a] demented gait," because as anyone with an iota of experience with psychotropic medication knows, adverse side-effects lead patients and their doctors to discontinue a drug. There are several SSRIs that work in somewhat different ways, and it often takes a few tries to find the one that works best for a given person.

These drugs change lives dramatically for the better (it is not "normal" to live in paralyzing fear of social gatherings, and it's much more pleasant not to). In many cases they save lives that would otherwise be lost to suicide. Discouraging people who suffer from debilitating emotional problems from taking medication makes as much sense as telling diabetics to be leery of insulin.

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