December 13, 2005, 11:17 pm
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. And the way we turn to our great therapeutics, to our factories of coping, is.
The attacking slap of my rhetorical glove, when directed at Glaxo (and doctors), declares a duel; that slap, when it lands on the faces of patients, is meant more benignly to snap them out of their lemmings’ march. If I cause an introverted dork to seek confidence, not consultation, by shouting boo, this pleases me. And I think anyone dorky and introverted enough to read my article through to the end will probably sense the times when a tongue-shaped bulge appears in one commentarian cheek or another.
I don’t discount your insistence that more people deserve our bile for cashing in on trumped-up angst, and though Paxil (having no hands of its own) has not singlehandedly lowered the bar, as we say, you must agree that limboing HMOs and profiteering physicians would only be entertaining themselves were we not presently in the giant grip of a culture of therapy, where physical and mental freedoms expand apace with the desperation of their wants and needs.