Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

This week, I spent a lot of time meeting with students in my office, so I managed to read quite a lot of interesting posts from my blogroll between appointments. This is why this week’s list is so long. These are great articles, though. Enjoy!

Communists are the same everywhere. The second they come to power, they organize the sort of lavish lifestyles for the party leaders that few millionaires in capitalist countries enjoy. This is how this hypocrisy manifests itself in China.

An absolutely brilliant analysis of a marketing campaign for an expensive luxury product. OK, I need to say it again to get it out of my system. The post is brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

The growing number of Muslim students are boycotting lectures on evolution saying they cannot take courses in the subject because it is opposed to their religious beliefs.” Did anybody explain to these so-called students that they made a choice to get educated at a secular institution, which makes their religious beliefs of no interest to anybody? The hypocrisy of these religious fanatics (of all religions) who want to enjoy all the benefits of a secular society while working hard to undermine it is appalling.

It struck me that it’s like people have been asleep for 40 years and just woke up and blame Obama for everything that’s gone wrong since the fall of Saigon.

The teenagers are losing interest in cars. If this is true, then it’s the best news I’ve heard all week. Yes, it’s been a harsh week.

Planning to vote for Mitt Romney? Here is a great humorous post on the subject from one of my favorite conservative authors.

Jürgen Habermas on a mission to save the European Union.

Download Jonathan Mayhew’s book The Twilight of the Avant-Garde for free. Don’t worry, the author doesn’t mind. I find that reading Jonathan’s prose helps to improve my own writing style, so I’m happy to be reading this book on my Kindle.

A great one-line post.

Why the #Occupy Toronto protest failed.

Politicians try to please the lobbyists by destroying the Internet. Let’s do all we can to prevent that from happening!

Debunking the tired old cliche of “American exceptionalism.” How can people who use this concept in all earnestness fail to know that every single nation in the world always believes itself exceptional?

UC San Diego is adding diversity fat even as it snuffs out substantive academic programs. In March, the Academic Senate decided that the school would no longer offer a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering; it also eliminated a master’s program in comparative literature and courses in French, German, Spanish, and English literature. At the same time, the body mandated a new campus-wide diversity requirement for graduation. The cultivation of “a student’s understanding of her or his identity,” as the diversity requirement proposal put it, would focus on “African Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Chicanos, Latinos, Native Americans, or other groups” through the “framework” of “race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexuality, language, ability/disability, class or age.”” I had to quote this entire passage because what UC San Diego is doing is simply egregious.

I find it especially entertaining when people blame their miserable personal lives not on their own pathetic excuse for a personality but on the bugbear of feminism. Here, for example, is a guy who warns the world that “nagging wife is always inside them” (women.) For obvious reasons, nobody reads this loser’s blog, so let’s make his day and give him some hits, even if only to ridicule him.

The President of the Modern Languages Association makes a statement aimed at destroying the PhD in Literature. Right you are, Dr. Berman! Who needs a stupid dissertation for a PhD when you can demonstrate kick-ass computer skills, instead? Who on Earth elected this individual to the presidency of the MLA and why did they do that?

The idea of having one’s own personal library of physical books, so useful in earlier times, is no longer worth passing on to our students . . .  Eliminating physical books from college campuses would be a positive step for our 21st-century students, and, I believe, for 21st-century scholarship as well.” That’s Chronicle of Higher Ed for you, people. I vote we rename it into Chronicle of Destroying Higher Ed. Who’s with me on this?

Help a great blogger make an important mustache-related decision.

On how scientists are harassed into inventing non-existent organic causes for the completely fictitious “chronic fatigue syndrome.”

If you are a job seeker, it’s best not to hide your emotions. Advice from highly successful professional recruiters.

Check out this great new blog by a blogger from Dubai. He posts really cool ads and photos with some very insightful analysis. I already added him to my blogroll and suggest you do the same. The blog really rocks.

As a feminist, I find this completely insulting: “On Monday, after a number of women complained of “overly aggressive” men dominating events, OWS has, for the first time, instigated a series of female-led meetings where only women can speak.” I don’t need a group of people to be silenced for their physiology in order to have a voice. Bleh, how disgusting.

A very insightful post on the differences between Christianity and Buddhism.

Israeli propaganda machine has really gone off the deep end. It’s very sad to see how unbridled nationalistic hysteria drives a country to self-destruct.

About these ads

80 comments on “Sunday Link Encyclopedia and Self-Promotion

  1. Miriam :

    I would absolutely love to hear some university professors’ opinions on this, because right now all I’ve got are butthurt college kids crying that I’m being unfair.

    Dead right it’s being unfair, and if you were my student, I’d give you an F.

    Nowhere do you define what the “Greek system” is.

    Are you talking about Greek debt vis-a-vis the Eurozone (which is pretty topical right now)?

    Or are you talking about the “Hellenic Communities” established by Greeks in diaspora (where I think some of your criticisms apply, though it is unfair to tar all Greeks with the same brush)?

    Or are you on about something else?

    If you don’t define what it is your talking about, your criticisms are unfair and meaningless.

    • Greek life: sororities and fraternities. They’re all named using Greek letters–hence the “Greek” in Greek life, the Greek system, etc.

      I thought it was obvious from the first paragraph, when she writes that she once feared social ostracism at college due to her perspectives on this matter.

      Keeping this in mind, what exactly makes her criticisms unfair and meaningless? Her points are valid and her observations at Northwestern can be repeated by other students elsewhere.

      • The article mentioned “Greeks”, and to most people “Greeks” are citizens of a country in Europe, or descendants of emigrants from Greece living elsewhere, as in the film My big fat Greek wedding.

        Assuming the author meant those Greek letter societies in American universities, she could at least have said so.

      • I take it that you think “common sense” is synonymous with arrogant ethnlocentric US chauvinism.

        If the previous poster was right, and what you were on about was those societies in American universities, then you could at least have said so. He I had heard of them, but I had no idea that Americans called them “Greeks”,

        Common sense tells me that Greeks are ctizens of Greece or people of Greek descent living in other countries. Expecting everyone in the world to be familiar with the esoteric culture of an American elite is the ultimate in narrow-minded chauvinism.

      • Did you somehow miss my constant usage of the words “college,” “sororities,” “fraternities,” and “students?” Don’t paint me as a “chauvinist” to justify your own inability to discern the context of what you’re reading.

        Somehow you were the ONLY commenter, whether on my blog or on my Facebook where I reposted the article, to make this error.

  2. “the completely fictitious “chronic fatigue syndrome.””

    Yeah, because this is a figment of people’s imagination.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02428.x/full

    It’s ‘fiction,’ what’s now being found in the spinal fluid of CFS patients.

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0017287

    Somebody just made it up that if you treat these people with a cancer drug like Rituximab, which destroys your immune system, that they get better.

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0026358

    Because it’s absolutely plausible that 22 out of 23 patients will have an abnormal response to a tilt table test.

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/274/12/961.short

    These people are just making it all up.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18462164

    Especially the children.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-11204884

    Don’t worry about any of these links. The information contained therein…doesn’t really matter. Only your informed opinion does.

    • For the worshippers of the magical pill, here is a news flash: on this blog we do not extol the virtues of the Big Pharma that pathologizes everything in human experience in order to make shitloads of money. There are many places where you can worship on the altar of your god of medication but this isn’t one of them.

  3. As a feminist, I find this completely insulting: “On Monday, after a number of women complained of “overly aggressive” men dominating events, OWS has, for the first time, instigated a series of female-led meetings where only women can speak.” I don’t need a group of people to be silenced for their physiology in order to have a voice. Bleh, how disgusting.
    What I find odd is that its often said that men “have the privilege of not being judged as a whole but as individuals” or something like that.

    If that’s the case then how are a relatively few white male jerks segwayed into “men are dominating the conversation”?

    • I’m especially shocked by the idea that women are so fragile and helpless that we need to be segregated into ghettos to even say a few words.

      And of course the suggestion that every man will be a domineering jerk is essentialist, offensive and plain wrong.

  4. Now there’s a response full of “Huh?”

    Exactly one of those links is based on a trial of a pharmaceutical. The rest document biological abnormalities–many quite severe, especially those that are neurological and immunological–that more than suggest that your idea that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is “fictitious” is as wrong as it is bizarre. Yet you decided to double down, on a straw man, no less, which means that either you didn’t read anything on those links, or you didn’t understand them.

    Way to strike a blow for academia.

    • What blow for academia? What are you on about? Or has time come for me to explain for the gazillionth time that this is a personal opinion blog, not an academic journal?

      Nobody is preventing you from believing in the chronic fatigue syndrome, social anxiety disorder and “my lashes are too short so I need a scrip” syndrome. Want to get medicated to the gills? More power to you.

      I still hope I can be excused for voicing my opinion about all this bunk on my own blog, though.

      • Wow, this is fascinating. Again a response to something I didn’t say. The top of this blog says “An academic’s opinions…” My post did not say this was an academic journal. I might be able to tell the difference, though a magnifying glass would be helpful, I suppose.

        This is like arguing with a creationist. It’s like having someone say, “Nobody is preventing you from believing in evolution.” How many objectively measurable, published signs of biological abnormalities, of autonomic and immune dysfunction, do you need? Social anxiety disorder? Please provide a source that correlates “social anxiety disorder” with Neurally Mediated Hypotension, abnormal gene expression, proteins in spinal fluid, white blood cell abnormalities as found in CFS research. Please show me the work that ties what you see as ‘fiction’ with people with an abnormal volume of blood somehow missing from their bodies. I would love to see this. I will even admit that you are right.

        What any of this has to do with your view of medication and Big Pharma is something I simply cannot fathom. It’s like you’re saying, “I hate automobiles, so I don’t believe in buying organic produce because people drive to farmer’s markets.”

        But, hey, it’s your blog. You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I just find it strange that someone claiming to be an academic would be so knee-jerk, reflexively dismissive of peer-reviewed, published research that has nothing to do with the boogeyman you’re so keen to attack.

      • I’m sure you are convinced that your comment makes a lot of sense. I have to tell you as somebody who analyzes texts for a living, however, that I have no idea what you are trying to say with this weird jumble of magnifying glasses, automobiles, organic markets, creationists and academic journals.

        I believe that the population of the US is dangerously overmedicated. Pharmaceutical companies invent fictitious diagnoses to get everybody to guzzle as much of their junk as possible. The article I linked to demonstrates how researchers are bullied into publishing research that will benefit pharmaceutical companies.

        If you want to argue with any of these statements, feel free. But it would be great if you tried doing that without veering off into organic produce and automobiles.

      • I have this weird image in my head of a peripatetic clitoris backpacking across Europe, teaching English to Czech kids, and experimenting with mind-altering drugs. She just needed to find herself, I guess.

      • “I have this weird image in my head of a peripatetic clitoris backpacking across Europe, teaching English to Czech kids, and experimenting with mind-altering drugs. ”

        – I like that clitoris’s life. Is it normal to be envious of a clitoris? :-)

        For those who are reading this: it’s two academics talking at the end of the semester. We are very very loopy right now. :-)

      • “I like that clitoris’s life. Is it normal to be envious of a clitoris?”

        I don’t know about that. As things stand I’m already a bundle of nerves. /rimshot

        “it’s two academics talking at the end of the semester. We are very very loopy right now.”

        To paraphrase William Shatner in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn: “Kaaaaaaaaant!!”

        Or even “Lacaaaaaaaaaaan!”

  5. Clarissa,

    I believe @Doesn’t matter is pointing out that your opinion regarding CFS has no basis in scientific fact.

    You are clearly not a scientist or well educated regarding science; it is extremely doubtful that you are a patient, because most people know that post exertional exhaustion lasting more than 24 hours unrelieved by rest and upon minimal exertion such as doing the dishes is not normal. It is pathological. And if you have any patients as friends or family perhaps they would be better off without your input and in the hands of a competent clinician.

    Had you educated yourself, you would know that there are over 5,000 research papers in the peer-reviewed scientific literature – you know that organization known as the NIH Library of Medicine – objectively documenting the neurological, immunological, and cardiological abnormalities found in these patients among others. To be honest, most people are going to believe scientists over factually uninformed opinions such as your own.

    You are correct however. You are entitled to be wrong and ignorant- everyone is. Some people simply chose not reveal their ignorance. Kudos for being so brave.

    PS The World Health Organization officially classifies chronic fatigue syndrome and post viral fatigue syndrome under pathological brain diseases. The actual code is ICD-10 G93.3.

    But, then you knew that, you just don’t believe it. But, your lack of belief does not change facts. Just sayin’

    • Have you read the article I linked to and that started this entire discussion? The article is precisely about how researchers get harassed into falsifying their findings. In this context, your reference to “ver 5,000 research papers in the peer-reviewed scientific literature” sounds quite bizarre.

      “You are correct however. You are entitled to be wrong and ignorant- everyone is.”

      -Who is “everyone” in this case? Hundreds of books and thousands of articles have been written on how these fictitious diagnoses are being constructing. For instance, I highly recommend this book and this book.

  6. Please name the pharmaceutical company that invented the “fictitious” diagnosis of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis following outbreaks of a polio-like illness in Los Angeles in the 1930s, in Iceland in the the 1940s, in London in 1955.

    Then tell me what problems you have with the drugs that have been approved to treat CFS.

    You will have difficulty naming any, since that’s never happened. Anywhere.

    One would think that someone who analyzes texts for a living would want to have something resembling an understanding of what it is they choose to opine about.

    • A short online search gave me the following list of junk people get prescribed for chronic fatigue syndrome:

      Pharmacologic therapy is directed toward the relief of specific symptoms experienced by the individual patient. Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome appear particularly sensitive to drugs, especially those that affect the central nervous system. Thus, the usual treatment strategy is to begin with very low doses and to escalate the dosage gradually as necessary.

      Prescription medications:

      Low-dose Tricyclic Agents: Tricyclic agents are sometimes prescribed for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients to improve sleep and to relieve mild, generalized pain. Examples include doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan), amitriptyline (Elavil, Etrafon, Limbitrol, Triavil), desipramine (Norpramin), and nortriptyline (Pamelor). Some adverse reactions include dry mouth, drowsiness, weight gain, and elevated heart rate.

      Antidepressants:

      Antidepressants have been used to treat depression in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients, although non-depressed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients receiving treatment with serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been found by some physicians to benefit from this treatment as well or better than depressed patients. Examples of antidepressants used to treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome include serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil); venlafaxine (Effexor); trazodone (Desyrel); and bupropion (Wellbutrin). A number of mild adverse reactions, varying with the specific drug, may be experienced.

      Anxiety or anxiolytic agents:

      Anxiolytic agents are used to treat panic disorder in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients. Examples include alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam ( Klonopin), and lorazepam (Ativan). Common adverse reactions include sedation, amnesia, and withdrawal symptoms (insomnia, abdominal and muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, tremors, and convulsions).

      Nonsteroidal Antiinflammatory Drugs:

      These drugs may be used to relieve pain and fever in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients. Some are available as over-the-counter medications. Examples include naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosen), ibuprofen (Advil, Bayer Select, Motrin, Nuprin), and piroxicam (Feldene). These medications are generally safe when used as directed, but can cause a variety of adverse effects, including kidney damage, gastrointestinal bleeding, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

      Antimicrobials:

      An infectious cause for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has not been identified, and antimicrobial agents are not commonly prescribed for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, unless of course the patient has been diagnosed with a concurrent infection. A controlled trial of the antiviral drug acyclovir found no benefit for the treatment of patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

      Antiallergy Therapy:

      Some Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients have histories of allergy, and these symptoms may flare periodically. Non-sedating antihistamines may be helpful for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients. Examples include astemizole (Hismanal) and loratadine (Claritin). Some of the more common adverse reactions associated with their use include drowsiness, fatigue, and headache. Sedating antihistimines can also be of benefit to patients at bedtime.

      Antihypotensive Therapy:

      Fludrocortisone (Florinef) has sometimes been prescribed for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients who have had a positive tilt table test. Florinef is currently being tested in controlled studies for its efficacy in the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients.

      Antihypertensive Therapy:

      Beta blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin) have also been prescribed for patients with a positive tilt table test. Increased salt and water intake is also recommended for these patients. Adverse reactions include low blood pressure.

      Experimental drugs and treatments:

      Ampligen is a synthetic nucleic acid product that stimulates the production of interferons, a family of immune response modifiers that are also known to have anti-viral activity. One report of a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients documented modest improvements in cognition and performance among Ampligen recipients compared with the placebo group.

      These preliminary results will need to be confirmed by further study. Ampligen is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for widespread use, and the administration of this drug in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients should be considered experimental. Although the recipients of Ampligen in this study tolerated the drug well, the adverse reactions of this material are still incompletely characterized, and some participants did experience reactions that might be attributable to Ampligen.

      Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) was reported in preliminary studies to improve symptoms in some patients; however, this finding has not been confirmed and the use of DHEA in patients should be regarded as experimental. Gamma globulin (Gammar) is pooled human immune globulin. It contains antibody molecules directed against a broad range of common infectious agents and is ordinarily used as a means for passively immunizing persons whose immune system has been compromised, or who have been exposed to an agent that might cause more serious disease in the absence of immune globulin. Its use with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients is experimental and based on the unsubstantiated hypothesis that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is characterized by an underlying immune disorder. Serious adverse reactions are uncommon, although in rare instances gamma globulin may initiate anaphylactic shock. High colonic enemas have no demonstrated value in the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The procedure can promote intestinal disease. Kutapressin is a crude extract from pig’s liver. Its use should be regarded as experimental in any clinical circumstance, and there is no scientific evidence that it has any value in the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients. Kutapressin can elicit allergic reactions.

      Source: Center for Disease Control

      Drug Research – Ampligen
      Ampligen is an experimental antiviral medication currently in Phase III testing for the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It is considered a “second generation interferon.” In clinical trials conducted outside the United States, more than 50% of test subjects taking Ampligen showed both physical and mental improvement of symptoms. Unfortunately, most of the study groups were too small for the results to be published in the scientific literature. Although some researchers in the United States remain skeptical concerning Ampligen, Hemisherx Biopharma (Philadelphia), the drug manufacturer, is hoping that the current research trials will provide enough hard data to meet the criteria of FDA approval.

      Source: American Association for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, c/o Harborview Medical Center, 325 Ninth Avenue, Box 359780, Seattle, WA 98104

      http://www.immunesupport.com/chronic-fatigue-syndrome-medications.htm

      So how exactly am I mistaken when I say that people get medicated to the gills for this “condition”? If you read the info carefully, you will even be able to name at least one company that is very invested into developing a new drug for this “condition” at this very moment.

      • I said:

        “Then tell me what problems you have with the drugs that have been approved to treat CFS.

        You will have difficulty naming any, since that’s never happened. Anywhere.”

        Someone who analyzes texts for a living responded with the above.

        I can name one company that is very invested into developing a drug for this “condition,” but it’s not new, since they’ve been at it for more than 20 years.

        Why don’t you try naming more than that single, solitary one. (I assure you, almost nobody has ever heard of Hemispherix Biopharma, nor are they likely to ever hear of them)

        I’m not sure why this is all so difficult. When you labeled CFS–something you clearly know nothing about, in spite of your stubborn unwillingness to admit so–“fictitious,” you did not say anything about medication or Big Pharma. You only introduced that line of argument in response to the evidence I produced to refute your erroneous statement.

        Is there something wrong with being wrong about something these days? I don’t get this fundamental inability to admit a mistake. I’m not really interested in engaging on your diversion to Big Pharma, not so much because I agree or disagree, but because I mostly agree yet somewhat disagree. In other words, I find your vendetta simplistic. That you’re willing to let your agenda on Big Pharma color your views on medical conditions documented in ways that have absolutely nothing to do with your mission speaks volumes–and by an academic, no less. So I’ll stand by every analogy I pulled out in a vain attempt to illustrate to you how off-topic the Big Pharma rant actually was.

      • Doesn’t matter: I’m not trying to offend you. I’m just stating a fact: you don’t write well. Your comments are extremely confusing and difficult to understand. You asked for a list of drugs that are approved for CFS. I gave you a huge list. In response, you ask me to name ‘ more than that single, solitary one.” More than solitary one what? Drug? There are several listed. Companies that make them? Al, of these drugs are manufactured by different companies.

        And how about the following question you ask: “Is there something wrong with being wrong about something these days? ” Do you really not notice how confusing that sounds? Two “wrongs” and two “somethings” in such a short question.

        And this one, “You only introduced that line of argument in response to the evidence I produced to refute your erroneous statement.” What does this even mean?

        And which “vendetta” and “mission” of mine are you referring to? Are you aware of the meaning of these words? Please look up “vendetta” in a dictionary.

        Just look at the following sentence: “That you’re willing to let your agenda on Big Pharma color your views on medical conditions documented in ways that have absolutely nothing to do with your mission speaks volumes–and by an academic, no less.” – “And by an academic, no less” what? What is this supposed to mean?

        Or this: “not so much because I agree or disagree, but because I mostly agree yet somewhat disagree”. Seriously?

        Are you trying to be funny and it’s my problem that I try to take you seriously? I confess that as an autistic I often find it hard to catch it when people are trying to be humorous. Is that what you are doing?

  7. Oh, yeah, one more thing about all that stuff you copied from Immune support about all the meds people with CFS take. 80% of the people with this condition are not diagnosed. (I’d supply a link, but obviously you didn’t read any of the others) So the off-label, unapproved use of the meds you list will, technically speaking, only apply to 20% of the people with this condition. And why wouldn’t they have a diagnosis?

    Oh, it couldn’t have anything to do with lots of people, including doctors, believing that CFS is “fictitious,” now, could it.

    But, whatever the reason, you still haven’t offered so much as one word to try to explain why, under the specter of a ‘fictitious’ diagnosis, all of these biological abnormalities are present. If you continue to deny that they exist, then why not offer something, anything, besides a Big Pharma rant that will serve to at least add some context to your comment?

    I somehow got the sense that this isn’t something you actually care deeply about. It was pretty clearly telegraphed. That’s fine. I don’t even really care all that much about your opinion.

    What you should care about, however, is that it just might be prudent for an academic to possess at least a modicum of knowledge on a topic they choose to write about, even if all they did was devote a fraction of a blog rundown to it.

  8. Okay, that you are autistic probably explains some of the difficulties in communication here. I don’t know much about that condition, but it is my understanding that certain types of non-literal communication are difficult to interpret properly. I use sarcasm liberally, so what I wrote may not have been clear. My apologies.

    CFS is not a fictitious diagnosis, and what you wrote about how society is overmedicated is simply not related. If Big Pharma invents diagnoses to sell meds–entirely plausible–it is simply not true in this case.

    There is not one drug that has ever been approved by the FDA or any other agency on the planet for use in treating CFS. There is one that has been developed, and it has been in trials for more than 20 years, but it has never been approved, and it is very, very difficult to get, so only a very few people are being treated with it in those trials. Those medications you listed, if prescribed for CFS patients, are done so “off-label,” i.e. they are not being used for the purpose that they are allowed to be used for. This is a common practice, but it is not “authorized.” I was being very specific.

    I share in some of your animus towards Big Pharma, but not all of it. They do plenty of harm, but they do good, as well. The issue of profit motive in health care requires a comprehensive approach. Focusing on the harm done to an overmedicated society while ignoring the advances in health care that occur side-by-side is one-dimensional.

    My suggestion that you what you wrote was incorrect was something that I supported with links to relevant publications. I might add that I see people claim that there is no such thing as autism, either, and that is a very difficult thing to come to terms with (that people actually believe this nonsense). I have pointed out their ignorance on occasion. But I don’t know much about autism, as I said. I do know quite a bit about CFS. So, yes, what you wrote was kind of offensive. But what I hope you understand is that this is a very difficult situation where millions of people are suffering with a very serious illness–and very few people believe that there’s actually something wrong with them. This is, perhaps, an unintended consequence of the oft-repeated meme that Big Pharma invents conditions to sell medications. That may well be true, but when applied to CFS it compounds an already substantial problem. That the literature exists to refute this idea, yet is ignored, only makes it worse.

    • ‘Those medications you listed, if prescribed for CFS patients, are done so “off-label,” i.e. they are not being used for the purpose that they are allowed to be used for. ”

      -Who cares? People are still getting medicated to the gills. Off-label, not off-label, what difference does it make to anything under discussion here?

      Another list of meaningless sentences:

      “My suggestion that you what you wrote was incorrect was something that I supported with links to relevant publications.”

      ” I might add that I see people claim that there is no such thing as autism, either, and that is a very difficult thing to come to terms with (that people actually believe this nonsense)”

      Seriously, start working on the writing.

  9. I’m interested in your take on paper books – personally I think that they will eventually go away in favor of tablets and e-readers. There’s no point in wasting egregious amounts of paper when you can have one book in your hand that holds thousands upon thousands of books.

    • But printed books don’t require batteries. No need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I haven’t yet jumped on the e-reader bandwagon. I’m waiting to see whether, like iTunes, the book industry will eventually go non-DRM.

      Also: Librarians, esp. university librarians, have a centuries-long tradition of being the custodians and curators of the body of human knowledge. This mission is fundamentally incompatible with DRM.

  10. and regarding OWS: This is why I hold very little hope for the feminist movement in general. The gendered social movements I’ve seen of late have only ever been for one extreme form of advocacy or another. Can you imagine what would happen if someone decided to hold “male only” speaking groups. That shit doesn’t even try to make any sense.

    • “and regarding OWS: This is why I hold very little hope for the feminist movement in general. The gendered social movements I’ve seen of late have only ever been for one extreme form of advocacy or another. ”

      -But then there are feminists like me who are appalled by such exclusionary practices. Let’s not throw normal feminists out with the bathwater. :-)

      • Yes, and I should mention that it’s people like you (and a few other internet feminists I know of, like ozymandias), that give me one glimmer of hope for humanity.

      • “Yes, and I should mention that it’s people like you (and a few other internet feminists I know of, like ozymandias), that give me one glimmer of hope for humanity.”

        -Thank you, Darque! I believe that reason is on our side, which means we will end up winning eventually.

  11. Clarissa,

    Yes I did read it. And I also directed the author of that post to accurate factual information. As a journalist who reported on the situations she referred to I’m pretty sure I’m the better informed.

    As a journalist who writes about health and medicine I am very familiar with Alan Cassels and Roy Moynihan. Wow, I’ve even met them! I can also explain the historical basis for their assertions and the social medicine theory of medicalization if you like although I wouldn’t want to confuse you with the facts. I’m sure you’ve read Ivan Illich and sociologist Peter Conrad as well – I have. The problem with the theory is that it can neither be proven or disproven which makes it tricky to use as the basis for any argument. But, then you knew that right?

    You find 5,000 research papers in the scientific literature “bizarre” and extrapolate your unproven hypothesis to these papers without even knowing the conflicts of interests of the authors or who funded the research? Very little of the literature is pharmaceutical in nature which you would know had you bothered to follow any of the links that have been provided. You would know that if you had educated yourself factually before giving your opinion. I’ve read hundreds of the research articles and reported on dozens. As a journalist I am professionally required to state in the article what the conflicts of interest are (theoretical or financial) since I don’t write opinion. We can go over them one by one. How much time do you have?

    You referred to the Center for Disease Control (I believe you actually meant to refer to the Centers for Disease Control based in Atlanta GA) and gathered information from a website in the Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology – which is the same division that houses the HIV research as well. The site, which is currently under revision to make it current with the most cutting edge research which you know because you reported on the HHS CFS Advisory Committee meeting in November 2011, listed some drugs that may be used to relieve some of the symptoms.

    There is nothing in your copy/paste that states all of them are taken by every single patient or even if they are effective. For example you list antidepressants but don’t mention that many patients do not have affective disorders and have no reason to take drugs for something they do not have. Most people don’t like to take drugs they don’t need. (I’m not sure why it is that you think severely ill patients should suffer, but apparently that’s how you roll.) I’m sure you are also aware that the drugs listed were developed years ago for other conditions not specifically for CFS. You might want to check the FDA site and list those drugs other than the Phase III trials of the immunomodulator Ampligen that are being developed specifically for CFS as well as how many pharmaceutical companies have applied for an indicator for CFS in a drug that has already been developed. If you don’t understand how the FDA works or how to search the site I’d be glad to factually educate you on that as well.

    As well, you will find that pharmaceuticals are used to relieve the suffering in hundreds of diseases, and in some instances are an effective cure, but the disease wasn’t created by the use. Given your logic, or lack thereof, AIDS, MS, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease are all fictitious diseases created by pharmaceutical companies. You of course have the option of refusing any and all pharmaceutical treatments should you ever fall with a disease considered more severe than COPD, end stage renal disease and even AIDS prior to the final two months, but you have no say over what other people choose.

    Which brings us to economics, another area where you seem woefully unprepared. How many ME/CFS patients are there in the world? Do you know? Bonus points if you also explain which definition was used, who developed the criteria, how they differ and how it changes the statistics. Epidemiology doesn’t appear to be an area where you are informed either. Assuming that a new drug was created just to treat CFS, which has not happened yet, how cost effective would it be to develop a drug to treat a relatively rare disease? Do you have any idea how much money is spent on R&D? Of course not, you read two books and declare yourself an expert.

    You are simply digging a deeper and deeper hole for yourself with each badly informed reply. I can’t say stop while you are ahead because you never were, but you could move on and stick to your field of expertise if you have one. Directing me to books that that don’t even mention CFS, and which do not support your thesis, is hardly a substantial argument. Perhaps you meant to direct me to the books written by scientists who are CFS experts – whom I’ve interviewed many times, but you don’t even know their names even though they are in every Wall Street Journal or New York Times article on CFS.

    • You should have said from the start that you make a living pushing this junk.

      I have no interest in discussing anything with a paid lackey of Big Pharma. Go away, pill-pusher, nobody needs you here.

      • Clarissa,

        Did you read anything I said? Your response is utterly nonsensical.

        I don’t push pharmaceuticals. Nothing in what I wrote suggests that I do. I don’t work for pharmaceutical companies. I rarely write about pharmaceutical companies. I have never received any money from a pharmaceutical company nor would I take it if it were offered.

        I have merely factually pointed out to you that pharmaceutical companies have nothing to do with a specific disease and that your arguments are factually inaccurate.

        Why on earth would you confuse being a professional journalist with being a pharma rep? Are you seriously unable to comprehend the difference between two highly different occupations? Clearly there is a lack of comprehension here. Please re-read the information you were given.

        Or are you falsely calling me a pharma rep because you couldn’t accuse me of poor writing skills as you did another poster? I take it you had to come up with something to save face.

        Attacking people who prove you wrong doesn’t make you right, it only reflects on your own character and lack of professionalism and anyone who is functional and reads your blog will see that reflection. Is that really how you want to portray yourself in public?

        You need to think this over very carefully because your reaction to mine and other unrelated posters goes far beyond ignorance.

      • “Attacking people who prove you wrong doesn’t make you right, it only reflects on your own character and lack of professionalism ”

        -Yes, telling you that you are a paid lackey really says a lot about my professionalism as a scholar of Hispanic literature. Just stop making a fool out of yourself already.

        ‘I have merely factually pointed out to you that pharmaceutical companies have nothing to do with a specific disease and that your arguments are factually inaccurate.”

        -For the especially gifted: pharmaceutical companies are interested in promoting the belief that everything that happens to us is a pathology and needs to be medicated. Please try to process this complex thought already.

        “Why on earth would you confuse being a professional journalist with being a pharma rep? Are you seriously unable to comprehend the difference between two highly different occupations? ”

        -because I did waste 3 minutes of my time reading your comments. It is self-evident from them who you are and what interests you serve.

        “Or are you falsely calling me a pharma rep because you couldn’t accuse me of poor writing skills as you did another poster?”

        -You have problems with both writing and logical skills. See the following for example: “anyone who is functional and reads your blog will see that reflection”. That’s extremely poor writing.

        ‘You need to think this over very carefully because your reaction to mine and other unrelated posters goes far beyond ignorance.”

        – You really don’t realize that this statement makes you sound unhinged? Really? Things are that bad for you?

  12. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    You have gone from being merely wrong, to being profoundly ignorant, and, finally, insulting. You have chosen to not respond to any point that has been made to refute your opinions. I had hoped that you might be interested in a meaningful, productive discussion, but your attitude is poor, and obviously you couldn’t care less about what you write. As for your assessment of my writing, every editor I’ve ever had would strongly disagree with you; perhaps you should work on your reading.

    • ‘As for your assessment of my writing, every editor I’ve ever had would strongly disagree with you”

      -Yes, very funny. :-) This would have been so much easier if you told us you were a comedian from the get-go.

      • Clarissa, you have anger issues like I never seen before. Therapy and a critical thinking class would probably help if you want to change.

        Your reply to me was again nonsensical. Look it up in an English dictionary.

      • Sheesh, how do you manage to “see” people who are located hundreds of miles away from you? Psychic powers?

        ‘Therapy and a critical thinking class would probably help if you want to change.”

        -Why on earth would I want to change? I’m the happiest person alive.

  13. Chronic fatigue syndrome seems to be linked to aggression turned inwards, especially in women. My understanding is purely anecdotal, but this seems reasonable for me to presume, especially based on my own long-term introspection (I was extremely miserable and tired in my early twenties). I know one woman from Zimbabwe who had it. I remember her build up of tension when she complained about how stressful she considered children to be. She had very Victorian sensibilities about femininity on the one hand. On the other, it was the height of the war, around 1976, when there was an influx of insurgents. She later developed extreme CFS — but this was much later, about 30 years after migrating to Australia. Her attitudes were still repressed — not expressing anger or sexuality, but keeping them bottled up under a lid of Christian repression.

    Another woman who says she had this condition was one of the most formidable people I know in my martial arts gym. She is the epitome of psychological health — very aggressive and forthright. Apparently she had the condition in her early twenties, and I presume this must have been related to trying to adjust to a narrowly feminine gender role. (I’m not sure she was during any sports at that time.)

    As I said, I also had the same thing and I found a way to combat it by directing my aggressive energies outward instead of inward. I had very much to be angry about. In fact I was absolutely furious about almost everything in my life, but I didn’t know it. Thus, I became sick.

    Even today, my blood pressure gauge, newly purchased, acts as a lie detector test. If I say, “I am calm and will get a good reading” it always gives me an impossibly high reading. Then I recoil and state, “Okay, you got me there. I’m still very angry about a lot of things and I will list them off.” This brings my blood pressure down about 50 points, even as I am feeling angry and making my lists.

    • Jennifer,

      You are correct in saying that there are psychosocial overlays to any organic disease, but it doesn’t make these diseases psychosomatic or fictional. And there isn’t any scientific evidence that anger, personality or emotions cause any disease including ME/CFS. There are people just like your friend from Zimbabwe who have the same issues who don’t contract ME/CFS. If those things were causative, everyone would have this neurological disease.

      What has scientific backing is that stress affects the immune system and that it can exacerbate any organic disease such as ME/CFS. But exacerbation is not the same thing as causation.

      If you read the biomedical literature the associations with pathogens in ME/CFS is very strong – just not XMRV.

      Perhaps part of problem is the name. I suppose if emphysema were called chronic cough people would be dismissive also out of ignorance.

      ME/CFS should not to be confused with the solitary symptom of chronic fatigue which is just one of many symptoms found in over 30 diseases including ME/CFS. People need to be careful that they are not misdiagnosed with ME/CFS when it could be something far less serious or something serious that can be cured or treated.

      There is currently no cure and no effective treatments. Many patients cannot take medications because they cannot tolerate them. This may be connected to infection with HHV-6 which is known to cause drug sensitivities as well as being associated with subsets of ME/CFS patients.

      Most patients with the key symptom of post exertional malaise lasting more than 24 hours and unrelieved by rest use pacing to keep exercise and activity within their extremely reduced energy envelope.

      In order to be diagnosed with ME/CFS there must be a specific pattern of signs and symptoms. Here’s how professional clinicians diagnose this neurological disease:

      1. POST-EXERTIONAL MALAISE AND FATIGUE: There is a loss of physical and mental stamina, rapid muscular and cognitive fatigability, post-exertional fatigue, malaise and/or pain, and a tendency for other symptoms to worsen. A pathologically slow recovery period (it takes more than 24 hours to recover). Symptoms exacerbated by stress of any kind. Patient must have a marked degree of new onset, unexplained, persistent, or recurrent physical and mental fatigue that substantially reduces activity level.

      2. SLEEP DISORDER: Unrefreshing sleep or poor sleep quality; rhythm disturbance.

      3. PAIN: Arthralgia and/or myalgia without clinical evidence of inflammatory responses of joint swelling or redness. Pain can be experienced in the muscles, joints, or neck and is sometimes migratory in nature. Often, there are significant headaches of new type, pattern, or severity. Neuropathic pain is also a common symptom

      4. NEUROLOGICAL/COGNITIVE MANIFESTATIONS: Two or more of the following difficulties should be present: Confusion, impairment of concentration and short-term memory consolidation, difficulty with information processing, categorizing, and word retrieval, intermittent dyslexia, perceptual/sensory disturbances, disorientation, and ataxia. There may be overload phenomena: Informational, cognitive, and sensory overload — e.g., photophobia and hypersensitivity to noise — and/or emotional overload which may lead to relapses and/or anxiety.

      5. AT LEAST ONE SYMPTOM OUT OF TWO OF THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES:

      A. AUTONOMIC MANIFESTATIONS: Orthostatic Intolerance: E.g., neurally mediated hypotension (NMH), postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), delayed postural hypotension, vertigo, light-headedness, extreme pallor, intestinal or bladder disturbances with or without irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or bladder dysfunction, palpitations with or without cardiac arrhythmia, vasomotor instability, and respiratory irregularities.

      B. NEUROENDOCRINE MANIFESTATIONS: Loss of thermostatic stability, heat/cold intolerance, anorexia or abnormal appetite, marked weight change, hypoglycemia, loss of adaptability and tolerance for stress, worsening of symptoms with stress and slow recovery, and emotional lability.

      C. IMMUNE MANIFESTATIONS: Tender lymph nodes, sore throat, flu-like symptoms, general malaise, development of new allergies or changes in status of old ones, and hypersensitivity to medications and/or chemicals.

      6. The illness persists for at least 6 months. It usually has an acute onset, but onset also may be gradual. Preliminary diagnosis may be possible earlier. The disturbances generally form symptom clusters that are often unique to a particular patient. The manifestations may fluctuate and change over time. Symptoms exacerbate with exertion or stress.

      Carruthers BM, Jain AK, De Meirleir KL, Peterson DL, Klimas NG, Lerner AM, Bested AC, Flor-Henry P, Joshi P, Powles ACP, Sherkey JA, van de Sande MI. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Clinical Working Case Definition, Diagnostic and Treatment Protocols. J CFS 2002;11(1):7 – 116

      For people with open minds, further information about diagnosis of this disease can be found in the peer-reviewed Journal of Internal Medicine.

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2796.2011.02428.x/full

      • “Perhaps part of problem is the name. I suppose if emphysema were called chronic cough people would be dismissive also out of ignorance.”

        -I said a gazillion times that EVERY disease is psychosomatic in nature, Emphysema is no exception. That is what my worldview is based on. And I hope I am allowed to share MY worldview with MY readers on MY blog?

        Pill-pushers – whether they push pills for emphysema, CFS, or the common cold – should go someplace else. Nobody here gives a damn about their opinions. OK? Is it clear now?

        And hogging an entire thread with such huge and pointless sheets of garbage is extremely rude.

      • “You are correct in saying that there are psychosocial overlays to any organic disease, it doesn’t make these diseases psychosomatic.”

        Actually it does, though it doesn’t make them “fictional.” I think you are confusing the term “psychosomatic” as it applies in medicine with its popular, and incorrect, connotation of what are now called somatoform disorders–the belief that one suffers from physical injury or illness that show no physical causes. “Psychosomatic” otherwise refers to psychology, environment, and behavior as they affect and/or cause physical illness. The medical community’s still unsure, far as I know, on how to work the distinction between purely physical, mixed psychosomatic, and purely psychosomatic illness. So maybe you and Clarissa are arguing two sides of the same coin?

        “there isn’t any scientific evidence that anger, personality or emotions cause any disease including ME/CFS”

        Well no but anger, personality and emotions are, like CFS and SAD, all effects of neurochemical activity. Show all the biomedical information on brain activity you want, but you cannot reasonably posit that the brain as an organ that learns from and responds to its environment somehow functions in an organic vacuum. So there’s fucked up chemicals. Your next question should be, what causes that? And how do we address the cause instead of attacking the chemical symptom with pills? And if things are so fucked up that the patient cannot function, shouldn’t pills be only a temporary or an extreme measure, until the cause of the chemical symptom can be addressed or at least understood?

        P.S.: It is true I am a humanities academic with no medical background so can a medical expert person if such reads this blog comment before I am told to blow it out my poetry-loving ass k thanx! :)

      • Yep. I had all of those qualities. To some respect, I still do. For instance I get tired very easily if what I am trying to focus on has no innate appeal and I am required to focus on it for long durations. In all other respects, I have fully recovered. I do rather heavy martial arts training and nowadays barely raise a sweat. The fundamental difference is that I’ve learned to turn my aggression outwards, rather than directing in inwards, toward myself.

        I have no doubt whatsoever that aggression turned inwards registers in biological terms, for instance as a suppressed immune system and having trouble sleeping. I don’t consider those findings to be controversial. They’re just what one would expect to find.

      • “I have no doubt whatsoever that aggression turned inwards registers in biological terms, for instance as a suppressed immune system and having trouble sleeping.”

        -Exactly. High anxiety and feelings of guilt also devour energy like nothing else. But of course it’s easier to dream about a magic pill than do martial arts or search for the roots of your anxiety.

  14. Clarissa, the phenomenon of chronic fatigue syndrome is not to be dismissed as “it’s all in the head”, simply because no-one to date has found incontrovertible proof of an etiologic agent or complex interaction. Physicians and scientists haven’t discovered everything.

    Bad behavior from the public and from some scientists is another issue altogether.

  15. NancyP :
    Clarissa, the phenomenon of chronic fatigue syndrome is not to be dismissed as “it’s all in the head”, simply because no-one to date has found incontrovertible proof of an etiologic agent or complex interaction. Physicians and scientists haven’t discovered everything.
    Bad behavior from the public and from some scientists is another issue altogether.

    Well a lot of things start off in the body and end up in the head and then back in the body again. Nothing whatsoever in life seems to be “all in the head”. For instance the repression of sexuality and aggression, which is culturally conditioned, particularly for women in right wing cultures, starts in the body. It then heads to the head, as neurosis of some sort. If anything, it may become exacerbated “in the head”. This condition of the head then feeds back into the body again, ad infinitum — unless the vicious cycle is broken.

  16. Steve :
    I take it that you think “common sense” is synonymous with arrogant ethnlocentric US chauvinism.
    If the previous poster was right, and what you were on about was those societies in American universities, then you could at least have said so. He I had heard of them, but I had no idea that Americans called them “Greeks”,
    Common sense tells me that Greeks are ctizens of Greece or people of Greek descent living in other countries. Expecting everyone in the world to be familiar with the esoteric culture of an American elite is the ultimate in narrow-minded chauvinism.

    Common sense to me means to take the post in context. To me, that context was clear from the outset, when she writes of her thoughts of social ostracism. In addition, she’s writing about her experiences at Northwestern University, which furthers the implication that she’s talking about sororities and fraternities, not actual Greeks. Furthermore, her language–especially that concerning “students,” “chapters,” “houses,” “hazing,” “social clubs,” “Rush,” “Pledged,” and “alumni–” indicate that she speaks of fraternities and sororities, not of a separate culture. In addition, all the links within the post have to do with sororities and fraternities, which throws off your argument.

    I’m aware that the word “Greek” threw you off–but if you’d paid attention to the context of the post–including language and links–you would have realized that she was not writing of people with Greek ancestry. In addition, it’s her blog, which means that everything she writes is in the context of her situation–namely, her experience at Northwestern University. She wrote in one of her earlier comments here that she was getting hurt responses from fellow students. This indicates that the people who are reading her blog are also from American universities and know what she’s talking about. Should she have to define everything to the letter for an audience that primarily knows exactly what she is talking about?

  17. n8chz :
    The head is part of the body.

    I’m all for a shamanistic approach, in which people must lose themselves in order to find themselves and through trial and error find a way to recover their lost health. In my case, as I’ve said, I had a huge amount of unacknowledged rage directed inwards. Had I been medicated, instead of looking inwards and recognizing this fact — and then doing something about it — I would certainly have become a shadow of the person I am today. More people deserve this chance to effect their own recoveries. But this is really an aristocratic prerogative, since one assumes the right to control one’s own destiny, even at the cost of possible mistakes. Many people are afraid to take control of their destinies in this way and so defer to authority since they believe they are taking the safer path. I’m certain that such deference is nearly always wrong — although sometimes it might lead to a lucky hit.

  18. Miriam :

    Did you somehow miss my constant usage of the words “college,” “sororities,” “fraternities,” and “students?” Don’t paint me as a “chauvinist” to justify your own inability to discern the context of what you’re reading.

    Somehow you were the ONLY commenter, whether on my blog or on my Facebook where I reposted the article, to make this error.

    Guys, let’s not start getting upset. We are all good people here. Miriam is not a chauvinist, she is a great person and a talented blogger. And so is Steve.

    However, I understand why Steve is upset at the terminology. He is from South Africa and a member of the Greek Orthodox Church. I can imagine how I would feel if I went to a South African site and encountered references to “the Jew system.” The expression “the Greek system” is innocuous once you know what it stands for but it is disturbing to those who have no idea what it is.

  19. bloggerclarissa :
    “I have no doubt whatsoever that aggression turned inwards registers in biological terms, for instance as a suppressed immune system and having trouble sleeping.”
    -Exactly. High anxiety and feelings of guilt also devour energy like nothing else. But of course it’s easier to dream about a magic pill than do martial arts or search for the roots of your anxiety.

    It is threatening, I suppose, to the sense of self, to have to entertain the idea that it is actually your sense of self that is problematic and not something extraneous to that.

  20. bloggerclarissa :
    “Yes, neurological diseases affect the brain as well.”
    -And we can see a living example of that in KAL. This person’s brain has been all but eaten away. Sad.
    KAL also means “excrement” in my language, so I can’t stop laughing at the unfortunate choice of a nickname.

    Clarissa,

    How old are you?

  21. And hogging an entire thread with such huge and pointless sheets of garbage is extremely rude.

    Were you born an asshole or is this a work in progress? Can you even read in English puta?

  22. Pingback: Why I’m not ready to jump on the P2P bandwagon | In defense of anagorism

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s