October 6, 2008

The Media Is The Message, And The Message Is You're An Idiot

(From The New Yorker)
new yorker cartoon.jpg

You mean I get to pick?

I.  What Is Real?

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight.

This is the kind of sentence that you expect from a Woodward and Bernstein after months in dark parking garages, or maybe a book based on the results of secret CIA documents, but unfortunately it appears in Rolling Stone.  The piece is called, Make Believe Maverick, i.e. pretending to be cutting edge and independent, a voice of the people, and not really the arm of Big Business which he will here be revealed to be.  I hope someone else appreciates the irony there.

There's also a piece called The Truth About Palin: A guide to separating myth from fact.   (Where does one place the sic?)   And even a video "Five Myths About John McCain" which are sure to surprise you, like "John is a straight talking reformer" and "John is a Washington outsider."  One shot shows a photo of him seated at a desk, reaching out to take someone's off screen hand.  The camera slowly pans left across the photo to reveal--- Ronald Reagan! 

Truly these are the end of days.

Oh-- all three pieces are buy the same guy.

II.  Go To The Source

What is naked shorting?  Don't know?  You could look it up on Wikipedia, where it says a great number of things,  except that it is bad.  That it could be bad-- by artificially depressing a stock's price--  is hotly debated everywhere-- except on Wikipedia.  Know why?  Because, Gary Weiss-- who may (or may not) have worked for/used a computer at the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation which oversees stock settlement, became a Wikipedia editor and effectively controlled the entry.  He also  derided the CEO of Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne, who was vocally against the practice, by blocking his edits and even controlling his (Byrne's) Wikipedia page.

The story would be more interesting if Gary Weiss turned out to be a former journalist at BusinessWeek, where he should have learned not to manipulate the truth,  as well as understand the effects of naked short selling.  Well, he was. 

The debate here is not wheither Byrne or Weiss is right-- whether naked short selling does drive stock prices down, creating more volatility (it does.)  The question here is this: if Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, why wasn't the entry "fixed?"  Leading to the second question, since it is obvious that it can't really be edited (effectively) by just anyone, how do you get chosen to be the main guy?  If the CEO of an $800M company isn't allowed to write a few lines, what chance does anyone else have?

III.  Psychiatry Finds The Truth
Do you know what antidepressant induced mania is?   For ten years I've been yelling at anyone who would listen that it doesn't exist.  Let me caveat that: "exist" isn't the word I took issue with, the word was "antidepressant": how can you blame an entire group of chemicals that many times have no similarities at all (Prozac vs. Wellbutrin) as having the same rare side effects?  That's classism, right?

I wrote a number of "scientific" articles on the subject, and only one was ever published-- the one in which I described a scenario where it actually did happen.  For reference, I've published many other articles, so the problem here wasn't my writing or research, it was my stance.

So when someone writes an article agreeing that antidepressant induced mania is overstated, I read it closely-- not for new information, but because I want to see how he got it past the censors.

In a section entitled What is the Best Available Evidence? the author writes,

More conclusive evidence can be derived from two recent, large controlled studies, one being a monotherapy study,4 the other a study investigating the combination of a mood stabilizer and the choice of two antidepressants.6 

I knew immediately what the second study was; but I hadn't ever heard of the first-- a monotherapy study with an antidepressant in bipolar, controlled and large?  Am I slacking? Oh, it's a Seroquel study.

IV.  Your Thoughts Have Been Peer-Reviewed, and Badly

And it beceoms clear that all media are peer -reviewed, and by peer-review I mean not you or your peers.  Rolling Stone is so tight it has the same idiot generate three different pieces for the same issue.  Same with anything else. 

It is the same guys, over and over again, each in their own space, and by default we assume they are the most knowledgeable, or the most rigorous; have the most information or are best able to remain objective.  Or maybe we simply hope they'll be good enough.

But having the same guys means that we'll be getting the same philosophies, the same filters, the same phrases.  We are guaranteeing not just groupthink, but we're allowing others  to decide what we're going to talk about, how we'll talk about it.   That's why "gay marriage" will disappear not when gays can marry but when a new set of media people get jobs and "gay marriage" isn't as interesting to them.  The actual importance of "gay marriage" in the world is not at all the important question-- it may be extremely relevant, or not at all, but that's irrelevant.  Why we're stuck with "bipolar disorder" until, I don't know, the neo-analysts return with their talk of "repressed thyroid energy" or something, but emphatically not because we discover anything qualitatively new about bipolar.

And so it goes.  If you wonder why you seem ADHD or anxious, it may be that you are being told certain things are horribly important, yet you can't seem to feel it; meanwhile you are also being told the things you thought were important are trivial. 

And the only place (you are told) you can go to regain balance is psychiatry.  Good luck with all that.


I know it seems beyond expl... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2008 2:54 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I know it seems beyond explanaition that different types of antidepressants can cause a manic reaction, I mean wellbutrin does work differently than prozac, sort of, they both work by interupting reuptake of neurotransmitters, but different neurotransmitters at different levels.
Could it possibly be that the mechanism of blocking reuptake is all that is needed here and is the thing that matters, not the specifics of what neurotransmitters are targeted?

Do older classes of antidepressants share the same sort of problem with inducing mania? If they do I haven't heard or read about it, though I certainly did get much worse when I was given a TCA but was already on a downwards spiral of insanity at the time.

All I know is that all the SSRIs I have tried have made me hypomanic always within 6 weeks, then mixed manic and then I quit them. And the SNRI I tried (is wellburtin an SNRI or just a dopamine and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor?) Wellbitrin, that made me completely psychotic within 48 hours of the first dose, and I was nowhere near psychotic when I started it (this happened to me twice since I tried the med twice). ... just lke cocaine did the two times I tried it. (they are similar drugs, just one is 'weak sauce', but they do the same thing in the brain right?)

There is something to antidepressant induced mania and psychosis even if it doesn't "make sense" when comparng how the chemicals work. There are just too many people who have had these reactions, unaware that these reactions existed, who later on had to think back about all the times they had gone psychotic, ended up seriously manic and ill, and realized that they were all correlated to times when they had recently started on an antidepressant medication.
I'm BP type II when I am not on antidepressants and the only times I have ever had a true manic episode, tried to off myself, become violent, psychotic and all the worst of it that would be classified as part of BP type I, well the only time I have experienced those sorts of things has been when I was on an antidepressant. Since quitting them after trying them for about 7 years I have gone back to being in the realm of BP type II and my symptoms are managable. Oh and the rapid cycling I endured for 8 years is gone, it only took one year of being off antidepressants and only taking a moodstabalizer befor that stopped.

You could argue that the mania and psychosis would have naturualy followed the depression without any treatment at all, but how do you then explain all these people who do so much better once they (or they're enlightened doctor) have decided to not try anymore antidepressants. People like myself who finaly stabalize only after stopping the cycle of antidepressant use for depressions?

There is something to it wether or not it makes sense. People don't usually figure out it's been certain meds that have caused them problems until it's happened more than a few times and they can look back and see a real pattern of reactions to these meds and not just the natural course of thier illness.

I was ill for many years befor the docs started suggesting antidepressants, and I had a pattern, beggingin of spring and end of summer hypomania, winter depression and about every four years a summer depression to. Then I took antidepressants and was having episodes unpredictably, and it went on for seven years while I kept trying more and more antidepressants. Since finaly realizing those types of meds were only making things worse and since stopping them, I have gone back to my own NATURAL cycles... so no one can convince me it wasn't the meds and it was just the natural course of my illness. I lived with my illness thru plenty of stressors for many years befor I sought treatment, I know what my patterns are, I know when to expect depressions, hypomanias and everything in between, but when I was trying antidepressants it was just unpredictable insanity, and it was much worse then than it ever was befor, and since. And I tried all sorts of antidepressants and none of them seemed to do more than make me go manic or psychotic immediatly or numb me and then seduce me into insanity over the course of a few weeks without my realizing I was going insane.

Doctors still tell me there is no way the meds could have been he cause of my problems, I don't care. If they want to be stubborn and think that there is no way in hell I could possibly know anything more about my own life and the natural patterns of this illness I have been living with for 20 years than they do, I guess that's thier problem cause I'm not going to pay to see someone who thinks they can know more about my life from a one hours visit once or twice a month than I do from living it.

I'm just glad that I have enough faith in my own insight to do what i know is right for me and not get talked into trying another antidepressant just cause some doctor doesn't believe that what HAS happened to me could happen at all.

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I have only experienced ant... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2008 3:03 PM | Posted by Hypomanic: | Reply

I have only experienced antidepressant-induced hypomania using Zoloft (two trials), but have had no problems with other medications (except Prednisone, which caued full-blown mania, but that's another story).

How can you claim a phenomenon does not exist when anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise, although perhaps not to the extent the literature claims?

Alone's response: replying to you and to the other guy who asked a similar question: it's not that I doubt that certain chemicals, e.g. imipramine, can cause mania (rarely), it's that I dispute that this mythical ki-ran called "antidepressant" can do it. Does that include Wellbutrin (data clearly says idiosyncratic risk.) SSRIs? (data say idiosyncratic.) TCAs? (double the rate of mania.) Seroquel? Abilify? etc.

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Am I hallucinating or did T... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2008 6:02 PM | Posted, in reply to Hypomanic's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Am I hallucinating or did The LP write very clearly that the word he was questioning was "antidepressant", not "exist?" SSRIs could appropriately be called "antianxiety agents", as they are approved for more anxiety disorders than mood disorders. Perhaps we should put a suicide or mania warning on Vistaril or Buspa.

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What I'm responding to is t... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2008 7:23 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Hypomanic: | Reply

What I'm responding to is this: "So when someone writes an article agreeing that antidepressant induced mania is overstated, I read it closely-- not for new information, but because I want to see how he got it past the censors."

The essay seemed to revolve around the concept of "antidepressant-induced mania."

NB: Putting a mania warning on Vistaril or Buspar is non-sequitur, because, unlike SSRIs and certain other "antidepressant" medications, there's never been an indication that either compound causes mania.

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Wait, can I just retract th... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2008 7:44 PM | Posted by Hypomanic: | Reply

Wait, can I just retract that? :)

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Why must you scare me so?</... (Below threshold)

October 7, 2008 11:20 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Why must you scare me so?

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If you've ever read The Reg... (Below threshold)

October 8, 2008 8:53 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

If you've ever read The Register, you'd know Wikipedia isn't democracy you seem to think it is. Weiss controlled those articles because he had the cooperation of Wikipedia's bureaucracy.

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I kept expecting to read, "... (Below threshold)

October 8, 2008 12:57 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I kept expecting to read, "If you're getting the message, the message is for you."

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Woah, never thought of it l... (Below threshold)

August 25, 2009 10:11 AM | Posted by Stee Smith: | Reply

Woah, never thought of it like that :s

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Ed Hardy clothing often use... (Below threshold)

March 23, 2010 3:50 AM | Posted by ed-hardy: | Reply

Ed Hardy clothing often use some embroidery

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Ed Hardy clothing often use... (Below threshold)

March 23, 2010 3:52 AM | Posted by ed-hardy: | Reply

Ed Hardy clothing often use some embroidery,ed hardy

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The falling man. What about... (Below threshold)

November 9, 2014 6:57 AM | Posted by J: | Reply

The falling man. What about "jumpers" ?

Is it just me or is this a different tone, at times a more authentic emotional language shines through?

When they hit the pavement, their bodies were not so much broken as obliterated.

Nothing more graphically spells out the horror of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers than the grainy pictures of those poor souls frozen in mid-air as they fell to their deaths, tumbling in all manner of positions, after choosing to escape the suffocating smoke and dust, the flames and the steel-bending heat in the highest floors of the World Trade Centre.

And yet, tragically, they are in many ways the forgotten victims of September 11. Even now, nobody knows for certain who they were or exactly how many they numbered. Perhaps worst of all, surprisingly few even want to know.

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