June 5, 2013
Crisis: Varia: On Sex + Four Plagues + Psychiatric Nonsense
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1. On sex 
2. On the four plagues
3. On psychiatric nonsense
About ME/CFS


Well... I believe I am still somewhat paying back my walk of nearly six weeks ago, but I also seem to be getting out of it.

The main problem with that is getting enough sleep. The last night I had 7 hours, which may be just sufficient for me. It does remain a problem, though, but is most probably due to too much B12, although that is not the only factor.

Anyway... as usual, I shift the subject again, after three days of DSM-5 and one day on the site. Today is a varia topic, that is, it does not come under one heading, while I also do want to do these things once a day, at most, rather than three times (as was my original plan with Nederlog, on 1.1.2006, in Dutch).

On sex

First sex, and especially from the female point of view. It's a fair amount of reading, especially if you read both of the entries that follow, but it is quite interesting, and perhaps the female journalist who wrote it, reviewing the second and latest entry that (and I quote) is more right than wrong:
This book — how do I put this without sounding hyperbolic? This book should be read by every woman on earth. It should be handed out to pubescent girls right alongside “Our Bodies, Our Selves” and be required course reading for Human Sexuality 101. It is a must-read for any person with even a remote erotic interest in the female gender. It deserves to be listed on bridal registries — gay and straight. It could single-spine-edly replace at least a quarter of the sexual self-help section and the world would be better for it. It is a revelation, a story of redemption. I laughed, I almost cried — with joy. I was turned on, even. You want a female Viagra? This book is as close as we have to it.
Well... the book is “What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire” ; the journalist who wrote the above is Tracy Clark-Flory; and her review of the book is here:
This is from Here is another introductory bit, that also leads to my second entry:

In accessible and entertaining prose, “What Do Women Want?” details everything from individual women’s fantasies to the search for a “female Viagra.” More important, though, it represents a complete paradigm shift. The book, which grew from a much-discussed New York Times Magazine cover story in 2009, reveals how gender stereotypes have shaped scientific research and blinded researchers to evidence of female lust and sexual initiation throughout the animal kingdom, including among humans. It reveals how society’s repression of female sexuality has reshaped women’s desires and sex lives.

Bergner, and the leading sex researchers he interviews, argue that women’s sexuality is not the rational, civilized and balancing force it’s so often made out to be — that it is base, animalistic and ravenous, everything we’ve told ourselves about male sexuality.
That "cover story" link provides my second link, namely to a January 2009 long article in the New York Times, by the journalist who since wrote the book:
I should also say both articles are long - but then "you're all the time thinking about it", as the phrase is. And I should say I am much less amazed than Tracy Clark-Flory, but then again that is most probably because of my own background:

I lived in Amsterdam, born in 1950 as the child of communist parents, and have lived with 5 women, successively and monogamously, without ever marrying, because I thought marrying was only required once you had or seriously wanted children, and while I would probably have had children with the fourth, I never did, because we both fell ill in January 1979, and we both never got better. [1]

Also, I regret little of that, except the fifth relation, and I am aware since my teens that (1) women are or may be (some times) "wild, ravenous, animalistic" and (2) they are - it seems - more complicated and diverse, sexually speaking.

2. On the four plagues

Now to something quite different. In fact, this will end up in the
crisis series because of this section, that is concerned with another quite long article, by Don Hazen, called
As I said: This is quite long and it starts as follows:

Every day, thousands, probably millions of people ask their family, friends, neighbors and colleagues similar and increasingly familiar questions: What has happened to our country? How did we get here? Isn’t it scary? Can anything be done about it?

There is an abundance of evidence that there are forces tearing apart the U.S. economy and society, causing increasing levels of fear, anxiety and trauma for large numbers of people. Many people are mystified as to the specific causes of their fears, with a mass media system that constantly broadcasts propaganda about how great America is and a new digital media system that may be exacerbating the problems for a society under immense and unprecedented duress.

There is the added problem that the theories and the means of social change we are familiar with, and to which we still turn, are not remotely up to the task we face, and have mostly proven to be inadequate. Virtually every problem we face has gotten worse over the past 40 years, and heavily sped up since 9/11 and the economic crash of 2007.

In an environment of confusion and despair, it can be helpful to name the beast—essentially to understand the forces at play, how they operate, and why they feel both intractable and overwhelming. So, what follows is a kind of Users' Guide To What Is Freaking Us Out.”

I thought that you wanted that, and for more you have to click the above link.

It should be noted this is directed at a US audience, in the first place, but it does apply for the most part, and at least, to the whole Western world, though the figures and stats are mostly US.

Incidentally, as to the apathy that caught so many, here is just one quite amazing figure:
And a stunning 23 percent of women in their 40s and 50s are now taking antidepressants according to a major study by the CDC.
The writing is for Alternet, and is by Alternet's executive editor, and I have one more quotation, that identifies the four plagues:
As AlterNet’s executive editor, I have personally been engaged for many years in all the issues and developments described above, publishing much of the best writing on every topic. I too have felt overwhelmed by the tsunami crashing over us. After all the years publishing many thousands of articles, what is happening today feels fundamentally unprecedented—the combination of spiritual malaise and social collapse, an abundance of cruelty and callousness.

Recently I found a way of better understanding the forces that are at play, which I want to share in case it can be helpful. Basically, in this analysis there are four especially powerful and pernicious overarching economic and political mechanisms operating. These are privatization, financialization, militarization, and criminalization, which together are producing a steadily creeping authoritarianism—a new authoritarianism—to fit our times. Let’s call them the Four Plagues, or if we wish, “The Four Horsemen of Our Apocalypse,” from the Book of Revelations in the New Testament.

Well... it is helpful (somewhat) and all of it is sensible. It also is depressive to read, but then the truth often is depressive. Also, you should read it all, at least if you are seriously interested in contributing anything to the welfare of others.

On psychiatric nonsense

Finally, yet another round-up of psychiatric nonsense, by 1 boring old man:
This is less important and also considerably less long than the other two (or three) items in this Nederlog, but it is an interesting study of the incredible rot psychiatrists write, publish, get enormous acclaim and riches by, and that almost no one criticizes, even though it is - certainly in this case - evident rot.

It is by one of the men he - very rightly, to my way of thinking - detests, namely Nemeroff plus others. Here is a taste of it, startingv with 1 boring old man, and continuing, in bold, with the rot:
They run multiple regression analyses on the correlations between the cortical thicknesses so derived and the results of the abuse indices they generated from their questionnaires and structured interviews, holding this and that constant, correcting for that and this. All of these things occur in a black box that we can’t see the inside of on data that’s not shown. What we see are some pictures of brains with color-coded significant correlations from the regressions. The closest we get to tangible data looks something like this:
    "… emotional abuse specifi cally affects the areas of the left (x= -3, y= -61, z=45; F=7.8, p , 0.05) and right (x=6, y= -49, z=51; F=6.2, p , 0.05) precuneus and the left anterior (x= -4, y=40, z=11; F=6.9, p , 0.05) and posterior cingulate cortex (x= -2, y= -47, z=28; F=8.1, p , 0.01). We also observed thinning in the face region of the somatosensory cortex (x= -56, y= -12, z=45; F=22.7, p , 0.001). Hence, emotional abuse, which likely represents experiences of parental rejection and is often considered most detrimental in terms of altered concept of ‘self,’ is associated with the cortical thinning of regions implicated in mediating self-reflection, self-awareness, and first-person perspective."
Now this boldly printed stuff is utter rot (and note the "likely", "is often" and  "associated"). Here is part of 1 boring old man's reasons for thinking along these lines:
So even if we accept the methodology used to measure cortical thinning at face value and accept that the questionnaires and structured interviews actually give an accurate index of the type and magnitude of the child abuse in the subjects, we’re still left entering the world of multiple regressions with no direct access to any data other that the significance corrected in multiple ways we can’t see. Anyone who has done multiple regressions with large data sets using a statistical package knows that if you play with the data enough, you can make it sing any song. It’s where the saying, "Torture the data long enough, and it will tell you anything you want to hear." And then the authors speculate on complex abstract concepts like "self-reflection" or "parental rejection" without actually assessing these things in the subjects  of the study as if the outcome of a given experience is an index of its impact – a clinically indefensible position.
Quite so - and one of the things neither 1 boring old man nor Nemeroff seems to know is the - alas quite technical - work that utterly destroyed all of psychiatry's hopes to do these manner of things (which are not Nemeroff's, who is an out and out fraud anyway):
But meanwhile you may rest assured that dr. Nemeroff and his gang will get yet another chair and yet more millions of dollars to produce yet more of their utter conscious nonsense...

"So it goes."


[1] I have to guess at "we both never got better", because I did not see her the last almost 15 years, but I know she still was ill 20 years after falling ill, and we both had very clearly the same disease. My reason to stop the relation was mainly to allow at least one of us to survive, which I still think was more justified than not. We both did, and she is the wife of a medical doctor. But this is one of the great pities of my life: We were quite different - I am a talker, she is not; I am an extreme visualizer, she an extreme auditory person; and more - but we both were very intelligent (she too got an excellent degree in psychology, and sooner than I did), and for some strange set of complimentary reasons were very well fit for each other. She probably is the person I loved most - though this is not to say, and not at all, I did not love the other women I lived with, while it is to say they were all quite different, except that all were at least quite intelligent (and one quite brilliant) - for I need to have quite to extremely intelligent people to relate to, in a meaningful way, or none at all. And finally on the subject of women, that indeed has moved me more than any other subject: I have loved, somehow, from age 17 onwards, 9 women, and all were quite different, except that all were at least quite intelligent and the most real ones very intelligent - but apart from this there's hardly any common feature, and in one case I was definitely mistaken, and abused. But that indeed is the exception.

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

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