Blogger Liz Spikol from the Philadelphia Weekly is making July 13th a day of exclusive discussion on Mad In America. Spikol is a mainstream psych patient who was recently confronted on her blog by a survivor on what he called her “worship of psychiatry”, which got the whole ball rolling here.
Predictably, Spikol frames the issue as “pro” versus “anti” psychiatry, but hey. I dreaded sword-crossing, but the comments are overall reasonable, psych rights activist Will Hall instantly showed up, explaining that it’s not black and white, bless him, and pointed her to Whitaker’s Mad In America.
Liz takes him up on his suggestion
here, and announces the communal book-reading and discussion to follow. She’s opened her community to all interested parties and will hold a big open conversation the 13th, including live blogging from her office, with cookies and civility. Civility, yikes, that’s a scary place for me but I will be lurking because this is pretty cool. I too found Spikol safe and frivolous and thus easily dismissible, until seeing this open-minded willingness to dialogue with people who have critical views on psychiatry. We consumers/clients/patients/don’t-call-me-thats/ are absolute dogmatists who take ourselves way too seriously, and partisans crossing battle lines on any political ground is just not something you see these days.
Whether or not you’re hip to what it means to be mad in America I bet it effects you somehow, and a civil, facilitated discussion could be a starting point. If only there was some way to keep out John McManamy, who chimes in on comments with his usual Pubmed non-sequiturs and rival smackdown. The rival being Will of course, member of that “anti-psychiatry crowd” who is talking out of his ass don’t-cha-know, and in case you need reminding who the real expert is, John McMagnaminous concludes his remarks with an exhortation against intellectual dishonesty from the anti-psychiatry crowd that lives in his head:
We need the antipsychiatry movement to keep psychiatry quasi-honest. I hope you guys continue to carry on in the spirit of the late and great Loren Mosher, but please use him as a model for utmost integrity. The same old Thomas Szasz sohpistry is not going to win friends and infuence people.
Oh, fuck you.
Now, what did I win?
Getting back to the actual topic, Mad In America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill by Robert Whitaker. More on the book and its infuence here.
Now I gotta go kick that wingnut Thomas Szasz out of the damn building.
Stay true, loves.