Tuesday, October 2, 2007

On Pseudo-Dialogue

Here are some things I've wanted to write about but think it best to avoid because I'm going on the job market and, despite clamourous rhetoric to the contrary, academia doesn't always welcome certain perspectives as much as others:
  • Libertarian value theory
  • Freedom of thought, culture, and the culture of "Race"
  • Heroism and war
  • The new (post 1980ish) disciplines in the Humanities
  • Metaphysics and psychiatry
  • Hypersensitivity and the word "awareness"
  • E.M. Cioran, fascism, and the problems of democracy
  • Ethics, hypocrisy, personal culpability
  • The myth of progress and the year 1800 C.E.
  • Jesus and modernism
  • National funding and the corruption of science
  • The threat of Russia
  • "Identity addicts"
  • Fear of faction in 1850, now

So -- those topics'll have to wait until after I get tenure. Unless someone wants to engage me in doublespeak in the comments section.


Monica said...

I can't wait for "Jesus and Modernism."

Casey said...

Monica, my doublespeak response to that comment is:

How very modern of you.

Wishydig said...

Metaphysics and Psychiatry? Are American Lit professors really afraid to talk about this?

Do American Lit programs know anything about this?

Casey said...

My kind, intelligent, white haired British dissertation advisor is writing a book on manic-depression and Melville, arguing that Melville's father was a documented depressive, that Melville's son ended up killing himself, and that Melville probably had the gene...

"...had the gene..." -- Hmm. Whatever happened to that Nature vs. nurture question? It couldn't just be that Melville's depressive father taught him "how to be" in the world?

But more importantly, I didn't mean to limit my fear of surveillance to American Lit. professors. Academics have seemed particularly sensitive about the issue of psychiatry in my experience... it's another one of those not-very-debatable points. I have upset fellow graduate students more than twice by even raising the possibility that SSRIs are "metaphysically" suspect in my judgment. Nobody wonders whether the whole pscyhiatry industry might be holding itself up by one giant placebo effect or wonders whether drugs companies might have less than perfectly and selflessly "just trying to help." So... er... keep in mind, this is in doublespeak.

Of course, I don't want to end up getting lumped in with Tom Cruise or anything, so--

"Are you feeling tired? Uninspired? Do you ever worry what others think about you? Do you feel like you can never get your head above water because of work? Did life used to seem more promising?"

Option A: welcome to the club.
Option B: you're not normal. Take this pill and then you'll be normal.

Seriously: I admit to not reading the research on all of this, but I did hear a lecture last week that suggested that these SSRIs in particular suddenly see HUGE drops in efficacy after they go "off patent." How interesting...

But seriously: I'm unqualified to talk about this.

Casey said...

Michael--two alsos:

Also: No offense to your dad. ;)

Also: American Lit. professors don't know the DAMNDEST thing about libertarian value theory, the threat of russia, the corruption of science, the myth of progress, hypocrisy & personal culpability, etc. And they don't want to.

Casey said...

Interesting article available via JSTOR:

"Forensic Psychiatry Without Metaphysics," by Olof Kinberg.

Biological view vs. Theological view stuff... what we love about the theological view, and what I am reluctant to let go of, is the idea of "will." Read the first page, maybe?

Wishydig said...

I'll take a look.