A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Peace Be With You

On his blog yesterday, Kevin Drum commented on a British study that questions the efficacy of antidepressants, particularly SSRIs such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine (Paxil). Apparently the study is a headline maker in the British press, yet it has attracted very little attention over here. Kevin wonders why the American press hasn't picked up on it -- with a veiled implication that the influence of Big Pharma may have something to do with it. The blogpost brought forth a long, long string of comments, many of which are worth reading.

Now, I'm no friend of the pharmaceutical industry. But I have great reason to question the accuracy of this study. It may be that a placebo would have curtailed the anxiety attacks that were making my life hellish (and me even less pleasant to be around), but I'm perfectly happy to credit paroxetine with helping me knit up the raveled sleeve of care. I do hope the American press takes a look at this study and questions its assumptions (the Brits seem to be endorsing it). But asking the American press to do anything these days is like asking a drowning man to smile for the camera.