Jump off a roof

I would really appreciate some feedback.  My stats are reasonable but I get no feed back.  No one leaves comments.  Could you please leave comments? Why did they lie about my being able to write well?

maybe you’d like to take a look at this:

http://winstonsmith33.blogspot.com/2010/04/jeremy-kyle-as-verb-and-reminiscing.html

Scroll down:  His response to a comment (in italics) and my response to his:

However, it is still a human tragedy when any individual is driven to suicide or overdoses. Granted humanity probably hasn’t lost any potential nobel prize winners but I still find it very tragic.

How could you possibly know that? Ever heard of Ernest Hemingway? I live in a university town and psychiatric break downs are common. Some of these highly intelligent people are driven to suicide. I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.

And this blog was awarded the Orwell Prize.
Suggested reading: The Savage God by A. Alvarez.

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10 Responses to “Jump off a roof”

  1. sanabituranima Says:

    😦 He doesn’t get it. And, considering he’s working in supported housing, he ought to.

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  2. VanDee Says:

    Oh come now! I’m a fan of Winston’s, and believe he talks a great deal of good sense. Strikes me that you’re focussing on his minor error “Granted humanity probably hasn’t lost any potential Nobel Prize winners” at the expense of his main point – namely, that suicide is a human tragedy REGARDLESS of the self-annihilator’s mental capacities.

    Besides, from what I’ve read of Theodore Dalrymple “suicide attempts” in this sector are usually immature cases who think a weak suicide attempt will make other people feel sorry for them and hence give them some “power” (“Don’t upset me or I’ll try to off myself again!”) I can understand the social worker’s cynicism and his/her refusal to be instantly stricken with sorrow when suicide is debased to this degree.

    Personally, re “The Savage God”, I think Alvarez’s book is dangerous in itself, as it associates suicide with profound insight and intellect. Suicide attempt as status indicator. (But please also be aware that I think Plath has glamorized self-destruction to countless teenage girls and I think her poetry possibly more harmful to a teenage girl than a cigarette habit. Would I ban it? No, but I would make it clear to anyone who wanted to read it that this is not a person to emulate.)

    And this blog was awarded the Orwell Prize.

    Read the rest of Winston’s content. It deserved it.

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  3. Louise Says:

    Oh come now! I’m a fan of Winston’s, and believe he talks a great deal of good sense. Strikes me that you’re focussing on his minor error “Granted humanity probably hasn’t lost any potential Nobel Prize winners” at the expense of his main point – namely, that suicide is a human tragedy REGARDLESS of the self-annihilator’s mental capacities.

    *wince*. Sorry I have an aversion to the word fan given its associations with the word ‘fanatic’. Can’t you change it ‘enthusiast’? And you’re right, WS does talk a lot of sense but then so does my mother and I’d never give her an Orwell Prize (if she ever gets around to keeping a blog.) She works in the public sector too and echoes many of Mr Smith’s complaints. And, strangely enough, as is seemingly the case with WS, she’s the only competent individual in the entire sector.

    Besides, from what I’ve read of Theodore Dalrymple “suicide attempts” in this sector are usually immature cases who think a weak suicide attempt will make other people feel sorry for them and hence give them some “power” (“Don’t upset me or I’ll try to off myself again!”) I can understand the social worker’s cynicism and his/her refusal to be instantly stricken with sorrow when suicide is debased to this degree.

    I’ve read a fair bit of that curmudgeonly old doctor myself and always find myself tripping over his multitude of internal contradictions. I will elaborate on that if this is what you require. As far as I know though Dalrymple never worked in the same sector as Winston Smith who is, by the way, not a social worker but a care worker – two very different beasts.

    Personally, re “The Savage God”, I think Alvarez’s book is dangerous in itself, as it associates suicide with profound insight and intellect. Suicide attempt as status indicator.

    That’s not the impression I was left with.

    (But please also be aware that I think Plath has glamorized self-destruction to countless teenage girls and I think her poetry possibly more harmful to a teenage girl than a cigarette habit. Would I ban it? No, but I would make it clear to anyone who wanted to read it that this is not a person to emulate.)

    Then they are not availing themselves of her full oeuvre. ‘The Bell Jar’ itself is one of the most unromantic accounts of endogenous depression I have ever read. She has also written a substantial body of beautiful poems in which she chronicles pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. And, yes, you probably wouldn’t want teenage girls to emulate her exit from the world but you might want them to emulate her academic success. She attended the prestigious Smith College before winning a Fulbright Scholarship to Cambridge. Wouldn’t you want them to emulate her just that far.

    And I’d just like to point out that suicidal impulses aren’t confined solely to teenage girls. Young men are statistically far more likely to commit suicide than their female counterparts. Would you say that listening to Kurt Cobain’s group Nirvana is to be encouraged among young boys? Or should teenage boys be kept away from Dylan Thomas because of the risk that they may emulate him and drink themselves to death.

    And this blog was awarded the Orwell Prize.

    Read the rest of Winston’s content. It deserved it

    I won’t deny that Winston has a compelling story to tell or that some of his accounts are quite simply hilarious. However, I was under the impression that the prize was awarded not only on the basis of content but on the basis of style. I often find myself wincing over the idiosyncrasies in WS’s prose style. And that should matter too. These are Orwell’s six rules of writing :
    http://thoughtcapital.wordpress.com/2007/04/22/george-orwells-6-rules-for-writing/

    Winston may care to read them some time.

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  4. VanDee Says:

    *wince*. Sorry I have an aversion to the word fan given its associations with the word ‘fanatic’. Can’t you change it ‘enthusiast’?

    OK, two can play at that game: I’ve just looked “enthusiast” up and found that its original meaning was “possessed by a god”. I have an aversion to the very idea of spirit possession, so when you find a word that has a completely politically-correct etymology please let me know and I’ll use that instead.

    I’ve read a fair bit of that curmudgeonly old doctor myself and always find myself tripping over his multitude of internal contradictions. I will elaborate on that if this is what you require.

    Yes please! I can’t say I agree with everything the good doctor says, but a few disagreements cannot stop me from general admiration. I’d very much like to see what snags you’ve encountered in his thinking, but I suspect you’d need a separate article on this blog to do so.

    That’s not the impression I was left with.

    Let’s agree to disagree then; for me he was making an explicit connection between genius and suicide.

    She has also written a substantial body of beautiful poems in which she chronicles pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood.

    And father-hating, and mother-hating, and suicide attempts as self-expression, and claiming the Holocaust as a handy analogy for her own pain, and comparing her rural surroundings to Death over and over again… These are the things she’s best known for. These are the problematic things and we need to deal with them, rather than pretend that they’re “not the real Plath” and that the good-natured stuff was.

    yes, you probably wouldn’t want teenage girls to emulate her exit from the world but you might want them to emulate her academic success.

    Ingenuous argument: how exactly would this work? Should we tell teenage girls that she succeeded in the early part of her life, but then wipe out all knowledge of the self-destructive message in her poetry, her subsequent unhappy marriage, feeling of being trapped by motherhood and final insertion of head in gas oven? Personally, I’d prefer a few more female role models who didn’t feel the need to preach a message of self-annihilation to their impressionable acolytes.

    I’d just like to point out that suicidal impulses aren’t confined solely to teenage girls. Young men are statistically far more likely to commit suicide than their female counterparts. Would you say that listening to Kurt Cobain’s group Nirvana is to be encouraged among young boys?

    Good point about young men being the higher statistic! I suppose I’d need to know more about Kurt Cobain’s work before I can comment, but does his work have an explicit “Kill Yourself” message like Plath’s does?

    Or should teenage boys be kept away from Dylan Thomas because of the risk that they may emulate him and drink themselves to death.

    Again I haven’t read enough of Dylan Thomas’s work to judge, but from what I’ve seen his poems don’t openly state “Drink Until Your Liver Collapses In On Itself”!

    However, I was under the impression that the prize was awarded not only on the basis of content but on the basis of style. I often find myself wincing over the idiosyncrasies in WS’s prose style.

    No writer is stylistically perfect (though Dr Dalrymple comes close…) Again, a separate article on your blog might be the best way of explaining your problems with his style. I personally think his style is clear and gets straight to the heart of the matter.

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  5. Louise Says:

    OK, two can play at that game: I’ve just looked “enthusiast” up and found that its original meaning was “possessed by a god”. I have an aversion to the very idea of spirit possession, so when you find a word that has a completely politically-correct etymology please let me know and I’ll use that instead.

    I was kidding. The word fan conjures up, for me, lots of silly little girls hanging onto the latest manufactured boy band. It was a personal dislike not predicated on political correctness.

    I’ve read a fair bit of that curmudgeonly old doctor myself and always find myself tripping over his multitude of internal contradictions. I will elaborate on that if this is what you require.

    Yes please! I can’t say I agree with everything the good doctor says, but a few disagreements cannot stop me from general admiration. I’d very much like to see what snags you’ve encountered in his thinking, but I suspect you’d need a separate article on this blog to do so.

    I’ve already done it. https://rielouise.wordpress.com/2005/11/08/theodore-dalrymple/ I recently finished Romancing Opiates so I’ll critique that one too.

    That’s not the impression I was left with.

    Let’s agree to disagree then; for me he was making an explicit connection between genius and suicide.

    He did make a connection between suicidal ideation and creativity. I believe I read that writers and artists are more likely to attempt or commit suicide than the general population. I’ll see if I can find a source.

    She has also written a substantial body of beautiful poems in which she chronicles pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood.

    And father-hating, and mother-hating, and suicide attempts as self-expression, and claiming the Holocaust as a handy analogy for her own pain, and comparing her rural surroundings to Death over and over again… These are the things she’s best known for. These are the problematic things and we need to deal with them, rather than pretend that they’re “not the real Plath” and that the good-natured stuff was.

    These are issues that have been dealt with in literature for the past 2000 years. Have you ever read any Sophocles? There’s a fair amount of matricide and fratricide in ancient Greek literature. Any Shakespeare? Try King Lear. Would you also suggest that studying the aforementioned writers is akin to taking up a cigarette habit? And if you want to see ‘suicide as self expression’ then take a look at this: http://tinyurl.com/26jls4k and there’s more: http://tinyurl.com/2exvywk . As for the Holocaust as a vehicle for the writer’s emotion, she’s not exactly alone in that, is she?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust_in_art_and_literature You might want to take a look at William Styron’s Sophie’s Choice sometime. And, while you’re at it, take a look at Bernhard Schlink’s Der Vorleser. That should keep you entertained for a while.

    yes, you probably wouldn’t want teenage girls to emulate her exit from the world but you might want them to emulate her academic success.

    Ingenuous argument: how exactly would this work? Should we tell teenage girls that she succeeded in the early part of her life, but then wipe out all knowledge of the self-destructive message in her poetry, her subsequent unhappy marriage, feeling of being trapped by motherhood and final insertion of head in gas oven? Personally, I’d prefer a few more female role models who didn’t feel the need to preach a message of self-annihilation to their impressionable acolytes.

    Actually, I don’t think we should teach teenage girls to emulate her at all. And where is it written that a writer is obliged to be a good role model (apart, of course, from some Daily Mail Diktat). Literary history is replete with reprobates. Are you saying we should only read works from writers who are good role models? How would this work? Would I have to conduct a thorough investigation into an author’s character before picking up his book? How time consuming. I may give up reading altogether. Does the same apply to films, video games, iphone apps? As for her ‘preaching the message of self annihilation to her impressionable acolytes’, she was hardly in a position to do that. Most of her works were only ever recognized posthumously.

    I’d just like to point out that suicidal impulses aren’t confined solely to teenage girls. Young men are statistically far more likely to commit suicide than their female counterparts. Would you say that listening to Kurt Cobain’s group Nirvana is to be encouraged among young boys?

    Good point about young men being the higher statistic! I suppose I’d need to know more about Kurt Cobain’s work before I can comment, but does his work have an explicit “Kill Yourself” message like Plath’s does?

    See what you think of this one: http://www.lyricsdepot.com/nirvana/paper-cuts.htmle
    And in what way does Plath’s work have an explicit ‘Kill Yourself’ message. She depicts suicide in her work but depiction is not endorsement.

    That they may emulate him and drink themselves to death.

    Again I haven’t read enough of Dylan Thomas’s work to judge, but from what I’ve seen his poems don’t openly state “Drink Until Your Liver Collapses In On Itself”!

    I’ve heard young people (admittedly very unbalanced people who probably couldn’t write a poem if their lives depended upon it) look at the way Dylan Thomas died and aspire to be like him.

    However, I was under the impression that the prize was awarded not only on the basis of content but on the basis of style. I often find myself wincing over the idiosyncrasies in WS’s prose style.

    No writer is stylistically perfect (though Dr Dalrymple comes close…) Again, a separate article on your blog might be the best way of explaining your problems with his style. I personally think his style is clear and gets straight to the heart of the matter.

    WS writes like a bureaucrat. Maybe he’s writing in the style the original Winston Smith would have written in if 1984 had been written in the first person.

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  6. Louise Says:

    Just a PS: Yes, there are arguments made by Dalrymple/Daniels that have my full support. I wish more men would make the assertions the good doctor has made here. I perceive football as an ugly, vulgar game but in saying this I get treated as though I have said something sacrilegious. I share his distaste at the many other vulgarisms that are woven into modern life. And I don’t particularly like regional accents and believe that we should all aspire to received pronunciation and standard English but then I am an unemployed elocution tutor.

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  7. VanDee Says:

    I was kidding. The word fan conjures up, for me, lots of silly little girls hanging onto the latest manufactured boy band. It was a personal dislike not predicated on political correctness.

    Ah, OK! I wish to call myself a fan, but YOU don’t want to permit me the use of this word – a self-applied word, please note, no hint of attack or labelling of anyone other than myself – because it reminds YOU of something YOU consider distasteful.

    How broadminded you are. Really, before you start offering proscriptive correctives such as “don’t use that word, I don’t like it”, please offer some stronger reason that “it reminds me of something I dislike”. I did you the credit of thinking that you had taken against it because of its connotations with mental illness: I certainly didn’t agree that you could use such an argument to control the language I used, but I thought you at least had a worthy motivation (that of protecting those with mental illness). But now you’ve explained that it’s merely a personal preference which you’ve elevated to the level of proscription, I agree with neither your wish to control my language nor your self-absorbed reason for imposing your prohibition.

    I’ve already done it. https://rielouise.wordpress.com/2005/11/08/theodore-dalrymple/ I recently finished Romancing Opiates so I’ll critique that one too.

    That’s it? You seem to be arguing “how dare he look down on people”. So you’re saying, how dare he criticize others? How dare he point out patterns of behaviour which have led to generation after generation growing up to disrespect society in general (and more importantly, the people around them)? For what it’s worth, I think he is perfectly entitled to point out faults in others, just as you seem to feel entitled to point out faults with him. Your language frequently descends to the personal attack – strange, for someone who lambasts Dalrymple for being intolerant of others’ failings!

    To answer just one of the personal attacks you level at Dalrymple – why should one have to withdraw from a profession due to resentment of the people in it? A doctor does not have to love everyone s/he treats: professionalism means that one is able to conceal one’s private feelings in the pursuit of one’s task. Do you think Dalrymple would have offered substandard care to these patients? Me neither. Therefore the charge that he should like them as well hardly follows. (Moreover, the articles he writes can be seen as cathartic, a necessary release from having to maintain a rigid professionalism continually. As he never names any of the patients to which he refers, who would deny the man that relief?)

    He did make a connection between suicidal ideation and creativity. I believe I read that writers and artists are more likely to attempt or commit suicide than the general population. I’ll see if I can find a source.

    Kay Redfield Jamison, probably – though I far prefer her more recent book EXUBERANCE. Have you read it? It’s a study of passion, positive energy and hard work. If you haven’t yet, I recommend it. It’s truly life-enhancing.

    Have you ever read any Sophocles? There’s a fair amount of matricide and fratricide in ancient Greek literature.

    Quote me some Sophocles where we’re supposed to applaud the heroine killing her father’s memory like Plath does – “Daddy, you bastard, I’m through.” Can you?

    Any Shakespeare? Try King Lear.

    “The worst is not / As long as we can say “this is the worst” ” – even in the midst of LEAR’s tragedy, there’s that grim placing one foot in front of the other, instead of giving up. The suicide in that play is Goneril, who kills herself in shame after having poisoned her own sister. Is this a play which exalts suicide? I think not.

    And if you want to see ‘suicide as self expression’ then take a look at this

    GO BACK AND READ HAMLET PROPERLY, PLEASE. It is explictly, EXPLICITLY stated in Gertrude’s speech that Ophelia did not intend to kill herself – she fell off the branch by accident! If Shakespeare had intended us to see her as a suicide, he would have had her described as having deliberately jumped. Ophelia’s death was an accident. No question. Read the play again and see for yourself.

    As for the Holocaust as a vehicle for the writer’s emotion, she’s not exactly alone in that, is she?

    She was a comfortable middle-class Aryan Poster girl who decided to espouse one of the worst evils of the 20th century for her PERSONAL dramas. This is totally different to Styron and Schlink, who take care to keep their Holocaust dramas strongly rooted in realism. That’s a respectful way to deal with the Holocaust. Saying stuff like “I think I may be a Jew” just because one is having a hard time is NOT a respectful way of invoking the six million dead. See the difference?

    Actually, I don’t think we should teach teenage girls to emulate her at all.

    OK, good. We agree on that then.

    Are you saying we should only read works from writers who are good role models?

    Straw man: I’m saying young girls need positive role models, not that I would burn everyone who wasn’t one.

    Re Kurt Cobain: See what you think of this one:

    That’s a pretty repulsive world he’s describing there – can’t see many people wanting to emulate that! Now, have a look at Plath describing how suicide empowers her:

    Out of the ash
    I rise with my red hair
    And I eat men like air.

    Read the whole poem. That’s the sort of stuff that should come with warnings.

    I’ve heard young people (admittedly very unbalanced people who probably couldn’t write a poem if their lives depended upon it) look at the way Dylan Thomas died and aspire to be like him.

    Sad, but as I said before the difference lies in whether the poet is advocating self-destruction in the WORK or not. Dylan didn’t. Sylvia did.

    WS writes like a bureaucrat. Maybe he’s writing in the style the original Winston Smith would have written in if 1984 had been written in the first person.

    Strange: when I read WS I see a writer capable of searing passion and striking turns of phrase – and, more than anything else, he speaks the truth.

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  8. Louise Says:

    I don’t have the power to ‘permit’ or deny you the right to use any word. if I felt that I did then I would simply have deleted it. You are entitled to call yourself whatever you like. I was pointing out that ‘fan’ is derived from ‘fanatic’. Are you a fanatic of WS? You certainly seem offended by the fact that I (mildly) criticised his prose style. You seem (and do forgive me if I am wrong) to find that unpalatable. In find it telling that your first point was that you are ‘a fan’. Why is that relevant? You are the one who seems to be elevating personal tastes to ‘the level of proscription’. You are ‘a fan’ therefore everyone else should be. You are not a critic therefore everyone else should not be. Kind of ‘self absorbed’ wouldn’t you agree?

    Please remember that I was not the one who introduced Theodore Dalrymple into this ‘conversation’. Look at the second post. “Besides, from what I’ve read of Theodore Dalrymple “suicide attempts” in this sector are usually immature cases who think a weak suicide attempt will make other people feel sorry for them and hence give them some “power” (“Don’t upset me or I’ll try to off myself again!”) I can understand the social worker’s cynicism and his/her refusal to be instantly stricken with sorrow when suicide is debased to this degree.’

    For someone who is a ‘fan’ of both Dalrymple and WS you don’t appear to know that much about them. Dalrymple isn’t attempting to explore intergenerational patterns, he is doing the exact opposite It is precisely because people have broken ‘patterns of behaviour’ that he finds ‘modern life’ so unbearable and I have some sympathy with that viewpoint.

    I don’t have a problem with the fact that he hates some of his patients, I have a problem with the fact that he seems to hate all of his patients. His essays are mainly directed at a US audience and he deliberately manipulates and simplifies the facts in order to appeal to that audience. I didn’t know, for example, that the NHS segregates its patients according to socioeconomic class, did you? I had no idea that ‘slum dwellers’ had separate hospitals that exist solely to serve them, did you? even if a hospital is situated in a ‘slum’ it is highly probable that the majority of its patients don’t come from that ‘slum’. Dalrymple must know this and yet he deliberately avoids pointing it out.

    He doesn’t even seem to believe that mental illness exists. Almost every patient he refers to is either manipulative or malingering or both. He is like an oncologist who does not believe in the existence of cancer. This was written in 1995 and illustrates my point perfectly: http://www.city-journal.org/html/5_3_a4.html

    Let’s be clear on one thing: Dalrymple writes biography, not scientific peer-reviewed papers (at least for public consumption – I am aware that he writes for the BMJ and the Lancet) – he write biographical vignettes, nothing more.

    I’m assuming that you haven’t read enough of Dalrymple to know that he uses himself as a moral exemplar. He is the central character in his own drama. It is for this reason that it is perfectly reasonable to critically examine him although he whines like a mule when you do this. (http://www.newenglishreview.org/custpage.cfm/frm/58706/sec_id/587060 And so, it seems, do his ‘fans’.

    A final point: of course doctors have the right to be vexed by their unrulier patients but wouldn’t it be sensible of them, when choosing their medical specialisms, to choose one that treats a set of illnesses they actually believe in?

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  9. Louise Says:

    Kay Redfield Jamison, probably – though I far prefer her more recent book EXUBERANCE. Have you read it? It’s a study of passion, positive energy and hard work. If you haven’t yet, I recommend it. It’s truly life-enhancing.

    Absolutely not. I read (a long time ago) her autobiography: An Unquiet Mind. I have never read her subsequent offering: Touched By Fire: although (IIRC) it seems to be equating genius with bipolar affective disorder. Actually she goes much further, she posthumously applies psychiatric diagnoses to various historical figures. This itself gave me pause for thought: it is difficult enough for a psychiatrist to make an accurate diagnoses, let alone diagnosing the deceased.

    Quote me some Sophocles where we’re supposed to applaud the heroine killing her father’s memory like Plath does – “Daddy, you bastard, I’m through.” Can you?

    Again, that wasn’t your original point. You widened the debate to include ‘And father-hating, and mother-hating, and suicide attempts as self-expression’.

    “The worst is not / As long as we can say “this is the worst” ” – even in the midst of LEAR’s tragedy, there’s that grim placing one foot in front of the other, instead of giving up. The suicide in that play is Goneril, who kills herself in shame after having poisoned her own sister. Is this a play which exalts suicide? I think not.

    ‘Father hating’

    GO BACK AND READ HAMLET PROPERLY, PLEASE. It is explictly, EXPLICITLY stated in Gertrude’s speech that Ophelia did not intend to kill herself – she fell off the branch by accident! If Shakespeare had intended us to see her as a suicide, he would have had her described as having deliberately jumped. Ophelia’s death was an accident. No question. Read the play again and see for yourself.

    Gertrude was such a credible witness, wasn’t she? Maybe you should re read the entire play.

    She was a comfortable middle-class Aryan Poster girl who decided to espouse one of the worst evils of the 20th century for her PERSONAL dramas. This is totally different to Styron and Schlink, who take care to keep their Holocaust dramas strongly rooted in realism. That’s a respectful way to deal with the Holocaust. Saying stuff like “I think I may be a Jew” just because one is having a hard time is NOT a respectful way of invoking the six million dead. See the difference?

    Maybe the question should be: which of the three is the least clumsy and exploitative? Incidentally, Schlink invites us to identify with the perpetrators. Hanna is accused of horrific crimes and the narrator ties himself up in knots, attempting to exonerate her. Does that not disturb you? ‘The Reader’ culminates in a suicide. As did ‘Sophie’s Choice’.

    Are Schlink or William Styron advocating suicide or simple depicting it?

    That’s a pretty repulsive world he’s describing there – can’t see many people wanting to emulate that! Now, have a look at Plath describing how suicide empowers her:

    Out of the ash
    I rise with my red hair
    And I eat men like air.

    Read the whole poem. That’s the sort of stuff that should come with warnings.

    Only if you quote it out of context.

    Sad, but as I said before the difference lies in whether the poet is advocating self-destruction in the WORK or not. Dylan didn’t. Sylvia did.

    As I said before portrayal is not always advocacy. And if the mere depiction of self destruction is advocacy of self destruction then where does that leave Styron and Schlink.

    Strange: when I read WS I see a writer capable of searing passion and striking turns of phrase – and, more than anything else, he speaks the truth.

    I must confess that I derive some pleasure from WS’s work but it’s the kind of gratification I derive from fast food. Satisfying in the short term but it does not do much to nourish me or set me up for the day.

    But then again one cannot live on profundity alone. WS has his place and my mother (a psychiatric nurse working on the front line who would probably agree with almost every word that emanates from WS’s blog). We are coming from the opposite perspectives. I, from the perspective of the psychiatric patient and she is from the perspective of the nursing profession)

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  10. VanDee Says:

    “I don’t have the power to ‘permit’ or deny you the right to use any word. if I felt that I did then I would simply have deleted it.”

    Well, let’s go back and look at what you originally said: “Sorry I have an aversion to the word fan given its associations with the word ‘fanatic’. Can’t you change it ‘enthusiast’?” That’s a desire to control my language, even if it is disguised as petty nit-picking.

    “I was pointing out that ‘fan’ is derived from ‘fanatic’. Are you a fanatic of WS?”

    Now you’re starting to sound like Mr Logic from VIZ Magazine. “I see you describe yourself as a Causcasian. Does this mean you are from the Caucasus Mountains in Eurasia?” or “Ah, if you are a lesbian does that mean your family comes from the island of Lesbos?” Language evolves. Just for your information.

    “I find it telling that your first point was that you are ‘a fan’. Why is that relevant?”

    Personal disclosure – “Here is my bias, please be aware of it.” Did I tell you that you should be a fan as well? Please quote to me the exact phrase where I told you this, because I can’t find it. I told you I liked him, I told you that in my opinion he speaks the truth clearly and passionately, but at no point did I tell you to be a WS fan “or else”.

    “You are not a critic therefore everyone else should not be.”

    Do you really think I’m not a critic?

    “Dalrymple isn’t attempting to explore intergenerational patterns”

    You just linked me to an article called “Do Pigs Make Sties?” in which Dalrymple is exploring an intergenerational pattern – successive generations and the change in their attitudes mirrored in the change in their dwelling-places. Is that not a pattern? Is he not exploring it?

    “I have a problem with the fact that he seems to hate all of his patients.”

    You’ve missed those articles where he has sympathy for those he treats: try “Lost in the Ghetto”, http://www.city-journal.org/html/10_3_oh_to_be.html where he describes a girl whose tastes were painfully at variance with those of her peer group, and another girl forced to stand up to a violent and abusive home environment.

    “I had no idea that ‘slum dwellers’ had separate hospitals that exist solely to serve them, did you?”

    Ah, that’s very interesting! Definitely misleading info – could you point me in the direction of the article where he makes that allegation?

    “He doesn’t even seem to believe that mental illness exists. Almost every patient he refers to is either manipulative or malingering or both.”

    Really? Try this article, “In the Asylum”, http://www.city-journal.org/html/15_3_oh_to_be.html , where he states quite clearly that mental illness exists: in fact, as you read, you will see that his biggest problem lies with Foucault’s philosophical argument that the mentally ill are in fact so well they don’t need treatment or care of any kind! So it does seem to me that Dalrymple DOES believe mental illness exists – it may be that you’ve only seen those articles where he talks about the pretenders and malingerers he’s come across.

    “I’m assuming that you haven’t read enough of Dalrymple to know that he uses himself as a moral exemplar.”

    So? Why shouldn’t he? Look at what he does and listen to what he says: don’t go for the easy knee-jerk reaction of “Ooh, you think you’re perfect don’t you?” He doesn’t think he’s perfect, but he has opinions of what constitutes right and wrong and he’s not afraid to state them.

    “He is the central character in his own drama.”

    You’re the central character in your own drama, as I am in mine, so that argument won’t wash.

    “A final point: of course doctors have the right to be vexed by their unrulier patients but wouldn’t it be sensible of them, when choosing their medical specialisms, to choose one that treats a set of illnesses they actually believe in?”

    You mean he should leave his intelligence at the door and just allow his patients sick-notes for whatever ailment they claim they have? This may amaze you, but not everyone on illness benefit has the illness they claim to have. Just because YOU are honest doesn’t mean everyone is, and clearly Dalrymple saw enough fraud to disgust him into an written response.

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