Day: May 2, 2003

Mad Icon Disease –

It is proposed by a British psychiatrist in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease (Maltby J, Houran J, McCutcheon LE.: A clinical interpretation of attitudes and behaviors associated with celebrity worship. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2003 Jan;191(1):25-9) that excessive worship of celebrities be afforded disease status in its own right.AlterNet Unsurprisingly, he attributes this trend to the dominance of media culture and the breakdown of family structure in modern society. I would just point out, hater of proliferating idiosyncratic diagnostic categories that I am, that there are a number of existing psychiatric diagnoses of which this would more properly be considered a subset — in cases where it deserves being called psychopathology rather than a societal problem at all.

Annals of Patriotic Kitsch –

Flag-O-Rama!:

Before you send me hate mail: I am proud of my country and the freedoms I enjoy. However, ever since the terrorist acts of 9/11, I’m seeing the American Flag being marketed to consumers in every possible way, on every possible item. Bumper stickers, decals, commemorative plates, t-shirts, car antennas, screensavers, e-mails, billboards, grocery bags, toys…the list is endless, and they bear the flag for no other reason than to make money and prey on our patriotic spirit. The Marketing Scum know that consumers are quick to embrace trends, especially if it makes them feel better about themselves, and so it’s no wonder that the flag is being slapped on everything imaginable. (People seem to think that waving a flag makes them better Americans. It doesn’t. Patriotism is more a matter of community than a matter of how many and how high we wave our flags.) So before you send me hate mail for this page, consider sending hate mail instead to those companies who exploit the U.S. Flag to fatten their bank accounts. This site is a satire of this kind of exploitation, and I hope you can appreciate the humor. If not, then there are plenty of other sites out there to look at!

Extraordinary Reactor Leak Gets the Industry’s Attention –

Reactor experts around the country hope that there is something unique about Reactor No. 1 at the South Texas Project here. If not, the little crust of white powder that technicians found at the bottom of the reactor vessel, a discovery that has brought operations here to a halt for the indefinite future, could be the beginning of a broad problem for the nuclear power industry. NY Times

Not to mention anyone living in the vicinity of one of these plants.

The Myth of the Spat-Upon Veteran –

Chad Barlow, in his impassioned support of war [Some War Is Necessary, February 14], repeats the myth that peace activists “SPAT ON our soldiers returning from Vietnam.” It’s a great story, but like many right-wing myths (e.g., the story of feminists burning bras), it is simply not true.


Jerry Lembcke, an associate professor of sociology at Holy Cross College, did an exhaustive search in the process of writing his 1998 book, The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory and the Legacy of Vietnam. He found not a single case of a returning Vietnam veteran spat upon by antiwar activists. The relation between Vietnam veterans and the peace movement was generally good, since the antiwar people saw the mostly working class vets as just as much victims of the war machine as the Vietnamese peasants. We should remember that in that war, as many as 550,000 GIs went AWOL or deserted. A Harris Poll in 1971 showed that only 1% of the veterans encountered hostile reactions when they came home, and they did not think the antiwar movement was hostile to them.

The Voice News,

Winsted CT [via Bifurcated Rivets]