Sunday, 20 May 2007

Adventures in Psychiatry

Tricky one, this. Forensics is a specific field with an ugliness all its own. There is undoubtedly admirable and difficult work being done by honourable and dedicated people. There are also competent and responsible career paths being carved out by ambitious but reasonable people. Then there are the many decent folk trying to be decent under difficult circumstances. This should go without saying. However, I am a glass-half-empty kind of guy, and these people are not the whole story. Nor are they the ones most likely to influence or succeed. Much of what goes on everywhere, at every level and in every field of human endeavour is half-arsed and complacent and conducted by monkeys with bad habits. I am not here to hand out flowers.

Labels indicate selective focus. They are too often carelessly and unhelpfully allocated - with insufficient consideration given to the impact on individuals of pat "professional" judgements (based too often on inadequate information and/or consultation.) The psychiatric system can be a lottery, and it can be a bully. Too much of it is about power and status and social control - and it therefore often shows itself as a blunt and indifferent instrument. Diagnoses shift without the bat of an eyelid, much less an admission of error. The notion that the whole edifice is outdated and unhelpful is inadmissable. Alternative interpretations are quickly shut down amid a flurry of proscriptions/prescriptions. Practices that were recently gospel are quickly anathema, and yet the power base struts on without pausing to consider that today's treatment is tomorrow's historical embarrassment. Humility is largely absent, philosophical debate discouraged, and doublethink rife. There is an unjustifiably confident officer class marching obediently from their psychiatric Sandhursts into the lives of people suffering personal trauma. There are better models available.
Society as a whole shirks its collective responsibility for mental health issues and satisfies itself with ignorance, obedience and stigma. People working in the mental health professions - as members of that society - are not immune to this.

The notion of "The Ether" was an attempt to grope towards an understanding of a more complex and subtle set of phenomena. We no longer find it useful to discuss matters in this simplistic and disconnected way (outside of poetics). Similarly with schizophrenia? Personality Disorder? Just because there is a WORD barrelling about our culture does not mean that there exists a correspondingly discrete and concrete phenomena in the physical universe that can be dealt with in isolation. Everything is more complex and inter-related than it seems. Psychology recognises this. Psychiatry does not.

Of course this could all be madness on my part. Everything's actually tickety-boo. Victorian classifications are bang-on and 21st century urban life is a perfect substitute for our environment of adaptation, so no one should have the teensiest problem in coping with it. Our Culture is good and brave and right and true and will last for ever and any discussion of its shortcomings indicates an irrational desire to live in Teheran (or Russia, again). It's all working out swimmingly.

...and don't get me started on the drug companies..!

Effective Leadership Skills

As we in the UK enter the Brown era, there follows a small consideration of the qualities necessary to access high office in any field. It also answers some questions about how Bobbit came to be, well...Bobbit.

As I myself stare through the glass at my betters I am reminded that, of course, it is only a bitter envy that makes me begrudge such widget -flogging, inflationary paragons their hard earned, carbon-rich rewards. It's only natural - as Darwin observed in his seminal work "On the Origin of Species by Means of Short Term Property Speculation"

Saturday, 19 May 2007

On the Wings of Angels...

There seems to be a deal of confusion about the concept of progress. Most folk seem to have been persuaded that progress is a sort of natural development - an "evolutionary" and historical inevitability based on a continuous but undefinable improvement of human character. The myth is (depite all evidence to the contrary) that we have shaped ourselves, progressively, into the image of angels and that we can therefore do no substantial wrong (unless the "we" in question is foreign or otherwise unspeakably, darkly "other"), We imagine that this progress has made us impervious to the moral dubiousness and animal expediency that flesh is heir to. In reality all we have is more technology - more physical and cultural "stuff". Any temporary improvements in actual civil/social circumstance are the result of (good old fashioned) hard work, sacrifice and co-operation. We are the same as we ever were, and subject to the same violent collective mood swings as were our paeleolithic ancestors. We are never far away from calamity because we are never far away from ourselves. I know this is obvious, but sometimes it needs restating. Perhaps in the form of a cheap cartoon....

...and another thing....

Tuesday, 15 May 2007


A cover 'toon for a Friends of the Earth newsletter. The joke is on the 'dozer's bumper sticker.

Monday, 14 May 2007


Humans, eh? Full of shit! .

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Dangerous Defeatist Nonsense

A repost. Banging your head against a brick wall will, at some point, start to get you down. Nil desperandum. A couple of primal screams and a little lie down and you'll be right as ninepence. Seriously - Look after yourself. Talk to somebody sane. Don't let the bastards grind you down! There is only so much you can do, and, although it is extremely important that you do it, it is also crucial that you are still around and fit to do it again tomorrow. Global consumer materialism towers over you like a steroidal Orc in a designer suit. It's not going down with one punch. Be of good cheer.

You gotta larf- intcha!?

Thursday, 10 May 2007


I feel I may have been a tad disloyal to my most generous employer in my last post. It's ingratitude like that wot causes unrest! Omnicorp have been good to me over the years. Not only have they have allowed me to work well beyond my job description for a"fashionably bijou" wage packet, they have also overseen a robust downsizing of my previously rampant and unwieldy self esteem. Staff support like that doesn't come easy, you know. It requires frequent and arbitrary rearrangements of complacent and poorly informed managers with a thoroughgoing ignorance of human psychology and a total disregard for the value of public money. Fortunately we have these things in abundance. It's the secret of our success.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Job Satisfaction

I shouldn't grumble. As my manager ("our Leader") is so fond of reminding me, I should be bloody grateful I've still got a job! It's just that, sometimes, it would be nice if we actually did something we could legitimately call productive. Just every now and then - to break the monotony. Occassionally it feels not so much like going through the motions as sifting through the shit! Are we, then, a centre of clinical excremence? Who can say?. By the right now- get those boxes in line...and....tick...tick...tick...tick...tick...tick...

Monday, 7 May 2007

The Invisible Hand of the Market

Why are large companies not responsive to environmental concerns? Because f*cking the planet up falls outside of direct producer/consumer transactions and is thus external to the pricing mechanism. We are all, collectively, spinning on the index finger of the "invisible hand of the market" - a fact that we British are now reminded of everytime we handle a new £20 note -etched as it is with the dour likeness of Adam Smith. With what savage irony will we look back at that decorative/commemorative choice?
Green economist Michael Jacobs talks of an "Invisible Elbow" knocking over all and sundry as an inadvertant side-effect of market capitalism. This inexorably suggests to me the existence of "one off the Invisible wrist", the "invisible forearm smash!" a "flexing of invisible muscle", and an "invisible cold shoulder" before even reaching the neck. I shall dispense with the invisible body politick and move straight onto the "invisible boot up the arse!" I expect you saw that coming.

I realised after I'd drawn this that the "two-fingered salute" gestural rendition of a hearty "f*** off" is a peculiarly British variant, and may not travel well. It originated of course as a defiant insult directed at the French. Throbgoblins International have always had a certain admiration for the French, but are somewhat dissappointed with them at the moment.

Saturday, 5 May 2007


The steady drumbeat of increasingly bad news seems not to galvanise us but to hypnotise us into ever deeper complacency.

Friday, 4 May 2007

Because I'm worth it!

Throbgoblins International all trooped off to the Manchester Dancehouse last night to watch Mark Thomas being excellently entertaining and inspiring - as usual. Just thought I'd mention that.

Anyway... a few 'toons about advertising etc. The general notion of "I'm worth it" has really taken hold, hasn't it?! Indeed it may be the lynchpin meme of our whole society - our guiding moral philosophy. I feel I must step out of the collective checkout queue on this one and post my small objection to this rampant f*ckwittery. I have a simple message for those who think that massive global climate chaos, resource wars and impending tyrany are small prices to pay for shiny hair and va-va-voom, because they're "worth it'. The message is; No, you're f*cking not!