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Tue, Jan. 13th, 2009 03:29 am
Utsu: drugging the ordinary sadness of Japanese and children

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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Jan. 13th, 2009 02:58 am (UTC)

Talking about it with Hisae, we kind of agree with the milder formulation of Mike Mills' argument -- in the SXSW interview he says utsu wasn't openly talked about until the mid-90s on. And Hisae thinks this might be true -- Japanese society has been very secretive about mental disorder. It was the arrival of the internet that started the conversation. On the internet you could talk anonymously about depression (even plan group suicides), circumventing the usual taboos. You could also order drugs from overseas online.


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saikoutron
saikoutron
Teikasaurus Howl
Tue, Jan. 13th, 2009 03:41 am (UTC)

Having someone in the family who has been diagnosed with mental illness could potentially interfere with any other immediate member's chances of marriage in the future - and the term "mental illness" is used very broadly here. A friend of mine found her marriage to have met some opposition from the other family, simply because her sister was colour blind. I wonder if "not openly talked about" meant that you ahd to keep it from your own family as well?

Otherwise, I'm pretty sure you've read Dr Rosenhan's "On Being Sane in Insane Places," (pdf), but seeing those first few minutes of the YouTube videos brought all that back to me. Having done a rotation in a psychiatric unit, it's all a bit too easy to imagine.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Jan. 13th, 2009 04:04 am (UTC)

I don't know that essay, but a glance through it suggests it's a continuation of R.D. Laing and David Cooper's idea that madness is an appropriate response to a mad, and maddening, world. And one of the strengths of Adam Curtis' documentary is his point that Laing's anti-psychiatry had a very different outcome than he planned it to; it became part of a general undermining of confidence in the altruism of public servants and professionals, and the Thatcherite and Blairite "managerial" culture stepped into the void with models of human nature which assumed utter self-interest in all social actors. Laing would have been horrified to know that his anti-establishment anti-psychiatry would fit so well with the cynicism of a new establishment based on mistrust and selfishness.


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saikoutron
saikoutron
Teikasaurus Howl
Tue, Jan. 13th, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)

It's an account of medical professionals pretending to be patients at a psychiatric ward, observing the way they were treated by the other health professional who were on duty - as far as I can remember you're rather spot on about the undermining of confidence, and though written all the way back in 1975 I feel that it's very reflective of how actual health care physicians still approach the "mentally ill" - educated or not, once you slap that term on someone societal norms take over and physicians unconsciously act on that counter-transference.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Jan. 13th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)

You might like to check out "Mental", a documentary by Kazuhiro Soda which is winning prizes at some small film festivals around the world.

http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=cqAuirTy5yU


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Jan. 13th, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)

It looks interesting! Goes far beyond "depression-as-mental-illness", though.


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litle_eglantine
litle_eglantine
little_eglantine
Tue, Jan. 13th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
Dial

Sorry Momus; this is totally off topic.

As a longtime reader of your blog and fan of Dial records I was really surprised to hear from Phillipe Sollmun that you're working with the label on something. I'm very curious as to your contribution - I imagined you'd long since left the repetitive strains of that world.

Just what is it that you're contributing?

All the best,

L'Eglantine xx


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Jan. 13th, 2009 06:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Dial

Hello Eglantine, I think it's an a capella version of my song What Will Death Be Like?, a version evolved for a performance at HAU 1 for the Great Pyramid Gala last year.


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