Steve Austin, I think. The six million dollar man. Bionic, of course.
They liked having a bionic man, I’m sure, but it wasn’t as difficult a decision as it would have been had he not been so badly injured in that crash. It is a mark of how long ago the show was that he had to be so damaged before the decision to rebuild him made sense. I don’t think we are doing it that way any more.
The New York Times ran a really interesting article on that. The lines are now being redrawn on how shy you need to be before treatment is called for. If you read the article, you will see that it is more about evolutionary styles than about the creeping pathologization of our culture. The article opens with a finely drawn example. “A beautiful woman lowers her eyes demurely beneath a hat. In an earlier era, her gaze might have signaled a mysterious allure.” This is, however, an ad for Zoloft, an anxiety drug, and the caption attached to the mysterious woman is: “Is she just shy? Or is it Social Anxiety Disorder?”
There was an article in the Times last year about a drug for women who don’t have as much sexual desire as they “should have.” What if the women in question have just as much sexual desire as they want to have? Are they still “sick?” Do they still need to be diagnosed and treated? It wasn’t hard to tell whether Steve Austin needed to be treated. Men who don’t have as much sexual desire as they want can happily take meds that will give them more. The medicine is, in that case, an answer to an urgent desire. But what if, as in the case of the women, the men were told that they really ought to have more sexual desire than they have? Or that they should have less?
It is hard to determine, in many cases, whether the men and women are better off after having been diagnosed and treated. The drug companies are definitely better off.
The evolutionary emphasis of the article is interesting too, and on another day, I would follow it. It says, in brief, that most species are divided 80/20 into “rovers” and “sitters.” The sitters look before they leap and then sometimes don’t leap even after having looked. The rovers “Just Do It.” Each is a valid evolutionary strategy, depending on the threat environment Let’s just hope that the Pumpkinseed Sunfish, which were featured in one of the experiments described in the article, are not diagnosed and treated for their respective mania and depression.