Letters to the editor Feb. 18
Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 17, 2013 23:02
Response to Feb. 13 guest column
I suppose it was expected that representatives of a politically established professional victims group (students within the woman’s studies department) should issue its revised political manifesto in the light of the opportunity granted by the media coverage surrounding a couple acts of assault by possibly one guy. One guy in this area, whose attempted assaults on two local women have so far back-fired on him so badly in both cases he might want to form a victim’s group of his own. I’m not dismissing this creep as an actual threat to women, I’m just failing to toss myself off the emotional deep end like the folks in the women’s studies department apparently are.
The manifesto issued in The Barometer is about as perfect as left-wing identity politic fomenting screeds go: It cuts right through sanity, common sense and prudent courses of action like a hot knife through butter, replacing reason with absurd militant feminist posturing and impotent flailing at what they see as society’s evil demons. Let’s replace relevant advice for what women can do to avoid being assaulted with “teaching men not to rape” as a serious idea to promote security. I’ll stack that nonsense right up there with posting “Gun Free Zone” stickers in public schools, but mind-numbingly ridiculous assertions of what constitutes a “culture of rape,” which include the most benign utterances — “that test just raped me” — is as about as emotionally overwrought as you can get. Whatever advice or information that was included following the screed became tainted by the rhetoric that preceded it. Was the information genuinely helpful, or merely part of the agenda?
It might be a good idea for these students in the women’s studies department to ask themselves if the politics are really worth the surrender of credibility to hyperbolic statements and the melodramatic. I’d say not.
Response to Wadama’s Feb. 15 column
Attention disorders are not so simple
I feel Masami Wadama’s summary of ADD — as it appeared in the February 15, 2013 Barometer — was dangerously simplistic. Yes, ADD and ADHD are overdiagnosed and I agree that medication should not be the first treatment option for seemingly distracted children. However, Wadama opted to solely discuss technology’s effects (and by implication, parenting styles) on attention, without making it clear that attention disorders physically impair brain function regardless of exposure to TV and video games. Furthermore, proper medication can change lives for the better. Ignoring these facts in any discussion of ADD perpetuates a myth that “ADD is just drugging an energetic kid.” This myth discourages parents from seeking clinical evaluation of a child (or adults seeking their own evaluation) when medication may greatly benefit an individual. Even worse the myth leads to outright discrimination directed toward people trying to responsibly manage a mental disorder. Studies have shown several non-technological reasons for overdiagnosing ADD, including clinicians leaning on intuition rather than diagnostical criteria, as well as a strong gender bias (males are diagnosed more than females). Whenever discussing a minority group I feel it is important to validate the experience of the group, rather than focus entirely on exceptions. This is especially true when the exceptions emphasize stereotype threats. With the above facts in mind, I fully endorse Wadama’s suggestion to reduce how much time we spend looking at video screens, and that special precaution should be taken when prescribing medications to developing children.
C. Ammon Cheney