We’ve had some strong additions recently to our Spinozablue archives, most of them by previous contributors. Poetry by Hilary Sideris, Ricky Garni, Sean Howard, and Frederick Pollack grace our pages in 2021, and Ricky Garni brings us some of his photography as well. Please give them a close read/look and add comments on the Contact us page.
* * *
Have started another book by Elisabeth Roudinesco, Why Psychoanalysis? Of special interest to me so far is her depiction of French society as generally depressive and obsessed with pharmacology as the answer, not the old Talking Couch — which she prefers. Various social, economic and environmental factors come into play, as do the writings of Lacan, Foucault and a host of other (primarily) French intellectuals. Freud, of course, is foundational. What strikes me almost immediately is how closely this tracks with American society, if we ignore for a moment the likely far greater influence on mass culture by intellectuals “across the pond.” I wouldn’t have thought the French would be as susceptible to instant solutions as we Americans, but, according to the author, it’s widespread there, and likely global.
There are other downsides to pharma-as-cure beyond the obvious. When we change brain chemistry, rather than working tirelessly to get to the root of our problems, we radically reduce the likelihood of effective change, micro and macro. As in, much of this stems from Society itself, our environment, our economic system, and just being human. People feel like shite for good reason all too often, and changing brain chemistry isn’t going to change what truly depresses us and drags us down. That often takes collective action, and we’ve been taught not to deal with our problems that way. We’ve been taught, basically, to try to buy our way out of the morass, and ASAP.
Roudinesco is at pains to add that for some people, pharma is a life-saver, and that it’s revolutionized the mainstreaming of people who had, historically, been treated in horrific ways before those drug treatments. She’s not against pharmacology, per se, just its overuse, and the absence of parallel attempts at long-term diagnoses and care. She also sees the need to pursue societal change via serious activism, reevaluations, and so on. All the above, not either/or.
* * *
And, on a lighter note, a quick clarification of my earlier post, enthusiastically endorsing “Click Click Domino” for instant immortality. Not backtracking on this. I love the song. But I think I should add a qualifier or two or three. The golden age of rock ‘n’ roll was in the last century, not this one. Arguably, from roughly 1954 thru the early 1970s, though, as the kids used to say, your mileage may vary.
To make such judgments all the more dicey, even the term is widely disputed. What is “rock,” exactly? Music historians disagree, in general, on its chronology, but most will tell ya it goes back in time at least to the 1940s. Roots in R&B, obviously. Swing. Jazz. Blues. Gospel. Even a bit of old-school Country. In the musical and social collision of Black and White, primarily. Credit for this came all too late for all too many Black creatives. It’s still an issue.
Anyway, I’m stubborn, so it stays in this century’s Best of. When it comes to an all-time All-timer, further reflection is needed.