Quote of the week

My colleagues and I often care for patients suffering from hallucinations, prophesying, and claiming to speak with God, among other symptoms—in mental health care, it’s sometimes very difficult to tell apart religious belief from mental illness…. Our conclusions frequently stem from the behaviors we see before us. Take an example of a man who walks into an emergency department, mumbling incoherently. He says he’s hearing voices in his head, but insists there’s nothing wrong with him. He hasn’t used any drugs or alcohol. If he were to be evaluated by mental health professionals, there’s a good chance he might be diagnosed with a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia. But what if that same man were deeply religious? What if his incomprehensible language was speaking in tongues?

Nathaniel P.Morris
Scientific American
7 May 2007

David Bullard hits nail on head

David Bullard has evoked a fire storm in the South African Blogosphere (see here, here and here for examples) with his column in the Sunday Times yesterday in which he stated that Blogs are generally of a very low quality:

They’re cobbled together by people who wouldn’t stand a hope in hell of getting a job in journalism, mainly because they have very little to say. It’s rather sad how many people think the tedious minutiae of their lives will be of any interest to anyone else.

Can’t see what is wrong with that statement. Bullard seems to be rather kind, actually. Because I have been mad enough to start a Blog myself, I have recently been exposed to other Blogs and most of it is tedious drivel. Its mostly, (white people’s) conventional wisdom and communal prejudices dressed up as opinion and analysis.

People have a right to share their pearls of wisdom with the world, but surely the rest of us have a right not to take it too seriously. Let’s face it, my Dean of research is not going to award me research points for the finger exercises on this Blog because it is not serious writing.

On one count Bullard does get it wrong. He claims that the content in the Sunday Times is of a certain quality because it has been through editing processes. But one only has to skim that newspapers pages to be made aware of the sorry state of journalism in South Africa. Sometimes I wonder whether those people get paid to write so badly about such brain curdling boring issues. The New York Times it ain’t.

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