- About TFT
Friday Thing Archive
- Politics
- Media
- Culture and Society
- War On Terror
- People
- Places
- World
- Popped Clogs
- Music
- Books
- Film
- Etc
Help And Info
- Contact Details
- Advertising
- Jobs
- Privacy Policy
- XML Feed

Home > Culture and Society

Bad medicine

15 July 2005

Mental illness, like internet dating and saying ‘fuck’ in front of your parents, is almost acceptable nowadays. Pop stars and actors speak openly of their experience of going a bit funny – even the Wrath of Cruise fails to deter them. Visit your GP during one of your long dark weeks of the soul and you should expect to be treated with sympathy, respect and Good Drugs. But not so very long ago if you presented with a case of the low blues, you were liable to be hauled away, an ice pick stuck in your skull and thereafter shut in a loony bin until you passed away in a pool of your own drool. Indeed, lobotomisation was all the rage from the mid-30s right through into the 60s, and if you didn’t like the idea at first, by jiminy, you’d be happy enough afterwards.

This week relatives of lobotomy patients argued for the Nobel Prize given to the inventor of this primitive procedure to be revoked, despite a couple of new books suggesting that at least, ooh, three people were helped by effectively having their heads sliced open and their brains buggered about with by bastards. The executive director of the Nobel Foundation called the bid a ‘non-starter’, whereupon a rangy Native American came in and put a pillow over his face. The debate as to the medical validity of the operation has raised important issues, not least whether or not the quip ‘I’d rather have a free bottle in front of me than a pre-frontal lobotomy’ is actually funny, and whether George W. Bush would benefit from one. Or has already done so.

However, progress in medicine remains erratic, and seemingly life-saving drugs can have the funniest side effects (see the clip show of the same name on American TV). A study published on Monday describes the apparent links between Mirapex, a drug which alleviates the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, and compulsive gambling. The trouble is that the drug tickles the brain’s dopamine receptors, which are right next to the receptors for pleasure and reward-seeking behaviour, so you might find yourself grappling not only with the debilitating disease but with a sex or shopping addiction. Several patients who lost thousands after suddenly developing a lust for feeding slot machines are suing the makers of the drug. They’re probably only after the money, though.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

Subscribe to The Friday Thing for free

Bad words ahead The Friday Thing is a weekly email comment sheet. Casting a cynical eye over the week's events, it is rarely fair and never balanced.

A selection of articles from each week's issue appear online, but to enjoy the full Thing, delivered by email every Friday - as well as access to almost five years of back issues - you'll need to subscribe. It's absolutely free.

"Razor-sharp comment and gossip." - The Sunday Times

"Hilariously cynical..To describe it as 'irreverent' is to do the newsletter an injustice." - The Observer

"Sharp, intelligent, opinionated, uncompromising and very, very funny. Just like 'Private Eye' used to be." - Alec McKelland

"Wicked" - Channel 4

"Ace" - Time Out

"'We rise once again in advocacy of The Friday Thing. We realize that some of you may be unwilling to spend [your money] on plain-text comment, but you're only depriving yourself." - The Minor Fall, The Major Lift

"Subscribing to this at the beginning of the year was undoubtedly one of the better decisions I've made. Superlative, and utterly marvellous. I look forward to Fridays now, because I can't wait for the next issue. Fucking fucking brilliant." - Meish.org

"Featuring writers from The Observer, Smack The Pony and The 11 O'Clock Show... will continue to attract new subscribers sight unseen" - NeedToKnow

"The Friday Thing is so good it's stopping me from doing a bunk of a Friday afternoon." - Annie Blinkhorn (The Erotic Review)

"So now" - The Evening Standard

"Damn it, you rule. May you never, ever back down." - Paul Mayze

"Ace" - PopJustice

"Snarky" - Online Journalism Review

"Can you please stop making me laugh out loud... I'm supposed to be working, you know!" - Tamsin Tyrwhitt

"Your coverage of stuff as it spills is right on the money." - Mike Woods

"Popbitch with A-Levels." - Tim Footman

"In an inbox full of trite work-related nonsense, TFT shines from under its subject heading like the sun out of Angus Deayton's arse." - Nikki Hunt

"A first rate email. It's become an integral part of my week, and my life would be empty and meaningless without it (well, *more* empty and meaningless anyway)." - Mark Pugh

"Genius, absolute bit of class. And you can quote me on that." - Lee Neville

"If you're hipper than hell, this is what you read." - MarketingSherpa

"The most entertaining email I've had all week. Great tone." - Matthew Prior

"A massive and engrossing wit injection." - idiotica.co.uk

"I wouldn't know satire if it bit me on the arse. But I did like the Naomi Campbell joke." - Matt Kelly (The Mirror)

"Has had an understandably high profile among people who know about these things." - Guy Clapperton (Guardian Online)

"Satirical sideswipes at the burning issues of the day." - Radio 5 Live

"Puerile and worthless... Truly fabulous... Do read the whole thing." - Stephen Pollard

© The Friday Thing 2001-2008 - All Rights Reserved