Last night I was browsing through the Online Content over at Pbs.org; I stumbled upon an hour long piece about the often times rejected medical philosophies of Walter Freeman. The show was called The Lobotomist. It delved into Freeman’s mainstreaming of the medical procedure. Angel of mercy or medical monster? Convinced that mental illness was the result of physical alterations, or deformities, in the brain, Freeman was convinced that the cure to Mental Illness was through physically tweaking the brain. He discovered a book written by Antonio Moniz (who insanely enough won a Nobel Prize for his work), a Portuguese neurologist who pioneered lobotomy through drilling holes in the patients head and injecting alcohol into the frontal lobe, effectively destroying it. Freeman found this absolutely fascinating; for whatever brilliant and/or fucked up reason.
He began performing his own surgeries on mental patients with the help of a licensed surgeon (Freeman didn’t have one). These surgeries involved actually cutting open the scalp across the forehead, typically, and going in to dismantle the frontal lobe. Freeman mainstreamed lobotomies however by famously introducing “ice pick” lobotomies to the medical world. Why? Because the operation could be legally performed outside of an operating room, and without a licensed medical surgeon on hand; Freeman could do this himself. In his first ever, Freeman actually did use an ice pick for the procedure, in which he lodged the pick up through the eye sockets (once on each side) and poked the frontal lobe with the pick. He swayed the pick back and forth, collecting as much of the brain as possible, before pulling it out quickly enough to snap all that brain he accumulated on his pick.
From the very beginning, Freeman had his share of critics. But back then, the medical community didn’t speak out against one another unless EVERYONE was speaking out. But, after years of performing these procedures the industry finally deemed the use of lobotomies on patients as a medical disaster. Freeman was driven largely by his aspirations to “make his mark” in medical science. And even after his career had been dismissed as a disaster by the entire medical community, he drove across country seeking those he performed his surgeries on in a desperate attempt to prove that lobotomy works in the long term. Or maybe it was for his own strange self satisfaction, or self mockery and loathing.
This all reminded me of how awesome “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is. I have a friend who tells me the book pisses all over the movie (big surprise, right?). Ken Kesey worked as a mental ward orderly, though. He was involved in the State-sponsored drug experiments of the 50′s. Kesey’s one of those writers who serves the pivotal role of linking the Beat Counter-culture to the Hippie Counter-Culture. Anyways…
It’s so hilarious how lots of people think any form of PUBLIC American Media is slanted as far left as it can go. It isn’t. In fact, I discovered the Lobotomist by heading over the PBS.org after watching the second half of an episode of “The Presidents” on American Experience. WHO?? Ronald Reagan. And the show was quite a tribute to the man; they did mention some of the negative effects of his Presidency, but overall it was a stirring tribute to him (specifically his contraction of Alzheimer’s Disease, and the decision he and Nancy made to make this PUBLIC in order to draw attention to the disease).
I heard someone bitching recently about PBS and NPR; “Well of course they’re gonna lean LEFT!”, he exclaimed. Someone should tell this guy that they just did a two part episode about the historical figure he’s got the biggest hard on for. No doubt he’s got a strong case of Reaganitis if he’s talking like that. American Experience’s “The Presidents” has focused on Republicans and Conservatives just as much as Dems and Libs though: FDR, Truman, LBJ, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and Bush. It isn’t like they’re picking and choosing here to support their communist agenda. They’re detailing the lives of every President back to the 30′s. On top of that, I was listening to NPR a little bit after last week’s debate, and they seemed pretty damn fair about the whole thing. They were alternating taking calls from Independents (or the “smart ones”), Republicans, and Democrats evenly. Not only that, but after anyone made any point, they’d ask the theatre audience: “Does anyone agree and why? Does anyone disagree and why?”. Just because the station houses Sesame Street doesn’t mean it’s your new target now that Air America has been cancelled.
It finally happened, I removed “Appetite For Destruction” off my MP3 player; it feels as good as it sounds. It isn’t as rewarding (probably) as canceling one’s MySpace account, but similar. I’ve been at the point where anytime I buy a new CD now, I need to remove something else to fit it on there. I don’t do any videos, or pictures, or any of that bullshit, it’s just pure music. That album had become more of a nuisance than anything, though. I feel like anytime I threw on “Random All Songs”, something like “Paradise City” would show up and ruin what was becoming a very stellar random play-list. I did have a pretty good one today which transferred from Doomtree to Black Mountain to Bob Dylan to Sonic Youth to Bessie Smith. Listening to “Attack and Release” right now, and it’s growing on me. That’s been happening A LOT lately. Played guitar last night with A: him fucking around in the key of E turned into me rhythming a progression which sounded similar to “Fuckin’ In The Bushes”, although swap the G-F#-F line for D-C#-C line (both starting in E, however). Will Guns & Roses… I take that back… will Axl and Co. EVER release this new album?? Word was months ago that they’d make a 2008 release, that’s beginning to look unlikely. That dude Kevin Cogill will probably get his balls sued to the ground by Axl and Co. for leaking the album, or part of it, or some such BS. Not that I give a blistering shit of course.