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mental health mondays :: mental health day [again]

i'm going to claim post-traumatic stress disorder from all the 9/11 coverage in the last week as the reason i didn't get together a piece for mhm this week. i was actually thinking of doing something on post-traumatic stress disorder itself, since it seemed appropriate, except that it occurred to me that the name of the condition actually pretty much tells you everything you need to know about it.

something bad happens.

your brain can't quite deal with it.

the stress of dealing with it causes your brain to start malfunctioning.

really, all diseases and conditions should be so clearly labeled. [i know that george carlin decried the term as an example of soft language, and i see his point, but you do have to admit, it's a lot more specific than saying that someone has antisocial personality disorder, which means that they're dangerous, but sounds like they just don't like to go out very much.]

the good news about ptsd is that, despite the fact that a majority of us will undergo some kind of trauma during our lives, only a tiny minority will actually develop a disorder as a result. it turns out that, appearances occasionally to the contrary, the brain is actually pretty good at dealing with the horrible things that can happen to it. the bad news is, the world is still full of the acute horrors that do actually cause the brain to start collapsing on itself like a dying star.

i chose to distance myself from the past week's reliving of the 9/11 attacks not because i found it stressful, but because i found it grotesque and exploitative. the psychological sciences haven't yet come up with a name for a mental disorder that drives people to use the most painful moments of others for their own gain- political, financial or otherwise- but the condition seems prevalent enough that it warrants being labeled. and studied. and fixed.

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jihadvertising?

i keep seeing this ad for tictac candies:



am i the only one who finds the suicide bomber clown at the end a little unnerving? all the nice natural things like the bunny and the [extinct] woolly mammoth and the fruit get devoured by a trying-to-appear-nonthreatening-but-obviously-psychotic clown who then blows himself up. congratulations, tictac, i think this ad has landed you on about a dozen watch lists.

oh and by the way, showing me that your product will somehow cause my stomach to explode in a rainbow of wtf makes me believe that doing consuming tictacs would be a worse dietary decision than the time i ate two raw eggs and a half a bottle of hot sauce on a dare.

making faces :: chanel's velvet realm

who doesn't love velvet? i know when i was younger, i used to, as george costanza longed to, "drape myself in velvet" and although that phase passed with time, i still think that the plush fabric has to be one of the high points of human achievement, up there with interior heating, advanced medicine and vodka. so to me, it's no surprise that one of the most hotly anticipated launches in the cosmetic world is chanel's new "rouge allure velvet" lipstick line, because even the name immediately makes me want to put it on my lips.

on a more concrete level, chanel describes these lipsticks as "luminous matte", which is sort of like the holy grail for lipstick lovers. we all want those intense, come-hither film noir lips, the sort where young men and sunlight are lost and never heard from again, but historically [including during the making of those films], applying a matte lipstick felt sort of like colouring in your lips with an old crayon that had…

eat the pain away?

nearly twenty years ago, an emergency room doctor took a look at the crushing muscle tension i was experiencing [they were clenched enough that a doctor at my regular clinic couldn't get a reflex reaction on my left side and thought i might be having a stroke] and told me she believed that i had fibromyalgia. a couple of weeks later, i went to see a family doctor that a coworker had recommended to me. when i told him what the other doctor had said, he snapped that i was being ridiculous, because, if i'd had fibromyalgia, "i wouldn't be able to move". after i moved to toronto, i got a new family doctor and told her what the other doctors had said. she said that she couldn't be sure, but it was better just to deal with any symptoms i had one at a time. then i came back to montreal and got a new family doctor, who didn't really buy into the whole idea of fibromyalgia and said there was no way to do any definitive test anyway. that doctor passed away, and my …