Saturday, October 23, 2010

I heart the Gore-acle

Like fading A-list celebs the world over, Al Gore has taken to paid appearances in Asia and the Subcontinent to boost his bottom line. Most of his contemporaries end up lending their services to wierd advertisements for Japanese whiskey or toilet paper, or in the case of Al Pacino, spruiking a C grade coffee in Australia. In Al G's case, he recently jetted in to address a selected crowd of Indian cardiovascular specialists in Chennai.
After picking up his check, he immediately flew out again, avoiding any contact with the media. Even the event organisers thought that was a little wierd:
"His lecture was meant to be a private address to delegates at the congress" the media was told by members of the organising committee. But they themselves found it incongrous that "a man interested in creating global awareness on climate change and other environmental issues should have himself restricted the reach of his message."

Not so surprising when you hear the content of his speech. Al clearly struggled for common ground, and, dare I say it, relevancy when catering to cardiologists and cardio-thoracic surgeons, so went with comparing the human heart with the Earth's hydrological cycle. Clearly because he knows so much about both. I believe the word he was looking for instead was "plumbing". (Sorry, little doctor joke there.)
Also touched upon was the challenges faced by a rising global population, perhaps somewhat impolitic of him considering he was in one of the world's most populous nations.
Now, I've been to India, and I find it seriously hard to believe that the most entertaining thing anyone could come up with was Al Gore? Even the German's do a better line in weird conferecne entertainment. I once had described to me in great detail a German pharmaceutical conference where the entertainment consisted of a middle aged German guy jumping out of a large cake and attaching two toilet plungers to his chest, complete with song. And I probably saw wierder things in India just catching a suburban train through down-town Mumbai.
I certainly hope those doctors were on an all expenses paid junket, because if it was me and I was picking up the tab, I would vote for the Bahamas and Lady Ga Ga next time.

Everything you ever suspected about psychiatrists confirmed

So hands up who saw the "hilarious" 10:10 fest promotional video? I was one of those people who watched it and was completely appalled, and I get splatter humour. Seriously, if you didn't cry with laughter during the lawn mower scene in Peter Jackson's Brain Dead*, theres something wrong with you. The 10:10 promotional video, on the other hand, just wasn't funny.
The predictable fall-out of 10:10's epic own-goal fail, was that all of their corporate sponsors suddenly went the way of Pierce Brosnan's Remington Steele era chest hair in the 1990's, and just disappeared. Which kind of makes one wonder why on freakin' earth 4 of the major UK medical societies suddenly signed up to their campaign after the 10:10 splatter video?

And just like was gone....

Seriously. I don't mean to sound indelicate, but f*ck me drunk and bury me pregnant, what were they thinking?! According to the Royal College of Psychiatrist's own website:
The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych), Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), have all joined 10:10, mindful of the threat posed by climate change.

The president of the RCPsych, Dinesh Bughra (is his last name really pronounced the way I think its pronounced?), even goes so far to say that living a low carbon life style will cheer you up. On the one hand, he may be right - apparently people in developing nations have historically rated their general happiness as being better than whingeing princesses in developed nations, but they tend to die quicker of really gross things like TB, and childbirth. Its also been put forward that peopled rated their happiness as higher during the world wars due to factors like a united sense of purpose, but in the long run I would counsel against invading Poland as a means of cheering everyone up.
A more recent compilations of studies into mental wellbeing created a global "happiness map", that showed a differing picture, and fairly clearly highlighted that the main predictors of happiness were access to health care, followed by wealth and education.

In Australia, there are longstanding media agreements to not report certain types of suicides and violent crime. It is well known that publicising suicides off of bridges, in front of trains and knife assaults (unless particularly extreme events) increases the number of similar events in the community. Due to this, most people here are happily unaware of the weekly parade of knifings and jumpers unless they work in a health care field, or, like I did 10 years ago, live next door to a train bridge. So if the media would voluntarily censor itself in the name of the greater good, this begs the question of why a national body of Psychiatrists would back an organisation that normalises blowing up innocents, including children, that show deviation from an arbitrary, political party-line.
Physician, for f*cks sake, heal thyself.

* And to think, this man went on to make Lord of the Rings and is now a knight of the realm.