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 The Malaise of the Middle Classes.

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jul 16, 2001
America's middle classes have never had it so good. Two decades of economic success have brought wealth and happiness to anybody who was prepared to work hard. Americans are now better off in real terms than at any previous time in our history. Indeed, President Clinton himself went as far as to say that we are living in an "era of unprecedented prosperity". But scratch the surface of this glittering facade, and you will find not everything in the garden is rosy.

A certain minority of Americans are inventing new illnesses in order to avoid work.


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The economic miracle that was started off by Ronald Reagan in the 80s, and continued through the George Bush Sr and Clinton administrations is one the wonders of the modern world. The solid economic base of Amreica, coupled with the explosion of the American designed world-wide-web and Internet have created opportunities for all regardless of education, race, sex or class. Anyone in America who wants a job will be able to take their pick from a selection of attractive and highly paid positions due to the strength of the American economy.

So why is it then that the middle classes have taken to faking diseases and why are otherwise respectable physicians joining in this collective fraud ?

Dyslexia, M.E., Attention Deficit Disorder, Repetitive Strain Injury, Anorexia. You have probably heard of these diseases before. At least one of your co-workers has probably taken time off work for one of these 'illnesses' in the last month. And yet, up until now no evidence has been produced to support the existence of any these afflictions as actual medical conditions. Let's analyse these 'sicknesses' one by one.

  • Dyslexia. This is the 'diagnosis' given to a middle class child who cannot read owing to low intelligence. It is an attempt to medicalize a problem which in reality is a social one: All men are not created equal. When God gave out the brains, some of us were fortunate enough to be given a shiny new BMW 7-Series sedan, some of us got '97 5.0 Mustang, and some of us (the unfortunate few) got nothing more than an old skateboard.

    Dyslexia does not exist. Stupid children who cannot read do exist.

  • M.E. (also known as the 'yuppie flu'). Again the middle classes cannot stomach the fact that they are not superhuman beings. Consequently when one of them needs to take a day off work, due to being what normal people would call "tired" they medicalize the problem (by giving it a long medical-sounding name) and hey-presto you can get all the time off work you want. Not bad for simply being tired. I wonder what our forefathers who built America by the sweat of their brows would say to a modern yuppie suffering from M.E. ?

    M.E. does not exist. People who need to go to bed a bit earlier do exist.

  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). This one is quite sinister. For thousands of years, children were allowed to be carefree spirits, wandering wherever the mood took them. Investigating a world which is new and fresh to them, getting distracted when something more interesting came along. This was called 'a childhood'. In the modern hell that is middle-class America, a child is not allowed to have a healthy curiosity. No. The moment a child behaves like children have done for thousands of years, the middle class parent reaches for the Ritalin, to dope the poor kid up to better fit with his middle-class golf-playing lifestyle.

    ADD does not exist. Healthy childhood curiosity does exist.

  • RSI. (repetitive strain injury). Another medicalization of a non-medical problem. For centuries it was well known that if you did something repetative for a long time, it could have consequences. Cowboys doing their bit to tame the wild frontier often became 'saddle sore'. Railwaymen laying the tracks across our great continent suffered 'sleeper driver's ear' where the noise from banging in the sleepers to the ground would become too much. In both these cases the 'cure' was simple. Stop what you are doing for a while. The pain would then go away. RSI is supposedly caused by typing. The message to these middle-class whiners who suffer from this pseudo-disease is simple: Take a 5 minute break.

    RSI does not exist. People who need a five minute break but are too stupid to take it do exist.

  • Anorexia (Anorexia Nervosa, also Bulimia). Another disease created as a cover for general stupidity. In the bountiful society of modern America, everyone has as much food as they can consume, there is no need for anyone to go hungry. It is almost like 'Star Trek' where technology has progressed to the point where there is a surplus of all material goods. So why then do teenage girls feel the need to starve themselves ?

    Anorexia does not exist. Stupid people who need to get some lunch do exist.

All these "diseases" or "illnesses" have been conjured up from thin-air by the middle class (in collusion with the big pharmaceutical corporations), in order that they can have an excuse to skive off work, or to make them seem more exciting and interesting than their lower-class peers.

The conversation at the country club probably goes something like this: "Your child is stupid because he cannot read. But my child has Dyslexia, which is an illness."

I have to ask, when will Americans with common sense stand up and put a stop to the ridiculous nonsense coming from our middle classes ? The media is guilty of collaboration in this scam. When was the last time you saw a mainstream magazine article or TV programme come out and state the bald truth about these fake diseases ? Am I the only one concerned that modern America seems to have become a haven for the workshy ?

Let me give you a concrete example of this phenomenon: Only last week I went to my local coffee shop only to find it was closed due to 'staff sickness'. The next day I asked the barista why they had been unable to open that day. "Bill had a relapse of his M.E., Lisa's kid had to go to the doctors about his dyslexia and Amy was suffering a bout of bulimia" was the frightening response.

To put this into plain English, I was deprived of my daily coffee because Bill is a lazy shirker, Lisa has a dumb kid, and Amy is simply stupid.

What has happened to America ? We used to be such a nation of go-getters with can-do attitudes. Not any more.

Have any readers noticed any other fake illnesses that I have missed out ? What can be done about these people ? Maybe you have been 'diagnosed' by your doctor with one of these fake illnesses ? Perhaps you have a story to share about the moment you realised you had been taken for a ride by the medical profession...


Cancer does not exist (none / 0) (#10)
by motherfuckin spork on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 08:54:33 AM PST
it is simply a figment of our overwrought imaginations. Cancer is the next mechanism of evolution, it is a good thing, and we should not treat it as an illness, as it is not.

I am not who you think I am.

Wow i'm surprised that got through (4.00 / 1) (#11)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 09:07:22 AM PST
I'm surprised your comment got through the troll filter. Perhaps someone has given you the benefit of the doubt. Cancer does exist, it is a disease and is treatable. Unlike the 'illnesses' mentioned in the article.

You are right about one thing though: it is a mechanism of evolution, but so is the treatment itself.

As you can see, this is a complex issue not amenable to simplistic analysis.

ME, ADD, Anorexia and RSI are different, in that the symptoms (tiredness, aches and pains, not eating) are all things that normal people do all the time. If I don't feel like going to work on Monday morning, am I depressed ? Do I suffer from ME ? Or am I exactly like every other working joe/josephine in the USA ?

ahhh... very observant (none / 0) (#14)
by motherfuckin spork on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 10:09:50 AM PST
however, my comment was not a troll, it was sarcasm. But from your reply, it served its purpose: cancer is indeed a disease, and it is (or at least I and other professionals in my field) a part of evolution. Developing treatments, whether actively fighting the cancer or trying to prevent the formation/growth of a cancer, is a contatnly evolving field that is generating a lot of really great sience.

Now, one thing I know is when you look at the American workforce, and compare how we behave compared to the rest of the world - we work ourselves to death. We work ourselves util we are burned out and hate what we do. Puritain Work Ethic - yet I doubt any of us are puritains anymore. Go figure.

ADD is most definitely a disease, but it is often misdiagnosed by lazy doctors and/or doctors trying to appease whining parents.

the other three - well, they're more likely "syndromes", social and psychological in nature, and not really an "illness" in the classical sense.

I am not who you think I am.

How much of this is caused by a lack of love? (none / 0) (#12)
by Adam Rightmann on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 09:18:32 AM PST
Most of these diseases seem to affect upwardly mobile, two wage earner families where the children are shuttled from day care to school to day care to learning center, because the parents are too selfish and too greedy to make a financial sacrifice to have the wife stay home with the children. I'm not the only one to think this, a leading news site is also revealing the backlash against self-indulgent lazy parents.

How often are children whose parents have taken the time to teach them how to read (rather than rely on poorly paid wage drones of the state who are marking their time to tenure) diagnosed with dyslexia? Not very often. But, if you tell these yuppies that they have to miss watching Tiger Woods and sound out letters and words with their little carpet ape, they get upset, they'd rather have burnt out professionals deal with their children. A word of warning, these same professional's will be promoting elder care, and when the parents get too inconvenient, it's off to a warehouse, and spending the rest of your golden years lying on rubber sheets in pools or urine and feces.

ADD: The only attention deficit here is the one parents owe to their children. Maybe stay home with your spawn a few nights a weeka and interact with them, rather than pawn them off on whatever exploited minimum wage caretakers you could fine.

RSI: Well, monks used their hands and got little sleep for centuries, and they never complained. Perhaps a faith based initiative should be pursued.

Anorexia/bulimia: That hunger that never gets filled is not a hunger for food, dearies.

A. Rightmann

rsi (4.00 / 1) (#13)
by alprazolam on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 09:31:17 AM PST
rsi can't be an illness or a disease. it's an injury. and if you got it by doing the same thing over and over, it doesn't matter whether you should have taken a break or not, you still have the injury. and who says that company policy allows these 5 minute breaks? that's millions of wasted dollars, because when somebody gets old enough to get the injury, you just replace them with a healthy youngster (who gets paid less btw).

Foundation? (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by SpaceGhoti on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 12:58:39 PM PST
So, you have references for this information? Facts? Anything to support your outrageously bigoted claims other than your personal conviction?

Clearly, as one of the Moral Elite, You are one of the Chosen placed on the Earth to correct the carefully researched and documented information suggesting that the world might operate in ways that are in clear violation of Your moral code. I can only praise the Creator for having the wisdom and foresight to bring You to us. While we're here, will You please heal my sick child? She has an astigmatism because some uholy pagan gave her the evil eye.

A troll's true colors.

Have you read our press release? (none / 0) (#16)
by Peter Johnson on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 01:29:20 PM PST
Your comment is strangely similar to the text of our press release. Not that I'm accusing you of plagarism, I'm just noting the coincidence.

Are you adequate?
Are you adequate?

Coincidence (5.00 / 2) (#17)
by SpaceGhoti on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 01:35:02 PM PST
Here I thought I was being original. Serves me right.

Dear gods. A troll site that deletes troll posts. That is just so wrong on so many levels.

A troll's true colors.

So let me see if I've got this straight (none / 0) (#18)
by Peter Johnson on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 01:50:24 PM PST
On your home planet, Troll is the word used to describe opinions that are correct? If so, then I'm sure most of us are proud to meet that definition, although the comments we delete certainly don't meet that criteria.
Are you adequate?
Are you adequate?

On my planet (5.00 / 2) (#19)
by SpaceGhoti on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 02:26:02 PM PST
Troll is the word used to describe opinions that are correct?

Correct by whose standards? Who gets to decide what is correct and why? Until everyone can agree on a single source for "truth," there is no such thing as a "correct opinion." Truth is subjective at best.

A troll's true colors.

Allow me to enlighten you (none / 0) (#20)
by Peter Johnson on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 02:31:34 PM PST
Until everyone can agree on a single source for "truth," there is no such thing as a "correct opinion."

Fortunately for you, we now have a single source for the truth. It's here. Technically it's not a "single source" in that there are multiple distinct entities, but they are all "one in purpose." Kind of like how Mormons view the trinity. Everyone may not agree with us, but those that disagree are clearly insane.

Truth is subjective at best.

This is doubly true for raving lunatics.

Are you adequate?
Are you adequate?

Insanity (5.00 / 1) (#21)
by SpaceGhoti on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 02:42:06 PM PST
Sad to say, my insanity has taken control of my brain. I will patiently await the arrival of the looney truck to take me to the bin.

The lunatics are on the grass...

A troll's true colors.

seeker after truth (none / 0) (#25)
by jsm on Tue Jul 17th, 2001 at 09:11:15 AM PST
Who gets to decide what is correct and why?

I refer you to our authors page

... the worst tempered and least consistent of the editors
... now also Legal department and general counsel,

Authority (5.00 / 1) (#26)
by SpaceGhoti on Tue Jul 17th, 2001 at 09:40:45 AM PST
Consider me ever-so-slightly skeptical about the grasp of "truth" on this site.

A troll's true colors.

I rate thee "5" (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by opalhawk on Tue Jul 17th, 2001 at 10:06:06 AM PST
And ever again "5" for that observation.

I want to know what people around here are smoking, and where I can get some...

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted, then used against you.

Re: Malaise of the Middle Classes (none / 0) (#23)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Jul 16th, 2001 at 06:06:20 PM PST
Oh wow you are a lucky person whoever wrote this!!! Recently i had someone email me who had been to my website and read my story of anorexia among other things....they were surprised at the amount of effort it takes to be an anorectic. Anorexia is not a new disease which has sprung out of nowhere, it was first noted in medieval times, and the term 'anorexia nervosa' was coined by Sir William Gull in 1684. Anorexia is a ravaging disease, one which has the highest rate of mortality of all mental disorders - 5 to 10%. it also causes depression and sometimes suicide. and you are saying that people starve themselves to avoid work??!!! well as you pointed out, it is often (but not always) teenage girls who suffer from this disease, and they have no work to miss! Anorexia is not an invented disease, it is a very serious illness which kills people. try visiting the something fishy website and go to the memorial page and see the people who have died of anorexia, the people who have left behind a husband, children, babies that have died because of their mother's eating disorder. oh wow it is a serious disease, and you are very lucky to be in a position where you can ridicule it! i wish i were in a place where i had not had my life torn apart by anorexia, a place where i was not knowledgable and could thus ridicule those in genuine pain. Anorexia is a ravaging disease, and not one which should be taken lightly. Why dont you take your letter to someone who has lost their baby to anorexia, see if they agree with you that anorexia is made up. You are a very sick person and i hope you will seek help instead of seeking attention by hurting others.

Actually... (none / 0) (#28)
by elby on Tue Jul 17th, 2001 at 11:18:58 AM PST
I'm pretty sure chronic depression "ravages" a lot more than anorexia. 5-10% is nothing. Chronic depression kills half of the people who have it sooner or later.

Re: Actually (none / 0) (#29)
by Anonymous Reader on Thu Jul 19th, 2001 at 11:48:22 AM PST
well i got my figures from text books by eminent psychologists and psychiatrists who call anorexia the biggest cause of death among mental disorders. Forgive me for relying on the experts. Depression is bad of course it is....and depression is also a part of anorexia. It comes with. With anorexia you have the additional torment of the whole eating thing.

Bravo! (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by Logical Analysis on Tue Jul 17th, 2001 at 08:43:02 AM PST
I wish to thank the author for having the courage to bring this issue forth. Challenging the dominant beliefs of society is always a difficult task, especially when they are backed by drug industry money.

It deeply troubles me that children are so drugged up today, as punishment for behaving in the most natural ways a child should.

I myself was a very energetic and playful child, and undoubtably would have become one of the drug addled children in school, had "ADD" existed when I was in school. Fortunately I was lucky enough to go to school before the ADD disease was invented.

Let's face the facts here.. it is unnatural and unhealthy to have a child sitting at a desk 8 hours a day. This is the time when children should be allowed to develop their bodies in playful activity, not be stuck chained to a book all day.

It is no suprise that once these children get out of school they have all sorts of health and weight problems.. they have been sitting in front of desks, televisions, computers, etc. all their lives... nothing could be further from the natural, healthful development of human beings.

insulting (none / 0) (#30)
by Anonymous Reader on Sun Jul 22nd, 2001 at 08:27:50 AM PST
i cannot believe you would even dare to say that anorexia is not a valid disease. it's not about the weight, it's not about how we think we look. it's about using something as a way to have a sense of control in our lives. when an anorexic feels their life is spinning out of control, they feel a sense of being grounded by controlling exactly what they put into their mouths. be thankful you dont have to deal with this emotional pain!


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