BBC Thinking Allowed on 'Exhaustion'

SamanthaJ

Senior Member
Messages
219
Likes
1,462
Not even sure this is worth a thread but this annoyed me. Just listened to R4's Thinking Allowed, a sociology programme. Today's guest was promoting her book 'Exhaustion - a history'. Neurasthenia and burnout were rather unsympathetically discussed as fashionable terms for the same thing and inevitably there was a bit about CFS. This part was very short, and they sort of tried to be balanced (although 'balance' where one side is total fiction is unbelievably frustrating), the author conceding that it might turn out to be physical! It's so infuriating that ME is even considered an appropriate example in such a context. I mean, they didn't discuss Lupus or other fatigue-causing conditions.

Anyway, not even sure it's worth an email to the programme as the CFS reference was short and inconsequential (and they would say they'd been balanced), I'm just left depressed and needing to vent that we're still material for this kind of nonsense. That name 'chronic fatigue syndrome' strikes again!

If anyone's interested the CFS bit is about 22 mins in:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08yq2bj

The presenter does make a point of reading out correspondence the following week, if anyone wants to comment. It would be an opportunity to politely say why ME is not just exhaustion. I don't think I've got the brain power today. I certainly need to be in a more polite mood!

ETA: Compared to all the NICE stuff going on, this is very trivial. But boy is it irritating.
 
Last edited:

TreePerson

Senior Member
Messages
292
Likes
1,250
Location
U.K.
The BBC are in disgrace for this evenings The Archers. A bad sibling was reported to have gone home to live with and sponge off elderly parents. Purporting to be suffering from "some sort of chronic fatigue". This is dreadful stereotyping. There was a token "oh that can be nasty" – but the damage is done. Really how much longer is this going to be acceptable??
 

mermaid

Senior Member
Messages
631
Likes
1,180
Location
Cornwall, UK
The BBC are in disgrace for this evenings The Archers. A bad sibling was reported to have gone home to live with and sponge off elderly parents. Purporting to be suffering from "some sort of chronic fatigue". This is dreadful stereotyping. There was a token "oh that can be nasty" – but the damage is done. Really how much longer is this going to be acceptable??
Yes, I heard that too and cringed as the sibling was not believed to really have it but making it up - just like some people believe that about those with the real condiiton. I was talking to someone recently at a bus stop who I volunteer with and they said that fibromyalgia was the new trendy illness and they knew some people who didn't really have it. Groan.....
 

SamanthaJ

Senior Member
Messages
219
Likes
1,462
Last edited:

Deepwater

Senior Member
Messages
208
Likes
1,018
Not even sure this is worth a thread but this annoyed me. Just listened to R4's Thinking Allowed, a sociology programme. Today's guest was promoting her book 'Exhaustion - a history'. Neurasthenia and burnout were rather unsympathetically discussed as fashionable terms for the same thing and inevitably there was a bit about CFS. This part was very short, and they sort of tried to be balanced (although 'balance' where one side is total fiction is unbelievably frustrating), the author conceding that it might turn out to be physical! It's so infuriating that ME is even considered an appropriate example in such a context. I mean, they didn't discuss Lupus or other fatigue-causing conditions.

Anyway, not even sure it's worth an email to the programme as the CFS reference was short and inconsequential (and they would say they'd been balanced), I'm just left depressed and needing to vent that we're still material for this kind of nonsense. That name 'chronic fatigue syndrome' strikes again!

If anyone's interested the CFS bit is about 22 mins in:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08yq2bj

The presenter does make a point of reading out correspondence the following week, if anyone wants to comment. It would be an opportunity to politely say why ME is not just exhaustion. I don't think I've got the brain power today. I certainly need to be in a more polite mood!

ETA: Compared to all the NICE stuff going on, this is very trivial. But boy is it irritating.
And it fits into a pattern in BBC drama. I don't know if anyone else has ever tried following BBC TV's Casualty, but over the years it has been a vehicle for the most outrageous BPS libel. At one time the programme featured a nurse who was being violently abused by her evil husband, who made out he had ME and lay about at home all day and when she got home would complain that she didn't do enough for him and 'you people don't even believe in ME' in between knocking her about with gusto. In more recent years the plots have been riddled with teenaged patients whose mothers suffer from Munchausens by Proxy. One week there was even a case of a teenage girl with genuine hysterical paralysis whose crazy mother wouldn't believe the diagnosis. Last time I watched, a couple of weeks ago, two separate mothers of young patients were being shown as irrational - one for refusing vaccinations and the other for keeping her daughter on an organic health food diet. The member of staff and reason eventually won out when the girl obtained the confidence to refuse her mother's proffered banana and eat a chocolate bar instead.
I've often wondered who the BBC is using for medical advice for these programmes but it is perhaps something that ought to be addressed by the patient community.
 

Esther12

Senior Member
Messages
13,774
Likes
28,360
I don't know if anyone else has ever tried following BBC TV's Casualty, but over the years it has been a vehicle for the most outrageous BPS libel. At one time the programme featured a nurse who was being violently abused by her evil husband, who made out he had ME and lay about at home all day and when she got home would complain that she didn't do enough for him and 'you people don't even believe in ME' in between knocking her about with gusto.
I hadn't hgeard of that. Here's a letter exchange with the BBC about it, in case anyone else is interested: https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=461153230587
 
Messages
1,170
Likes
3,910
Location
Bristol
Thanks for the heads up. I usually fall asleep to the Thinking Allowed podcast on Wednesday/Thursday so I won't listen to this one at bedtime: :mad: isn't close to :sleep:

BTW @Esther12 the abusive Casualty husband turned out to have muscular dystrophy which was misdiagnosed as ME. This is actually quite an interesting story seeing as they hardly do any tests on us here! I remember because I'd recently had my first creatine kinase test at that time and it was 10x high, which was shrugged off with a retest. They did the same on him and he was rediagnosed in the emergency department (i.e. very unrealistic).

Does the BBC create ME prejudice or is it just reflecting our culture? Probably both. The File on Four programme was good though.
 

Deepwater

Senior Member
Messages
208
Likes
1,018
Thanks for the heads up. I usually fall asleep to the Thinking Allowed podcast on Wednesday/Thursday so I won't listen to this one at bedtime: :mad: isn't close to :sleep:

BTW @Esther12 the abusive Casualty husband turned out to have muscular dystrophy which was misdiagnosed as ME. This is actually quite an interesting story seeing as they hardly do any tests on us here! I remember because I'd recently had my first creatine kinase test at that time and it was 10x high, which was shrugged off with a retest. They did the same on him and he was rediagnosed in the emergency department (i.e. very unrealistic).

Does the BBC create ME prejudice or is it just reflecting our culture? Probably both. The File on Four programme was good though.
That's interesting about the ME husband. I had stopped watching by that time because I couldn't bear it. But I do know the BBC received a lot of angry response to that storyline, so perhaps the muscular dystrophy twist was dreamed up as a way out.
I'm afraid since then I've found the programme hard to watch so I've only caught it on the rare occasions when I've been with someone else is watching, but every time there is an infuriating psycho plot line; in fact I've more than once quipped at the beginning, in such circumstances that there's going to be Munchausen's by proxy and - lo and behaold! - there has been. But this means that I don't have the sort of detail on the storylines that would be necessary to form the basis of a reasonable complaint. Perhaps I should make a point from now on of watching every week with notepad.
 

TiredSam

The wise nematode hibernates
Messages
2,677
Likes
21,246
Location
Germany
I had a phase of listening to Thinking Allowed podcasts whilst driving but I had to stop - there were so many women with speech impediments using words like "hegemony" that it was getting pythonesque.
 

Esther12

Senior Member
Messages
13,774
Likes
28,360
Here's the CFS section. Evasive BS that totally misrepresents the real problems here.

I may have missed out some of the parts where they slightly talk over each other, as I couldn't really hear those bits. Hope anyone quoting a section goes back to listen to the original first!

Anna Katharina Schaffner : I didn’t actually think that my chapter was controversial at all, what I tried to do was I tried to represent the debate surrounding CFS and ME, which is a rather acrimonious debate, and I haven’t even taken a position on the issue because I’m not medically trained, I’ve just looked at why it is such an issue which causes so much upset. Basically there is a very strong patient lobby who feel that there condition is not being taken seriously and who are convinced that there are organic causes for their fatigue syndrome, and there are also some medical researchers who argue that those causes haven’t been discovered yet and that there might also be psychological ones that…

Laurie Taylor : “There are three positions aren’t there? One is that you aren’t suffering, get out of bed and get to work. The brutalist position. The other one is that actually there are psychological conditions about the nature of modern life or whatever, which prompt physical conditions which are real.”

Anna Katharina Schaffner : Yes.

Laurie Taylor : The other is that the physical conditions actually precede, they are the origin of this problem

Anna Katharina Schaffner : Yeah, absolutely. Looking at fatigue syndromes from a historical perspective, it is very interesting to see that the explanatory models change so sometimes they are thought to be biochemical disturbances, or sometimes people refer to other somatic factors, or sometimes to psychological conditions, and so on. And CFS is a very very interesting a controversial case in the sense that the main causes still have not been discovered but there is a chance that there are physical origins to this condition.
 
Last edited:

Deepwater

Senior Member
Messages
208
Likes
1,018
Here's the CFS section. Evasive BS that totally misrepresents the real problems here.
Thanks for this quotation. I'm not sure whether Laurie Taylor's third offer was meaning that ME/CFS itself is biological, though. It could very well have been a reference to the BPS theory of biological illness that resolves to leave in its wake deconditioning and fear of exercise. If so, then he may have received his information on the illness purely from the BPS crowd.
He always comes across on his programme like a nice guy, so perhaps he would be open to other ideas if he actually heard them and heard the evidence for them.
 

Cheshire

Senior Member
Messages
1,129
Likes
8,991
A critical review of her book:

Dr Schaffner no doubt believes she is being balanced in her monograph but the constant quoting of Shorter and Wessely, whose psychogenic model she appears to have absorbed uncritically, while failing to acknowledge or mention a single biomedical researcher, suggests otherwise. Indeed, while academics are frequently quoted to support the psychosomatic disease model, support for the biomedical model is placed on the shoulders of sufferers, including Nasim Jafry3, whose book is quoted at length in a condescending and dismissive fashion, implying a traumatic event played a role in Jafry’s illness (ME sufferers comprise a diverse community, some experienced traumatic events, some did not, to suggest it plays any role in the illness is mere conjecture). Needless to say, the numerous researchers investigating the physiological basis of ME are not deemed worthy of mention.
[...]

Shorter is a historian, and makes a frequent show of demonstrating his scientific illiteracy. I find it fascinating that the likes of Shorter and Schaffner (who studied General and Comparative Literature) so readily expose their ignorance of basic scientific contexts. I studied for a BSc in the Natural Sciences and an MSc in Medicinal Chemistry, because science, especially molecular biology, fascinates me. I have no inclination to write a monologue in the field of Comparative Literature and were I to do so, it would be very, very bad.
https://uttingwolffspouts.com/2016/08/02/the-age-of-ignorance/
 

SamanthaJ

Senior Member
Messages
219
Likes
1,462
Looks like he may have deleted it(?)
When I looked it's still the first one.

Don't be put off
By Simon on 29 September 2016
Format: Hardcover
If you are interested in an overall history of exhaustion, and aren't opposed to the idea of having modern conditions such as ME/chronic fatigue put into some historical perspective, then this is the book for you.
 

SamanthaJ

Senior Member
Messages
219
Likes
1,462
He always comes across on his programme like a nice guy, so perhaps he would be open to other ideas if he actually heard them and heard the evidence for them.
Yes, I am hopeful he'll be open to constructive criticism. I think they've had people connected to the (supportive) Centre for Welfare Reform on in the past, though not as far as I know about ME.
 

SamanthaJ

Senior Member
Messages
219
Likes
1,462
I was looking for a 'good' review (from our perspective); have just twigged who you are alluding 'Simon' to be:redface:
It is difficult to word it clearly - the 'good' reviews are the bad reviews and the 'bad' reviews are the good reviews. I'm only half-joking about 'Simon' - I wouldn't put it past him to be reviewing books on Amazon. Although it is lacking his trademark waffle.
 
Last edited: