Thursday, March 20, 2008

Odds and Sods

Item 1

The Post reports that there is an increasing trend of parents suing teachers for exorbitant sums of money, usually along the lines of damages caused to the given child's self-esteem.

Now, I know that I'm not saying anything new here, but the more often repeated the better, apparently:

That extremely rare, and vastly over-estimated condition known as low self-esteem bears a striking resemblance--it's true!--to the behaviour exhibited by a child so spoiled that the disproportionate inflation of his pride has drawn directly for its sustenance from the thickness of his skin. But we confuse the two at our peril ... And at the child's, needless to say.

(Related: The view, such as it is, from England. Best line: "Children suffer anxiety as the test looms and the rise in mental health problems cannot be divorced from their status as the most tested in the world." Yes because, as adults, the likelihood of their having to deal with anxiety is just so remote ... But how, one wonders, do we explain a rise in mental health problems as the quality of education in England is well known to be in free fall?)

Item 2

A Canadian study has just been released measuring the use of health care by the differently sexualled (to coin a term--one gets a little sick of having to list them all every time). The findings aren't even remotely surprising, but the various analyses on offer are some of the most stunning instances of politically correct prevarication and pussyfooting you're likely to find.

Tell me if this surprises you:

Gay men go to the doctor a lot more than heterosexual men; lesbians go to the doctor a lot less than heterosexual women; bisexuals (of both sexes) are more likely to have a poor estimate of their mental health than either homosexuals or heterosexuals. On the whole, it would appear that homosexuals and bisexuals go to the doctor far more than do heterosexuals.

Why? Well, it seems to me that given that homosexual intercourse between men is of a far higher risk than heterosexual intercourse, then it stands to reason that gay men should go to the doctor more. And given that sex between women is less risky even than heterosexual sex (what with the absence of that intrusive old penis and all the considerations it entails), it stands to reason that they should go to the doctor less. And given that bisexuals have exactly double the problems of your average rutting cruiser, it isn't straining credulity too much to assume that they might be feeling the strain a bit more than is average.

Make sense? Yes?

But see what's made of these rather boring facts:
The higher proportion of gay men who are HIV-positive is likely a factor in their use of the health care system, along with the fact they know where to find a "gay-positive" physician, said Anna Travers, director of the Rainbow Health Resource Centre at Toronto's Sherbourne Health Centre.
Ooookaaaayyyyy ... But how exactly does that square with this:

But gay women tend to have more fear they will face homophobia or "heterosexism" -- the assumption by doctors and others that they are straight. For example, a woman might be asked whether she is sexually active. When she answers yes, the doctor might launch into a discussion of birth control that would be irrelevant and embarrassing.

"It's less often 'Oh, you're a lesbian, how disgusting.' It's more often a series of questions or a series of assumptions that make people feel 'I just don't fit here.' " Travers said.
Oh woe! What hardship! Oh cruel, cruel world that lesbians should feel as though they don't fit in at the clinic! God knows, all the rest of us with our problems of just the single hue couldn't feel more integrated every time we go to the doctor for our Paps or our prostate exams ... Still, I'm a little confused. If gay men are so successful in finding "gay-positive" doctors, why aren't lesbians? Are we to assume that there is a trend amongst "gay positive" doctors to favour gay men over gay women? A kind of a homosex-sexism? And if this is the case, then why isn't it reflected in the mental health statistics with lesbian women having a disproportionately higher rate of psychological issues than gay men?

Well, because it's nonsense, that's why. Just as this is:
"It is well known that there's increased depression in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community because of dealing with widespread societal homophobia and transphobia," [Cherie MacLeod, executive director of PFLAG Canada] said. "The fact that our community is looking to obtain these services is not surprising at all."
That is: homosexuals take full advantage of the health care available to them because of the homophobia that prevents them from seeking health care ... Glorified if they do, glorified if they don't. (We won't even touch on this idea that, apparently, it's impossible for a homosexual to be depressed for any other reason than homophobia. God forbid we do that, and introduce the possibility that they are just plain old, mostly stupid and ugly human beings like the rest of us.)

... If only smokers were given this kind of saccharine, mincing consideration of their health care draining activities.