Sunday, January 04, 2009

Bill Lichtenstein, Infinite Mind producer, has left a comment

On November 25, 2008 I wrote this post:

The Infinite Mind - disease awareness campaings?

As always I'm informed by Philip Dawdy and it was on Furious Seasons that I became aware of the radio show "The Infinite Mind" hosted by Fred Goodwin. According to this post the radio show reached 1 million listeners a week. You are all aware that Sen Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) went after Goodwin because he has received support of eight labs and the radio show is going off the air - read this post by Philip Dawdy.
I cannot help myself asking how is it be possible that a show on mental illness can reach 1 million listeners a week. Why on earth are people so concerned with it?
Depression is the first subject that comes to my mind. I've noticed that people are no longer sad or tired. We are depressed and stressed and both words are already part of daily vocabulary.
Words are powerful. Putting these words in circulation to describe normal feelings is of great help to turn them into diseases and make people think that there's something that could help them. Not fearing disease's name and even making them being repeated over and over again creates a culture where it's easy to believe that it's not a big deal being sick.
Almost the same has happened with bipolarity. So many celebrities are being claimed to be bipolar that the old manic-depressive psychosis lost it's sense and the division bipolar 1 and 2 is not known. Being bipolar sounds to be glamorous and cool.
I'm asking myself how many of those who have listened to "The Infinite Mind" have searched a GP or a psychiatrists because they thought they were depressed.
Perhaps "The Infinite Mind" has helped, without the intention, what is described on "The Influence of Pharmaceutical Industry" on the topic they approach Disease awareness campaigns:
(continue reading)

Today I've got this comment:

Bill Lichtenstein said...

I am writing as executive producer of The Infinite Mind regarding your posting on the show's audience size.

The Infinite Mind was not a mental health show. It focused on the art and science of the mind, mental wellness, neuroscience and the mind body connection.

Most of our 200+ programs over 10 years had little to do with mental health, with show topics including Satisfaction; Hearing; Body Clocks; Altruism; Perfect Pitch; Genius; Animal Companions; Multitasking; Writers' Block; and Weather and the Mind, among many others.

Guests on the program included leading neuroscientists and clinicians, as well as notable public figures, including authors John Updike, William and Rose Styron, Fran Lebowitz, Annie Lamott, Robert Bly, and Joyce Carol Oates; actors/actresses Carrie Fisher, Stanley Tucci, Anthony Edwards, Margot Kidder, and Lily Tomlin; comedians Robert Klein, Eddie Izzard, Margaret Cho, and Richard Lewis; batting champ Wade Boggs; former First Lady Rosalynn Carter; business writer James Cramer; mental health advocate Tipper Gore; Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman; and musicians Aimee Mann, Jessye Norman, Judy Collins, Suzanne Vega, Black Eyed Peas, and Emanuel Ax.

It was this combination of topics and guests that resulted in the program being the most listened to and honored health and science show on public radio.

Bill Lichtenstein

I want to thank Mr. Lichtenstein for the comment.
I love William Styron not only because of "Sophie's Choice" but also because of his book "Darkness Visible" which is a wonderful book on how he has recovered from depression. It was on 1985, before Prozac, that his disease started and he explains how terrible was his experience with Halcion. He was prescribed a high dose of this benzodiazepine plus Valium and Ativan.
Halcion has affected him deeply and had a huge contribution to his suicidal ideations one of the reasons he went to hospital. He was so depressed that ECT was considered as a treatment but fortunately he started recovering.
It's a great book and is written with wit and an astonishing comprehension on the depression condition and it's treatments. I hope he's in peace. He died in 2006.
Good to know that Jessie Norman was on the show. I like her performing Carmen and Seiji Ozawa is a great conductor. But I prefer Tatiana Troyanos and Plácido Domingos.
It's a pity that in ten years Infinite Mind has hosted five authors, five musicians, four comedians and so little actors and actress.
Creative people have a lot to say about fighting demons. Sometimes more than neuroscientists do.


Stephany said...

Dr. Goodwin is a corrupt pharma whore.

Stan said...

Geez Ana:

Who is coming to post next? Is child destroyer Biederman going to send a poem, or his apologist going to do a song and dance like Goodwin’s lap dog did?

I’m wondering if you have pseudo psychiatrist criminal attracting fly paper on your comment walls or what? {Laughing}


Bill Lichtenstein said...


The list I sent you is just a sample of the dozens of writers, actors and musicians we had on the program over ten years.

Since you mentioned actors and actresses, for example, we did a live broadcast that featured performances by the casts of the Broadway shows "Avenue A," "Wicked" and "Wonderful Town."


Bill Lichtenstein

Ana said...

Thank you for the update Mr. Lichtenstein.