“All in the Game”: Good Police and Narrative Recovery in The Wire.

Editor’s Note: Last week, in the first installment of her series on the formal qualities of narrative and addiction, guest blogger Anne Moore talked about how both literary and psychotropic engagements invite us to the pleasures– and terrors– of delaying closure. Her example was Wilkie Collins’ 1868 novel The Moonstone.  Today she fast forwards aboutContinue reading ““All in the Game”: Good Police and Narrative Recovery in The Wire.”

The Points interview — Don Lattin

Editor’s Note:  Where do philosophy, LSD, and AA-style recovery meet?  Journalist Don Lattin explores the nexus in his latest book, Distilled Spirits: Getting High, Then Sober, with a Famous Writer, a Forgotten Philosopher, and a Hopeless Drunk (University of California Press, 2012).  His bestseller, The Harvard Psychedelic Club: How Timothy Leary, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, andContinue reading “The Points interview — Don Lattin”

Lessons of the Narcotic Farm, Part VI, Reflections of an Accidental Drug Historian

It was April 2005 when I walked up to the car rental booth at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport and announced to the man behind the counter, “I’m high on cough syrup.” I had spent a year researching the history of the Narcotic Farm for a documentary with my partner JP Olsen and at thatContinue reading “Lessons of the Narcotic Farm, Part VI, Reflections of an Accidental Drug Historian”

Catching Up With Bruce Holley Johnson, Ph.D.

Almost 40 years in, Bruce H. Johnson’s 1973 dissertation, The Alcoholism Movement in America: A Study in Cultural Innovation, has remained an invaluable source and a ready companion for historians and sociologists interested in the rise and diffusion of the alcoholism paradigm in 20th century America.  Johnson himself, however, seemed to disappear from view inContinue reading “Catching Up With Bruce Holley Johnson, Ph.D.”

The Alcoholic Weepie that Ended D.W. Griffith’s Career

D.W. Griffith’s last film as a director was The Struggle, the story of an alcoholic’s decline and eventual reform. After a series of commercial and critical flops in the 1920s, the pioneering filmmaker — best known for the hideously-racist-but-formally-groundbreaking Birth of a Nation in 1915 — had seemingly begun to restore his reputation with hisContinue reading “The Alcoholic Weepie that Ended D.W. Griffith’s Career”

Do We Care whether Don Draper is an Alcoholic? On the Prevalence of Addiction Subtexts in Television Drama

In Season Four of the heralded AMC drama Mad Men, Don Draper appeared to be building toward an alcoholic crisis. The child of alcoholics, and himself a dedicated daily drinker even by the standards of the three-martini-lunch set, Don already had endured car accidents, destructive one-night-stands, and many a shaky, sweaty, even bandaged morning after. Then,Continue reading “Do We Care whether Don Draper is an Alcoholic? On the Prevalence of Addiction Subtexts in Television Drama”

“They Call Them Camisoles”: The Short Life and Tragic Death of Wilma Wilson

They Call Them Camisoles is a tantalizing document– Wilma Wilson’s first-person account of her 1939 commitment for alcoholism to the Camarillo State Hospital in California. Published in 1940, the book had recently been out of print.  I learned of it myself a few years ago, and discovered only yesterday that it has been republished in aContinue reading ““They Call Them Camisoles”: The Short Life and Tragic Death of Wilma Wilson”

Mrs. Marty Mann and the Medicalization of Alcoholism

I’m a big fan of contradictions. Where they occur – in social movements, in ideology, in programs of action – they tend to highlight the underlying compositional character of human enterprises.  Thus contradictions also provide occasions where the contributing strands of such enterprises may be more easily separated out for examination.  (Comedians, of course, loveContinue reading “Mrs. Marty Mann and the Medicalization of Alcoholism”

Dry Pushback Against Mann’s Alcoholism Movement and Robert King Merton’s Manifest and Latent Functions: A Perplexing Combination

  Cross’s church in Berkeley My thinking on this post started off in one direction and then suddenly veered into another direction entirely.  As you’ll see. My original plan was simply to recount a triangular correspondence involving Laurance L. Cross, Harry Emerson Fosdick, and Marty Mann that occurred in 1947.  Their letters to one another captured a telling instanceContinue reading “Dry Pushback Against Mann’s Alcoholism Movement and Robert King Merton’s Manifest and Latent Functions: A Perplexing Combination”

Stigma on Alcoholism: A Modest Proposal

It seems to me — and, incidentally, it has seemed to me for a long time — that a key shortcoming in much of the prevailing research and thought surrounding the subject of the stigma on alcoholism stems from a failure to distinguish clearly between the moral and social definition placed upon, on the one hand, theContinue reading “Stigma on Alcoholism: A Modest Proposal”

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