Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Musings: Correction on Gout Medication; Keep the Best Kept Secrets Secret; New Look at a Famous Photo

A friend who’s a pharmacist provided some good background (a correction essentially) to my comments on the gout medication advertisement I mentioned last week. Here’s what he told me:

Gout is a common condition, caused by a high amount of uric acid in the bloodstream.  This can occur either because the body produces more than normal, or because the body can't adequately clear the amount produced, or both.  Food doesn't really play a big role. In an acute attack, the uric acid crystallizes in a joint, usually in a lower extremity, particularly a joint that has been injured previously.  Big toes, ankles, knees, and fingers are most common. Regarding the advertising, the only reason a drug for gout is now being advertised is not because we have regressed.  Rather, it is because a drug company now has a new drug to sell.  There hasn't been a drug specifically for gout since maybe the 1970's, thus, it is time to flog it. Incidentally, food is generally not a factor in gout attacks.  However, alcohol consumption may be. 

Articles like this drive me crazy: America’s Best Kept Secret Trails. Keep them secret! Nothing destroys these places faster than a sudden increase in visitors. To wit, several years ago, Backpacker ran a similar article with a cover featuring the Pilot Range (the far northern part of White Mountain National Forest). I had just visited the area, specifically Unknown Pond, a beautiful glacial tarn. I came back a year after the article and barely recognized it. The place had been denuded. Here’s my suggestion to these publications: use the same headline but leave the article itself blank except for the words “Find your own secret place.” Offer them $2 off their next subscription if they feel ripped off.

American Girl” is justifiably one of the most famous photographs of all time. The lone woman surrounded by men leering at her, her upright posture, fearful but dignified. It certainly seems to capture the feeling of isolation and harassment that single women feel at times. But not according to the subject of the photo. Sixty years later, Ninalee Craig is speaking up – and her thoughts are surprising. She claims that the photo is supposed to symbolize a girl having an absolutely wonderful time. I’m sorry but I don’t buy it: that may be what they intended, but that’s certainly not what they produced.

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