Saturday, September 24, 2011

What, Only 10 Minutes?

Normally we do not report trivial news stories, but this is exceptionally trivial, so it stands out. A Canadian news source,, has this amazing tale:

Edmonton senior sues over gum mishap
Mark Strashok Sep 23, 2011

An Edmonton senior is suing Kraft Canada for $100-thousand after getting gum stuck in her dentures.

The Edmonton Sun reports the statement of claim was filed a couple of weeks ago by Elsie Pawlow, who says the incident caused her to suffer depression.

The allegation is that Elsie bought five packages of Stride gum, but then had to dig it out of her dentures after it broke up into little pieces.

She then went into a bout of depression that lasted about 10 minutes.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Most Successful of All Mental Disorders

The Daily Mail (U.K.) has run an article, "One in 25 Bosses 'Is a Psychopath' but Hides It with Charm and Business-Speak." A better term would be "sociopath," as we do not imply that they are serial killers, but these are the people who would not lose any sleep making ruthless decisions.

Business leaders are four times more likely to be psychopaths than the general population, a study has found.

One out of every 25 company high-flyers is believed to have the mental disorder but disguises it through their high status, charm and manipulation in the workplace.

And only favourable environmental factors - such as having had a happy childhood - prevent their psychopathic tendencies turning them into serial killers.

Psychologists say today's ruthless corporate culture benefits people like Kevin Spacey's character in the recent movie Horrible Bosses, by rewarding their natural callousness and disregard of others' feelings.

The findings emerge in a survey led by New York psychologist Paul Babiak to discover how many psychopaths had infiltrated major firms....

Dr Babiak said: 'These were all individuals who were at the top of an organisation - vice-presidents, directors, CEOs - so it was actually quite a shock.'

The results revealed that psychopaths were actually poor managerial performers but were adept at climbing the corporate ladder because they could cover up their weaknesses by subtly charming superiors and subordinates.

This, said Dr Babiak, makes it almost impossible to distinguish between a genuinely talented team leader and a psychopath.

Prof Hare told Horizon: 'The higher the psychopathy, the better they looked - lots of charisma and they talk a good line.

'But if you look at their actual performance and ratings as a team player and productively, it's dismal. Looked good, performed badly....

Because we believe in presenting all sides of a story, we will mention what Dr. Helen Smith had to say at the conservative site Pajamas Media.

"I have taken a continuing education course from Robert Hare, the co-author of the book mentioned above [Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work] and in the course, he told us that it is a very dangerous thing to diagnose someone with psychopathy. We dealt in the course with adults and juveniles who were jailed for violent and other crimes. Often times, Hare and his colleagues would warn us to be very careful in our diagnosis, lest someone who was charged with a crime end up being discriminated against because of the psychopathy label if untrue. Shouldn’t his co-author, Paul Babiak, use the same good advice? Should he use a study of only 200 people to make such a generalization?..."

EDITORIAL NOTE: Dr. Helen Smith's main objection was the focus on business leaders, but sociopaths have wormed their way into positions of leadership in politics, organized crime, and the military.