Cognition & Reality

Sunday, 24 October 2010

“Bigger, Stronger, Faster”: The Anatomy Of Lying

Filed under: Chemical Imbalance,Film,Propaganda,Psychomyths — drtone @ 11:07 am

Chris Bell’s “Bigger, Stronger, Faster” is ostensibly a documentary about the campaign to eliminate steroid use from sports. In exposing the abuse of the issue by journalists and interested parties, however, it also demonstrates the structure and function of propaganda wherever it appears or applies. Although there is little evidence of the harm they supposedly do, demonizing steroids and those who use them has created a distracting urban mythology that serves some powerful interests. That is what propaganda does.

According to the disinterested experts Bell interviews, there is simply no evidence that steroids are particularly dangerous. I’ve never used them, but I recognize the attacks typical of every anti-drug campaign: Like cannabis, ecstasy, PCP and many other illicit substances, steroids are supposed to make a person both super-strong and insane, while having devastating effects on one’s physical health. For example, the physician who represents the principal anti-doping agency distorts and misrepresents the facts about steroids, operating from the presupposition that they are evil. The press and politicians have participated enthusiastically in denouncing steroid use. Congress has spent a disproportionate amount of time on the steroid question, and journalists continue to march out Lyle Alzado’s demonstrably false claim about the connection between his brain cancer and his use of steroids during his NFL career.

The situation is similar to the one that prevails in the public’s view of the use of another type of drug, antidepressants. The difference is that, when it comes to the latter,  the powerful are on the side of using drugs, and the campaign is all about the devastating effects of depression (i.e., sadness and fear), based on the faulty “science” of “chemical imbalance.” Isn’t it interesting that the medical and political establishments oppose the use of substances that make a person stronger, but encourage the use of substances that make a person contented and compliant?

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