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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Idiots

Every now and then, I get an Email that makes me wonder whether people are idiots. OK, more than every now and then. Today, it was a job posting from a science writers' association that caught my eye. ''I am searching for a psychiatrist or psychologist, an expert in bipolar disorder, to write (or work with a writer to write) The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bipolar Disorder.'' Hmm, I thought. I earned an MD and then finished an internship in psychiatry. I'm a writer. If I had the time and the inc

By | October 25, 2007

Every now and then, I get an Email that makes me wonder whether people are idiots. OK, more than every now and then. Today, it was a job posting from a science writers' association that caught my eye. ''I am searching for a psychiatrist or psychologist, an expert in bipolar disorder, to write (or work with a writer to write) The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bipolar Disorder.'' Hmm, I thought. I earned an MD and then finished an internship in psychiatry. I'm a writer. If I had the time and the inclination, I could probably write this book, having written or edited several linkurl:psychiatry review books;http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780071475679&itm=1 for medical students. But wait a minute. What's that title again? The Complete Idiot's Guide to Bipolar Disorder? That's at best bizarre and at worst horribly insensitive, given that we're not that many centuries removed from the, um, not terribly enlightened habit of calling the mentally ill ''village idiots.'' Did anyone think this one through? What's next, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Mental Retardation?

Comments

Avatar of: Shana

Shana

Posts: 1

October 26, 2007

I am a long term sufferer of bipolar disorder. I have had a lifetime of job loss, relationship issues, legal troubles, drug addiction, suicide attempts, insomnia, etc. I finally was diagnosed several years ago and have become an expert on mood disorders. I facilitate a mood disorder support group in my area and often have to help those just starting out with their diagnosis to understand. I suggest to them a most excellent book as an introduction: http://www.amazon.com/Bipolar-Disorder-Dummies-Candida-Fink/dp/0764584510\n (Bipolar Disorder for Dummies). I don't understand your aversion to such titles considering that the Complete Idiot's Guides and the for Dummies books cover a wide range of topics and have helped people do everything from learn how to use the Windows Operating system to planting perennial flower gardens, to yes, understanding serious health issues.\n\nPersonally, I'd be proud to take part in such a book, as it would be another understandable guide available to the general public and sufferers alike on a very serious health issue. I doubt anyone would equate "bipolar disorder" with "Idiot" considering the widespread exposure to these specific titles.
Avatar of: Michael

Michael

Posts: 3

October 26, 2007

Perhaps someone needs to write The Complete Idiot's Guide to writing The Complete Idiot's Guide Books. Lesson One should be how not to insult your readers with degrading titles. I always wondered who wrote these things...

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