Ephemera: Diagnosis and Appropriation

As part of my ongoing attempt to achieve the ephemeral world of Facebook posts, here are two different posts, one  in response to an article on ADHD diagnosis and the other in response to a discussion about cultural appropriation.


Diagnosis is social and the idea that you need to fit into some ridiculous box before the state authorizes someone to see if taking a medicine improves your experience of being in this world is ridiculous. I feel like the prescription of "ADHD" drugs could help all sorts of people, many of whom fit very few of the diagnostic criteria. 

I'm really into the idea of ADHD being a juridical category imposed on the individual which dictates the manner in which individuals are able to care for themselves. Of course there are some sorts of care of the self that are preferred by this diagnostic regime ("disruptive" students who question authority and a rigid classroom environment that does not meet their learning needs should have a pharmacological boost to accompany other efforts to reign in their conduct, or those who find themselves exhausted and totally unmotivated by the draining work so many of us have to do to survive are given something to make them a productive worker) meanwhile other uses are ignored (shy, withdrawn people who feel overwhelmed often aren't given the opportunity to experiment with adderall, or even, in a more extreme case, those who desire the ability to write or create through long periods of sustained focus where thoughts flow are denied that ability). Let people experiment! Let a million different ways of life bloom!

Of course this is true with countless other drugs: testosterone being a great example. The need to meet some approved category of deviance, to submit ones own gender identity to the examination of someone else seems ridiculous. Folks should be able to experiment with the chemical basis of experience. 

Related reading:
Testo Junkie: Sex, Drugs, 
and Biopolitics in the Pharmacopornographic Era

Cultural Appropriation  

I have long felt that the notion of "cultural appropriation" relies, somewhat ironically, on the very notion of culture invented to aid imperialism and colonization: culture as a bounded, static entity. Furthermore, the concept makes universal the idea of culture as property, conceptually disseminating and imposing a decidedly European legal category, albeit for undoubtably well-intentioned purposes. Most instances of so-called cultural appropriation I find reprehensible, but I feel like we could speak about racism or the history of genocide which indelibly marks the specific practice or item. Shouting at someone that "they don't own that" not only assumes and imposes a certain type of ownership  but also misses an opportunity to talk about the real issues, histories and politics that that use entails.

Related reading: 
"Culture" and Culture: Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Rights