the second part of life

crossposted from here

I’ve had a couple requests on here to talk about my feelings towards comic book movies. I’m gonna try to make this as direct and simple as I can.

There are a lot of wonderful things that art made for children can do. We all have beloved books and movies that moved us as children that still move us, and I certainly would never want anyone to feel shame over continuing to access them. But there are also many things that child-appropriate art cannot do. Yes, there’s the obvious in terms of sex, violence, and language, but that’s not exactly what I mean here. I mean that there are themes and subject matter that are not typically found in art for children, even though precocious children can sometimes enjoy them. I am thinking of topics like infidelity, the meaninglessness of existence, loneliness, perversion, the pain of the absence of god, the crushing boredom of adult life, and so on. These topics matter, but both the culture and economics of art for children prevent them from being encountered there, at least in most cases.

There are aspects of the human condition that can be explored through art, that must be explored through art, that are not conducive to stories about superheroes, wizards, cyborgs, monsters, or similar. And, in those cases where such themes are explored with genre tropes, they are generally unattractive to (some would say inappropriate for) children. And so adults should look beyond art intended for children, in order to deepen their understanding of life and the world and grapple with what it means to live a mortal life in a universe without meaning.

Here I think of a film like Michael Haneke’s Amour. Among other things, it’s about the horrors of aging and the inevitability of death. These are heady topics, to be sure, and perhaps not ones that we want to expose to younger children, if only because they should probably enjoy the fact that they are blissfully unaware of these sad conditions. But adults need to access them; we need to process them, and art can help. Unless you’re unlucky, you too will grow old. You will inevitably die. So you have to do the emotional and intellectual work of coming to terms with those things, and for that reason you turn to a movie like Amour. You cannot find those things in Narnia, nor are you meant to. 

Beyond the goal of art that is morally edifying is the goal of art to induce various kinds of pleasure. Different kinds of art impart different kinds of pleasure; it’s no insult to either to say that Carly Rae Jepsen and Merzbow intend to produce different feelings in their listeners. In life we have both cookies and kimchi, both lemonade and whiskey. There are, in other words, acquired tastes as well as obvious ones, and the former are some of the best stuff in life.

Now the common rejoinder is to say “do both!” And indeed – watch both, read both. I can’t complain about that. But the entire point is that people aren’t watching both. Do you know how many people consume literally nothing but superheroes, sci-fi, zombies, video games, and so on? Very, very many. And how could there not be? Any sense that we should feel embarrassed to remain fixated on art for children in existence that once existed – and I have never been convinced that it ever did – has long since been utterly obliterated in our current moment, a time when art populism manages to both be utterly commercially and critically dominant and yet cast as a perpetual underdog. Precisely because they need to be acquired, acquired tastes have a higher barrier to entry than others, and so their embrace by the public will always be more tenuous. But there are treasures there. Think of how much is lost for so many when there is no social pressure at all to try new things, new types of things.

It is no coincidence that we are all living in the digital world alongside a cadre of angry, embittered, activist nerds who rage out endlessly about all of the perceived slights against them. After all, there culture has told them to never leave their fantasies behind, so how can we be surprised that they react violently to the difference between those fantasies and their reality? That’s what all of this does, after all – it gives us an excuse to remain in the numbing bubble of fantasy, forever. Sometimes you have to force yourself outside of the comforting worlds you can find in fiction. There are people who spend their whole lives waiting for that letter to come from Hogwarts. And sometimes, when that doesn’t happen, they snap, and that’s how you get the toxicity of online fandom.

In life you should want there to be an arc to your tastes. Just as you moved on from a mac’n’cheese and popsicle diet as a child, you move on to a more varied, more complex, more challenging diet as an adult. But in art, so many people like the same things at 40 as they did at 10. That can’t be healthy. But it is understandable, in a world where the likes of Stranger Things tells you to be 10 years old forever.

Also I just don’t think comic book movies are any good, when we aren’t grading them on a huge curve. Every Avengers movie is a bloated mess. Logan was good, up until the ending. But your tastes will be different than mine. So knock yourself out. Just understand all that you might be missing, if you’re not careful.

current status: very chill

You know I live in one of those New York apartment buildings where there’s just two states for the heat, off and on, and when it’s on the whole apartment is just a bit too warm and it makes you sleepy. That’s kind of my entire life right now. Could be worse.

statement

On August 18th 2017 I lied and accused Malcolm Harris of rape and sexual harassment of women, particularly of women he works with.  These allegations were completely untrue, Malcolm in no way deserved them, and if anyone held a shred of doubt, let him be fully exonerated. Crucially, despite my mental state at the time, I knew when I sent those tweets that they were untrue. I am responsible for having made those false allegations, and that makes me a liar, it makes me guilty of slander, and it makes me someone who undermined the profound seriousness of rape allegations.

I have bipolar disorder. I have been dealing with it since I was 21. For most of that time I have hidden my condition and resisted treatment, only telling my siblings more than a decade after my first manic episode.

When I first moved to New York I arranged to see a psychiatrist and was medicated for a few months. However my relationship with her was not good and getting to appointments was difficult and so, as has happened many times, I let my treatment lapse. In early 2017 I descended gradually into mania. My cycles are quite slow which can make it difficult to realize when my condition is falling out of my control. By late summer I was a danger to myself and others because of the extreme paranoid delusions that are common to my episodes. It was in that context that I made these accusations, but I again stress that I was responsible for my actions and that I have to be accountable for them.

I am ashamed of myself and have been ever since. I think about it every day.

I would like to be able to say that the incident with Malcolm – my accusations, my digging in on those accusations despite their obvious lack of credibility, my subsequent deletion of my Twitter account – inspired me to get help, but that wouldn’t be true. I only went to the hospital under threat of legal trouble – from someone other than Malcolm, who has been to his considerable credit explicit and adamant that he would not be pursuing a legal option. (Let me additionally say that I am not publishing this apology because of Malcolm pressuring me or in any other way putting me up to this.) That weekend I accused someone who was once quite close to me of conspiring against me, and threatened to harm them in revenge. They told me that either I went to get help the next day or they would have me arrested. I called my brother for help and sought treatment the next day at Richmond University Medical Center.

In terms of making amends, I can point to major changes that I have made and stuck with since I went to the hospital. I have now been on meds consistently for the longest period of my life. I have finally relented and accepted the fact that I must be on antipsychotic medication long-term, resistance to which has long proven a serious barrier to care. I have abandoned all social media permanently. I have stopped freelance writing. I have in general tried to permanently remove myself from online life and from the world of political writing in which Malcolm resides and I once resided. These changes are not attempts to make up for what I’ve done, really; they are just matters of self-preservation as I try to build a life where I do not cause harm to people anymore. I have fully committed to constant treatment, and I have fully committed to going away. I am so profoundly sorry.

That’s all.

so it has come to this: a FAQ about a book that does not yet exist

I hear your forthcoming book is pro-race science. True?

No. It is explicitly, unambiguously, and directly not. In fact key to my elevator pitch was that the book discusses genetics and intelligence while rejecting arguments about inherent racial differences in intelligence. Here’s a passage from the manuscript, incidentally written before Twitter got mad about this:

“I will risk appearing self-defensive by saying upfront: this book is not an argument for the “race realist” position that some races are inherently more intelligent than others. Nor do I traffic in sexist ideas about innate gender differences in intelligence. I do not believe that white people are smarter than black, that Asian people have a genetic facility for math, or that women are not as gifted as men in science. Lest there be any confusion, I unequivocally and explicitly reject those beliefs, and this book will not advance any such claims about group differences in intelligence. I will instead argue that the science of individual differences in potential has profound consequences for our education system and our society.”

Pretty unambiguous, right?

So why do so many people think otherwise?

Because an anonymous Twitter account said so. Seriously, that’s it, that’s the sole reason anyone ever got this impression in the first place. Some dude with a joke Twitter name and a rose emoji deliberately spread misinformation about my book, knowing it to be untrue, and everybody believed him, without any corroborating evidence whatsoever. People like the crew at Balloon Juice ran with it without bothering to ask whether it was responsible to draw broad conclusions about an unfinished book from the say-so of an anonymous source.

That’s pretty shitty. 

Twitter is a shitty place. Twitter makes reasonable people do and say shitty things.

Didn’t many journalists and other members of the media like “Atrios”/Duncan Black run with this too? Isn’t the basic job of journalists to pursue facts and provide attribution for claims?

Why yes! Yes it is! That is exactly their job. And they didn’t do it. Major, national journalists retweeted and repeated the claim that my book argues what it expressly does not argue based on literally nothing else than the say-so of an anonymous Twitter account. Because the basic rule with media and journalism is that there are no rules, only tribes, and I’ve never been part of that tribe and so they felt no responsibility to tell the truth.  In real life, media-people behavior is mostly motivated by a desire to appear cool with other media people. And I’ve always been a soft target, a convenient person to go after when looking to up your cred. If I was cool with the right people I could publish Mein Kampf for Kids and they’d be like “gotta hear both sides of the story.” That’s just how that culture functions.

Do you think the people who eagerly spread that incendiary claim about you, particularly the journalists and media types, will retract those claims?

Ha.

OK but you are writing about genetics and intelligence, though, right? So don’t racist claims follow naturally from that?

Genetics is in fact just one part of this book, maybe not even the most important part. But, regardless – no, racist claims do not follow.

Think about it this way. Supposed you and I went to a basketball game where Lebron James’s son played. If I said to you “he gets some of his athleticism from his father,” that would, I hope, be an uncontroversial statement. I suppose you might disagree, though it seems pretty indisputable to me. But either way you wouldn’t find that claim offensive, and you certainly wouldn’t find it racist. On the other hand, if I said “he gets his athleticism from his race,” then you may very well find that claim offensive and racist. Those are two fundamentally different kinds of claims – one a claim about individual genetic variation, and one a claim about group genetic variation. They are not the same. They are different scientifically, analytically, politically, and morally. And anyone who can’t wrap their head around the distinction sufficiently should simply not engage about these topics at all.

If you’d like an example of a working behavioral geneticists who believes that intelligence is partially heritable and yet still rejects racist claims about IQ, you might check out Paige Harden. There are many others.

But aren’t you unqualified to write about all this science stuff? 

That would be a fair criticism if I were writing about the science of individual genetic differences. But I’m writing about the educational and political consequences of the science of individual genetic differences, and I’m perfectly qualified to write about each, the former because my academic training and professional occupation are in educational testing and the latter because I have written several million words on politics over the past decade. This misunderstanding, again, is the kind of risk you run when you go after books before you’ve read them, or indeed, before they’ve been fully written.

I heard some people went after your job over this.

So I’ve been told, but I haven’t had any trouble at work. People going after my jobs over my political writing, I’m sorry to say, has been a thing for awhile. I am a unionized public sector employee with sterling performance reviews and a long-term contract. So… good luck.

I heard your publishing company was Bad. 

The imprint I’m writing for has published and will publish books by prominent progressive voices, such as Zephyr Teachout. But more to the point: is this a standard that gets applied to anyone else? Are you really going to tell me that people scour the back catalog of every publisher to find objectionable titles in order to go after authors? I assure you: no publisher of national scale has a record free of work you find offensive. Not one. The idea that working under a given publisher should necessarily mean that your work should be judged based on its association with other books from that publisher is bizarre and totally unworkable at scale, guilt-by-association of the weirdest variety. It’s a perfect example of an argument of convenience, one adopted simply because it was an easy way to go after me. It’s a bullshit, made-up standard and so I’m not going to worry about it.

When is the book coming out?

I don’t know.

climbing up the walls

Jason
April 21, 2018, 12:50 pm

I gained 30 lbs in less than one month by taking Zyprexa. It causes such extreme food cravings for me I eat all the time, even when it really hurts I still keep eating. And I lift weights and do a lot of cardio, so I probably would have gained more.

That was in August of 2017. I stopped taking Zyprexa due to the extreme weight gain, and just now I have gotten back down to the 250’s. I seriously went from 255lbs to 285 lbs in less than a month.

dette
March 1, 2018, 11:53 pm

This drug has made me really fat, I have horrible stretch marks on my arms and none of my clothes fit me. I’ve been off the drug for a few months now and the weight is not coming off. I’m living on salmon and couscous. My parents gave me so much grief about the weight even though they knew it was the drugs, it’s horrid.

J
December 22, 2017, 6:10 pm

Zyprexa ruined my life. It made me so fat I wanted to kill myself. 60lb in 3 months and I didn’t eat any more than I normally would have because I was inpatient in hospital, no visitors, no outside food. It caused stretch marks and I looked disgusting.

I showered with my bra on and rarely changed my clothes. I was a fat stinking sweating mess and now that it’s been 10 years, I have lost all the weight and more. I am now underweight and near-anorexic with a trench coat of loose skin. This drug should be illegal to prescribe to pretty girls.

Chelsea
January 2, 2017, 11:36 am

I was started on 5mg of olanzapine and 40mg of citalopram 3 or4 years ago. I had weight problems prior to going on the medication so when it happened again when I went on Zyprexa, I assumed I was the problem. Before going on it, I had lost 30 kg from my last weight gain. Then I started zyprexa and very quickly gained 15, 20 kgs.

Slowly, my weight has been going up and up. I’ve now gained 40kgs (90 pounds) from this medication. You just don’t feel full or satisfied. Ever. I could feel absolutely starving even after eating seconds. My tummy could be full to bursting but I’ll still be craving food. I also think this drug is the cause of my hypersomnia.

I would be awake for 2 hours. 2 hours! And be so tired I had to go back to sleep. I could sleep for 18 hours and still feel tired. Feeling depressed and anxious most days, I stopped doing anything basically. I got no exercise and when I wasn’t asleep, I was eating. So that obviously didn’t help my weight gain.

In the last 12 months I have completely changed my lifestyle. I got a job, I do between 6-10k steps a day and I make healthier choices with food. But the cravings are still there. I have managed to lose 7kgs but it has taken 12 months.

I have been afraid to come off zyprexa as I have heard horror stories but I think I just have to take a leap of faith. I can’t stay on this medication any longer! I am 40kgs overweight and so unhappy.

Liz Australia
November 25, 2016, 10:53 am

Don’t know what happened to my earlier post… Anyway, I’ll start by saying how much I loathe the company for making such terrible drugs which either a. Make you fat or b. Are hard to get off. Basically we turn into legalized druggies and the company is laughing all the way to the bank. It’s just morally wrong.

My story goes like this: I was put on 2.5 mg, then fell pregnant, gained a whopping 25kg, developed gestational diabetes (considering my first pregnancy, when i was unmedicated and no diabetes, I only gained a normal 10 to 12 kg, go figure). And the constant craving for food… what can I say? The “I’m full” switch in your brain ceases to function. The more I learn about it, the more I absolutely despise it and the company. This stuff is cruel.

B
November 23, 2016, 8:16 pm

I’m taking 5mg of this drug and gained 2 and half stone over 7months! I gained 1 stone 4 lb inside 6 weeks alone! The doctor says it’s because of increased appetite, but honestly my diet is similar to before I started the drug, noting to warrant so much weight gain. It’s an awful side effect. I’m hoping I lose the weight once treatment ceases…

ManOfAdventure
November 8, 2016, 2:28 am

Hi all, I have been on Zyprexa for a year and a half on 10 mg for Bipolar disorder. I have gained over 60 lbs, and am very self conscious because the community I live in are all beautiful fit people. I got off the drug 2 weeks ago and have not noticed any changes to my eating habits. I have not lost any weight.

My question is how long does it take for Zyprexa to leave the system for you to experience the possibility of weight loss? A company that I purchase supplements from such as amino acids and others for depression and bipolar said that it takes 90 days because it is stuck in your fat cells. Anyone can provide info on this it would be of great help!

Raven
October 28, 2016, 7:36 pm

I was on this pill for two months and I gained 14 pounds in 3 1/2 weeks and my clothes weren’t fitting and I was depressed because of it. I was using it for sleep and it put me to sleep early I was waking up early like I wanted to and it really works for sleep but I gained almost 15 pounds in a month and I had to take myself off of it cold turkey. I also take some Cymbalta, Rumor has it this pill makes you gain weight as well. We can not win! 🙁

Toby
October 25, 2016, 6:57 am

I was on Zyprexa… I went from about 75kg all the way up to 100kgs. I come off it and didn’t lose any weight because of the Seroquel I take but I want to know if Zyprexa causes permanent metabolism problems. Can anyone answer that for me?

Emero
January 11, 2018, 8:35 am

I too would like to know if its possible to reverse the slowing down of metabolism caused by zyprexa. I’m off zyprexa 6 months and still haven’t lost the extra fat I gained as a result of this drug, despite eating significantly less and exercising significantly more. But I was on 17.5 mg – other people on lower doses may not b affected as severely.

I draw hope from the fact that, 5 months after stopping this drug, my nail biting habit reemerged (I’d bitten my nails for 25 yrs and that stopped automatically after my zyprexa dose was hiked to 17.5mg). I’ve read that nail biting is associated with dopamine activity so for me, the urge to bite my nails again is a hopeful sign that the dopamine activity/ dopamine receptors are gradually being restored/unblocked??

Who knows…nobody can tell me, but maybe its possible that my metabolism can eventually be restored too. I live in hope like so many other victims commenting here. This is a nasty drug that did me no good, personally. In my view the psychiatric profession play around with people’s bodies and minds with ‘treatments’ that they little understand for ‘illnesses’ that they little understand.

I believe that years from now society will look back on zyprexa ‘treatment’ in the same way as we regard lobotomies and other inhumane ‘treatments’ of the ‘mentally ill’.

Mayukh
October 24, 2016, 4:16 pm

I have been on olanzapine for 12 years and have gained 25kgs. Not sure how to get rid of this medicine without getting back the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

julie
October 24, 2016, 8:59 am

I too have gained weight with this medication. I can no longer squeeze into my clothes and have had to buy some bigger sized, but cannot afford a complete new wardrobe. I cannot continue to take this drug. There must be an alternative that works.

Anita Tate
October 1, 2016, 2:11 am

I have been on Zyprexa 5 mg. and Depakote 500 mg. for approximately 15 years. My P. Dr. put me on Depakote first for bipolar. I gained 15 pounds a month until I was 200 lbs. Then, he had to put me on Zyprexa. I continued to gain weight and overeat (binge eating) until I weighed 250 lbs. I am 5’5″ tall. I also now have Type II Diabetes.

The two drugs are good mood stabilizers and antidepressants. They did make me stable, but oh what a price! I have to take insulin now which also has a side effect of weight gain. 1st two months on insulin I gained 30 lbs. I gained 20 more & I weigh 305.

I am thinking about weaning off both drugs. I want my health back!!! I ate salads at night and lost 10 lbs. in one week. So you can lose weight while on them. I am going to have to be more diligent and watch my carbs. They need to come up with a drug that works with no side effects!!!

Federico
September 27, 2016, 10:19 pm

The periods I took 5 to 10 mg/day of Olanzapine (Zyprexa) I gained a lot of weight. I’m not even schizophrenic. I have OCD. Now I take 2,5 mg/day along with 20 mg/day of Fluoxetine. I still have a few pounds to lose, but by swimming 3 hours per week and trying to eat as healthy as possible (I became vegetarian a year ago) I have managed to lose a lot of it.

I will never, ever take a higher dose of this crap again. It’s suicidal. If I ever become bad again, I will ask for something else.

Jamie
September 23, 2016, 10:12 pm

What an absolute joke!! Why do they prescribe this stuff? The doctor increased my dose to 15mg, I gained half a stone in 5 days. Currently been been taking this for 14 years. Impossible to stop taking due sleep problems. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Aleesa
August 3, 2016, 11:54 pm

I started 10mg of Zyprexa with 20 mg of Prozac about 4 weeks ago. I’ve gained 10 pounds and crave sweet foods like crazy before I hardly had any food cravings except for salty. I weighed about 100 pounds and now I’m up to 112, but my stomach is much larger than the rest of me. Other than having a high appetite, my moods are good. I have bipolar and schizoaffective disorder. I don’t know how much more weight I can handle, but my brain feels better.

Brian B.
August 2, 2016, 5:40 am

I was prescribed 2.5 mg/night for insomnia. The sleep is amazing but I immediately started gaining weight. I went from 190 lbs to 210 lbs in less than 6 months. Because of the weight gain I’ve tried to stop taking this cold turkey several times but had bad withdrawal symptoms. I almost can’t fit in my clothes anymore so I will be attempting to taper off this time, hopefully in a few weeks.

ivy
July 9, 2016, 4:54 pm

I went to rehab a month ago for meth addiction. I was 95 lbs then and was given lithium and olanzapine as meds. I was horrified to see that I gained 25 lbs in a month of taking the meds. I stopped taking it despite doctor’s orders after knowing from my other psychiatrist that one of the side effects of those meds was to gain weight.

I am fine without taking these drugs but I’m just afraid that I may be confined back for non-compliance of the drugs. My question is, why am I prescribed of such drugs when I am not bipolar nor psychotic? My mood is perfectly normal and I am not delusional. Please help me understand. Thank you.

julie brady
June 7, 2016, 8:02 pm

Went onto this medication in February along with Wellbutrin and sertraline. I soon developed cravings for sugary carbs similar to the craving sensations I had when pregnant. I am constantly hungry and never feel full. It is difficult to stop eating when the cravings are so strong. I have put on at least 10 lbs and know that this has a negative impact on my mood.

Tara
June 5, 2016, 9:46 am

I have gained over 80 pounds on Zyprexa within 2 years. I started on 15mg per day and now down to 2.5mg. My weight plateaued when I started taking metformin. When my doctor reduced the Zyprexa to 2.5mg and I tried cutting out sugar I lost about 15lbs but it didn’t stay off. I am still on 300mg Lithium as well so I am not sure how much that contributes.

If I got off Zyprexa completely but stayed on Lithium do you think that would help me lose weight? Even though it’s already such a low dose? I went from 135lbs to 220lbs. I hate it, I don’t feel like myself and something needs to change.

Stephanie
July 28, 2016, 11:31 am

Izzy, you would have noticed the weight gain right away if it was going to affect you that way. I gained 50 pounds in the first year alone, starting from day one. It’s true that a minority of people aren’t affected weight-wise by Zyprexa…consider yourself lucky and stay on it so you don’t relapse with your eating disorder.

Liz
May 11, 2016, 2:49 pm

I gained 15 pounds immediately on this medicine – my diet didn’t change at all. I didn’t eat anything more than I usually do. I had to basically starve myself not to gain any more weight, but I couldn’t lose the 15 no matter what I did – I would just look at a side salad with fat free dressing and I would gain 3 pounds.

It was horrible and my doctor blamed me for the weight gain – he said I wasn’t trying hard enough. I’ve been off this medicine for about 4 months and the weight literally fell off – I didn’t even have to try. I’m smaller now than when I went on the medicine. I can eat anything I want and I just keep losing weight.

I had a burger and fries last night as a test (I haven’t had fries, chips, or pasta in over 2 years) and I weighed myself this morning and I actually lost a pound. I’m praying that I never have to go on this medicine again – the other side effect for me, besides weight gain, was that I had no thoughts at all and I couldn’t talk – it was horrible.

Sandy
May 6, 2016, 10:41 pm

Oh man, the hunger on Zyprexa is relentless. Just relentless. All my former tricks to cope with hunger no longer work. I spoke with a family doctor about Metformin and it was a no based on normal blood sugars… which is a positive. Yet the relentless hunger gnaws on. Water, vegetables, fatty meals, like McDonalds (which normally should stop hunger for hours for me) only last 30-60 minutes before the gnawing begins again. Well, off to walk an hour. No other answer…except also just learning to be hungry all the time without eating to solve it.

Jaylen
April 27, 2016, 5:51 pm

I’ve been taking it (in shot form) once a month for a little over a year and I have gained more than 50 lbs… How much more than 50 I’m not sure but it is significant and I do think I’ve had increased appetite since taking it. I’ve been doing crossfit for 6-7 months and no results. I’m going to talk to my doctor as soon as I get the chance.

Lauryn
April 15, 2016, 7:57 am

I started taking Zyprexa about a month ago. I have gained a significant amount of weight already and have been getting really depressed about it. After reading this, I threw my remaining pills away!

Julia
April 10, 2016, 3:08 am

I have put on one hundred pounds over the 4 years I have been on it. Now I know why… I am on 30mg a day. It is the only thing that touched my psychosis.

Carina Jones
March 27, 2016, 4:18 am

I have been on Zyprexa off and on for a couple of years now and have recently been put back onto a 5mg daily dose and didn’t seem to be gaining weight until the past three weeks, I’ve been gaining 1 kilo each week and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. I am going to have to talk to my doctor about this because I eat a strict vegetarian diet and train 6 days a week and still I’m gaining weight… fast!

Rose
March 14, 2016, 11:01 am

I have been on Zyprexa for almost a year, starting on 30 mg and coming down to 5 mg over the past couple of months. I have put around two stone (28 lbs) in weight and, although the dose has been reduced and although I have reduced the amount of food I am eating, there are no signs of the weight coming off.

deirdre
March 7, 2016, 10:42 pm

I have gained about ten pounds in 2 months, and steadily climbing, which is a lot for me. My doctor is tapering down on the Zyprexa now, so I hope this enables me to be able to lose at least some of it.

Harry
March 3, 2016, 12:45 am

I started taking Zyprexa in January 2015 and by June I had gained 100 pounds. One hundred. Fortunately it leveled off and I have since stopped taking it. My weight is (slowly) starting to fall off. Whew!

Laurie
February 26, 2016, 7:20 pm

Oh yes I have gained weight on Zyprexa! Went from a size 8 to a size 16 in about 2 or 3 months. While I really hate the weight gain, this drug saved my life VERY quickly – like within a couple of weeks. I battle suicidal tendencies and attempted suicide on January 8, 2015.

I was put on Zyprexa in the hospital and within a matter of days I could tell a difference in the way I felt. Within two weeks I was discharged from the hospital. I felt SO much better and was definitely ready to go home and get back to life. This is a miracle drug, just with bad side effects.

AVI
January 24, 2016, 8:13 am

I have been on this medication for about a year now. 2 months ago my doctor increased my dosage from 2.5 mg to 5 mg per day. I gained around 4 kg almost immediately although I was not eating much and was doing yoga 4 hours a day (I was on a training course). I have since decreased my dose to the initial 2.5 mg, but despite my efforts, I have failed to lose the weight which is so frustrating. Now I am thinking about discussing this issue with my doctor and discontinue the medication or replace it.

Lynne
September 7, 2015, 9:35 pm

I am meticulous about my dietary and exercise habits. I had been taking 2.5 mg of Zyprexa twice per week and my weight was stable (BMI 23). I had a period of decompensation and the dose was increased to 5 mg daily. I gained 12 pounds in 2 months!! I’ll be calling my doctor tomorrow to see about reducing my dose…

Dawn
July 20, 2015, 11:35 pm

I have been on Zyprexa for 11 years. I put on 90 pounds immediately. I was allergic to or couldn’t tolerate anything else that would help me so I just had to hang in there. By sheer will power and with the help of a lot of cardio, weight training and Weight Watchers, I lost 68 of those pounds. But the battle continued and I grew very weary from the constant work of keeping those pounds off. Long story short, I’m back at 90 pounds overweight. Now I have hope though. We have finally found a combination of meds that, in low doses, do not cause weight gain and that are solving my issues. Now to wean myself off the last little bit of Zyprexa and begin the weight loss all over again.

lisa
July 18, 2015, 12:15 am

This medication is evil. I call it the fat pill. I think I gained 50 pounds. I lost it all when I went off. My stomach felt like it had a hole in it. I was always hungry and craving bad food. I got very hungry at night right after taking the evil pill. It made me binge eat… hated it – I forget what dose I was on, but I was only on it two years. It was a high dose. I am on a different medication that has no weight gain or any other evil side effects.

Shey
March 30, 2016, 5:09 pm

I gained 120 lbs in four months of taking this God awful drug after being forced to do so. The 20mg caused so many more issues, both physical and psychological, than being off them ever did. Thankfully I live in a state with legal marijuana and have now been able to keep my anxieties down, my mood swings are nowhere near where they were on the medication, my OCD is in better control, and my schizophrenic moments aren’t a bother. This pill isn’t just evil, it’s the devil.

Shaun
July 17, 2015, 1:43 am

I reduced the amount of dose from 10 to 5 mg because I gained almost 20 lbs in 2 months. I like to know how long I should take this medication. Please someone answer me. I feel great but I do not want to gain weight. What are the other options?

Michelle
July 7, 2015, 2:42 am

Oh my gosh, I gain about 30 lbs a month every time I have to go on this drug. This June 10 I went on 5 then 10 mg and it’s July 6, I’m 25 lbs heavier. So frustrated cause I had been losing weight slowly but surely before I had to go back on the zyprexa. Now I’m in the plus section again and feel miserable. I’m glad to be stable and not manic but what a high price. We shouldn’t have to put up with this. It’s too much. I gained 100 lbs on zyprexa after years of treatment. I slowly lost. But it’s always right around the corner cause I can’t stay stable and sometimes have to go back on zyprexa.

John
July 21, 2016, 11:21 pm

Zyprexa is very effective at giving a very troubled person some semblance of sanity but the weight gain is unreal. I have gained 20 lbs on 10mg in 3 weeks.

Exuser
July 27, 2018, 4:04 am

I was taking 5 to 10 mg of zyprexa for three months. I was sleeping for 15 hours daily and gained at least 10 kg in three months. I went from 54 to 65 kg. I don’t know if this was from zyprexa or zoloft (which I also was also taking at the same time), but it was probably from zyprexa.

I had to stop to eat this evil drug. In next four to five months I lost around 7 or 8 kg, however, my stomach fat has still remained. 🙁 Many years ago, I was taking risperdal and zoloft both together and I didn’t gain any weight.

Now I don’t know how it was even possible, because I have heard that taking risperdal also leads to weight gain. However, this zyprexa was ineffective for me and my social phobia.

BARBARA
July 15, 2018, 2:10 am

I weighed 103 pounds when I was started on a dosage of 20mg of Zyprexa. My appetite increased and I mainly craved something sweet. I broke my hip and had surgery which caused my metabolism to really slow down. That was in 2017 and then I had knee replacement surgery and there isn’t many exercises that I can do.

My walking has slowed down. I can’t keep up with others. I also had wrist and thumb surgery & I just haven’t felt like exercising. I have cut out most of my sodas & deserts but I have gained 60 lbs. I am 66 years old.

Source

the ground floor

The term “socialism” refers to an economic system in which human goods are removed from the market mechanism and currency exchange and are instead distributed based on need. To socialize an industry means to remove its products (whether medicine, education, housing, etc) from the market model and instead establish some means through which need is assessed and filled without the expectation of reciprocity. Socialism does not change who pays for necessary social services but replaces the very system of exchanging currency for goods entirely. A socialist viewpoint recognizes the impossibility of moral reform from within capitalism.

The term “Marxist” refers to the teachings of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and their intellectual descendants. Marxism is commonly also called “dialectical materialism”; it is dialetical, in that it follows Hegel’s view of history as a series of opposing viewpoints combating (and eventually subsuming) each other, and materialist, in that it rejects the philosophical traditions of idealism, theology, and the supernatural. Marxist thought argues that history is marked by successive phases of economic systems, and that the social classes into which people are sorted in these systems are naturally antagonistic. In particular, Marxist doctrine holds that in a capitalist economy the worker class (the proletariat) generates the value that makes profit possible while the ownership class (the bourgeoisie) captures that value, which is exploitative.  Marxism is atheistic; Trotsky said, “I am a Marxist and thus necessarily an atheist.” Marxism is rationalist; a basic pillar of Marxism lies in the emancipatory potential of reason. Marxism is empirical; Marxism is the science of history. Far from being an anti- Enlightenment philosophy, Marxism is the culmination of Enlightenment thought.

“Communism” is the political program of Marxists, and followers of Marxist philosophy are communists. Where Marxism is the why, communism is the how. Communism is a type of revolutionary socialism which calls for a worldwide workers revolution that destroys capitalism, kills God, and dismantles the state, in their place building a borderless world of semiautonomous collectives (communes) which operate without a permanent governmental class or state apparatus and work based on the principle of giving based on need and working based on ability. Under communism workers themselves take control of the productive apparatus of society, instituting radical workplace democracy as they direct their efforts towards bettering the condition of all people. A true communist state rescues humanity from both the authoritarianism inherent to the nation state and from the exploitation, immiseration, and alienation inevitable in a capitalist system. A communist system makes individual freedom possible because a communist system makes societal freedom possible.

 

What new construction? Where? For whom?

via the Movement To Protect the People

It may be going to far to say there’s a bipartisan consensus, but you certainly see many people from many political backgrounds saying that the solution to America’s housing crisis is more supply. And of course that’s in part because increasing the housing supply is a central part of effectively lowering the cost of housing. In the abstract, “just build more supply” makes sense. But we don’t live in the abstract. We live in the real world, which is full of complications.

Last night I spent my evening at an organizing meeting for opposition to a planned giant new development in Crown Heights. Right off the bat, many would decry this as NIMBYism – if you oppose any particular new construction you’re a NIMBY and part of the problem. Let me lay out why the local community is so opposed to this building.

First, people are still stinging from the Bedford-Union Armory defeat. Against absolutely fierce community opposition, a parcel of public land will be used to develop luxury condos and rentals that very few of the current residents will be able to afford. (There will be “affordable” units, but more on that in a bit.) A variety of counter proposals were put forward by community leaders as alternative plans for the space, and they were ignored. A community already stinging from sudden and rapid gentrification came out and said in no uncertain terms that they rejected this plan and it made no difference. The various layers of civic governance designed to give local people a voice were shown to be useless.

Now: the proposed building will be 38 stories high, without counting the bulkheads or the allowance for more height through the (absurd) Fresh Foods initiative. This in an area dominated by six story midrises. I am not at all opposed to height, although it is really something that the proposed building will be almost twice as tall as the massive Ebbets Fields apartments. However, I am opposed to that kind of height when it’s situated right next to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Prospect Park. Last night we saw expert testimony from academics who specialize in doing shadow and glare analyses. The proposed towers would cast significant portions of the garden and park into hours of darkness daily. Sunlight is kind of important for parks and gardens! As a bonus, in some parts of the year Jackie Robinson playground would be completely shadowed for hours in the early afternoon, precisely when kids are most likely to use a playground.

These are community goods, these green spaces, owned by everyone, and they are at risk of being significantly harmed by new development that will make a few real estate tycoons rich and provide housing for those who already have the resources to live wherever they want. The local community has every right to demand that the project be halted. And you can acknowledge that while still believing that we generally need more supply. “No giant towers directly next to the fucking Botanic Garden” is perfectly consistent with a general desire to build more housing. That’s particularly the case when you consider just how phony the city’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing program is. Inclusionary for whom?

Consider 510 Flatbush Ave, a nearby, recently-approved building with MIH units. You want to guess how much the “affordable” MIH apartments are in that building? Over $2700 a month for a one bedroom. That’s the supposedly-affordable price! The minimum income for rental approval is over $70,000, in a poor neighborhood in a city with a median household income of $55,000! And the maximum income to rent these apartments is over $100,000, meaning that the city government will be paying taxpayer dollars to subsidize rent for people who make twice the median income to live in “affordable housing.” It’s no wonder that the people who are most active in local efforts to oppose this kind of thing are working class people of color.

The MIH program is a fraud. It’s a hoax. It’s a swindle. It gives developers broad latitude to violate local zoning regulations – one of the only means communities have to influence the future of their neighborhoods – in exchange for affordable housing that isn’t. (If you’re someone who doesn’t live in New York but who harbors vaguely positive feelings for Bill De Blasio because he’s a liberal Democrat… you shouldn’t. He’s a disingenuous weenie.) There is zoning rules prohibiting buildings above a certain height next to the BBG, but thanks to the magic of MIH and zoning exceptions the project is pressing forward.

This all strikes me as complicated enough to get out of a false NIMBY/YIMBY binary. There’s a building going up in the Atlantic Yards in Fort Greene that’s as tall as the Chrysler Building and which will cast Fort Greene Park – a jewel of the borough – into hours of darkness a day. If someone from the local community has serious reservations about such a project, should they really be dismissed as a NIMBY?

This is the question I would ask of those who are ready to call others NIMBYs at the drop of a hat, and I would love to see someone actually answer. Suppose you’re a long term resident of Crown Heights. For much of your life your community has been neglected and ignored. Finally some development comes. Only it’s not development for you, but for the affluent white people who want to come in and enjoy the local amenities while disrupting the local community. You or your mom or your friends or your neighbors will be displaced by new construction. The park and gardens you have loved your whole life are threatened by it. The local businesses you have grown up with will be pushed out as rents are driven higher and higher. In their place will be coffee that’s too expensive to drink and clothing that’s too expensive to wear and places where you will never be made to feel comfortable. You will never be able to afford to live in the new construction, and as you struggle to pay your own rent some of the affluent new arrivals will be getting publicly subsidized housing even as they make six figures. Throughout the entire process the democratic institutions meant to protect your interests are subverted. Now: what are you supposed to say, according to the generically pro-development crowd, in response to all this?

“Thank god for new construction”?

a great demo

This past Thursday evening I participated in a demonstration with my tenants union and the housing justice coalition that I spend a lot of time on. We were there to protest Andrew Cuomo and his terrible record on housing – the thousands of lost rent stabilized apartments, the skyrocketing rents, the ever-growing power of developers, the scandalous state of NYCHA, the horrifying increase in homelessness in his tenure. Many of the biggest housing groups in the city came out, along with some upstate organizations eager to show solidarity and express their own frustrations. I have no official count but there’s no doubt there was several thousand people.

We started with a brief event at the steps of the New York City Public Library, where a representative of Cynthia Nixon spoke, along with Linda Sarsour and others. We then marched to a location where Cuomo was receiving an award to show our displeasure. (I can’t confirm this but I was told that the group giving the award was a “workers” group that’s actually anti-union, which is too perfect.) To my delight, we ended up taking the street; people kept spilling out of the sidewalk until we ended up marching down the center of Park Avenue with no official permission to be there. The cops were trying in vain to stop us. They even had this robot voice on a loop telling us we would soon be arrested. Finally, after four blocks or so, they corralled us back onto the sidewalk, but by then we were just about at our destination.

When we got to the venue we completely surrounded the building and chanted in unison. There’s no doubt in my mind that the occupants could hear us. Finally Cuomo emerged, head cast down, hustling as fast as he could to get into a car. It was a sight to see. Of course, no media that I can find seem to have covered the event.

One note I’ll add – I hesitate to say so, as most of them probably don’t want my praise. But I have to say that DSA continues to represent themselves well. There were dozens of them at this event, which isn’t unusual. I go to a lot of demos and organizing meetings in the city, and I almost always see DSA people. I can only speak for New York but DSA appears to be really doing it. Their growth in official membership has been much ballyhooed, but personally I put far more stock in people actually showing up for things, and from my perspective they’re doing an admirable job of that.

How Charter Schools Cook the Books

For a variety of reasons, charter schools have long been the darlings of American news media’s discussions about education reform. For one thing, our media is disproportionately neoliberal and inclined to believe that markets make everything better. For another, our pundit class draws disproportionately from the elite classes, who tend to have attended expensive private schools and who have no particular sympathy – and often outright disdain – for public education. For another, the funding apparatus of our think tanks is heavily bent against public schools and towards charters, as the do-gooding rich types who fund such institutions are often market-focused and antagonistic to unionized public sector employees like public school teachers.

Whatever the reason, the general state of affairs in education reporting is near-total credulity towards charter schools and their advocates, with few in professional media digging in to charter school rhetoric to find the flaws. To understand these failures, it’s important to look at how charter schools achieve good numbers at the cost of fairness and transparency.

Manufacturing Selection Bias

Generating responsible arguments about education is difficult for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the biggest lies in selection bias. Selection bias refers to when inequalities in how samples are gathered – such as “public school students” vs “charter school students” – leads to incorrect assumptions about results. I have argued in the past that selection bias is in fact the single most important phenomenon in educational statistics.

A classic example in selection bias lies in the common assumption that private schools are superior to public. Many parents send their children to private schools without any rigorous investigation about whether those schools are superior to local public schools at all. After all, they might say, look at the star students the private schools graduate. But there is an obvious and immensely important factor missing when we attempt to naively compare outcomes across school types: the incoming student bodies are not remotely the same. Private schools almost universally have more affluent student bodies than traditional public schools, meaning many of the most disadvantaged students are systematically excluded. And many privates also employ entrance exams or grade requirements before enrollment, ensuring that their student bodies will be predisposed to succeed.

Charter advocates tend to speak as if charter schools have demographically and economically similar student bodies to public, and act as though we have true random placement into their schools. Some claim that lottery systems are sufficient to wash out differences in incoming student bodies. Random assignment is extremely important in educational statistics, as it is necessary to ensure that our comparisons are fair.

But we know that charter school student bodies are very often not equal. And we know that many charter schools go to immense lengths to make sure they aren’t. A 2013 Reuters investigation found myriad ways that charters go out of their way to exclude the most difficult to educate:

Students may be asked to submit a 15-page typed research paper, an original short story, or a handwritten essay on the historical figure they would most like to meet. There are interviews. Exams. And pages of questions for parents to answer, including: How do you intend to help this school if we admit your son or daughter?

These aren’t college applications. They’re applications for seats at charter schools.

Charters are public schools, funded by taxpayers and widely promoted as open to all. But Reuters has found that across the United States, charters aggressively screen student applicants, assessing their academic records, parental support, disciplinary history, motivation, special needs and even their citizenship, sometimes in violation of state and federal law.

Note that even requiring parents to opt their children in to lotteries is sufficient to contaminate randomization enough to make drawing responsible inferences impossible. And clearly these schools go far beyond that.

These behaviors are not only important in and of themselves, as indicators of how unscrupulous actors can bend the rules to make charters look better compared to public. They also demonstrate that even among charter officials themselves, there is a strong understanding of just how strong a role student selection plays in outcomes. Otherwise, why would they go to the trouble? For all of their talk about how charter practices are sufficient to help any child succeed, their own behavior demonstrates differently.

In fact, we have a raft of research showing that, when we employ genuinely random distribution, perceived differences in school quality makes no impact on student achievement.

You’d expect charter advocates to be particularly stringent about charters that engage in these practices; if they really believe that charters are better on the merits, they’d want to ensure fair comparisons. But in my experience, reformers are in fact incredibly credulous about even the rosiest numbers that arise from the charter world, almost never engaging in appropriate, productive skepticism.

Refusing to Backfill

An important type of selection bias is survivorship bias. With survivorship bias, we only observe a given characteristic in those examples that make it past some sort of selection procedure. If you ever hear a speech by any successful famous person, they are likely to deliver some sort of bromide about how they kept a positive attitude and never gave up. Which may be true – but there are also plenty of people who kept a positive attitude and never gave up and didn’t succeed, but crucially they never get the opportunity to make speeches about it so we don’t adjust our understanding accordingly. This is survivorship bias.

A common type of charter school chicanery involves the refusal to backfill and in so doing create a type of survivorship bias. “Backfill” refers to schools enrolling more students to fill spaces created through students dropping out, failing out, or being removed for disciplinary problems. Backfill – backfill through random selection, of course – is essential for making fair comparisons. After all, the students most likely to leave are often the ones living the most difficult, most transient lives, and thus those most likely to struggle academically. Refusing to backfill amounts to creaming the best students off the top after the fact.

Who’s guilty of refusing to backfill? Why, Success Academy Charters, the darlings of the charter school set! Aside from the brutal working conditions and army of short-term “tourist teachers” looking for a foothold in New York City, I suspect that this accounts for a large portion of the supposed advantage of Success Academy. If charter advocates are serious about actually wanting real student gains, why have they not led the charge against this kind of practice?

You can also just routinely suspend the most vulnerable students until they drop out or are forced out, which many charter schools already do.

When In Doubt, Cook the Books

Survivorship bias strikes again. The 2013 CREDO study was widely ballyhooed at the time as a vindication of charter schools, showing significant learning gains relative to public. And with the credibility and prestige of Stanford’s CREDO project behind it, the report made serious waves. Unfortunately, few people seemed to dig into the fine print. As a (pseudonymous) writer pointed out at EduShyster, the CREDO report admitted that 8 percent of the charter schools in the initial sample had closed. And which schools are most likely to close? The worst performers! Of course your numbers are going to look good when the worst 8% of the sample simple vanishes into thin air, a vanishing act generally impossible for public schools. Again: why would serious charter school advocates tolerate this kind of thing, if they are genuinely interested in helping children learn?

There are many, many other examples of charter advocates playing fast and loose with numbers in order to attack public schools. For example, when discussing the supposed New Orleans miracle in post-Katrina schooling, charter advocates are prone to trumpet the rise in the number of schools receiving a passing grade from the state since public schools were closed and replaced by charters. They typically neglect to mention that the cut score for passing was lowered in between the rating of the public schools and the rating of the charter schools.

Just Giving Everybody A’s

I like this one the best, because it is the most brazen. At San Diego Metropolitan Career and Technical School, every student is above average. The grades are sterling. The graduation rate is top notch.

The test scores, sadly, are quite bad. Because they seem to be giving out great grades to everybody regardless of performance. Hey, that’s one way to achieve – just lower standards. Reform types love to argue that market forces compel schools to promote student learning, but this is incorrect on its face. Market forces compel charter schools to please parents, which is not at all the same thing. And you can bet if it’s happening at one school, it’s happening at another. There are thousands of charter schools in the country, and yet their advocates constantly talk as though any given school performs identically to the attention-grabbing, high-resource, big-city idiosyncratic schools they love to tout.

If I am hard on the charter school crowd, it’s in part because they’ve spent the last several decades attacking teachers, hundreds of thousands of public servants who make middling wages performing an impossible job. But it’s also because issues like these are simply not discussed by advocates, who tend to adopt a defensive position and refuse to countenance any questioning of charter schools at all. I am currently working on a book about these topics; my day job is in academic assessment; I wrote a dissertation about standardized tests; and I’ve taught students from kindergarten to graduate school in a variety of contexts. I have never found serious attempts to grapple with the profound challenges to charter school numbers that I have laid out here. If charter advocates actually care about improving education, rather than simply winning, you’d think they’d leap at the challenge.

my book is in fact an anti-race science book

Since this has come up – I am not writing a pro-race science book. I am writing a book that, among other things, is anti-race science. It unequivocally rejects the idea that different races have inherent differences in intelligence. Whatever you might think of me or my project, I have denied racist pseudoscience my entire political life, and that has not and will not change. Find a different angle of attack.

I am once again in trouble for things I haven’t said and don’t believe. This attack on me on Twitter is occurring without anyone quoting a single thing that I’ve ever actually said.

Related. I endorse everything in this piece and in this piece, save for the endorsement of charter schools, which links to David Leonhardt. Leonhardt is one of the most consistently biased voices on charters out there. The supposed charter advantage is actually the product of selection effects and survivorship bias. Such opinions, unfortunately, are not permitted in high-profile places like Vox.