Sex, (Internet) spies and sketching

Covo: Sketchy outing
Covo: Sketchy outing

By Laurie Devine

Sketches of a little town

“Drawing is a way of having great immediacy to a place. You live in it,’’ Professor David Covo told the St. John Telegraph-Journal. In August, Covo, along with Professor Ricardo Castro, led 80 students to New Brunswick on an eight-day field trip for sketching school, a tradition in the McGill architecture department since 1921. Why not just take a picture? “What you don’t have in a photo is the process of interpretation… the goal is not to get a perfect drawing. It is to get a feeling.” Student Christine Hébert, values the classes as an integral component of McGill’s architecture curriculum that has fostered her appreciation for sketching. ”Since then, I see the pencil differently.” Both students and the communities visited by the class are benefitting from the experience, as the sketches are highly sought-after as artwork by local passersby.

Me, the movie

For anyone who struggles to keep up with email, it’s not too hard to think that the Internet is controlling your life. If you think, however, that the Internet is monitoring you, transmitting photographs or other personal information, you could be diagnosed as having an ‘Internet psychosis.’ (And I thought the phenomenon  was called Facebook). The New York Times reports on a new set of psychoses, one of which is called  ‘Truman Show delusion,’ or ‘Truman syndrome’—a term, coined by psychiatrists Dr. Ian Gold of McGill and his brother Joel, of Bellevue Hospital in New York. The name is taken from the movie,The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey, whose character believes that his entire life is being recorded by cameras, and everyone’s in on it but him. A growing number of psychotic patients these days claim to be living and starring in their own reality shows. The new debate in psychiatry circles is whether these delusions are caused by the culture of the new media itself, or whether they would have existed anyway but in another form. The Gold brothers are now writing a book on the Truman Delusion and Joel said that three of the five patients he saw with the condition specifically mentioned the film. He said what distinguishes this delusion from most others is that it involves the patient’s entire world, and everything real is unreal.

Cue X-Files music here

When X-Files actor David Duchovny checked himself into a rehab centre for sex addiction, reporters scrambled to find an expert to explain exactly what the constant craving was all about. Dennis Kalogeropoulos of the McGill University Health Centre explained to Canadian Press: “Somebody who spends a lot of time and energy engaging in sexual activity either alone or with others – and whose life is negatively impacted by that behaviour – would be considered to have a sexual addiction. Treatment involves tracing the root of the problem, then setting limits to the behaviour by making gradual changes in the patient’s lifestyle,” he said. “You can’t just stop this cold turkey – it’s really hard.” Some psychiatrist detractors deny that there is such a thing as sex addiction, or say there’s no working definition. Rather, they claim, the behaviour reflects poor impulse control layered onto desperately unhappy relationships.