THE GERMAN DOCTOR: Kate Raphael talks with filmmaker and novelist Lucia Puenzo, whose film THE GERMAN DOCTOR (WAKOLDA), adapted from her novel, opens next week.
An article in the New York Times over the weekend talked about something called "slow cognitive tempo," a new form of Attention Deficit Disorder which scientists are studying and doctors are busy diagnosing and medicating in kids.This is really nothing new but the stage is different, jobs are much fewer and it is harder and harder to make one's way in the world.And of course drug companies are always manufacturing new products and finding new uses for old ones to treat these supposed diseases and paying doctors to prescribe them and give out samples, and parents are not encouraged or educated to challenge the wisdom of doctors, and so on and so on.
This overdrugging of kids in order to make them fit into an ever narrowing box of acceptable behavior and capabilities is a form of social engineering that makes it possible for us to do less of the more overt types, but is no less harmful and it raises some tough questions of who is culpable and for what. It's easy to say that the people who design experiments on developmentally disabled people are evil. But I think most parents who give their kids Ritalin so they can do better in school and stop getting in trouble are really trying to do right by their kids. And most of the doctors who prescribe these drugs, and the scientists who research these supposed disorders, are also trying to help.
These are some of the questions at the heart of the new film by Argentine director Lucia Puenzo. The film is called in English THE GERMAN DOCTOR, and it opens on April 25 at the Embarcadero and the Albany Twin. It deals with the time that Josef Mengele spent in Argentina after the war. Lucia Puenzo is the author of five novels and the director of two previous films, Her debutfilm, XXY, won numerous awards including the Critics' Week grand prize at the 2007 Cannes film festival. The German Doctor is based on her novel, WAKOLDA, which is also the name of the film in Spanish.
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Also on today's show:
Tara Dorabji talks with Shailja Patel, whose one-woman show Migritude, is now a book published by Kaya Press, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this week with a reading at City Lights.
Filmmaker and activist Tracey Quezada talks about what's wrong with the criminal justice approach to child sexual assault and what we can do to address this public health problem as a community.