Free-Floating Hostility

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Neophrasism for Sale

Today I came up with a phrase that my instructor and fellow classmates thought rather clever. Since I probably can't use it in my paper on Gulf War Syndrome, I'm going to post it here.

The phrase I coined was, "Reverse Ick Factor." Our instructor had raised the question of why infectious diseases are often prioritized over chronic ones, and we were all brainstorming. I made the suggestion that chronic diseases often have more political fallout (Sexually Transmitted Infections are a big exception, obviously). That's where the Reverse Ick Factor comes into play. Most people, I elaborated, are grossed out by diseases that force them to confront, say, excessive mucus. Allied health professionals, on the other hand, are grossed out by diseases that force them to confront issues beyond their control like racism, health disparities, poverty or the social and behavioral factors that contribute to chronic diseases. Ours is probably the only field in which someone who studies giardia might be rightfull accused of going after the sexy problem.

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