Thanks to one of my readers for the recommend!
The above is a vid made by one of the patient/participants in Netflix’s new docu-series “Afflicted,” a 7-part series which follows 7 chronically ill people around documenting their experiences with illness and treatment and which was pitched to the participants as a project that would give a credible voice to seriously chronically ill patients but which ended up doing the opposite. This patient/participant basically disavows his involvement with the project and slams the director and others making creative decisions for lying to the patients about the nature of the show and the motive for making it, where the participants’ mental health (and by extension their physical ailments) were not taken for granted but rather were put up for debate. There are also a couple of criticisms of the series online from the so-called “chronic illness community” framing the series as tasteless entertainment — an offensive medical mystery whodunnit crafted for the able-bodied to judge whether the symptoms and diseases these patients describe are “real” or all “in their heads”. That’s a fair criticism of course and I will leave it for that community to rip it to shreds on the grounds of, essentially, ableism. But let’s go further.
My main problem with this 7-hour series largely lies in the last half hour or so, where we see that nearly all the patients have shown vast improvements in their symptoms and qualities of life through engaging with various alternative treatments for their ailments. For those who are wondering about the point and motivation behind this docuseries, I would suggest that it functions as effective pro-Alternative Treatment propaganda and that therefore, pro-Alternative Treatment propaganda is probably “the point” and the motive behind it. If anyone cares to research this project to see who funded it, that would probably be a worthwhile endeavor as the only ones that come out looking good by the end are the alternative practitioners who have miraculously given most of these allegedly “crazy” patients their lives back, often despite themselves, although we never find out exactly how or why the treatments so consistently worked except via copious references to the “mind-body connection” and even the placebo effect.