别再拿“性瘾”当借口

编辑:给力英语新闻 更新:2017年10月26日 作者:纽约时报弗兰克·布鲁尼(By FRANK BRUNI)

哈维·韦恩斯坦,摄于5月。
哈维·韦恩斯坦,摄于5月。

哈维·韦恩斯坦(Harvey Weinstein)被他的电影业同行流放了,在亚利桑那州的蝎子和仙人掌之间寻求庇护,沉浸在所谓的康复疗程中。他的确需要帮助。而我们则需要以更好的方式去讨论为什么要这样。

自从几十起关于他强奸、性虐待或性骚扰的指控被公开后,“性瘾者”这个词被经常拿出来讨论,他自己的一些零星言论也在往这方面推动。在一份自怜的声明中,他发誓要开始一段“征服心中恶魔”的旅程。

随后,他给经纪人和电影公司高管们发了一封自利的电子邮件,请求他们在他呵护自己受伤的心灵时理解他。他三次使用了同一个词——“治疗”——从而把自己塑造成一个受疾病折磨的病人。不过,也许他只是一个无情的暴君和变态,用医疗术语把自己装扮起来,以便脱身。

我们以前就见过这种人——例如,安东尼·韦纳(Anthony Weiner)——如果比尔·奥莱利(Bill O’Reilly)承认自己有过不当行为,他一定会归因于精神压力或疾病,在某个地方检查一下身体,声称他对自己没有完全的控制力,从而暗示他不必承担全部责任。都是那些讨厌的恶魔干的。

我不是要把这些人画上等号。我是在指出某类野蛮人为自己辩护和找借口的一种模式;我是在质疑我们中的很多人会不假思索地采用这些词。似乎是渴望找出病理,进行诊断,给纯粹的粗鲁披上科学的外衣。这是对受害者的侮辱,是对真正的精神病学的侮辱,同时也是在侮辱选择与价值的角色。

在性骚扰的问题上,我们经常转移焦点,无意中把责任从单个的罪犯身上移走,推给那些没有提供适当的敏感培训的公司,那些执行保密协议的律师,以及那些选择性失明的纵容者。所有这些因素都有关系,但是如果最初没有那些坏苹果的话,这些因素都无关紧要——什么也不能减轻腐烂的水果的臭味。

性瘾从未被美国精神病学界正式认可。“我仍然不相信它本身构成一种病态,”哥伦比亚大学精神病学教授保罗·阿佩尔鲍姆(Paul Appelbaum)告诉我。他告诫说:“很容易想见,在某些方面有不良表现的人控制不住自己,可能只是因为他们不想控制自己。”

此外,性不是整件事的全部,而且很可能不是最主要的因素。韦纳从被人观看之中获得刺激,他用他的智能手机拍摄自己的裆部,这和后来发生的一切是吻合的,包括他在众议院的疯狂独白,以及他在MSNBC台节目上的明星级演出。

令韦恩斯坦兴奋的则是玩弄并折磨他人的能力,在酒店房间的那些恐怖场面里,羞辱的成分同欲望一样多。他的问题是“关于权力和地位的,”《大西洋月刊》(Atlantic’s)的詹姆斯·汉布林(James Hamblin)写道。“听这样一个人自称缺乏行为能力,感觉非常刺耳”。这也是特别方便的一种说法。

我们把精神病学奉为圭臬的做法有多么糟糕,这一点在关于唐纳德·特朗普的讨论中生动地展示了出来。惊恐的批评者把他对自己的执着迷恋归因于自恋型人格障碍,把他随口编造的话归因于病理性说谎。虽然他们意在谴责他,但他们使用的语言却适得其反:和一个平庸的傻瓜相比,一个疯子没什么可羞愧的,也不需要道歉。

他们的语言也扭曲了疾病与行为之间的关系。“一个基本的假设是,假如你被诊断患有精神疾病,那么就不适合担任公职,”宾夕法尼亚大学(University of Pennsylvania)医学院精神病学系主任玛丽亚·奥肯多(Maria Oquendo)告诉我。但是,她补充说,有些患有自恋型人格障碍和其他一系列临床疾病的人“能够出色地履行职责”。毅力与道德,以及对疾病的控制和管理,都会起作用。

神经科学家马克·刘易斯(Marc Lewis)于2015年出版了《欲望生物学——为什么上瘾不是一种疾病》(The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease)一书,他认为,一个人对性爱或购物之类事情上瘾是完全没有问题的。但他认为,如果把这种成瘾作为一种实际的、可以剥夺行为能力的疾病,那就有问题了。

“如果这样,‘成瘾’就成了可供一个人躲藏的小堡垒,”刘易斯告诉我。“一旦你进入这个领域,我们赖以共同生存的所有机制都会被抛出窗外。”自由意志消失了。责任感不复存在。内疚感得到缓解。没有坏人,只有不好的条件。

但是,要想正确评估韦恩斯坦在穿衣服和不穿衣服时的行为,就要把这套东西当成胡言乱语。确实有很多坏人。在接受康复治疗之前,他是其中最坏的家伙之一,我也不指望他康复之后能变得有多好。

翻译:王相宜、董楠

The Sham of Harvey Weinstein’s Rehab

Exiled by his movie-industry colleagues, Harvey Weinstein has taken refuge among the scorpions and cactuses of Arizona, where he’s immersed in what has been described as rehab. He certainly needs help. What we need is a better way of talking about why.

The phrase “sex addict” has been tossed around, encouraged by his own sparse words since dozens of accusations of rape, sexual abuse or sexual harassment were made public. In a self-pitying statement, he vowed to embark on a journey to “conquer my demons.”

That was followed by a self-serving email to agents and studio executives, whom he asked for understanding as he tended to his wounded psyche. Three times he used the same three syllables — “therapy” — and thus cast himself as a patient at the mercy of an affliction. Perhaps. Or maybe he’s just a merciless tyrant and creep, and to dress him in clinical language is to let him off the hook.

We’ve been down this road before — with Anthony Weiner, for example — and if Bill O’Reilly ever cops to wrongdoing, he’ll surely cite mental distress or disease and check himself in somewhere, claiming that he didn’t have total control and thus implying that he doesn’t bear full responsibility. Those pesky demons did it.

I’m not equating these men. I’m noting a pattern in how a certain breed of brute explains and partly excuses himself, and I’m questioning the quickness with which so many of the rest of us adopt that vocabulary. There’s an itch to identify some pathology, render a diagnosis, layer science onto sheer boorishness. And it’s an insult — to victims, to legitimate psychiatry and to the roles that choice and values play.

On the subject of sexual harassment, we routinely move the focus and unintentionally shift the blame away from the individual culprits, calling out corporations that haven’t provided the right sensitivity training, lawyers who impose nondisclosure agreements, enablers with situational blindness. All of these dynamics matter, but none would be relevant if we didn’t have bad apples in the first place, and none lessen the stink of that rotten fruit.

Sex addiction has never even been officially recognized by the American psychiatric community. “I remain unconvinced that it’s a pathology in its own right,” Paul Appelbaum, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, told me. He cautioned that “it is so easy to assume that people who behave badly in one way or another can’t help themselves when it may only be the case that they don’t want to help themselves.”

Besides, sex isn’t the whole story, and it’s probably not the main one. Weiner thrilled to being watched, and what he did with his smartphone and crotch fell on a continuum that included his fevered monologues on the House floor and his star turns on MSNBC.

Weinstein thrived on his ability to toy with and torture people, and his hotel-room horror shows had as much to do with humiliation as with lust. His were “problems of power and status,” wrote The Atlantic’s James Hamblin, a physician. “So it feels especially jarring to hear that same person professing a lack of agency.” Especially convenient, too.

Our turn toward psychiatry as a Rosetta Stone for wretchedness is on vivid display in discussions about Donald Trump. Aghast critics chalk up his self-obsession to narcissistic personality disorder and his fictions to pathological lying. But while they mean to condemn him, their language does the opposite: A head case has significantly less to be ashamed of and to apologize for than a garden-variety jerk does.

Their language also distorts the relationship between malady and conduct. “The underlying assumption is that if you have a psychiatric diagnosis, you’re unfit to serve,” Maria Oquendo, the chairwoman of the psychiatry department at the University of Pennsylvania’s medical school, told me. But, she added, there are people with narcissistic personality disorder and an array of other clinical designations who “are functioning brilliantly.” Mettle and morals, along with the management of these conditions, come into play.

Marc Lewis, a neuroscientist who wrote the 2015 book “The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction Is Not a Disease,” has no problem with the idea that someone can be addicted to sex, shopping or the like. He does have a problem with regarding that addiction as an actual, agency-depriving illness.

“Then it becomes a little fortress that people can hide behind,” Lewis told me. “As soon as you go into that territory, all of our mechanisms for living together go out the window.” Free will is removed. Responsibility is expunged. Guilt is assuaged. There are no bad characters, just bad conditions.

But to appraise Weinstein’s behavior in full dress as well as in the buff is to recognize that as bunk. There are indeed bad characters. He was among the worst of them before rehab, and I wouldn’t hope for much better after.