Profit Addiction

 By Shamus Aug 11, 2006 10 comments

As a follow up to my previous post about absurd uses of the word “addiction”, I present the latest in a very long parade of frauds and goofs: Computer Addiction Specialist Maressa Hecht Orzack, Ph.D. I would suggest that in this metaphorical parade, she is driving the biggest float.

Is there an alternate usage of the word addiction that means, “Something people do which annoys me and I wish they would do less”? Because that’s how the seems to be employed now. A computer is a tool, one of the most versatile ever conceived. To suggest that its ubiquity is due to some sort of weakness or disorder and not because of the utility of the thing is madness. Did nineteenth century people worry about “horse addiction”? Did people in the last century talk about “car addiction”? This wouldn’t be so silly if this woman were just some researcher who’d drifted off the path of science, but this person is selling a cure, which makes the whole thing particularly risible.

Note also on this page that this woman has three entries in her BIBLIOGRAPHY, and one two of them is a letter she wrote to the editor.

Hat Tip: The Rampant One.

10Just 10 comments.


  1. Lynn S says:

    I think someone needs to come up with a cure for telephone addiction. Just say no to using the phone. Email instead. ;-)

  2. Lynn S says:

    Oops. I just now clicked on the link and read your other “addiction” post in which you talked about phones. Makes my attempt to be a smart alec look a little silly. :-)

  3. Shamus says:

    Heh. I thought you were making a tie-in joke ’til you fessed up. Ah well… just claim you have “comment addiction”.

  4. Denny says:

    With so many new “addictions” being reported online recently, my conclusion is that the label “addiction” is becoming so widely used and abused in our society that it is losing its meaning. Not only this, but with the increasing frequency of “blog addiction” and “Internet addiction” horror stories I have been reading about, one begins to wonder what “addiction of the week” will be glorified next.

    My 2 cents :-)

    DenMan7
    http://www.alcoholics-anonymous-info.com

  5. AndrewNZachsDad says:

    One could almost claim that we are addicted to using (misusing?) the word “addic”…no, too easy. Sorry.

  6. Oleyo says:

    Shamus,

    Computer addiction is no joke. Just because it is a tool does not mean it wont get its icy grip on you. My dad was addicted to his hammer for nearly 20 years. During that time as a carpenter he ALWAYS had to have it with him. He could not leave the house without it. He even used it on the WEEKEND sometimes. Even when he claimed to be using another tool like a skill saw or a level, he had it hanging at his belt, at the ready in case he got a craving. Very sad.

  7. Brickman says:

    You know, it’s fun to laugh and make fun of people who say silly stuff, but are you sure there REALLY isn’t any such thing? Sure, you don’t have an addiction. I don’t have an addiction. Most of your readers don’t have an addiction. But I’m sure somewhere out there there are a handful of people who are legitimately addicted to the internet; I’d guess most of those are people who, as in the old sitcom plot of the guy addicted to solitaire but with less silly trappings, are only really addicted for a week or two after they discovered it or something important on it like chat or forums or blogs, and fade themselves out. But there’s probably a few who really, really could use help. Just not enough to run a career, rather less a business, off of exclusively helping them.

    Just because 99.5% are normal doesn’t mean the other .5% don’t exist.

  8. Corsair says:

    It isn’t much of an addiction if only .05% of the people who use it become addicted.

  9. Fuloydo says:

    I think I could safely say that I had an internet addiction back in the early nineties. Right before the web became the defacto definition of ‘The Internet’.

    I was in college at the time and they were my supplier. I spent so much time on MUSH’s and MUD’s that I very nearly flunked out of school. (I once spent 48 hours logged into a MUSH. I had to logoff and back on twice, when the university mainframe reset itself each night and killed my connection.)

    I got over it, but I can see how it could be a problem for some people. Well, I say I got over it. I’m currently in the process of trying to build a linux box to host a MUSH so I can relive my childhood. :D

    That said, I agree with the whole overuse of the word ‘addicted’ thing.

  10. KelThuzad says:

    Quoted from the interview:
    “Well, 11 years ago, when I first started looking into this issue, everyone thought I was nuts.”
    You’re not? Could have fooled me. And the rest of the intelligent population of the world. And don’t forget the non-intelligent population of the world, because (hopefully) no one is that blind.

    Now that that’s out of my system… everything is an “addiction” these days, just as you said in earlier posts.

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