OVER THE YEARS I have been blessed with a number of loyal fanboys and fangirls who seem to love my films. It really started with my documentary about homeless war veterans called THE PROMISED LAND, when I received hundreds of personal notes scribbled on napkins and torn notebook paper. In the wake of WE BECOME SILENT in 2005, I received over 4,000 emails and letters from around the world. Most were complimentary, but a few took issue with the case I laid out against free trade, the WTO and Codex Alimentarius.
Lately, my email inbox has been buzzing with letters about my forthcoming film GENERATION RX. If the emails are to be believed, I am being both praised and attacked for the film as a result of the trailer that is online at YouTube. I suppose that's a good sign.
Some critics write to say, “Who are YOU to question medical doctors?” Others who lost loved ones to Ritalin, Zoloft, Prozac, and other drugs communicate deeply personal feelings about their loss. This comes with the turf, especially when one produces a film as controversial as GENERATION RX. It happens in part because it challenges much of the conventionally accepted wisdom about the use of psychiatric medicines among children and teens.
SO I GUESS IT WAS INEVITABLE that eventually I would be accused of being a Scientologist, which I am not, nor have I ever been. Since Scientology has become both revered and reviled for their work opposing psychiatry, some folks just cannot understand how anyone — filmmaker, journalist or medical practitioner — could speak out about the drugging of children without being part of the Scientology movement. What balderdash!
If you need to take a shot at someone, I guess I’m your man. As with all of my films, I signed a contract giving me complete editorial and creative control over GENERATION RX. Thus I am "soley responsible for its content." But if you had traveled the world like I did — and interviewed families who lost loved ones to these drugs — your cynicism would vanish in an instant.
I was raised as a Catholic, a faith that does not escape the barbs of those who use its’ well-documented history of repression to point out what they believe to be the hypocrisy of the religion itself. Since I am an intensely spiritual person, I have always used the mantra of the Mass as a tool to “get quiet,” and indeed to meditate. If I had been raised a Lutheran or a Baptist or a Buddhist I’m fairly certain that I would do the same, because prayer is what provided me a window into my spiritual consciousness and helped me develop my own worldview.
I do not judge others who do not share my religion, nor do I try to impose my views upon them. It is one of the things I despise during this political season: the idea that one group thinks they are “more holy” than another, simply because of their overt religiousity. It is this nonsense that undercuts the entire political process, not to mention adding to great divide that exists in America.
As I have stated repeatedly throughout this blog, I take the responsibility of producing documentary films very seriously. My training as a young journalist mandated that I become an excellent researcher, and since my films are often outside of the norm of mainstream journalism, facts are the prime currency I wield.
Many of you: doctors, parents, critics, may not like GENERATION RX — and that is fine with me. But if my film helps spur the much-needed debate about the overuse of psyciatric medicines among children and teens, I will gladly take the heat from those who believe these medicines are “a godsend.” If you actually see the entire film when it is released, you will know that for all of the damning evidence I present in the film, NONE of it is designed to take away your choice to use these medicines. I call that “medical freedom of choice,” and it is a tenet at the core of my beliefs.
So, let the insults fly, if you must. . .but become part of the debate. My only request is that critics realize this has nothing to do with religion. Rather, this film is about a pattern of deception by the federal government and drug companies regarding the “science” behind these powerful drugs.
If we start the debate there, perhaps we can actually attain what my Latin teacher once called, “Pax Mentis,” or “peace of mind” — and accomplish something really important for this generation and the next.