Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for the ‘Media Consumption’ Category

Introducing My Twitter Button!

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on March 21, 2014

Extending my range. You will notice at the end of my posts, you may now post to twitter. I know that not all of you are tweeters, but for those of you who are, check it out. I am debating how active I want to be on twitter, so this is my first step into that microblogging world. As with all change, I have both excitement and fear. So far, civilized discourse has dominated my experience of blogging, much to my relief. I can express my ideas, however clumsily, and a discussion can ensue. Now, I am reaching further. I have a Facebook button too! Let’s see what happens.

Posted in Media Consumption | 3 Comments »

Holiday Songs

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on February 17, 2014

Some gifts make me laugh. Thanks.

Posted in Media Consumption | 1 Comment »


Posted by Dr. Vollmer on February 5, 2014

Posted in Media Consumption | 2 Comments »

Analyzing Bad

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on January 31, 2014,0,3467725.htmlstory#axzz2s1Q0nxNK

This series, ‘Breaking Bad,’ has brought television to a psychological depth, never seen before, as far as I can tell. Walter White, played by Bryan Cranston, depicted in the photo above with a gun pointing at the audience, demonstrates a middle-aged man looking for meaning and power. We, as an audience, relate to his struggles, while at the same time, we despise him for making meth, a toxic substance, ruining the lives of so many addicts. As today’s LA Times article describes, although Walter White is a chemistry teacher turned meth cook, the show is about his search for meaning, in a world which feels to him, to be so empty and so unfair. He turns passive into active by taking charge of his “partner” and former student, Jesse, played by Aaron Paul. Together, they form a relationship that is complicated, twisted, manipulative,  and loving. There is no relaxing while watching this series, as each moment is tense with surprises and disappointments, like a life lived with such passion, that there is no room, or desire, to coast. I, for one, could feel my blood pressure rise and fall during each episode, as I cared for these characters, needing to remind myself that they are not part of my caring world, only my imaginary world of wanting to understand motivation and wanting, but failing, to have some sense of predictability of their behavior. The one thing I could count on is that I would feel each character’s need to make a difference; each person’s strong desire to be seen, to be heard, and to matter. How each of the main characters translated this desire into behavior was where the writers took my breath away. The lines between good and evil faded, not just within each person, but in a constant shifting sands where the confusion of sympathies created a blood-boiling tension. I confess that I binged on this series as I was intensely curious to know the next chapter, like a life that is constantly on the edge of change. This is the curiosity that drives my work, but that is so rarely driven by media. ‘Breaking Bad’ broke me into a rapt consumer. I am not alone, and yet, I feel the show touched me as an individual. I am still thinking of the characters, wondering how they are doing, needing to remind myself, they are not real. That is a good show.

Posted in Media Consumption, Media Coverage | 2 Comments »

Media Consumption

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on August 15, 2013


Vivian, forty-two, stresses over what media to consume. She used to avoid television, as she was bored by most of it, but recently, she finds herself drawn to series such as ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Homeland’ and ‘Newsroom’. She also loves her podcasts which she feels give her great pleasure. On the other hand, she misses reading books, an activity that seems to have fallen away.  She says “I am just disgusted with myself that I cannot read a book,” Vivian says with such intensity that if I only listen to the tone, I would think that she did some heinous act. “I wonder why you are so mad at yourself all of the time,” I say, thinking that her preoccupation with media consumption is yet another way for her to do serious emotional self-injury. ” I just do not remember a time before where there were so many things to stay on top of,” she says, now with a sound of fear, that someone she is falling behind. “Are you frightened that you are losing touch with the younger generation, since their cultural references are so different than yours?” I ask, thinking that a part of this beratement is a result of her  realization that she is entering a new phase of life. “Yes, that is so right on,” she says with great enthusiasm. “I am just so shaken by how fast technology is changing and how hard it is to keep up,”  she says with dismay. “You sound like there will be some test at the end of the week,” I respond, pointing out that Vivian treats life like an academic challenge, where she is constantly competing to be the best, but that competition comes from a deeply insecure core.  “It must be really hard to accept all that you don’t know and  all that you can’t consume, ” hoping that she will begin to see that accepting limitations is part of an ongoing maturation. “Yes, that is hard for me, but on the other hand, wanting to stay current motivates me to explore new media,” Vivian says, reminding me that her competitive side has some benefits and it is not all about insecurity. “Yes, it would be great if you could bottle the part that propels you forward and discard the part that makes you hate yourself.” I say, trying to parse out the components of her personality.  “Maybe I will try to read a book,” Vivian says as she leaves,  as if she is winking at me to suggest that she is still on her own case.

Posted in Media Consumption, Psychotherapy | 4 Comments »

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