I want to welcome Barbara Barnett to Books R Us. Barbara is the author of the nonfiction television book, Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. (ECW Press). Thanks for stopping by.
Medical students are taught that when they hear hoof beats, they should think horses, not zebras, but Dr. House's unique talent of diagnosing unusual illnesses has made House, M.D. one of the most popular series on television. His value as a diagnostician at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital exceeds the liability he presents: House saves lives that no one else can!
There is an old legend about six blind men and an elephant. Each of these men are asked to describe the elephant. The man at the tail describes it as snake-like; the man at the tusk describes the giant mammal as bony, and so on. Doctors tend to look at medical cases through the narrow vision of their medical specialty. House uses his broad scientific and medical knowledge (as well as that of his staff of specialists in their own right) and enhances it with an equally impressive knowledge of everything from history, sociology, psychology and literature (in several languages). Filtered through his encyclopedic knowledge base and his ability to synthesize ideas and facts into diagnoses, House is like Sherlock Holmes, taking all of the disparate bits of data and making a whole.
Over the course of the series six-plus years, House has diagnosed rare presentations of common illnesses, including measles and heavy metals poisoning along with very rare diseases like pregnancy-related TPP. In the first couple years of the series, the disease lupus came up in almost every differential diagnosis session. Lupus is a rare disease, and because it mimics so many other diseases, the team would be foolish to rule it out without considering it. But finally in season four (“You Don’t Want to Know”), House’s patient had lupus!
Barbara Barnett is Co-Executive Editor of Blogcritics, an Internet magazine of pop culture, politics and more owned by Technorati Media. Always a pop-culture geek, Barbara was raised on a steady diet of TV (and TV dinners), but she always found her way to TV’s antiheroes and misunderstood champions, whether on TV, in the movies or in literature.
Barnett’s regular column, “Welcome to the End of the Thought Process: An Introspective Look at House, M.D.” features insightful episode commentaries and interviews with the House cast and creative team. It is the place for intelligent discussion of the hit television series starring Hugh Laurie.
Barbara has had an eclectic career. With an undergraduate degree in biology and minors in chemistry and English, she pursued a PhD in Public Policy Analysis after spending a few years working in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Her first professional writing gig was with a food industry trade magazine, and although it wasn’t exactly like writing for The New Yorker, it completely hooked her on the profession of writing.
She also writes lots of other things, including technology (from a non-geek perspective), the movies, politics and all things Jewish. Based in the north shore suburbs of Chicago, Barnett is married with two brilliant children and a dog. Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. is her first (commercial) book. She hopes it’s not her last.
Visit Barbara’s website at www.barbarabarnett.com.
Check out my review of this fascinating and informative book tomorrow.