Student Work: Thomas Szasz and Joe South

Thomas Szasz by Volha Holik

Thomas Szasz
Image from the New York Times
Click for source

Thomas Stephen Szasz, M.D. was announced dead on September 8, 2012. His daughter declared that he died as a result of the injuries sustained during a traumatic accident. Dr. Szasz was a prominent psychiatrist whose work drew a lot of attention from the medical circles. He is survived by his daughters, Margot Szasz Peters, M.D. and Suzy Szasz Palmer, a grandson Andrew Thomas Peters, and his brother eiorge Szasz, Ph.D.
Dr. Szasz was born to Jewish parents Gyula and Lily Szasz on April 15, 1920, inBudapest, Hungary. In 1938, Szasz moved to the United States, where he attended the University of Cincinnati for his Bachelor of Arts in medicine, and received his medical degree from the same university in 1944. He had a medical internship at Boston City Hospital and a psychiatry residency at the University of Chicago. He followed a career in psychoanalysis as a Professor of Psychiatry at Upstate Medical Center where he retired in 1990 but continued publishing until his death.
Dr. Szasz main argument was that all the people should have the right to bodily and mental independence and the right to be free from violence from others. He dedicated his life to the battle against the use of mental hospitals to incarcerate people defined as insane. His first book “The Myth of Mental Illness” was strongly criticized by the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the National Institute of Mental Health. According to American psychiatrist Allen Frances, Szasz “goes too far and draws bright lines where there are shades of gray”.
However, Dr. Szasz drew a strong following who agreed with his belief that mental illnesses are often better described as “problems in living,” and he opposed involuntary psychiatric interventions. One of his most well-known quotes “If you talk to God, you are praying. If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia” found strong response from the public.
Dr. Szasz’s legacy is enormous and his contribution not only to the psychiatric world but to our modern society in general cannot be overestimated. He published 35 books, translated into numerous languages, and hundreds of articles in the subsequent 50 years. Dr. Szasz was the recipient of several honorary degrees and many awards, including the Humanist of the Year, the Jefferson Award from the American Institute of Public Service, the Mencken award from the Free Press Association.
Works Cited:
  1. Dr. Thomas Szasz, Psychiatrist Who Led Movement Against His Field, Dies at 92, New York Times, September 11, 2012
  2. Phillips, James et al. (January 13,2012). “The Six Most Essential Questions in Psychiatric Diagnosis: A Pluralogue. Part 1: Conceptual and Definitional Issues in Psychiatric Diagnosis.”


Joe South by Dolores Mayorga


Dolores Mayorga



Joe South
Image from The New York Times
Click for source

Joseph Alfred Souter, better known by his stage name as Joe South, was born on February

28, 1940 in Georgia and died last week on September 5, 2012 in Georgia at the age of 72.

He was an American country singer, guitarist and songwriter. South’s 1958 first hit was called, “The Purple People Eater Meets the Witch Doctor”. The following years, Joe focused more on his recording career in Atlanta and on his guitar collaborations, most notably with Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, and more. The 60’s brought a change to South’s music, which was seen as more serious and different than before. In 1969, South found success with his second hit, “Games People Play”, which went on to win a Grammy award for Best Contemporary Song and a second award for Song of the Year.

He had a string of collaborative hits with other artists covering his songs including Elvis, Billy

Joel Royal, the Osmond’s, Johnny Cash and many more. Despite all these hits, covers and compositions, the most famous of them all that catapulted him into stardom, was with Lynn

Anderson for the song titled, “Rose Garden”, which he wrote for Anderson in 1971. “Rose

Garden”, went on to become a hit in 16 countries all over the world. It won a Grammy nomination for Best Song of the Year, one for Best Country Song. Lynn won a Grammy

Award for her stellar vocals. South continued his collaboration with Anderson, writing more hits for her. With all this success, a tragedy struck South with the suicide of his brother,

Tommy, in the same year. This broke South down and he became clinically depressed.

Almost a decade later, South was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Georgia Hall of Fame.

His final recording came in 2009, titled, “Oprah Cried” and added as a bonus track to his previous album. Three years later, Joe South died of heart attack brought on by heart failure in his home in Buford, Georgia. He is survived by his son Craig and his granddaughter. He was also a widow. The details of his estate are unknown at this time.


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