Mindful of the truth

Roy Porter's perceptive piece about mental illness (The Back Half, 25 February) mentions Joe Penhall's play Blue/ Orange as an example of "the cynicism about psychiatry so prevalent in culture today". Actually, the play not only puts on stage a sympathetic black, "borderline schizophrenic" character, but also presents both the psychiatrist characters as sincere individuals trying to do their best in a difficult and underfunded situation. If they are also manipulative and compromised, does that not just make them more human? Porter calls this cynical: I call it artistic truth.

Aleks Sierz
London SW2

This article first appeared in the 04 March 2002 issue of the New Statesman, Lord Snooty and his party pals