I’m going to admit that I don’t read “young adult” novels. I don’t even watch “young adult” movies, though that line is kind of murky. I don’t want my vampires to be sparkly and play baseball. And I don’t want my post-apocalyptic future to exclude zombies.
One of the more popular horror/teen romance/vampire series of novels is The Vampire Diaries, by L.J. Smith, which has been made into a very popular TV series by the same name. I’ve occasionally watched the TV series, but it’s really not my thing, but I will admit I kind of like the premise. I guess I’m just a cranky old dude who doesn’t get the whole romance and horror being combined.
Of course, my personal tastes in reading material tend towards medicine and recent history–the last book I read was about the political maneuverings prior to World War I, so there’s that. But everything above isn’t relevant to my usual subjects of writing, so let me get to the point.
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Recently, I ran across an article, written by a real mom with real children, that gave a full-throated support of vaccines. I read a lot of blog posts and other articles about vaccines, so there’s nothing surprising about it. But this article was tougher than most:
I’m not very interested in arguing with people who don’t believe in vaccinating their children, because I know that they believe this despite all scientific evidence, despite the fact that risks to babies and children who are vaccinated are terrifically low, despite the fact that it exposes their children to possibly deadly viruses and diseases. But I am, now, as a parent, sometimes forced, living as I do in New York City, where some private school vaccination rates hover at less than fifty percent, to fear irrational things. To fear an outbreak of measles. Or whooping cough. Because the unvaccinated don’t simply risk themselves, of course: They risk everyone else, failing to bolster the “herd immunity” which eradicates such diseases.
As a parent, I have learned to deal with daily bouts of fear: of the unknown, of a fall, a bump on the head, or a cold. We face the falls, the bumps, the colds, and we weather these tiny little storms, and I look back on them and laugh at myself for being so silly despite what I know are the odds. I’m learning the way I learned with myself—that there are things I can control, and things which I can’t.
I get into discussions all the time with fellow science writers who say I’m too mean to antivaccine cultists. I’m going to have to agree–I really do have no interest in debating, arguing, discussing, or engaging with antivaccine zombies. They are simply scientifically ignorant, and they willfully put children at risk of death. That boggles my mind.
And it apparently boggles the mind of the author, because she hits it out of the park with her next paragraph:
I’m also learning to accept something else about myself. I don’t judge other parents’ parenting. I don’t care if people sleep train their babies or not, or if they breastfeed them or let them chug down formula. I don’t care if they’re vegetarians or not. We as parents, are all just trying to do what is best for our babies, overcoming the fear and enjoying their little moments of brilliance. But I do have this one, closely held religious belief, which I would now gladly argue because it’s a “personal” decision which affects everyone. I believe that you are a fucking asshole if you do not vaccinate your children.
Now, I don’t think that accepting vaccines is a “religious belief”, it’s actually a scientific fact, but I’ll grant the writer a wide berth for her vigorous support for vaccines.
What has this got to do with the Vampire Diaries, you ask? Absolutely everything in that the author of that mockery of vaccine deniers is the same as the author of The Vampire Diaries, L. J. Smith. Actually, she uses her pen name of Laura June for this article, but it’s no secret who she is.
I usually use “dumbass” to describe those who don’t vaccinate (especially for dumb reasons). But Laura June’s descriptive may be much better.
Oh, and now maybe I’ll watch the Vampire Diaries with a little bit more passion!