The old Skeptical Raptor is taking a bit of a break over the next few days to recharge his batteries for all of the pseudoscience that will be coming out in 2020. In lieu of new content, I will be republishing the top 10 most read articles on this blog during 2019. Here’s number 3 – Jenny McCarthy.
Honestly, I thought she had faded from the anti-vaccine world, but I guess over 150,000 people still researched her.
Celebrity romances rank with soccer, Game of Thrones, and iPhone vs. Android as the things I couldn’t care less about. I wouldn’t know anything about anyone. But, there are exceptions, like when the USA is actually in the World Cup. When I see stories about Andrew Wakefield and Elle Macpherson, I cannot stop myself. I have to read about it, and I have to make fun of it.
Of course, Ms. Winfrey has sent some mixed messages as to whether she will run for president, but as I’ve long ago observed in politics, denials have all the value of “a bucket of warm piss.” But if she did decide to run, I get the feeling, from reading posts across social media, she’d move to head of the class of Democratic candidates for President of the United States. She’d surpass more highly qualified progressive Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand, who both would get my unconditional support for president (as if anyone would care).
So, why am I commenting on potential presidential candidates two years before the election? I’m sure some of you readers are mumbling, “stick to science you dumb feathered dinosaur. That’s why I’m here.”
Over the past few years, electronic cigarettes (often called a personal vaporizer, e-cigarette, or many other trendy descriptions–I’ll abbreviate them as EC, just to save space) have become a popular alternative to tobacco cigarettes. They originally were developed as a tool to quit cigarette smoking, which is factually linked to lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.
However, ECs have become much more than a tool to end smoking, but they have evolved into popular subculture phenomenon known as the “vaping community” that, in many respects, seem to mimic the marijuana advocates. The vaping community continues to push a belief that ECs are safer than traditional cigarettes, have little health risk to the vaper (electronic cigarette smoker), and is much more socially acceptable than smoking cigarettes or cigars.
As strong supporters of vaccines, the Gates have become one of the leading targets of the vaccine denialists who use a bunch of outright lies to attack his good works. Bill Gates vaccines save lives. Now I know that Bill Gates did not invent these vaccines, but the attacks on him make it seem like he did.
These personal attacks remind me of Ernst’s Law, which states “If you are researching complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and you are not hated by the CAM world, you’re not doing it right.”
A hurricane of replies flew across Twitter (much of the evening I was retweeting the best ones, or just laughing). As one Tweeter remarked, “this is why the internet was invented.” Yup. Maybe Jenny didn’t know what she was doing?
If you haven’t ventured over to the hijacked #jennyasks (Jenny McCarthy) hashtag, I suggest you do it. This is why the internet was invented
There were so many more I could have used, but laughing that hard for so long can wear a person out. I did a rough estimate of pro-vaccine to anti-vaccine Tweets for #JennyAsks, and it was around 100-200:1. So, you can conclude that either most Twitter users who follow hashtags are pro-science/pro-vaccine, or anti-vaxxers have limited access to computers and Twitter, since they’re living off the grid avoiding the evil Jews trying to vaccinate them. Oh yeah, that’s a thing amongst the antivaccination crowd.
A few months ago, I got into a discussion with writer and brand new mother Tara Haelle, claiming that social media wasn’t very useful in changing the society’s views on topics. I was skeptical that massive “protests” on Twitter or Facebook would move the body politic on any issues. Apparently, I was wrong. Because Jenny’s hashtag was completely and utterly hijacked by the pro-science/pro-vaccine world.
By the way, I added my own tweet to #JennyAsks a few days ago:
Even though the vaccine deniers champion the trope that these diseases are “not serious,” real evidence from real infectious disease medical specialists say otherwise. Measles, mumps and rubella can be dangerous diseases with debilitating complications, including death, for both children and adults. And as you can see in the map (click on it for greater detail), outbreaks of measles (in red), mumps (in olive) and rubella (in blue) are larger than it should be in both the developed and the developing world than it should be, given the easy access to the MMR (or MMRV) vaccines. Continue reading “Measles, mumps, rubella outbreaks–the culpability of Andrew Wakefield”
But this isn’t just complaining about an actress getting a job on a TV show. On my personal list of things I care about, I care very little about who is or isn’t the host on The View, a show that I have honestly never watched. And given that Jenny is going to be on it, I have even less interest in watching it.
The real reason why so many of us were upset had nothing to do with her being a bad actress, but because her beliefs about vaccines are plainly untrue and unsupported by the vast wealth of science. And now she might have a platform to hawk her misguided conviction that vaccines are dangerous. Because Americans are so easily seduced by a celebrity endorsement (about 25% of Americans trust celebrities), her comments carry more weight than real physicians and scientific researchers. Continue reading “One lunatic is dangerous to children–The Jenny McCarthy Story”