Monday, September 2, 2013

Jenny McCarthy month! Live from Texas

Jenny McCarthy month will last no more than a few days, I hope. She starts on "The View" on the 9th. I've written about her for The Atlantic and CNN.

Monks with the Black Death
One of the things that interests me about the anti-vax movement is how it has both right-wing and left-wing elements, with "new age" "science" meeting faith healing. So we begin Jenny McCarthy month in Texas, where an anti-vax mega-church has the measles.

"To get a vaccine would have been viewed by me and my friends and my peers as an act of fear – that you doubted God would keep you safe, you doubted God would keep you healthy. We simply didn't do it," former church member Amy Arden told The Associated Press.
And now they have the measles.

As always, the point here is the unexamined way that people "know" things. We all do it, I believe, to some extent. But this one is particularly strong, and it's fascinating to me the way that the McCarthy folks and this church align - by using common sense to come to entirely the wrong decision.
During an August 2010 broadcast, Copeland expressed shock at the number of vaccinations recommended for his great-grandchild.
"I got to looking into that and some of it is criminal. ... You're not putting – what is it Hepatitis B – in an infant! That's crazy. That is a shot for a sexually transmitted disease. What? In a baby?" he said. "You don't take the word of the guy that's trying to give the shot about what's good and what isn't. You better go read the can or read the thing – find out what's going on there and get the information on there because I'm telling you, it's very dangerous the things that are happening around us all the time."
Don't take the word of the doctor (note male, the "guy"). Read the "can." Read the "thing." Get "information." This isn't faith healing, but it points towards a distrust of science and medicine. And the frustrating thing is - I really don't like Big Pharma and the medicalization of our lives. But vaccines work, and this kind of epistemology, "what is it, Hep. B. - in an infant!," leads us astray.

 Tomorrow, Portlandia