Thursday, September 27, 2007

Juxtanother Juxtaposition

I popped on over to the Rescue Post today to see if the rapturous self-actualizing had settled down for a bit after Jenny McCarthy's whirlwind book tour of the U.S. media.

I immediately noticed another Juxtaposition. In case you missed my last post, it was a brief commentary on the interesting contrast between the way the autism research, political action, and parent communities have reacted to this past few weeks' news and media as relates to autism.
The two major issues can be boiled down to:
(1) a model/actress/mother of an autistic son has stated that she believes that her son's vaccinations caused him to become autistic and that the treatment she followed as a result of knowing the cause of his being autistic has caused him to no longer be autistic.
(2) an expert panel assembled by the CDC, including one powerful anti-mercury member who was 'in step' with all other experts and contributed to the design and methodology of the study, published a study that concluded that mercury body burdens, as measured by Thimerosal uptake, has not resulted in significant neurological abnormalities in a specific age cohort.

Gosh, what's an open-minded, clear-thinking person to do? Believe Ms. McCarthy, or believe the CDC's panel of experts, experts who represent a range of backgrounds and areas of expertise?

(To be fair, this argument is not all that simple. After all, the MMR or - as Ms. McCarthy refers to it - "The Autism Shot" does not contain and has never contained Thimerosal.)

So, now that you clear-headed and truth-oriented people out there are honed in on the issue, here's today's Juxtaposition, courtesy of the Rescue Post!

{Click this link}

Did you see it? Right there on the front page. A post by J.B. Handley, a truly lovely guy who considers autistic folks to be 'trailer-dwelling coo-coos' and once said to my friend Kev Leitch, "If we were on a rugby pitch, Kev, I'd put my boot in your eye and twist…" about how wonderful a spokesmodel Ms. McCarthy is for their cause:
Jenny McCarthy Missile Sinks USS Gerberding
by JB Handley
"I’m not sure why CDC employees wear sailor suits, but after Jenny McCarthy’s two week talk show romp, they’ll be bailing water out of battleship CDC for months to come .....
Through Jenny’s courage ... a national debate has emerged that is already forcing major change .....
It’s hard to fathom how many children Jenny has already saved."

Got the picture? Okay. Let's see how the same group reacts to the published, peer-reviewed study that included uber-mercury mom Sallie Bernard.
By Anne McElroy Dachel

"The fact the CDC has an obvious bias in showing that vaccines haven't damaged hundreds of thousands of children because they also run the vaccine program, isn't noted. .....
We are to believe the endless pharmaceutical advertising dollars that ABC, NBC, and CBS News get along with the New England Journal of Medicine and WebMD hasn't possibly influenced their reporting .....
Maybe someone at ABC, NBC, or CBS NEWS should tell us why we should be so confident that it's safe to inject mercury into children when the CDC can never show us the one test that matters. .....
What the news networks don't tell us is that maybe all these endless population studies are damage control--a desperate attempt, after the fact, to disprove a scientific truth ....."

Ahhh, now one sees it. The only rebuttal to be made by the mercury crusaders is based on conspiracy theory innuendeo.

And thus we have a second Juxtaposition.

Summary: When we place the two messages originating directly from base camp of the vaccines-cause-autism contingent side-by-side, it is plainly obvious that we are being told to ignore experienced, serious researchers and instead to follow the advice of a Hollywood actress/model-turned-Mom.


Suzanne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Club 166 said...

First of all, really loved the title "Juxtanother Juxtaposition". Very clever.

Secondly, if I was a GR person, I would also be ecstatic this week.

Who would have thought that a B grade celebrity could so easily and totally upstage a hard science research article? They have been successful beyond their wildest dreams. Their "truth" is now out there, and it will take that much longer for the real truth to prevail.


isles said...

I think how this works - and yes, I am pulling this out of my mhmhmhm - is that Jenny McCarthy appeals to parents by being just like them except with a porn star appearance. She doesn't particularly pretend to be smart or educated. She says "I'm just like you. We're in this together. We know things those smartypants scientists can't figure out with all their numbers." People enjoy identifying with glamorous porn stars (God/FSM help America), so when Jenny is impliedly criticized by the release of data contradicting her, the Jenny-identifying parents feel personally vilified and become all the more entrenched.

I don't know how to solve this.

Steve D said...

Thanks, C-166. It's not often that an awesome and alluring alliteration avails itself :)

Isles -
"I don't know how to solve this."
Me neither. Lets just keep trying to focus on maintaining a message that promotes the dignity of autistic people. That, to me, is what it is all about.

Patrick said...

Anne McElroy Dachel,
Would you care to list the peer reviewed articles that form the basis behind your scientific truth?

Sources that haven't already been disallowed due to the Daubert standard would be highly appreciated.

(Of course I would expect this feedback to be 'moderated' out of existence on the Wrecksyou Post, but if anyone would like to plagiarize it and try your welcome to it, I declare the query above as freely existing in the Public Domain.)

Casdok said...

I am amazed that all this debate hasnt really filtered over here to the UK yet. It will be interesting if and when it does.

VAB said...

I think it is less likely to get as much play in the UK. The US has a strong tradition of anti-intellectualism. Keep in mind that, for example, the majority of Americans do not believe in evolution. If something is said by a scientist, that makes in suspect in and of itself. Also, as health care is private there is, by necessity, more of a do-it-yourself approach. Lastly, some very rich people in the US happen to have thrown their weight behind this very silly notion. Getting people who support this view on television is a matter of money and influence. If there does not happen to be that money an influence available in the UK, it's unlikely it will get much play.

Club 166 said...


You just reminded me that my wife told me that Buddy Boy described alliteration to his second grade class.

I don't think he's ever gotten up in front of a class before. That was cool. Maybe peanut butter and jelly secretly works as a chelation agent.


Steve D said...

Joe -
That would be PBJ on gluten-free bread, right?

Ed said...

Thanks for this post. You really put the whole situation into perspective.
Alot of what you wrote, I didn't know.This made it simple to understand.
I really didn't like having to look at the cover of People magazine and see this story about Jenny McCarthy on the front cover in the grocery store check-out line.
After that, your post is quite refreshing.I appreciate you putting what they and others said about this in the proper perspective for me to read.:)

Steve D said...

Ed -
I appreciate your comment, and you are welcome.
Several autistic adults have mentioned in various places that they are uncomfortable with the whole Jenny McCarthy issue, and I think I can see why. It would be harsh to see the headlines saying a Mom has "saved" her child from something that characterizes you and the way you interact with the world. I guess if it were me I would feel offended.