One of the easiest things in the world is to dismiss the people who insist on believing in fairies, auras, vaccination and “big pharma” conspiracies, indigo children or the gospel of L. Ron Hubbard as being harmless fringe lunatics.
Not that a belief in one necessitates a belief in the others, it’s just that they’re all equally ludicrous. It’s also equally impossible to engage the believer in polite conversation because, after a few minutes, you’re either slapping your head vigorously trying to understand how someone can be taken in by such… lets call it garbage, or you’ve realized the level of zealotry needed to maintain these beliefs is just going to overwhelm you. So you stop, and just let them go on their way and hope they never date your daughter.
It’s also difficult because they all take it so seriously… there is no humour in the anti-vaccination movement. People do not laugh when they talk about how “indigo” their children are. So you have to stand there, with a serious look on your face, while they go on about “mercury in this” and “lithium orotate that”. And it gets boring. Because those conversations are painful, so you stop engaging with them.
But that’s dangerous. Because if enough people believe this crap, and don’t get their kids vaccinated, then the chances of your kid getting the mumps goes up dramatically. Or they end up as followers of Tom Cruise, and are forced to empty their wallets and never get the medical attention they really, really need.
Or they walk around… lets call it ‘infecting’ their peers and children with the idea that speaking with the dead is a very real occurrence — like, that Sylvia Browne only wants the best for you and your missing loved ones.
Or they say incredibly naive and ignorant crap like, “lithium orotate has value because the FDA refuses to blah blah science is bad”.
So… how do you beat back lunacy, without actually becoming lunatic yourself?
If you’re a genius of satire, like say, Tim Minchin, you write a brilliant beat poem, and have a genius of animation create a movie out of it — a love poem, if you will, to the nearly insane.
Then, if you’re like me — and you’re just slightly too stupid to come up with something so brilliant on your own, and you really need something easy to post in the comment sections on the ‘anti-whatever’ blogs and websites, something that eviscerates these ‘anti-science’ philosophies in ten fairly easy-to-follow-along-with funny minutes — then you post the YouTube version everyone you can. Like here.
To be absolutely fair, over the past 600-words or so, I have been extremely rude and insulting to a lot of people. Including some I do respect, and even love. I have definitely been far more rude than Mr. Minchin’s piece of brilliance, which I’ve posted below. At least it might seem that way. But, honestly, if someone stands in front of you, describing in detail the colour of their aura, or how their child is the beginning of a new race of super-humans, or they’re simply the simple Jenny McCarthy, you need to tell them to just wake the fuck up in a way that isn’t going to either a) start a fight, or; b) prevent you from possibly having sex with them at a later date.
And that’s what Mr. Minchin tries to do with his movie / poem / ode to science and reason. Only he does it with an enjoyable accent, and wit that will leave ‘true believers’ wondering how those cuts appeared.
‘Slate Magazine’ called it “the best critique of alternative medicine ever”. Please, enjoy… and pass it along.
“It is in the nature of luxuries to eventually be taken for granted, and some of the greatest underappreciated luxuries are public health and modern medicine. Thanks to massive vaccination drives, almost no children in the developed world die of measles or mumps. And because these diseases are now so rare, anti-vaccination activists have the luxury of indulging in conspiracy theories. Many of us would have died already if it weren’t for routine medical interventions; we are on our second or third lives. And because death is so much more distant than in the past, some people have a romanticized notion of our place in the natural world. We used to be more in harmony with nature, the thinking goes, and our bodies naturally know how to heal themselves. I have a hard time following the logic—something about auras and herbs and energy fields? It’s utter nonsense, of course—what’s natural is to serve as a host and vector for deadly parasitic microbes.”
— Slate Magazine (Sept. 11, 2013): ‘The Best Critique of Alternative Medicine Ever’
[YouTube Alert] Watch The Official Movie Here:
“Hm that’s a good point, let me think for a bit
Oh wait, my mistake, it’s absolute bullshit.
Science adjusts it’s views based on what’s observed
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved.
If you show me
That, say, homeopathy works,
Then I will change my mind
I’ll spin on a fucking dime
I’ll be embarrassed as hell,
But I will run through the streets yelling
It’s a miracle! Take physics and bin it!
Water has memory!
And while it’s memory of a long lost drop of onion juice is Infinite
It somehow forgets all the poo it’s had in it!
You show me that it works and how it works
And when I’ve recovered from the shock
I will take a compass and carve Fancy That on the side of my cock.”
‘Tim Minchin, ‘Storm: The Movie’… the official site is here: [link]
Monday Mental Movie Night: ‘Mary & Max’ [link here]
“[Mary & Max] deals with themes including childhood neglect, friendship, the obscurity of life, teasing, loneliness, autism (Asperger syndrome in particular), obesity, depression and anxiety.” — Wikipedia
A very odd, very unlikely animated film from Australia that manages to be sickly-cute, alarmingly grotesque, and right-on at the same time – often in the very same scene.
‘Mary & Max’ review; October 2010, The Guardian