Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stop Enabling Jenny McCarthy!

Me: "I'm a mystery! Cloaked in an enigma!"
WH, without missing a beat: "Preceded by a marching band."

As Wonderful Husband so wittily observed, I'm not what you'd call subtle. So there may be shouty on this post. I apologize to your eyeball-eardrums in advance.

Antivaccinationists and "Green Our Vaccines" apologists make me livid.

They make me livid because they treat autistic people as broken things who have to be fixed in order to be human. And they publicize this viewpoint in popular media outlets and in political rallies around the country. Gee, thanks, THAT really helps me raise an autistic kid to have high self-esteem! And the fact that a PEDIATRICIAN, namely Dr. Jay Gordon, is one of them-- well, that really makes me seethe. It makes me despair, because he is so blindly focused on what he feels is a great cause... only his cause is ACTIVELY HARMING MY CHILD. Actively harming me. Actively harming autistics everywhere, by demonizing them in the public eye!

But more than that, he is helping Jenny McCarthy to promote her pet cause. Dr. Jay says he is not antivaccine, that he administers vaccines himself. Nonetheless, it is his support, as a doctor of children that is helping her in her campaign to bring about a resurgence of DEADLY INFECTIOUS DISEASES. How can he rationalize that??? How, how how? I cannot fathom the mindset, and the disconnect between the evidence and his opinion just leaves me wanting to scream!!!!

So, here's a website called Stop Jenny McCarthy. Please, please stop Jenny McCarthy. (Please please stop, Jenny McCarthy!) There are also extremely lively discussions on this issue featuring doctors and parents who know stuff about epidemiology over at Science-Based Medicine (here and here) and at Respectful Insolence-- the latter featuring comments from Dr. Jay Gordon himself. Even after reading them, I STILL. DO. NOT. UNDERSTAND. how he can support what Jenny is doing, and still consider himself an ethical doctor. I just don't.


intrinsicallyknotted said...

I really don't get it. Why do they cling so hard to the idea that vaccines are bad? I mean, religion I can sort of understand--they've been raised to believe all their lives and it has a long history behind it. There are lots of irrational things I can at least understand why people cling to them. But why vaccines? If it's just because they want something to blame for their children being "broken", why do they still keep blaming vaccines in the face of overwhelming evidence that they're not a problem? Are they just afraid of getting shots or something?

Vaklam said...

intrinsicallyknotted: Being a parent is scary even when your kid is neurotypical. These things don't come with instruction manuals. Having an autistic kid is doubly frightening because not only do autistic kids not have manuals, their operating instructions seem to change from hour to hour.

So, I can see the desire to "fix" these children. I can understand wanting to blame someone or something. Hell, I've done it myself. I think you've hit the nail on the head. Some parents can't let go of the need to blame something else. Some of them might be afraid that it's something they did and are projecting that fear onto every convenient target they see. But to be this stubborn in the face of overwhelming evidence just floors me.

intrinsicallyknotted said...

Yeah, being a parent is so scary that I'm terrified to do it myself. Kudos to you guys for being willing and able!

It's really the stubborness that I don't understand. The initial grasping at straws, blaming vaccines at first because there seems to be some sort of perceived pattern in the timing of both the vaccine and the autism diagnosis, is forgivable. But with the enormous amount of evidence to the contrary, why haven't they shifted the blame over to something else? Most of them have stopped explicitly blaming mercury, but it's now turned into a general cry of "vaccines are not safe!" Why haven't they started blaming white bread, or chemicals in drinking water? It makes me wonder if there is some other underlying reason for hating vaccines, like the idea that it's messing with God's plan or something.

Joy said...

I still crack up thinking about that exchange about how mysterious you are and the marching band. I should be able to work in that WH was a drum major but not sure if it applies to this metaphor.