9.21.2004

Yes, I Read People

I don't subscribe, but it is my first trash-read choice whilst detained in any medical or therapeutic lobby. I know I'm not alone, but am not asking anyone to out themself.

Why do I read it? I dunno. Pretty, sparkly clothes mostly. And even they couldn't ignore the excellent Persepolis. It never really seems to get nasty, like the slime mold that is Us. Plus, it's brainless, and brainless interludes are critical to maintaining my energy reserves.

I appreciate its being mindless and silly. Unless they try to do some real journalism, such as this week's (9/27) article covering the autism and mercury/Thimerasol controversy. Then it is as putrid as any of its competitors.

At first I thought the reporters were doing an even-handed job, featuring quotes from and pictures of families whose children had regressed after receiving their vaccinations, and describing how these people were trying to do the best they could by their children but were demanding more research. More research! Yeah!

Then the article slid right down into fearmongering and misinformation territory. Specifically:

-Sweden discontinued Thimerasol use in 1993 but autism rates have continued to accelerate. So, maybe it wasn't the Thimerasol. I'm open to that. But there was no mention of research implicating the MMR and Hepatitis B vaccines themselves, no mention of genetic susceptibilities, no mention that More Research is Needed.

-Pediatrician X had a patient who died of complications from measles because he wasn't vaccinated. His parents will never forgive themselves. Perhaps. But there was no mention that measles is now so rare that most pediatricians wouldn't recognize the symptoms if they bit them on the ass, and no mention of why parents would make such a difficult decision--for instance, having a contraindicatory family history of neurological or immunodeficieny issues. Also no mention that, specifically because of vaccinations, measles may have mutated into a much more virulent form.

-Thimerasol is still included in some vaccines such as flu shots, but the amount is less than you'd get in a can of albacore tuna. It is safe. First of all, I've never heard of anyone mainlining albacore tuna--gastrointestinal absorption and direct injection are somewhat different processes. Second, this is the same fucking tuna that has been vilified in the news lately. You know, the one that pregnant women shouldn't eat at all, that children shouldn't eat more than once every three weeks, that adults shouldn't eat more than once weekly.

So, I guess we sad, proud families with autistic children should just suck it up. And the rest of you, don't worry about vaccines and environmental mercury. You're totally safe! People Magazine says so.

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