Things that scare me

Today I was waiting in my doctor’s waiting room and, as my older daughter played with the water machine, I espied in the hands of a kindly, grandmotherly looking woman, a copy of the July edition of Investigate magazine — the one about how Obama is going to eat everyone’s babies. But also the one with the article about whether North & South got their recent report on vaccination right.

The North & South June edition, which contained the report on vaccination, was also on the magazine table. I’ve read it, and it’s sound investigative journalism about an important topic: how some diseases we thought were dead and buried are enjoying a resurgence because some otherwise sensible people decide not to vaccinate against them. I haven’t read the Investigate article in question, because my life is short enough as it is, and at any rate I refuse to fund Ian Wishart.* But the Investigate editorial position on vaccination — pretty well documented in previous articles which I have read — is just the sort of thing which raises the spectre of doubt in the minds of parents already nervous about having to hold their little treasures down so a nurse can stick a needle in them. Finding such a hysterically anti-science tract as Investigate in a doctor’s surgery bestows upon it a medical legitimacy it does not deserve. There’s a time and a place for this sort of material, but a medical context is not appropriate. It’s like the proverbial smoking doctors whose habits were supported by Big Tobacco in exchange for reassuring their patients that smoking didn’t do them any harm.

The other daughter? At the time, she was in the nurse’s office getting her jabs. I had a word to the nurse about it; she was almost as alarmed as I was and said she’d remove the offending rag. That’s something.


* I’m sure this entitles me to a free bout of Wishartian pig-wrestling and not-at-all-veiled implications about the standard of my professional work such as Scott received, but I’ll pass, thanks all the same.

14 thoughts on “Things that scare me

  1. We could start a thread on inappropriate magazines given the context. For example: Soldier of Fortune in a Green Party electorate office. Forbes in a Socialist Party of Aotearoa branch office. The journal Ethics in the Auckland University VCs office.

    You get the drift.

  2. The Communist Manifesto in redbaiter/Glen Beck’s foyer?

    Teen magazine under the Pope’s bed?

    The Koran in Pat Robertson’s parsonage?

    A dictionary in Dubya’s picture book library?

    An atlas on Sarah Palin’s coffee table?

    OK,OK–I’ll give it a rest.

  3. * I’m sure this entitles me to a free bout of Wishartian pig-wrestling and not-at-all-veiled implications about the standard of my professional work such as Scott received, but I’ll pass, thanks all the same.

    Lew, when you say the Candyman’s name you don’t get to choose.

  4. :)

    “The Naturists’ Guide to NZ” on Patricia Bartlett’s breakfast table.

    “The Bible for Dummies” on Steve Wozniac’s desk.

    “Ready for Dessert” in Weight Watcher’s reception area.

    “The Day of the Jackal” anywhere near David Garrett.

    “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” at the Betty Ford Clinic…

  5. “How to win friends and influence people” in the Libertarianz party hq.

  6. “Mein Kampf” in Rick Ellis’ office.

    “How to be a Complete Bastard” in Paul Henry’s office.

    “The Engineering of Consent” in TVNZ’s PR office.

  7. “Triumph of the Will” by Leni Riefenstal playing on the box in TVNZ’s green room???

  8. This was pretty good until about the time when Rick Ellis & Paul Henry got compared to the Nazis. *sigh*

    How about NZ Hunter and NZ Fishing News on PETA’s hand-made-organic-sustainable-non-rainforest-wood coffee table? Mmm. Critters.


  9. Sorry.

    I was going to use Stormfront, but they don’t really have any literature. I know Nazi refs are considered “Godwinning” and therefore devoid of any substance, but as a Bavarian-born Kiwi with still a few very racist old Aunts and Uncles back in Germany, I think I have a pretty good feel for how insidious bigotry is, and how it can really explode if given legitimacy and voice. And, Godwin or not, institutionalised bigotry has the potential to put us right on that same path – the dehumanising of some “alien other”, the fear that they will destroy all that we hold dear as a NZer, etc.

    Were you aware that an Indian’s home was torched in Hawkes Bay?
    Was it a hate crime? I don’t know, but it’s possible.
    Same with the guy who was bashed and left for dead in Nelson. I’ve heard some rumours from Nelson that he was gay. If so, was his bashing a hate crime?

    And anyway, it was only Rick Ellis who I compared to a Nazi as what goes on air is ultimately his decision, and he obviously has a thing for right wing, white male superiority and the serial subhumanising of anyone who doesn’t fit an increasingly narrow view of what he thinks a real NZer is. In shaping what NZers think and feel, by way of engineering consent, Rick Ellis arguably holds more power than than the PM and his cabinet.

  10. But perhaps I should have curbed my anger at the man and simply put the “Bhagavad GÄ«tā” on his desk. With a burning patchouli stick and a hot homemade lunch of spicy Vindaloo. :D

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