Lexifabricographer For when the right word just won’t do…

May 26, 2010

Things that make me angry, number 211 in a nigh-infinite series

Filed under: news of the day,things to get mad about — lexifab @ 12:43 pm

People who ruin lives for selfish reasons, and moreover, people who use privileged positions to ruin lives on a scale far beyond what most selfish, self-aggrandising liars can achieve. Andrew Wakefield (with the help of woeful journalism) basically conned a substantial proportion of a generation of parents into believing that there are links between MMR vaccination for childhood diseases (measles, mumps and rubella) and autism. Every person who believes that and fails to vaccinate their child has made a decision to put my child at risk as well as their own.

Yeah, that makes me angry. Not at the parents, per se, but at a culture that is so fucking helplessly lazy that it would rather allow controllable diseases to kill and permanently maim its children than read above the lowest common denominator level of trashy tabloid newspapers.I mean, fuck me, one of the *very best* ways to get an autistic kid (or one with other mental or growth-retardant conditions, as well as liver, kidney and heart defects) is for the mother to catch rubella while she’s pregnant.

Here’s the full story by the (actual, fact-checking) journalist who discredited Wakefield’s findings (albeit probably too late for the thousands if not millions of kids who went unvaccinated due to his ‘work’).

After a very long medical misconduct trial in the UK found against  Wakefield, he was at last struck off the medical register this week. Again, alas, too late – he’s unrepentantly and lucratively spinning the same line of dangerous bullshit in the United States now.


  1. Hrm, hmm… how can you not be angry at the parents but angry at a ‘culture’? I think if you were to crunch the demographics of the MMR-deniers (which I haven’t done, being lazy, vide supra) you would find not a culture of laziness, but an industrious counter-culture of parents with a suspicion of science and The Man who will enthusiastically trawl the interwebz to find some scrap of evidence to support their anti-vaccination position.

    Of course if there are sizeable numbers of ostensibly non-crackpot parents who have fallen for this bit of crackpottery, you *should* be angry at them. And I would bet if you crunched the demographics (see above warning about having done no difference) there would be no significant difference in the proportion of MMR-deniers among chardonnay swilling broadsheet readers and the unwashed tabloid-reading masses.

    Comment by His former Clamness — May 27, 2010 @ 4:06 pm

  2. I’m not even sure how you would go about crunching the demographics of the MMR-deniers. It’s not really something that the ABS tracks on the census. I suspect you’re right about the industrious counter-culture, but the examples of them that I’ve read about are parents of autistic children who have cast about for someone to blame and have found in the vaccination boogeyman a convenient scapegoat.

    There are certainly sizeable numbers in the UK who have fallen for it – one of those articles cited vaccination rates there at 10% below the target coverage. According to this paper (http://www.sport.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-cdi3302c.htm) Australia’s are in the 90%+ range across the board. So at least it’s not as hysterically bad here. Also if I understand the comments on Fig 20 correctly only 1.1% of parents register themselves as “conscientious objectors”. I have no immediate thoughts on why the highest concentrations of these conshies appear immediately north and south of the Tweed and in the far southwest of WA.

    The swipe at tabloid readers was a cheap shot and I withdraw it unreservedly (oh, except that Brian Deer, the reporter who broke the story, worked for the Sunday Times, which is not, I believe, a tabloid – so at least those readers got the right info).

    Comment by lexifab — May 27, 2010 @ 7:18 pm

  3. There is significant propaganda and mis-reporting on both sides of this debate and this article will not have been the sole basis for those who decide not to vaccinate their children.

    There are plenty of legitimate reasons to consider both for- and against- vaccination. As “crackpots” I can assure you that neither we (nor those that we know who have made a similar decision) made the decision lightly. In fact it involved reading as much as we could from both camps, discussions with a number of Doctors on our options and reconciliation with our own feelings on the matter. Ultimately it was a decision that we made in the interests of our child. Selfish maybe- given the apparent danger I’ve subjected yours and the rest of the world’s children to- but as a parent it’s my job to be selfish on behalf of my child. It’s a good thing that when we decided to become Crackpots we also grew a thick skin to deal with the expected subjective ravings of those around us.

    Comment by Versache's Good Wife — May 28, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

  4. Fair enough. Just to be clear, I don’t think you (or any – well, most – other non-vaccinating parents) are ‘crackpots’, but I do think you’ve been misinformed. I’m open to seeing something credible in support of the obverse viewpoint – other than the standard dangers of this sort of medical procedure such as risks of infection, contamination and unforseen allergic reaction – but I’ve yet to see anything that persuaded me of its scientific soundness.

    And please accept my apologies if you think any of the vitriol in my original post was directed at you – it certainly wasn’t. I reserved it for the lying, torturing bastard subject of the post, and for what I think are the tragic consequences of his actions.

    Comment by lexifab — May 29, 2010 @ 6:35 pm

  5. I, for one, welcome our new crackpot masters… 😛

    Comment by His former Clamness — May 30, 2010 @ 10:01 am

  6. PS: Why are you announcing all the exciting news on Androoo’s blog rather than your own? Or did I miss something? 😀

    Comment by His former Clamness — May 30, 2010 @ 10:02 am

  7. Slackness.

    Comment by lexifab — May 30, 2010 @ 10:32 am

  8. Actually Dave I went to a great deal of trouble to ensure that I wasn’t misinformed – by either camp – and to be quite frank it didn’t come down to who had the most persuasive written argument but my own knowledge of human biology and immunology and a lack of flexible options. I guess mum should be proud that 5 years of uni was used for something.

    Comment by Versache's Good Wife — May 30, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress