Bad Medicine - Bon Jovi (mp3)
The Sick Bed of Cuchuliann - The Pogues (mp3)
We have people on both sides of the political spectrum who are railing against the swine flu vaccine. Celebrities who have no more medical training or knowledge than you, me, or the Keebler frappin' Elf are claiming that the vaccine is more dangerous than the flu it aims to prevent. (Yes, I'm talkin' ta you, Bill Maher, you friggin' smug ignorant sumbitch.)
I've asked probably a dozen doctors and nurses and pharmacists, some friends and some mere acquaintances, their opinion of the vaccine, and almost all of them just shake their heads. Of COURSE my children should get vaccinated, they say, with the unspoken DUH on the end of it. Not a one of them hesitated or mentioned concerns about how vaccines are a deadly secret scourge to our way of life... because that crap is right up there with black helicopters and the X-Files.
Welcome to the Age of Information, where 95% (98%? 99%?) of all professionals educated in the field of medicine agree, yet where journalists and wackos focus half their attention on the 5% of kooks who disagree so they can be "balanced." We might be enlightened, but we've got a wacky notion of balance.
one on the H1N1 vaccine, and here's one on the hysteria that broke out in Britain because a girl died of a brain tumor but people thought she died from a vaccine. Educate yourself, for Christ's sake, rather than looking to pandering, demagoguing kooks to tell you what to think! (And if that category must include me, then so be it, but go learn for yourself!)
It's important to note that the criticism is not so much aimed at medical professionals, but rather at the people in charge of wielding and managing the information. If you want the real reason why newspapers are dying, it's because they do an awful job of filtering anything for us. They'd rather report cotton candy than broccoli. And even when the broccoli shows up, its been cooked to death and drowned in so much butter you'd think it was served at a movie theater.
As yet another report on OTM suggests, part of it's because science reporters are all but extinct. I don't know if this is a killer factor, but it can't help.
can't even trust its government to tell its people when a vaccine is safe and effective -- or as safe and effective as anything else involving medicine and the human body... people sometimes die having their tonsils removed, for cryin' out loud -- then the Age of Information truly proves that too much of anything, including information, does more harm than good.
Culture is in one kind of trouble when the only people who can read the Bible and other books are priests and monks. But maybe it's in an altogether equally-treacherous kind of trouble when we all think we're equally capable of being experts about anything and everything just 'cuz we can read shit off the Internet.
The Age of Information risks eroding all sense of trust in any kind of educated authority. And this is a distrust that breaks political barriers. One side believes Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh are honest and knowledgeable, which is a crock, but the other side has doctors blathering on the Huffington Post with the same kind of crap.
And, yet again, as always, the future of our society must rest and rely on those of us in the middle. Let's hope we hold up and keep our heads above the rising tide of the Information Tsunami.