Saturday, November 7, 2009

A World Minus Critical Thinking

I'd have to say that after viewing the video I'm about to discuss here and noticing the number of views that it has received that people as a whole seem to have lost the ability to invoke critical thinking skills for issues which could end up being a matter of life or death. OK, that last part might be stretching it just a bit, but it's not grossly overstated, I'll tell you that much.

Enter the swine flu. I prefer the term 'hamthrax', but everyone else seems to be going with the ol' H1N1 these days. For some reason, one that is lacking in explick (that is, it is inexplicable), people are really freaked out about this swine flu thing. I understand being freaked out about a communicable disease. That seems reasonable. What doesn't seem reasonable is that people are freaking out about the hamthrax but they are not freaking out about the regular flu? (Scooby head tilt.) Roooo?

That's right. The regular flu. The regular flu, the good ol' flu-flu, that flu, that kills over 30,000 people a year in this country. In case you missed that number, it was THIRTY THOUSAND. In case you missed that time frame, it was EVERY YEAR. And in case you missed the significance of both of these items, it's the NUMBER of PEOPLE who DIE every year from the REGULAR FLU. That's almost 100 per day. Why is that not on the front page of every newspaper in America EVERY DAY?! (Yeah, yeah, because the media sucks. I mean besides that!) That's big news! That's 4.16 people every hour that are croaking from the regular flu. That's one person every 14.4 minutes that's keeling over from the regular flu. By the time I get done writing this, at least two people will have dropped dead in this country from regular flu. And those are people who aren't dropping dead from reading this blog! Now that's sayin' something!

Let's compare the numbers for the regular flu (somebody probably has already dropped dead between the last paragraph and now) and the numbers for the swine flu, shall we? According to the folks at the LA Times (who have really kicked things up a notch since newspapers started to fade from glory. Nice job, LA Times guys! Way to keep a dying art alive!) " least 5,700 people worldwide have died from swine flu". Wait. World....did you say worldwide? That's IT?? That's the number of people that die in this country from the regular flu between January 1 and the end of February (with or without that damned Leap Day that no one can figure out why it's there). Worldwide? Are you kidding me?! Why is there a panic? OH, right. Because people are morons. How soon I forget.

Now, there is a vaccine for the hamthrax. Is it necessary? I don't know, but the reason that I don't know isn't because of a bunch of crap that I've read on the Internet. I don't know if a swine flu shot is necessary because I don't necessarily know that a regular flu shot is necessary. But this isn't about people being concerned about whether or not they should get the vaccine because they're in a particular group. No, it's about them not wanting it at all because they're afraid it's going to do something untoward to them. For cryin' out loud, people. Wake the freak up.

Since when did everyone in this country become their own self-trained medical professional who knows more than people who are actually trained medical professionals? Why are people so quick to assume that everything out there that is portrayed as being able to help them is really going to kill them? You know, medical science in this country has done wonders for people, but suddenly, people who just stepped out of their shack in the woods (one, oddly enough, with Internet access) don't want to listen to anything those people tell them. They want to believe whatever it is they want to believe. And here's some of the crap they want to believe:

There was a story on Inside Edition about a young woman in suburban Washington, D.C. named Desiree Jennings. Desiree Jennings allegedly received a flu shot and then ten days later allegedly came down with a rare neurological condition called dystonia. Now she is allegedly only able to walk backwards or run forwards normally. If she tries to walk forwards, all she can do is manage spastic, jerky movements which she seemingly has no control over. She allegedly can only talk normally when she's running. If she is not running, she allegedly has extreme difficulty speaking. Please place your BS Detector Caps!

Look, we've all seen plenty of videos on the Internet by now. Those surfboarding dogs. The surprised hamster. Keyboard cat. Popcorn popping via cell phone. That damned Star Wars kid. We should have a pretty good idea of what's real and what's fake by now, don't you think? I think we should. (That hamster really does look surprised, though.) This whole stunt just reeks of fakeness. Here's the video. It's two minutes-ish. I'd love to hear your impressions in the comments section. In the meantime, behold! A video of what may or may not be an actual neurological condition that was brought on or not by a flu shot that someone may or may not have had! (It's official all right!)

First of all, if you're basing your personal medical decisions upon what you see on Inside Edition, well, that's just Darwin at work, I suppose. I can just look at that as the natural thinning of the herd. (Translation: You're a moron.) But let's say you just want to know if you should feel sorry for this girl or not. This is where the BS Detector Caps and our critical thinking skills need to come into play. The Inside Edition folks claim in their video that this is a one in a million occurrence. There are over 300 million people in the United States. Thus, there should be 299 other people out there with this bizarro condition. Um, there aren't. That either means that their fake statistic is wrong (it likely is) or this doesn't exist (it likely doesn't).

Secondly, with something this bizarre, don't you think that the Inside Edition story would have included at least one, just ONE doctor? Preferably HER doctor?? I see no doctor. I barely saw her husband for more than 10 seconds. Not ONE doctor. This seems like something that would have a whole TEAM of doctors just right there, ready to talk about it. Seriously, how do you overlook having a doctor there??
Third, they associate her "condition" with the swine flu vaccine, but they don't elaborate as to HOW the two are related. I'm sure that she did lots of other things in between the ten days from when she had the shot and when she could only walk backwards. How do they know any of THOSE things didn't cause her "condition". Shellfish. What about shellfish? Did she eat a lot of shellfish? How about peanuts? Good Lord, the whole damn world has some sort of peanut allergy these days! How do we know it wasn't some sort of lethal nut that she got a hold of? Huh?! See? Could be the NUTS. (Trust me. Nuts are involved in this story all right. Plenty of nuts.)

Fourth, she can't walk, but she can run? Hey, tell me something. How in the hell does she get up to running speed if she can't even walk? How does that work? Don't know! That's because Inside Edition only saw fit to show her running at an impressive gait, but did not see fit to show her begin to run.

And finally, this, if true, is absolutely incredible. And yet something this incredible has yet to be picked up by the whores that are cable news. If those folks won't touch it (and they'll touch anything that they think has even a shred of credibility) what does that tell you? The alphabet networks haven't covered it. The news holes on cable haven't covered it. The only nitwit that we have reporting this story is Deborah Norville on Inside Edition. Good Lord, people. Think. THINK!!

What scares the holy living bejeezus out of me is that over ten million people have watched one form or another of this story on freaking YouTube. That's over 3 percent of the population of this great, but stupid, country. What percentage are going to be in a group that should probably be vaccinated for the hamthrax which will not do so because of watching this video and assuming (for God only knows what reason) that if they saw it on the Internets, that is has to be true.

Again, I could just chalk it all up to the thinning of the herd and Darwin at work and just walk away from it all, but I can't. I'm afraid that people will start to think the same thing about all vaccinations. I'm afraid that people will not get their children immunized and then will reap the repercussions of some dread disease that we have worked extremely hard at nearly eradicating in order to better the health and longevity of the human race. We are devolving (that would be the opposite of evolving. Catchy, no?). Use your heads!

If that girl turns out to really suffer from some sort of neurological malady as depicted in the video, regardless as to why she has it, I will totally apologize in another post. But I don't know if we'll ever find out if that's the case if people just accept that sort of crap journalism as covering the story in it's entirety. (ie, Where's her damn doctor?!) And if you think that someone can't pull off a stunt like that and totally have people believing it, I have two words for you. Balloon Boy.

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