Friday, November 9, 2007

The Macho Response: Panda Bear, M.D.

"Take Homeopathy, a medical therapy which relies on the imaginary property of water to retain the memory of a substance which it has diluted to a point where not a single atom of the substance remains. People often ask me if my experience with Emergency Medicine, the most practical and hard-nosed of the medical specialties, has left me cynical about the possibility of finding some validity in Homeopathy and other equally ridiculous Complementary and Alternative Medicine therapies. Actually, by the time I had finished the eighth grade I had a sufficient background in chemistry and biology to recognize that these things cannot possibly work. How much education do you need, for example, to definitively state that spinal manipulation cannot possibly obviate the need for vaccinations (as many of our chiropractic friends believe) or that spiritual fire cannot possibly, a la Saturday morning cartoons, stream out of the fingers of Reiki healers? It’s not even as if we’re arguing some subtle point about the energy state of an electron shell or an obscure ion channel in yer’ fucking spleen. This is literally third grade stuff and the fact that many prestigious medical centers lack the institutional courage to point it out should make you cringe in shame, either at their gullibility or their venality.

“Well, we’re just being open-minded,” is the formula used to justify spending large sums of money to investigate therapies that even my ten-year-old son could instantly recognize as not only impossible but also somewhat ridiculous. I guess I’ll just have to be closed-minded because if you asked me for money to investigate the healing properties of magical gnomes I would turn you down. Gnomes, like Reiki, Homeopathy, faith healing, and ayurvedic medicine are ridiculous at face value. The extent that they are investigated highlights one of the biggest problems with Complementary and Alternative Medicine, not that it is mostly ridiculous (which it is), takes money from the gullible including those who really can’t afford it (which it does), or even that it sometimes delays the effective treatment of health problems (which I see regularly), but that it has the potential at a time when we should be looking for ways to economize on medical care to suck up even more public money with nothing to show in return except the enrichment of a pack of charlatans.


- Panda Bear, M.D.

Well, as you can see, I've finally found a "real" doctor - someone willing to state the obvious - and in plain, easy to understand, language: Panda Bear, M.D. (All underlines are mine.) He captures the, smug, evil intent, the art of the con - and even states the word "impossible" - something I've always missed with other blogging docs while, also, always wondering why. Here, have another taste:

"Suppose I invited an Astrologer to join the faculty and offer medical advice to your patients? Or a faith healer? You’d no doubt protest and mutter darkly about primitive superstition not having a place in medicine and you’d be right. But what, pray tell, is the difference between something like Ayurvedic medicine, one of the usual suspects in integrative medicine, and astrology or faith healing? Nothing, really, except that you’d be embarassed to consult an astrologer and Christian faith healing, as you reject religion in medicine, is prima facie unacceptable while Hindu faith healing gets a free pass. The fact that we even have to have a debate on the validity of Ayurveduc medicine, homeopathy, and other obviously ridiculous treatment modalities is, in itself, ridiculous and I can only shake my head and wonder at the powerful hold of quackery on my learned colleagues in the Ivy League where this kind of thing flourishes. When you are incapable of asking for proof of the existence of chakra, qi, or mystical fire flowing from the appendages of charlatans, maybe you have become a tad too open-minded. So open minded that you no longer have the conceptual tools to distinguish the right from the wrong, the good from the bad, or the reasonable from the ridiculous.

It’s not difficult. Generally, if someone claims to shoot mystical fire or diagnose Hindu humors he should have an uphill struggle convincing the educated. Skepticism should be your first position but that would require a little too much common sense, not to mention being a little judgemental which is the only remaining sin among the over-educated elites. It is in this manner that that prestigious medical centers succumb to a form of blackmail. If they Reject Eastern mysticism and other completely laughable medical therapies they risk losing their street cred’ among their lesser-educated but more institutionally powerful peers."


Loss of "street cred' among their lesser-educated but more institutionally powerful peers."? Sounds very familiar to me since my idiotic U.F.O.-loving, Astrology/Reiki Healer/Homeopathic/Yoga and Meditating/cheating wife left the scene. I've gone from being The Crack Emcee to The Cracked Emcee (my every utterence questioned, after a lifetime of ethical behavior and truth-telling) merely because I've taken on New Age and cultish-thinking as a clear symptom of what's wrong in post-Boomer Western culture. And all by people - even my so-called "friends" - who think of themselves in the best of terms, though, from my experience, they've really always been a bunch of followers, who've always drank too much, smoked too much, did too many drugs, read too many bad "alternative" texts, betrayed loved ones more times than I can count, never paid attention to politics until the Iraq war started - bo-ring! - but, now, all have strong opinions on it, though it's roots are, at least, 30 years old, and they know I was reading about it in the same nightclubs they were cutting lines of speed in, etc..

Now - like the former smokers they (almost) all are - they've become royal pains in the ass, especially regarding non-existent "health issues", and I've been blackmailed - by all of them - starting with my wooly-headed ex, Karine Brunk, and her murderously ethically-and-morally-challenged New Age quack "doctor", Robert Wohlfahrt. Hey - special message to her "friends":

Karine was taken advantage of, sexually, by a quack who had to lie to do it, do you care?

Whatever. You shame yourselves. "Strength in numbers" doesn't add up to truth - and truth will win out. I may use "mean" words but I've actually hurt no one. Caused them no pain. Tried not to add to their burden. (I used to be the person many of them ran to for answers) But many people - my "friends" - have hurt me a lot. And, as you all know, I don't forgive (or forget) these kinds of things easily. Not of this kind. And, especially, not anymore. Not when I'm dealing with betrayal, lies, and murder, on such a massive scale.

"Just forget about it"? No - being judgemental, I won't "just forget about it." I'm remembering every comment, every slight, every diversion, every attempt to under-cut or marginalize me, and every act of redicule that has come my way. Trying to get me to say, "I don't care", like they do - to witness evil and just "move on" - hasn't worked. I will NOT be like you. I'm not a New Ager. Such an idea disgusts me. Believe it or not, your shoddy, twisted, examples of friendship-in-action continually make my conviction stronger. Strong enough, today, to at least say:

So, I'm "feeling better about myself" these days, how 'bout you?

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