I had written a post on smoking and was fully intending on publishing it today, but a funny thing happened to me on Twitter a few days ago, and I thought I'd ruminate on it a bit. So I'll put the smoking post on the back burner (hardy har har) until next week and shamelessly try to capitalise on a bit of good fortune.
I was rummaging through several articles on the recent measles outbreak in California, and I came across a comment by a paediatrician (who practices, likely not coincidentally, in California) named Mike Ginsberg which rang so true in my head that I took a screenshot of it so I could show Mrs. Bastard. Now I'm not a huge Twitter user with only around 1800 followers (FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER, DAMN IT), and the highest number of retweets I've ever gotten was about 150 a few months ago, which inexplicably made me very proud that that many people not only cared about what I said, but agreed with me.
After reading Dr.Ginsberg's comment again and mentally fist-bumping and/or bro-hugging him, however, I realised I shouldn't keep such medical gold to myself, so I decided I'd share it with the world (or at least, with my 1800 followers):
*drops microphone* #antivax #vaccineswork #VaccinateYourKids pic.twitter.com/1Nysbfkh7NYeah. YEAH! Damn right! Harrumph! Immediately after posting his quite breathtakingly elegant diatribe, however, I knew something was curiously awry. People started retweeting . . . and retweeting . . . and retweeting. As of this writing (about 36 hours later), it's been retweeted over 5000 times and counting. And @DocBastard, #VaccinateYourKids, and #vaccineswork were trending in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, London, Toronto, and Chicago. Hm . . . I didn't even know that a person could trend. Boy, I suck at Twitter . . . noob. Anyway, the vast majority of the comments I've seen on it have been very supportive of Dr. Ginsberg:
— Doc Bastard (@DocBastard) February 1, 2015
@DocBastard @JoeBanner13 doctor of the year right here!
— Wrock Hed (@wrockhed) February 1, 2015
@proudliberalmom so who's the pediatrician/my new best friend on Twitter this week, who originally posted this?
— Paul Lambert (@sdterp) February 1, 2015
Parents who won't vaccinate their kids are guilty of endangering their own kids & everyone else's @paulkidd @AlanBaxter @DocBastardBut unfortunately as with any story about vaccines anywhere, the usual anti-vaccine idiots came out of the woodwork:
— Julie (@NYCJulieNYC) February 1, 2015
@NYCJulieNYC @AlanBaxter @misterkristoff @DocBastard herd immunity is an unproven hypothesis with no scientific backing. Vaccinated
— Tuco Salamanca (@AzWingsFan) February 1, 2015
@DocBastard Just simple reading of an insert and realizing I didn't want formaldehyde and other toxins in my body.
— Nancy Mac (@nemtim1) February 1, 2015
@DocBastard @JoeBanner13 Another noble physician owned by the pharmaceutical companies. Well said lackey.
— tim (@timmyboyer) February 1, 2015
@AlanBaxter @misterkristoff @DocBastard Mike Ginsberg can go fuck himself. Would never bring my child to such a useless fuck
— Tuco Salamanca (@AzWingsFan) February 1, 2015
@DocBastard @5280Orange does anyone know what's even in these vaccines? Smh...
— Snickadelphia (@Snickadelphia) February 1, 2015
One clueless person (*cough* Snickadelphia *cough*) asked me if I knew what squalene was, thinking it was some dangerous-sounding toxic chemical (SQUALENE? OH MY GOD, RUN!) used in vaccines when in reality it's an intermediary in cholesterol synthesis and we all have it in our bodies right now in much higher concentrations than in any vaccine (same goes for formaldehyde, by the way). And then some comments have been downright hilarious.
.@DocBastard @SaraJBenincasa this guy should get to #cuntpunt @JennyMcCarthyThat guy gets a well-deserved harrumph. Much to the surprise of no one with an IQ higher than a naked mole rat's, some of the antivaxxers trotted out the same old trite, thoroughly untrue and/or unsubstantiated tropes like toxins, too much too soon, aluminum, formaldehyde, aborted fetal cells, cancer cells, Big Pharma, the government, and mercury.
— JKxZ (@JKxZ) February 1, 2015
I can't say I agree with 100% of what Dr. Ginsberg says (calling child protective services on these antivax parents may be going a tad overboard, not to mention useless and would only serve to alienate these misguided people even further), but other than that I'd say he hit the proverbial nail directly on its proverbial head. Over the past 36 hours I've been called a lot of things (including a fascist . . . really? Is your knowledge of political history that poor that you think this is fascism??), but I am heartened to say the Twitterverse overwhelmingly seems to agree with me and Dr. Ginsberg, as my follower count has risen by almost 40% (holy shit, who the hell are you people?). Also since then, I've gotten an email from an editor at an Australian newspaper, and even more surprisingly I got an offer from the Tech and Health editor at The Daily Beast to be a regular contributor for them.
I haven't decided yet if I'm going to accept The Daily Beast's offer, but I'm thinking about it. Regardless, I'm curious about others' views on Dr. Ginsberg's rather strong (and strongly-worded) opinion.