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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Been Reading

So, I've been reading The Daily Gonzo, and she's just cracking me up. And making me angry. Not at her, but at my favorite quackery spokesperson, Jenny McCarthy. 

She's brought up Jenny's complete and total salesmanship on this. It's almost irrelevant about whether or not she believes or doesn't believe in what she's selling. She's definitely selling it -- and herself. She's getting paid big bucks for speaking engagements. She's got a "non profit" website that sells crap and sells advertising spots to more places, and she's obviously been coached (or has a good instinct) for how best to market this. Gone are fart jokes, naked photos, and goofy faces. Also gone are any references to "Indigo Moms" or "Crystal Children." Referring to God in new agey terms is out, too. In are "serious faces" and "Gosh, now I'm a mommy so my life is sooo changed" remarks. Out is having a special child, in is having an injured child. Whether or not he's "cured" depends on the day of the week and the direction of the wind, from what I can tell. 

Hey, it's true that being a mommy changes your life, but it's disingenuous to claim your son's autism was caused by the toxins in his vaccine when you  smoked  through pregnancy and went straight to formula.  Also? I find it ironic that she's got a love of injecting herself with diseases. Does she know what botox is? Well, I suppose bacteria is organic. 

Anyway, I'm leaning less on the idea that Jenny really believes this stuff and more on the side that she's found a marketing angle and is playing her audience for fools while relying on mommy sympathy  to deflect criticism. 

Now, I don't think selling yourself for speaking engagements, selling your products, or selling commercial slots on your website is wrong (obviously), but selling quackery you may not even believe in with a carefully crafted image? That. Pisses me off. 


  1. Oh thank you!!
    Sometimes I'm thinking I'm being too harsh on the biomed nutters, but then I read things like this.
    Nicotine patches for children!
    They're just so insane.

  2. That's so insane. Gah.

    I've seen groups of parents get together and talk about all the "yeast" treatments and "Jenny's diet" and conspiracies about poisoned batches of vaccines, and all the other crap, and it's just. just. yeah.

    Jenny does such a disservice to parents by putting a celebrity mom face on all that quackery and stringing them along with the whole "recovery" spiel.

  3. The most disturbing thing about it is, that these parents always say how expensive it is to have an autistic child, and how they need to cure it because they are worried about its future, it's so nonsensical to me, if they saved all that money they spend on quackery, they could put it in a trustfund, or some savings plan, and when the kid's grown up, it would actually benefit from that.

  4. It is expensive to get actual, legit treatments. I can't imagine throwing your money away on quackery on top of that. When my son was diagnosed, they recommended he receive 24-40 hours of intensive therapy per week including speech and ABA. I priced it out, and that would run around $2000 per month. We're awfully attached to supplying the family food and shelter, so we do the best we can between preschool and working with him ourselves at home.

    There is some indication that early intensive therapy improves outcomes later on. (If it's done right. I've heard horror stories about ABA done wrong, too. ) So theoretically spending the money now is an investment in your child's future.

    Speaking of future... You don't know what the future will hold for any child. Experts can't even guess. It could be an advanced degree in engineering, or it could be a group home. It doesn't help that there's the often repeated (and widely inaccurate) statistic that 75% of boys with autism are also MR.

    I can understand the desperation parents face when they look at a child who isn't talking, who isn't affectionate, who isn't developing at the same rate as their peers. It's easy to forget that the child you have today is no the child you will see in the future. And I don't blame them for wanting to give their kids an easier path.

    But it's pure denial to think there is any such thing as a magic bullet solution. And companies who prey on parents' denial and desperation with snake oil quackery are the lowest form of bottom feeders.