Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Anti Anti-Vaxxer Satire: Jenny McCarthy Takes Her Dog to the Vet

I wasn't a fan of Jenny McCarthy back when she was on MTV or in Playboy, but posing nude or sticking your tongue out on camera are neutral actions for me. I didn't give her existence much thought, one way or another.

But several incarnations later, the "actress" and View co-host has become one of the leading voices in the anti-vaxxer movement that gained momentum despite lacking scientific credibility. She urges parents to not vaccinate their children, hearkening to a discredited study that linked the injection to autism. Thousands of studies have proven otherwise yet the anti-vaxxers still insist and persist.

Part of the reason they are so persuasive is because vaccines have been so effective. We rarely see the diseases they prevent and we don't know how bad things can get. But as the daughter of older parents, I have heard my mother describe the fear that would accompany summertime in New York, which is when outbreaks of polio would spike. My great aunt (my mother's aunt) contracted the virus. The result: her face was partially paralyzed, which also slurred her speech.

When Jonas Salk introduced the polio vaccine, "My mother rushed us out to get it," my mother recalled.

Because this great aunt survived her bout with polio and lived a long life, I was able to see firsthand the effects of the virus against which I had been vaccinated as a baby. The features on one side of her face were tugged upward and on a slant as though there were invisible marionette strings pulling on the corner of mouth and eye.

I don't think you need to witness the effects of a disease such as polio to understand that you don't want your child to get it. Open a history book or search "iron lung" on the internet. Polio is still a big problem in places like Pakistan. And in the age of globalization, it's "have virus, will travel." Problems such as disease rarely stay local.

Which brings me to my first contribution to Medium, which is a satirical look at the anti-vaxxer position, imagining what a visit to the vet looks like for McCarthy after she refuses to vaccinate her dog, using the same reasoning that she does for not vaccinating children.

McCarthy: Vaccines cause autism so therefore dogs that are vaccinated can get autism. This isn’t hard to understand.Miller: Let me reassure you, autism spectrum disorders have never been diagnosed in canines.McCarthy: Haven’t been diagnosed yet. The last time Ping Pong received shots at this office, he stopped sniffing butts at the dog park for days. He just dug a hole alone in the corner of the field.

Check the rest out here and let me know what you think.

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