Whirled Musings

Across the Universe with Cosmic Connie, aka Connie L. Schmidt...or maybe just through the dung-filled streets and murky swamps of pop culture -- more specifically, the New-Age/New-Wage crowd, pop spirituality & religion, pop psychology, self(ish)-help, business babble, media silliness, & related (or occasionally unrelated) matters of consequence. Hope you're wearing boots. (By the way, the "Cosmic" bit in my moniker is IRONIC.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Vaxxed: Robert De Hero v. the conspiracy loons

Note: There is an update to this story; see below.
~CC, 13 April 2016

Even as this isn't normally a political blog (except when it is), it's also not your average skeptical/pro-science blog, though I pretty much lean towards those camps on most issues. Clearly I am not a scientist, professional researcher or medical practitioner of any type, so when I snark about scammers who claim expertise in these areas, my focus is generally on the Scamworld aspect of their shenanigans rather than on a deconstruction of the claims they make regarding health and science issues. Write what you know, in other words, and even though I don't have the deep knowledge of how Scamworld works that, say, Salty Droid does, I can pretty much tell a scam or scammer in the New-Wage/selfish-help/McSpirituality/alt-health areas when I see one.

That said, one current story with a strong scientific/health angle has grabbed my attention:
the anti-vaccination or anti-vax movement's attacks on actor Robert De Niro. De Niro is being lauded as a hero by some for making the decision not to air the discredited anti-vax flick Vaxxed at his Tribeca Film Festival, apparently making that decision based upon some rational input. Or maybe he was kinda shamed into his decision (which is not the same as intimidation)... but he should be ashamed for pushing the film before he did any research. Regardless of his motivation, I'm pretty much leaning towards the "hero" p.o.v. where he's concerned. [NOTE: I have since changed my mind. ~CC, May 2016]
As per usual in cases like this, some very stupid and/or irresponsible people are slamming De Niro for his decision. Not surprisingly the incident has added new fuel to the already raging anti-vax conspiracy fires... or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that it has given a shot in the arm to the conspiracy theorists, giving rise to a whole Internet full of whining about "censorship" and even more dastardly deeds.

this, for instance, in which the writer speculates that De Niro was "threatened."

And this bit from the ill-named "Truth Kings" blog,
speculating about an elaborate conspiracy that even includes Hillary Clinton.

There are dozens more examples on the Interwebz; you can easily find them.

I find it endlessly amusing, though also annoying, that whenever someone says or does something that the fanatics don't agree with, they automatically assume that the person is either being paid off or that he or she was intimidated/threatened.
The facts don't matter if the story is good.

I also find it amusing that
Loony Leonard Coldwell has accused De Niro of being a "coward," when Coldwell has displayed nothing but cowardice in his efforts to silence his critics -- suing them, lying about them, and doxing them in an attempt to get others to harm them on his behalf, while remaining in hiding himself. Or, as UK blogger Longdog so aptly put it in a recent post, "...Lenny YOU are the spineless coward." 

Not surprisingly Coldwell is a virulent anti-vaxxer, just like his current political idol Donald Drumpf, who has said some truly idiotic things about vaccinations and autism. Coldwell himself has frequently claimed that there is no such thing as a safe or effective vaccine, and has even suggested that doctors and parents who insist on vaccinating kids should be tried for attempted murder. 

Coldwell has no medical or scientific credentials at all, but that has never stopped him from making the most outrageously stupid declarations about health and science matters.

On the other hand,
here's a truly qualified professional's view about the Tribeca/Vaxxed drama. The author is Orac, aka Dr. David Gorski, who has been patiently reporting and debunking the anti-vaxxers for years.

here's an earlier post from Orac, focusing on the hysterical coverage of the De Niro drama by Mike "The Health Ranger" Adams, who is bigger on sensationalism than he is on nuanced truth.

But I don't expect the conspiracy fires around this one to go out any time soon. Because, you know...the facts don't matter...

PS ~ Have I mentioned lately
how great it is to have Salty Droid back in operation?

Related reading:

Update 13 April 2016: Maybe he's just bowing to pressure from nutcakes and trying to play both sides, but Robert De Niro went on NBC's Today show this morning and seemed to try to score a point or two for the nutty side. Even though he stated that he is not anti-vaccine (he's just "pro-safe vaccine"), he says he now sort of regrets pulling Vaxxed from the Tribeca Film Festival, and he thinks people should see it and make up their own minds. The father of an autistic son, DeNiro cited tales of parents of autistic kids who seemed all right until getting vaccinated, and then "something just changed overnight."

When one of the interviewers asked him if that had been the experience with his son (who is now eighteen), De Niro hedged and said he didn't really remember, but that his wife sure noticed something. In essence he said he pulled the film from the festival because he didn't have time or energy to deal with the controversy, but will revisit it when he has time. Overall, despite the interviewers pointing out that the anti-vax p.o.v. -- and the film, as well as Andrew Wakefield -- had been discredited, De Niro seemed to be leaning in favor of the anti-vaxxers, mentioning "hysteria" and "knee jerk reactions" from the scientific community, without saying anything about the hysteria and knee jerk reactions of the anti-vax contingent. But at least maybe he'll win the praise of idiots like LoonyC. Nice work, Bob. Here's
a link to a vid of the interview. The Vaxxed part begins at about 2:15.

Update 25 May 2016: It appears that my wordplay with De Niro's name in this post's title is increasingly inaccurate. Here's Orac at Respectful Insolence.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Anonymous Jim Brown said...

Hey, I've got a great idea, you government paid troll who talks "HATE" on Vaxxed can go down to your nearest pharmacy and get ALL the available vaccines FOR FREE..... I'll work on setting up a donations page right away to make sure all of you can have all the vaccinations you can stand.......... That should help to clean up the internet and Blogger comments as a bonus....... Come on people, aren't you tired of these trolls ??..... This is your best opportunity to help clean up the internet !!!..... ARE YOU WITH ME ???

You would not believe how evil and sinister the medical mafia is. These guys make the tobacco companies look like boy scouts. They are backed by big banking. The real power of the drug cartels is big banking, yes it is big banking that is destroying your lives. It is also banking that is financing every war on the planet and they own Hillary Clinton. Nobody owns Trump, except Trump? He is his own one man band of egomaniacal insanity.

To Connie, and of course you are an expert on the effects of various heavy metals on your nervous system and brain, right..... So you go right ahead, get every new vaccine that comes out, including the ones that you may have missed as a child..... But when you start supporting MANDATORY vaccinations, now YOUR ignorance
is attacking ME, and everyone else,

Sunday, April 10, 2016 4:25:00 PM  
Blogger Cosmic Connie said...

So I take it you're not a Trump fan either. Too bad; he would welcome you, since you're anti-vax and also since he recently declared: "I love the poorly educated!"

Thank you for validating my point about conspiracy loons who automatically assume that anyone who says or writes something they don't agree with is being paid (usually by the government, or Big Pharma, or some such). Idiots like fake doctor and cancer quack Leonard Coldwell have accused me of being a Big Pharma shill, and apparently he has convinced a few other cretins as well.

I am very aware of how the fight is fixed for the rich -- though I think war profiteering is the biggest problem of all and arguably the force behind a lot of other grievous wrongs. That doesn't mean that I buy into every nutcake conspiracy theory that comes along.

But hey, I'll gladly accept donations. You don't even have to set up a donation page for me (though I thank you for the offer); there's already a donation button on this blog, as there has been since March 2010 (though donations are very few and far between). However, I won't spend the money for vaccinations.

For that matter I've never actually endorsed mandatory vaccinations for all, in all circumstances. All I've done is kick some sand in the faces of the egregiously misinformed and the drooling idiots who take a hard anti-vax line. And the point of THIS blog post has been to poke fun at the dumb conspiracy tales around Robert De Niro's very reasonable decision not to show a discredited and debunked "documentary" film at Tribeca.

OMT: you really can't call me a "troll" when I am writing on my own blog. If anything, you're the troll in this context. But I let trolls have their say too, because I get a kick out of watching them make fools of themselves. Thanks for the entertainment, Jimbo.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016 12:03:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home