I Will Not Follow The Herd, an op-ed posted to Persephone Magazine, is an extremely effective piece of satire. So effective, that unless you read it all the way through, you would have no idea that the author is being facetious. And you need to read it all the way through. Right now.
The entire post opens with this ridiculous introduction:
“I wish I had educated myself more before my first daughter was born. I can never undo my choices, and I will forever worry about the unnecessary danger I put her in, all the chemical exposure, the potentially life-threatening risks I put her through.”
It sounds exactly like the foreboding opening to an anti-vaccination scare piece, but she isn’t talking about vaccines. She’s talking about car seats. Her tone is deadly serious, and this woman commits. She goes on to describe, complete with charts, articles, and suspect internet research, all of the dangers of car seats, including the chemicals they contain, statistic after statistic regarding car seat and seat belt injuries, and of course, autism:
“a) Kids with autism have overwhelmingly spent time in car seats.
Every single child I know who has autism spent time in car seats, most of them for many hours EVERY WEEK. Think about how many hours of toxic chemicals that adds up to by the time the child is 18 months old, when signs of autism first tend to show up.”
The post is a wondrous, magical treasure trove of fallacious reasoning, anecdotal (but totally true!) evidence, and a scathing take down of the nebulous but evil Big Business that fuels the car sear racket, with Big Government firmly in their pockets. After all, she points out, Americans buy over 12 million car seats a year, which adds up fast. Plus, it isn’t like you can buy them used. Do the math, sheeple.
She hits every space on the anti-vaxxer bingo board, including natural immunity, “but they don’t even work!”, and a chart that backs up her claim that automotive fatalities actually went up with the introduction of seat belts in the 1950s. In the face of such evidence, she wants to know how anyone can sleep at night, knowing that they strapped their infants into these deadly little autism factories.
It is all so glorious that words truly fail me. Of course, the entire piece is satire, and the author points out toward the end that the major difference between her argument and arguments against vaccination is that if she chose to follow through on her research, the only one affected would be her own child. This is in stark contrast to staunch anti-vaxxers, who put others at risk with their furious Googling and their BFA from Internet U. You can find evidence to support even the dumbest theories, she says.
“All one has to do is decide on a hypothesis, and Google will provide ‘evidence’ to support it. That doesn’t make it real.”
Truer words have never been spoken. I feel like I can’t go a single day without being confronted with a new barrage of people on Facebook posting dubious claims and stupid ecards in regards to anti-vaccination. There is pretty much nothing you can say that will illustrate to someone who has already made up their mind about vaccines just how stupid they sound. I usually just unfriend them before my head explodes or I stab myself in the eye, but now that I have this little gem bookmarked, maybe I’ll just respond to them with a link to it before I jet pack out.