Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Antivaxxers make The Onion. Not for the first time

Ever ripe for accidental self satire, the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) is at it again. As always, don't let the name fool you. Indeed, the only accurate word in the name might be "center," as one could argue that their current location is conceivably at the center of something (a maelstrom of some sort, perhaps?). But the rest? The 'national' might imply something government related or at least nationally useful. It is not. The 'vaccine' might imply something vaccine related. Only if by "related" you mean, "want them not to exist." The 'information' seems to imply that this group supplies information, perhaps even information related to vaccines. Hmm. Information.


And now NVIC has made The Onion, bringing the satire full circle to bite them on their own behinds. Vaccines are a frequent topic in The Onion. Perhaps no Onion article is as succinct in satirizing the irrationality of anti-vaccine claims as this one, a list of the pros and cons of vaccinating (Sample pro: "Flies in the face of science by discrediting single unanimously refuted paper from 10 years ago." Sample con: "You have to go to a place."). But just in time for Halloween, Onion writers have brought together NVIC and candy in a deliciously sweet installment of their "American Voices" department in which they mock NVIC's plan to stick anti-vaccine messages onto Halloween candy (Sample voice: "Medical advice always seems more legitimate when stapled to a box of Milk Duds").

The news of this plan broke, as far as I can tell, at io9, which features an NVIC-created image of their antivaccine message taped to Kit Kat bars, ready for distribution to unsuspecting and probably already vaccinated children on Halloween. I'm not sure how many children the NVIC folk have been around, but if they're imagining that the wee little tots in their Frozen costumes and ninja duds are going to select a Kit Kat, carefully examine the wrapper for vaccine-related messages, and then carefully preserved said message for their parents -- well, that scenario is about as accurate as the NVIC name.

The one reader here who might have read The Moonstone would recognize that this NVIC attempt to proselytize the unsuspecting stranger is redolent of the Victorian practice of handing out evangelical tracts to sinners, each tract containing a cautionary tale deemed suitable for the sinner's transgression (sample tract described in The Moonstone: "A Word with You on Your Cap Ribbons"). The tracts in the novel ended up discarded, unread. I have almost no doubt that any related missives adhered to the wrapper of a chocolate bar will meet the same fate. And they're too late anyway. If you're old enough to trick-or-treat and eat Kit Kats, odds are that you're well into your childhood vaccine schedule.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering if the anti-GMO crowd is now considering putting a dueling message on the Kit Kats, given the candy's reputation for being a gateway food to a Monsanto addiction.

1 comment:

  1. If you like The Onion, you'll love The Spudd. Sample, in which Suzanne Humphries fails to see the satire:

    http://thespudd.com/anti-vaccine-doctor-has-letter-published-in-medical-journal-wows-colleagues/

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