A Reality Check: Stick & Stones

Greetings puny Earthlings.

Words can kill.

It's true. In fact, if someone of my species says the word "feldspar" in just the right tone of voice, the heads of everyone within earshot will pop like zits.

However, things are different on your wretched little planet. You Earthlings love to talk and talk and talk, and you love to talk out of your asses as much as out of your mouths.

Lately you've been talking out of your asses about words. Take a look at these examples:

1. A publisher is releasing a bowdlerized version of Mark Twain's
Huckleberry Finn, eliminating the dread "N word" to get rid of the racism in a novel that was written as a statement against racism. Henceforth leaving the word for rappers the world over.

2. Canadian broadcast regulators have banned the original edit of Dire Straits' song "Money For Nothing" from radio for its use of the word "faggot." Suddenly giving radio stations an excuse to play the song after 25+ years.

3. The media and left-wing blogosphere rushed to shit kittens after the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of 6 others blaming the "violent" "military" rhetoric of those pesky evil right wingers. It later turned out that the only rhetoric spurring that sick bastard on was the stuff being spoken in his head. That didn't matter, the left manufactured their version of events, and it will no doubt be cited whenever the case is referenced from now till doomsday.

Anyway, back to my point.

These three cases of either censorship, attempted censorship, or outright libel in an attempt to stifle free speech are all done in the name of saving lives. Those who lash out over words say that people hear or read these words, and that these words make them act violently towards their fellow man.

Well, here are some words for you: That's a lot of bullshit.

You see the words that "kill" the most are not rude names, or "violent" imagery. The deadliest words are the ones that claim that they are acting solely in the best interests of making the world a better place.

The history of the 20th-21st centuries are rife with obvious cases of dictators promising socialist/communist/Islamic utopias to motivate their followers to engage in mass slaughter, but I'd like to take a moment to discuss the lesser known moments when words coming out of the mouths of seemingly well meaning people have led to death and destruction.

This is Rachel Carson.

Her words have killed millions of people all over the world.

Did she used racist or homophobic language or so-called violent rhetoric?


She wrote a book called
Silent Spring which blamed the pesticide DDT for everything from cancer, thinning egg shells on bald eagles, to possibly the great fire of Rome, and practically invented the field of hysterical environmentalism that dominates academia, media and government today.

As it turned out, studies showed reduced rates of cancer among people exposed to DDT, the eagle egg problem came from the improper use of DDT as an agricultural pesticide, and not for the killing of malarial mosquitoes in stagnant ponds as it was designed for.

Yet her campaign against the chemical led to it being banned all over the world.

And millions of people in tropical nations died and continue to die from malaria every year.

Also the movement she helped spawn has helped hinder research into not just chemicals, but also medicine, and the use of resources that could have lifted millions out of poverty and suffering.

But she meant well, and I guess that's enough, because to the left, she's a saint.

Then there's Jenny McCarthy.

She meant well when she started a campaign to blame her son's autism on vaccines, based on a study that has now been exposed as a massive fraud and a hoax.

However, her campaign, and her response that anyone who dared question the study, or her assertions, were somehow in the pay of a sinister "vaccine lobby" led to who knows how many parents skipping vaccines for their children. What we do know is that your planet, especially North America saw an upshot in preventable diseases among children.

It may take years before you figure out how many of these children died because of their parent's desire to believe a minor celebrity conspiracy-theorizing about a barely understood field of medicine over rational scientific procedure, but I can tell you something you can bet dollars to zlotnorx on:

I believe that more people have died because of the rhetoric of Jenny McCarthy than have died because of the rhetoric of Sarah Palin.

Face it, a small percentage will believe anything that someone on TV tells them. 15% of people surveyed actually believed that Loughner dickweed was acting on orders from the Tea Party, a percentage believe that Dick Cheney blew up New Orleans' levees, and that the Jews working at the World Trade Center got phone calls to not go to work on 9.11. 2001.

There will always be people who will believe any shit that gets stuck in their ears, and when these people get into positions of power in government, academia, and the media, they can do a hell of a lot of damage with their so-called good intentioned words.

Way more damage than anyone can do with a rude name.

Keep watching the skies because we're watching you.


Ed Darrell said...

Part I:

Interesting to me that you can get it just about right with Jenny McCarthy's abuse of science, just after having abused science similarly yourself with regard to DDT, malaria and Rachel Carson.

In reverse order:

You said: "Also the movement she helped spawn has helped hinder research into not just chemicals, but also medicine, and the use of resources that could have lifted millions out of poverty and suffering."

The environmental movement at least doubled research money in the U.S. into those very problems in the decade following her book, and doubled it again in the following decade. Today, most of the most promising research on things like malaria control come from research funding initiatives set up by people who were inspired by Rachel Carson, using science -- very good science -- developed based on the science she cited.

Your claim is erroneous in all of its particulars.

Second, you said: "And millions of people in tropical nations died and continue to die from malaria every year."

Malaria deaths have continued to decline almost every year since DDT use was slowed -- not stopped, and slowed because of DDT overuse and abuse, not because of any ban -- so that today the death toll from malaria is the lowest in human history, well under a million a year. Deaths have been decreased by use of the methods of malaria fighting Rachel Carson urged in her book, Silent Spring, in 1962. Sad that it took so many years to implement them -- many nations turned to Carson's methods only after 2000, after all pesticide and other "magic" solutions failed.

Exactly contrary to your statement, millions of people owe their lives to Rachel Carson. About 4 million people a year died from malaria in 1962; today, fewer than a million. If you wish to attribute that to Carson, you'd have to say she's saving 3 million people a year.

That's just simple math. How did you get that so wrong?


Anonymous said...


Just FYI.