Tuesday, May 28, 2019

They are doing the right thing in Maine.

According to this piece in CNN, Maine is now the fourth state to do the sensible thing and prohibit people from opting out of immunizations on religious and philosophical grounds. 

Good for Maine!

Of course, I am almost tempted to take some credit for this. I almost want to claim that I called a meeting at the Jersey City headquarters of the American branch of the Illuminati and gave the order to my minions—just as I had done when I ordered the measles outbreak up in New York, according to the State of the Nation website—but it would be really dishonest of me to do so.

In all seriousness, this is a step in the right direction. But it’s also staggering to consider that in 2019 only three other states—California, West Virginia, and Mississippi—have ended religious exemptions to life-saving vaccinations. As I have written before, are we completely committed to returning to the Dark Ages where we are willing to let people suffer and die out of superstitious fear when the power to prevent diseases exist? When it has existed for decades and has saved lived for decades? 

This issue is so frustrating because we see the political power of people so ignorant as to not realize that the religious liberties guaranteed by the Constitution are not without boundaries. Your rights to practice the worship of your invisible magical beings does not outweigh others’ rights to their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. People are not allowed to infect others, to spread death and disease out of religious liberties. Saying that people ought to be allowed to opt out of vaccinations on religious grounds is like saying that I had visions where my deity commands me to drink a half a bottle of whiskey every Friday night, then get in a car and drive it as fast as I can, and I must be allowed to do so by law enforcement lest my religious liberties be trampled upon.

The First Amendment rightly protects people’s consciences and allows them to believe as they choose or not to believe as they choose. But it does not give them the right to force their beliefs on others and it certainly does not give them the right to put others’ lives in danger because of religious belief.

So now the rest of the states need to do the right thing, too, and they must protect the lives of their citizens. There must be no exemptions to vaccinations allowed for anything other than medical reasons.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

No, you should NOT have the right to do your own research and make a choice!

This is an interesting article from a couple of weeks ago that was just brought to my attention. It’s a piece by Jennifer Reich, a sociologist and author of the book “Calling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccines,” condensing the topic of her book. Both the book and the article give a glimpse of the complex decision-making processes of people who refuse to vaccinate their kids. 

Reich especially focuses on the kind of damage unvaccinated children can do to herd immunity, or the way measles epidemics can spread when a large enough segment of a population is not immunized. Parents refuse to consider the greater, herd immunity factor because, as Reich argues, of a cultural atmosphere of hyper-individualized parenting. Parents who have come to believe that vaccines are harmful to their children will quickly and readily ignore the greater good in an effort to protect their own children from a perceived threat.

This complete and total disregard for the greater social good is as infuriating as the fact that somehow at the start of the twenty-first century so much of the world, even parts of the so-called developed world like the U.S. and Europe, is slipping into a new Dark Age of superstition, ignorance, and beliefs in unsubstantiated pseudoscientific crap being shoveled all over the internet by charlatans and conspiracy theorists. And remember what I wrote in several of my posts here: I’m a libertarian and I am all for individuality. I am passionate about forms of government that allow their citizens as much individuality as possible. But I am also passionate about empirical scientific facts, about reason and rationality. Vaccines work! Period! This is a fact that has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. We know that vaccines work just like we know that that Earth is round. Vaccines DO NOT cause autism!! This, too, has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. And vaccines are not a New World Order/Illuminati/Satanist plot to depopulate the world, or whatever deranged fantasies predators and nightcrawlers like Alex Jones, State of the Nation, The Millennium Report, and the rest of the festering moral cesspool that is the “truther” community keeps propagating for attention and profit.

Reich’s article also points out the other frustrating aspect of the hyper-individualistic parents; the parents who want to have the “right to do their own research and make up their minds about vaccines.” Is this sort of behavior not want to make you test which is harder, your head or the nearest concrete wall? Is this not the height of the most toxic sort of hubris, the most insane form of solipsistic behavior? I definitely think so. And, remember, I’m the individualist libertarian! However, facts are facts. Consider the following: if any of these concerned parents suddenly heard a banging and wheezing noise come out of their car’s engine just a moment before said car sputtered to a stop and died on the side of the road, what would they do? Would they pop the hood, roll up their sleeves and go to work trying to fix it right then and there? Would they whip out their smart phones and Google “how to fix dead engine?” Of course, not! They would call a tow truck and have that car taken to an expert to fix the problem. So sorry, folks, but this is why I have no patience and sympathy for the let-the-parents-do-the-research-and-make-up-their-own-minds crowd. The average Middle American soccer mom does not have the ability to research the issue on her own and come to accurate conclusions. Unless that soccer mom has medical training and is a physician, she has no business making decisions about whether or not to vaccinate! This is also why I am once again being uncharacteristically un-libertarian in favoring very tough punitive legal measures against people who refuse to vaccinate their children.

Now I do agree with Reich’s argument—and the arguments of many other dismayed doctors and scientists—that the real villains in the recent measles outbreaks are not necessarily the parents themselves. The parents are merely gullible and ignorant of scientific and medical data. And, of course, they are also fearful. I completely understand the kind of dread fear any parent might have over the thought of their child becoming sick, disabled for life, or dying. I am completely sympathetic to the fact that any decent parent will always fear for their child’s health and welfare. But the real villains are the ones who feed on this fear, who exploit it, who tell parents lies.

The real villains are the anti-vaccination activists, the conspiracy-peddling vampires like Jones, the State of the Nation editorial staff, The Millennium Report web page, the Call for an Uprising YouTube channel and the rest of their sociopathic ilk.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Don't EVER make the fans angry!!

Last week I was interviewed for this CNBC article about the final season of Game of Thrones coming to a close and all of the controversy surrounding it.  Could the future of the show's DVD sales, a spinoff series, and producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss' involvement in upcoming Star Wars films be jeopardized by all the fan hate?

So I guess I called it right in the article. Apparently the fans were so infuriated by the final episode that many are vowing to retaliate now. Many are promising to stay away from Star Wars if Benioff and Weiss are involved, vowing to ignore a spinoff series, and there is that goofy Change.org petition to remake the entire season.

Reportedly, George R.R. Martin, author of the original novels, has hinted that he will take his remaining books in the series in a different direction. Again, as I called it in this article.

The power of culture and audiences should never, ever be underestimated. There are many who think the media are a completely irresistible force upon the minds of malleable, vulnerable audiences. People who believe that are very wrong.

Monday, May 20, 2019

As I was saying..."A Companion to the Action Film"

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm proud to have my chapter on Asian action films and their impact on Hollywood included in this new book by James Kendrick.

A genre that is often overlooked by film studies, this book includes essays by the most accomplished scholars of action cinema, including Lisa Purse, Mark Gallagher, Cynthia M. King, Susan Jeffords, and Yvonne Tasker, among others.

Far from being an entertainment of just shallow, kinetic spectacle, action films, as the essays in this volume explain, have long reflected a wide a range of social, political, and gender issues and controversies American society has wrestled with for over a century now.

So check out this book...and check out some of the best action films ever made.

Monday, May 13, 2019

The joy of horror!

And for a complete change of pace, check out this article about horror films on the Rewire webpage I was interviewed for. Horror's one of my favorite genres and this piece has a good discussion about why telling scary stories is one of the oldest forms of story telling.

When I teach my courses on horror films and media theories, we often come around to the discussion of horror and our need to feel fear. In fact, probably the first stories cave people told around the campfire were horror stories. The uses and gratifications theory of how audiences make their choices in entertainment and information also raises interesting questions about why people might be so enthusiastic to seek out films and books that will keep them up all night with fear. Our need to seek out a safe scare, the opportunity to experience the kind of fear you can stop at any time by changing the channel or closing the cover of the book, probably has a lot to do with it. Research has also shown that fans of extremely graphic horror films--the kinds that have been termed "torture porn"--like to watch such films as a sort of personal test. How long can they watch the blood and gore and mayhem before they cover their eyes?

But horror is most effective when it mirrors the real world and symbolically speaks to fears we have in our every day lives. The article discusses how the major horror films that attained iconic status over the decades had also been extremely effective metaphorical mirrors on the times they were made in.

Check it out for my comments and also great comments from James Kendrick, film professor from Baylor University who edited the new book "A Companion to the Action Film," in which I have a chapter on Asian action films.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

Well, the folks over at State of the Nation seem to have an incredibly high of opinion of me! They just blamed me for starting a massive "false flag" measles outbreak up in Rockland County, New York. I'm not kidding. Check out this delirious rant about me from a few days ago.

I almost missed the article since they weren't insulting me in the title.

They claim that my blogging about my frustration with parents who refuse to vaccinate their children was immediately followed by the measles outbreak in New York. It was suspiciously too soon after I blogged, SOTN claims. My post apparently was the command for the New World Order conspirators to infect people with measles so that New York authorities could respond by banning those infected from public places.

So SOTN is now making me out to be some kind of a Bondian super villain, sitting in my lair in Jersey City and issuing false flag orders to all of my NWO minions as a part of my diabolical plan...TO RULE ZA VORLD!!! MWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Seriously! Read the article. It sounds exactly like the rantings of a hopelessly deranged mind.

However, if you're running the SOTN web page and you actually take seriously what you write, shouldn't you be asking yourself one very important question right now? If Donovan is so powerful that he can just order a measles outbreak at will, what's to stop him from sending a black helicopter full of Illuminati assassins after you for attempting to foil his grand plans for global domination?

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Correction: The Repulsive State of the Nation

If you are ever targeted for insults and trolling by anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists, you should be proud of yourself because you are doing something right. You are doing some small bit of good to help dispel unfounded and deadly myths. You are helping shine a light on people who in every sense of the word can be called “terrorists.” They are a pack of jackals, predators who spread fear to parents concerned with the health and well-being of their children.

I recently seemed to have raised the ire of someone—or some group of people—behind a sleazy little fake-news and conspiracy theory web page called State of the Nation. I had written about these people before, but you can find a link to their main page right here. After you read most of their featured stories, you will, I’m sure, walk away feeling more than a bit unclean. Their headlines are now screaming about the measles outbreak across the country being a result of a government conspiracy secretly poisoning people with the virus. But the people responsible for SOTN also believe that the California fires had been started by laser beams from space and Notre Dame cathedral was burned down by those same lasers.

Then a couple of weeks ago one of the fans of SOTN sent me a series of emails with links to incontrovertible “proof” that vaccines are a health hazard and parents must resist vaccinating their children. These links to the “evidence” led to information so absurd, so laughable to anyone with an IQ greater than their shoe size that I needed to write a reply to the poor deluded soul who sent the email. Now the writer claimed to be a Saint Peter’s University student, something I am highly skeptical of. But I still tried to urge them to get their facts about the vaccination issue from sources other than web pages that blame the California fires on death rays from space.

I recently noticed that State of the Nation posted my letter. Check it out right here. In their reply, the people running SOTN take me to task for not refuting their long list of links to “high-integrity articles and scientific research papers” proving the deadly harm caused by vaccines. They also inform me that the editor of SOTN—whoever this person is, since he or she does not reveal their name, probably out fear of being assassinated by the Illuminati hit squads of the globalist New World Order—is “Board Certified in Integrative Medicine.” So this individual must know true scientific evidence when he/she sees it, right? Since they’re board certified, you know.

Well, their board certification does at least make them sharp enough to catch spelling errors, so I am impressed by that much of their “open letter” to me. They do point out that I used the word “pray” when I meant “prey” when referring to the unconscionable lowlife of the alternative news community who PREY on the gullible, fearful, and weak-minded. Well, all I can say is that gall-dinged autocorrect got the best of me, actually giving away its Satanic Illuminati programming that had been installed all across cyberspace by the Y2K bug, hinting at how the members of the East Coast Intelligentsia pray three times each day to the Antichrist for the chance to incarcerate the children of American patriots in FEMA camps targeted by death rays from space.

But do not let me digress. The board certified individual behind SOTN accuses me of not refuting their plethora of evidence in all of the links they—or one of their devoted readers—emailed me. But, in fact, I did exactly that. Let me explain…

As I wrote, “facts…are NOT unsubstantiated claims made by other silly conspiracy theorists. You are NOT doing cutting edge research by reading and listening to the rantings of dozens of other websites, YouTube videos, and blogs linked to by State of the Nation.”

The “evidence” offered for most of the ridiculous claims made by SOTN—from the dangers of vaccines to space weapons burning California—are nothing more than links to the web pages of other conspiracy theorists. When one follows one of these links, they wind up at some other conspiracy site where someone is making crazy, unsubstantiated claims about Freemasonic Satanists or crisis actors. Now since the editor of SOTN is a board certified medical professional, one would think that he would know what real scientific, empirical evidence looks like. And, best of all, most of SOTN’s links promising “hard scientific evidence” are actually links back to yet other SOTN posts making unsubstantiated claims about yet more conspiracies.

For example, the first link in the open letter by the board certified editor of SOTN promises evidence of a “PSYOP to Compel Vaccination Compliance: Measles-Infected Residents Banned from Public Places in Rockland County.” But when you click on the link, you wind up at another SOTN link that summarizes a very short article from a web page called ZeroHedge.com about the measles outbreak in New York City. Disappointingly enough, there is no evidence of any “psyop” anywhere in the article. ZeroHedge, by the way, is an alt-right conspiracy web page run by someone with the rather unoriginal pen name of “Tyler Durden.”

Then we have a second link to what promises to be an article about a lawyer who “demolishes pro-vaccine talking points.” Looks intriguing, doesn’t it? Except the fact is that court decisions or arguments by lawyers do not qualify as scientific evidence. And, moreover, when you click on the link, you wind up at…wait for it…another SOTN page! You didn’t see that one coming, did ya? 

Well, in case you keep reading, you do have the article giving the full text of a lawyer making an anti-vaxxer argument, supporting his case by references to a Dr. Mark Geier, a supposed “moderate” in the vaccination issue. A very quick online check of Geier reveals, however, that he’s had his medical license suspended in several states and eventually revoked for administering harmful treatment protocols to children with autism.

This article, which is supposed to demolish the pro-vaccination position, does eventually make reference to a reputable physician and researcher, a Dr. Gergory Poland of the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Poland’s work, unfortunately, has often been misquoted and mischaracterized by anti-vaxxers. He does, if fact, support vaccinations.

And so it goes. The rest of the State of the Nation list of articles amounts to this type of slight-of-hand. They’re loud, click bait titles that link back to other SOTN articles or postings on other conspiracy and anti-vaxxer web pages.  

Now I am not going to continue responding to all those links…right now. The thing is that I have a life and I have a full time job that makes enough demands on my time that I am not able to reply to the massive piles of nonsense like this. When academics and scientists usually give up on replying to all the quackery, the pseudoscience, the conspiracy theories of all the charlatans and cranks out there, it is not because they are unable to dismiss the incontrovertible hard truth of the anti-vaxxer claims, the crisis-actor fantasies, or false-flag delusions. It is simply because they don’t have the time to reply to the sheer volume of fabrications the conspiracy community foists upon the world every single day. 

But I think I will come back to both this list of links and the rest of the toxic sludge that makes up the State of the Nation web page. The board certified editor pleads that the information on his page be disseminated to SPU and other universities and colleges around the country. So yes, the information about the deception, mischaracterizations of science, and fearmongering most definitely will be disseminated. 

And yes, I most definitely wish that children could be legally taken away from parents who refuse to give them life-saving vaccines. Refusing to vaccinate a child is nothing short of child abuse.

But that is all for just now…I do need to make it to a New World Order Illuminati pizza party where I will be given my next round of instructions by my clandestine sponsors of falsehood.