About a week ago, I laid a bit of the ol’ Orac-style ultra-snarkiness on CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta for having done an embarrassingly credulous interview with two of Oprah’s minions who participated in the atrocity that was Oprah’s episode about faith healer John of God. One of the most disappointing things about Dr. Gupta’s interview is that he seemed fairly clueless about John of God’s “forceps in the nose” trick. Well, while I happened to be perusing incoming links last night, I came across the very good Skepdic article on John of God. Honored that Orac would be mentioned in such a fine, well-established skeptical resource, I looked over the entry again and noted that Robert Carroll had added to his original article. More fascinating was that Carroll had apparently dug up evidence from an old report that Dr. Gupta did that shows that he should have known about the trickery:
Yes, it’s Dr. Gupta reporting on the “human blockhead” trick and explaining why it’s anatomically possible to stick rather long objects into your nose without injuring yourself–if you know what you’re doing, of course. He even demonstrated it on himself, albeit with a Q-Tip rather than an actual nail, probably a wise thing if he wanted to avoid accidentally perforating his nasopharynx. Be that as it may, apparently Dr. Gupta’s memory is rather short. It wouldn’t have taken much for him in his interview with Susan Casey and Dr. Jeff Rediger about John of God and Oprah Winfrey’s episode about him to point out that the “forceps in the nose” trick is nothing more than a variation on the blockhead trick. He could have even shown a clip from this old report and asked Casey and Rediger what they say about it.