Respectful Insolence

Can we just say that vaccines are safe, already? Can we just say that, of all the medical interventions ever conceived by the minds of humans, vaccines have almost certainly saved more lives and prevented more illness? Can we finally say that vaccines do not cause autism?

Of course not, unfortunately. I ask the same question about whether we can finally say that the earth isn’t 6,000 years old, but rather billions of years old, and there are still people out there who believe that evolution is a sham and the earth really is only 6,000 years old. Truly, the irrationality of humans is without bounds. So it is with vaccines, where, despite mountains of evidence testifying to their efficacy and safety and large studies failing to find even the whiff of a hint of a link between vaccines and autism that, for all intents and purposes, it is reasonable to conclude that there is no such link. None of this stops antivaccinationists from demonizing vaccines as a major cause of the “autism epidemic,” sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma, cancer, and just about every disease you can think of.

That’s why it always warms the cockles of my heart (if a Plexiglass box of blinky lights has a heart) to see yet another study trying to drive a stake in the heart of the vampire that is the myth that vaccines cause autism. In any rational world, the myth would have exploded into a pile of red goo and blood, like the vampires in True Blood when they’re staked, but, again, this is not a rational world. Still, it’s always worth reviewing more evidence that vaccines are safe, and yesterday there was a doozy of a summation of that evidence published in Pediatrics in the form of a massive review of the evidence regarding vaccine safety carried out by investigators from the RAND Corporation, UCLA, and Boston Children’s Hospital.

This study came about because the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) requested an evidence report on the safety of vaccines recommended for routine immunization of adults, children, and adolescents. in order to identify gaps in evidence. This review article therefore reviews the safety of vaccines recommended for routine use in children aged 6 years and younger and presents the results of a comprehensive and systematic review of scientific evidence, describes statistical associations between vaccines and adverse events (AEs), and reports on any risk factors identified. And, boy, was that review big:

As presented in Fig 1, 20,478 titles were identified through electronic literature searches; review of product inserts; review of Food and Drug Administration, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, and other Web sites; reference mining; and requests for Scientific Information Packets from drug manufacturers. Of those, 17 270 were excluded on review of abstract or title for reasons such as “not about a vaccine,” “vaccine not within the scope of this project” (formulations never available in the United States, recommended only for travel), or because they were animal studies. Upon full text review of the remaining 3208 articles, 392 were identified as relevant background/theoretical materials and set aside as potential references for the Introduction; 2749 other articles were excluded. The most common reason for exclusion was lack of suitable study design (1549): individual case reports, nonsystematic reviews, and studies using passive surveillance were excluded. Many publications (458) discussed vaccines on the recommended schedule but did not report or assess AEs. Eighty-eight studies on adults or adolescents were excluded for this article, as were 11 studies of children with preexisting conditions such as HIV, juvenile arthritis, or cancer, which left 67 studies. These studies are in addition to those included in the 2011 IOM consensus report Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality, which were not abstracted.

The schema is illustrated below:

Fig1vacc

People often wonder why such a large collection of references is routinely winnowed down so much in these review articles, it’s because the initial search is designed to find as many articles as possible, and the subsequent culling is designed to get rid of irrelevant articles, articles thad don’t meet the predefined quality criteria, and the like. For instance, in this case, articles that dealt with vaccines that are no longer used would not be relevant to the specific question the investigators were interested in, namely the safety of the current vaccine schedule. I’m sure this will be something that antivaccinationists attack, saying that their children were “vaccine injured” even though the vaccine that “injured them” aren’t used anymore.

Another important aspect of such a study is to evaluate the quality of adverse events (AE) reporting. In this case, the authors used the McHarm scale, which is the name for the McMaster Quality Assessment Scale of Harms. It’s a scale that requires yes/no answers (or whether it’s unsure) to questions like:

  • Were the harms PRE-DEFINED using standardized or precise definitions?
  • Were SERIOUS events precisely defined?
  • Were SEVERE events precisely defined?
  • Were the number of DEATHS in each study group specified OR were the reason(s) for not specifying them given?
  • Was the mode of harms collection specified as ACTIVE?
  • Was the mode of harms collection specified as PASSIVE?
  • Did the study specify WHO collected the harms?
  • Did the study specify the TRAINING or BACKGROUND of who ascertained the harms?
  • Did the study specify the TIMING and FREQUENCY of collection of the harms?

There are more questions, but you get the idea. Here’s a sample analysis for a series of studies used in a systematic review and meta-analysis of cognitive enhancers for patients with mild cognitive impairment.

Next, the authors basically listed their findings for each vaccine that is used. For example, for the DTaP (Diptheria-Tetanus-acellular Pertussis) vaccine, they found:

The IOM studied diphtheria toxoid, tetanus toxoid, and acellular pertussiscontaining vaccines alone and in combination in both children andadults. The IOM committee did not find evidence that “favors acceptance” of causal relationships for any conditions. They found the evidence “favors rejection” of a causal relationship between type 1 diabetes and vaccines containing diphtheria toxoid, tetanus toxoid, and acellular pertussis antigens. We found no additional studies in children published after the IOM search date; our review of their assessment supports their conclusions.

In other words, the authors found no good evidence suggesting that DTaP causes diabetes or any other condition.

And so it goes. For example, the Hib vaccine was associated with redness at the injection site and swelling, but not with hospitalizations, nor was it associated with fever or any other serious AEs. A summary of the findings by the authors includes:

  • Support for the IOM results that the vaccine against hepatitis B is not associated with an long or short term AEs.
  • Support for the IOM results that the MMR vaccine is associated with febrile seizures.
  • Moderate evidence linking influenza vaccines with mild gastrointestinal events
  • Support for an association between the trivalent influenza vaccine with febrile seizures.
  • Moderate evidence of an association between the MMR vaccine and thrombocytopenic purpura; similar associations were found for the varicella and hepatitis A vaccines.
  • Moderate evidence of an association between the varicella vaccine and thrombocytopenic purpura in children aged 11 to 17 years
  • No evidence of an association between vaccines and leukemia or lymphoma.
  • Support for the IOM results of no evidence of an association between MMR and autism; indeed, the authors characterized this as “strong evidence that the MMR vaccine is not associated with autism.”
  • High level evidence for an association between the varicella vaccine and anaphylaxis
  • High level evidence for an association between the varicella vaccine and disseminated varicella infection in the immunosuppressed

There are a bunch of others, mostly with moderate to weak evidence of associations with a few rare AEs and associations with more common but minor AEs. There’s no such thing as a highly effective medical intervention that never causes AEs, and vaccines are no different. However, although the authors found evidence for some serious AEs due to vaccine, the risks were very, very low. For instance:

Although 1 large US epidemiologic study found no association, a recent analysis of the US PRISM program found both RotaTeq and Rotarix associated with intussusception in the short term. Estimated rates were 1.1 to 1.5 cases per 100 000 doses of RotaTeq and 5.1 cases per 100 000 doses of Rotarix.

In other words, severe AEs from vaccines are extremely rare. There were few weaknesses in this study, and what weaknesses there were were minor. For instance, the authors intentionally did not use studies that mined the VAERS database for AEs because it’s a passive surveillance system and cannot be used to assess a statistical association. It was a wise decision, because of how hopelessly compromised the VAERS database has become due to litigation and lawyers urging people to report everything and anything, particularly autism, as AEs to vaccines, whether there is a convincing association or not.

Of course, none of this is anything new. We’ve known that, although minor AEs like redness at the injection site or febrile reactions are not uncommon, severe AEs from vaccines are very rare. Indeed, this study was conceived to build on a previous review by the Institute of Medicine, which I characterized a year and a half ago as “Quoth the Institute of Medicine: The current vaccine schedule is safe and effective. Quoth antivaccinationists: Gahhhh!” The reaction of antivaccinationists is about the same now. That’s how antivaccinationists always react to another brick in the wall supporting the safety and efficacy of vaccines, particularly when it’s a particularly large and strong brick. Weighing the benefits versus the risks of vaccines, the evidence comes down very much in favor of vaccines. As Carrie Byington, MD, a pediatrician at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, puts it in an accompanying editorial, fortunately, the AEs identified by the authors are rare and expected to resolve quickly and completely in most cases. These have to be weighed against the incredible benefits of vaccination, which, as Dr. Byington puts it, “This [the risk of vaccination] contrasts starkly with the natural infections that vaccines are designed to prevent, which may reduce the quality of life through permanent morbidities, such as blindness, deafness, developmental delay, epilepsy, or paralysis and may also result in death. She also notes that these benefits aren’t just ancient history, either, as in the elimination of smallpox and the impending (we hope) elimination of polio, but continue today:

An evaluation of the US vaccine program from 1900 to 1998 demonstrated reduction or elimination of many infectious diseases that had resulted in substantial childhood morbidity and mortality, including smallpox, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Newer vaccines, including those that target pneumococci, human papilloma virus, influenza, rotavirus, and varicella, are also reducing morbidity and mortality. Modeling of vaccine impact demonstrates that routine childhood immunizations in the 2009 US birth cohort would prevent ∼42 000 deaths and 20 million cases of disease and save $13.5 billion in direct health care costs and $68.8 billion in societal costs. The Vaccines for Children program, operating since 1994 to provide vaccines at no cost to low-income children, has eliminated racial and ethnic disparities in immunization coverage, ensuring that all US children have an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of vaccines.

Oddly enough, the response of the antivaccine movement has been largely muted. The best the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism could come up with is a post by its “media editor” Anne Dachel, asking What does generally safe mean? It’s basically an attack on Mike Stobbe, an AP reporter, who is lambasted for his reporting on this story, calling him a “true believer,” ranting that he’s never called for the unicorn that is the “vaxed/unvaxed study” that antivaccinationists always call for, she then writes:

Mike Stobbe needs to understand that despite the years of his faithful reporting on vaccines, WE’RE NOT BUYING IT. There’s just too much autism out there that no one can responsibly explain and too many autistic kids who also have seizures. AND JUST TOO MANY PARENTS WHO SAY IT WAS THE VACCINES!

Confusing correlation with causation, thinking that the plural of “anecdote” is “data” supporting causation, it’s all there. It’s also all completely recycled. It’s as though Dachel isn’t even really trying anymore.

Meanwhile, someone whom I have never heard of before, Suzanne Posel, posts five reasons to question recent RAND Study. It’s nothing more than rehashed antivaccine talking points that I’ve refuted more times than I can remember on this blog, all delivered in a confusing fashion. After all, if you’re going to do a post with a title that is obvious link-bait (as most titles that advertise lists like “five reasons that…” are), you should number the reasons clearly. From what I could gather, one of the reasons is “[INSERT GENERIC ANTIVACCINE GARDASIL FEAR MONGERING HERE]” followed by SaneVax nonsense about HPV DNA in vaccines. It’s so dumb that I can’t believe SaneVax keeps repeating it as “microcompetition.” If Posel thinks SaneVax is a reliable source and knows vaccine science, she’s just revealed herself as clueless about vaccines.

Oh, wait. She cites Lucija Tomljenovic, who has been co-author on a number of execrable papers seeking to link vaccines with autoimmune diseases, premature ovarian failure, and, of course, death based on a truly incompetent analysis.

As I said, it’s as though antivaccine loons aren’t even trying anymore.

And vaccines are safe, no matter what the antivaccine loons say.

Comments

  1. #1 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    July 2, 2014

    Oddly enough, the response of the antivaccine movement has been largely muted.

    I’m guessing one of two things.
    1) They know it’s bulletproof and aren’t even going to try refuting it.
    2) They need time to come up with a “refutation”.

  2. #2 Chris Hickie
    July 2, 2014

    I feel the efforts of anti-vaccinationists, of late, are more focused on outbreaks of measles and pertussis. They swarm all news article comments sections and also make up their own “articles” stating that: (1) the outbreak is proof vaccines don’t work, and (2) the majority of those with measles/pertussis were unvaccinated.

    Both are outright lies, but like any propagandist knows, if you repeat a lie often enough, some people will start to believe it.

  3. #3 Dangerous Bacon
    One possible avenue of attack by antivax loons would be to focus on the RAND Corporation, noting its past association with the Mutuallly Assured Destruction theory of nuclear deterrence and policy analyst Herman Kahn (who supposedly was the model for Dr. Strangelove).
    July 2, 2014

    One possible avenue of attack by antivax loons would be to focus on the RAND Corporation (which once formulated the nuclear deterrence policy of mutually assured destruction and had an analyst who speculated on the possibility of a winnable nuclear war).

    Look for “Dr. Strangelove Study Threatens Our Children” or somesuch.

  4. #4 Orac
    July 2, 2014

    I had actually thought of antivaxers attacking the RAND Corporation. In fact, I’m surprised Mike Adams hasn’t already produced a spittle-flecked post doing just that. Maybe that’s scheduled for tomorrow.

  5. #5 rork
    July 2, 2014

    I was offended by Posel’s twisting of HPV evidence.
    I find HPV vax uptake to still be abysmal, and I think part of the problem is docs not pushing it enough. Could some folks here recommend methods by which public health schools can reach out to vanilla docs in the wild. (I’m newly in a school of public health now, you see.)

  6. #6 Denice Walter
    July 2, 2014

    Orac,
    Mikey is already too pre-occupied contemplating the horrors of nuclear Ragnarok and simultaneous immigrant-borne infectious disease Armageddon in the medical police state.

  7. #7 NH Primary Care Doctor
    July 2, 2014

    Here’s a new one. Did you know that vaccines also cause Down Syndrome? Really. That’s what the all-knowing gurus at MDC say.

    http://www.mothering.com/forum/47-vaccinations/1403969-romanticizing-past-2.html

  8. #8 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    July 2, 2014

    I see most of the same braintrust is inhabiting sMothering.

    Chris, I believe you made a typo in your #2, should be “vaccinated”.

  9. #9 Chris Hickie
    July 2, 2014

    @ Science Mom #8–yes, I did–should be “vaccinated”. Sorry.

  10. #10 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    July 2, 2014

    Another avenue for attack for anti-vaxers is Boston Children’s Hospital’s involvement. They’ve been the focus of (IMO) unjustified attacks in the case of Justina Pelletier, something AoA has jumped on, too.

  11. #11 Denice Walter
    July 2, 2014

    re : ” in any rational world, the myth would have exploded into a pile of red goo and blood, like the vampires in *True Blood* when staked…”

    If only.

  12. #12 Renate
    July 2, 2014

    It looks there are some pretty weird people at Mothering, but I suppose the subtitle: “The Home for Natural Family Living” says it all. I get the impression the word ‘Natural’ serves as a kind of warning sign. If you see that word, you might expect some cows excrement.

  13. #13 simba
    July 2, 2014

    Or like the vampires of ‘buffy’- they just turn to dust which floats away….

  14. #14 Dangerous Bacon
    July 2, 2014

    Speaking of spittle-flecked rants, Mike Adams has a lengthy one posted about the “medical police state” in which U.S. health care workers are allegedly threatened with arrest by “brownshirts” if they divulge the shocking level of communicable disease carried by immigrant Mexican children:

    “If the government’s argument is that a schoolchild must be vaccinated to prevent the spread of measles, then how does that same government explain its total lack of willingness to enforce a border that has become a floodgate for measles, Swine Flu, scabies, lice and a long list of other communicable diseases?”

    It strikes me that if you’re going to worry about Mexicans bringing in measles and swine flu (not to mention travelers from any foreign country that could be transporting these and other infectious diseases), that’s a very good reason to support vaccinating U.S. residents against the pathogens involved.

    Not in Adams Bizarro-World, though.

  15. #15 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    July 2, 2014

    @Dangerous Bacon

    I’m surprised he didn’t include cooties in that list.

  16. #16 Politicalguineapig
    July 2, 2014

    rork: I find HPV vax uptake to still be abysmal, and I think part of the problem is docs not pushing it enough.

    Maybe, but I think the abysmal uptake is due to the vaccine being too expensive, and not covered by insurance. Thanks to the Supreme Court, uptake is sure to drop like a rock.

  17. #17 Eric Lund
    July 2, 2014

    how does that same government explain its total lack of willingness to enforce a border

    The US government is certainly trying to enforce the border. But it’s thousands of kilometers long, much of which is countryside that is inhospitable to farming. Unless you want to turn large swaths of Texas, Arizona, and California into a police state, some fraction of the people who are trying to cross that border will get through. We know that ICE catch many more in the attempt as it is.

    And the rhetoric he’s using sounds remarkably like what eugenicists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including Him Who Must Not Be Named, were saying about people they considered inferior. This is a dangerous development, particularly if Mike has also expressed strong opinions on the Second and Tenth Amendments.

  18. #18 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    July 2, 2014

    @ Eric, aside from that, the vaccine uptake in the lower Americas is very high, better than the U.S. overall.

  19. #19 ebohlman
    http://turnipsandpotatoes.wordpress.com
    July 2, 2014

    Eric: Additionally, the majority of undocumented immigrants are people who overstayed temporary visas, not illegal border-crossers.

  20. #20 Denice Walter
    July 2, 2014

    Mike had rather a condescending attitude about the native people when he lived in Ecuador:
    they worked so hard, were so friendly and- best of all- they would build your gigantic hacienda, weed your garden or wash your clothes for virtually nothing!
    He would give them little gifts and toys for their kids.
    How charming!

    He has other interesting attitudes about people who live in the “ghetto”, subsist on governmental assistence etc. Some of his cartoons and videos depict minorities un-attractively – altho’ not 100% of the time- I guess that’s in case he gets called on it.

    I don’t know if he really believes this stuff or if he thinks it’s what his audience wants to hear.

    Like the other loon I follow- oh wait, I follow LOTS of loons- like the other *alt media honcho* loon I follow, he crafts a despicable message that is fuelled on fear and divisiveness.
    There are terrible things on those sites/ media channels.

    Enter at your own risk.

  21. #21 Patrick Arambula
    July 2, 2014

    Dangerous Bacon @ 14,(quoting the Health Deranger),”….how does that same government explain its total lack of willingness to enforce a border that has become a floodgate for measles”
    He does know the present administration has deported caught and deported more immigrants than prior administrations, right? This current crisis aside, the net traffic across the border has been down over the last 3 years; in a former practice we did the medical intake for all juveniles caught by INS, and if we couldn’t contact an adult that could verify immunization status they got immunized(or re-immunized, as it were-the horror!). I don’t know who his “source” was for the story, but it sounds as well researched as anything else on his website…I’ve never been threatened with arrest, but then I’ve never felt compelled to lie about the ” shocking level of communicable disease” of those terrible little brown Petrie dishes that are immigrant CHILDREN. This is what gets lost in the discussion, the depersonification of these children by dolts like Mike Adams. The fact that he exaggerates and promotes fear at their expense when it should be a real public health discussion is disgusting.

  22. #22 Francois Theberge
    July 2, 2014

    “in a rational world…”
    Oh! The world is VERY rational. It is the conflict of different kinds of “logic” that is the kernel of the matter.

    We humans would like to think we are “rational”. Alas, we are humans first and foremost. Trying to fight this is like trying to peg Jell-O on the ceiling with chewing gum.

    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/02/vaccine-denial-psychology-backfire-effect

  23. #23 Politicalguineapig
    July 2, 2014

    FT: And your point is?

  24. #24 palindrom
    July 2, 2014

    Eric @17 —


    Unless you want to turn large swaths of Texas, Arizona, and California into a police state,

    As you may recall, I frequently have to travel to regions close to the Mexican border for my work.

    And guess what? It pretty much is a police state.

    Our supposedly lackadaisical border enforcement has pushed desparate people to try to walk many miles through scorching deserts, where hundreds die.

  25. #25 Helianthus
    July 3, 2014

    From the unhealthy ranger:

    that has become a floodgate for measles, Swine Flu, scabies, lice

    Now I’m confused. Wasn’t Adams part of the people saying that measles is Not That Bad and Swine Flu was a US government/Illuminati hoax?
    And anyway, why does he worry about pesky contagious diseases? He keep claiming he know plenty of natural products to boost the immune system.

  26. #26 Gray Falcon
    July 3, 2014

    An surprising truth. I, like many others, assumed that most of these “natural cures” people were of the left-wing “all people are our brothers and sisters!” bent. Then again, they seem to believe nature is not theirs to protect, but theirs to exploit.

  27. #27 rork
    July 3, 2014

    @16 about HPV vax: ” I think the abysmal uptake is due to the vaccine being too expensive, and not covered by insurance. Thanks to the Supreme Court, uptake is sure to drop like a rock.”
    My insurance paid for it for my daughter, and CDC web says most cover it – several years ago that was less true. (I agree it’s expensive – I’ve lamented that since day 1.)
    I’m skeptical about the Court effect too – I doubt many nuts are going to argue that vaxes are against their religious beliefs, and even if they did, there’d have to be a workaround available. Briefly: Subsidizing birth control riders for folks whose company wont give it is very cheap for government/taxpayer – costs essentially nothing since having women use birth control saves insurance company money, cause pregnancies are so expensive. (Pay little attention to the cranks who argue they don’t want to pay the money for women to have birth control coverage – the cost may actually be negative for the insurance company. ) If that subsidy were expensive though, the court might say that tax-payer does not have to subsidize employees to make up for employers discrimination or whacky beliefs. There were words about that in the majority opinion.

  28. […] Yet more evidence that vaccines are safe and do not cause autism […]

  29. #29 Narad
    July 3, 2014

    It’s as though Dachel isn’t even really trying anymore.

    Her latest salvo illustrates just how badly wrong things go when she does try to come up with something original.

    “Researchers examined 67 studies and 20,000 research papers. Now obviously a research paper doesn’t have the same weight as an actual study….

    “INCREDIBLY the Washington Times said that researchers had looked through 20,000 studies. SERIOUSLY? 20,000 STUDIES? So did several others news sites.

    “Reporters will say ANYTHING. They have no idea how absurd they sound.”

  30. #30 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    July 3, 2014

    Poor Anne, whatever will she do now with no anti-vaxx sympathetic stories in the mainstream media? I see Gerg has enlightened his new-found friends with his genius or should that be genus.

  31. #31 lilady
    July 3, 2014

    Dachel adds her own personally tragic anecdote to one of her media updates:

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2014/07/dachel-media-update-what-does-generally-safe-mean.html#more

    “…Stobbe talks about seizures as no big deal. Yes, vaccines are linked to seizures, but it’s nothing to worry about. I can tell you from personal experience that they are. My daughter developed seizures immediately following her Hep B vaccination fifteen years ago. She was 10 at the time. She had seizures on a regular basis for the next three years. We never knew when they might happen. Many were severe….”

    Wouldn’t you think that Dachel would have filed a claim on behalf of her child who “developed seizures immediately following her Hep B vaccination” (many of which) “were severe”?

  32. #32 lilady
    July 3, 2014

    Time for lilady’s “Age of Autism Media Review”

    Our old pal, crank anti-vaccine blogger Lawrence Solomon, is featured on today’s AoA

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2014/07/american-thinker-where-conservative-skepticism-falls-short.html

    Some of the AoA groupies are posting comments on his latest screed:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/06/where_conservative_skepticism_falls_short_comments.html#disqus_thread

  33. #33 Narad
    July 3, 2014

    D’Olmsted’s accusing AS and the Simons Foundation of being “rearguard and reactionary” is a delightful bit of irony.

  34. #34 Narad
    July 3, 2014

    The commentariat just seems to be getting sorrier and sorrier:

    Science tells us that bacteria and yeasts (candidasis) preferentially pick up mercury. That would also be offloaded onto the fetus, fungus rich in mercury. Which would explain ‘colic.’

    Right, which is why mercury compounds are used as fungicides and bactericides.

  35. #35 Politicalguineapig
    July 3, 2014

    rork: I’m skeptical about the Court effect too – I doubt many nuts are going to argue that vaxes are against their religious beliefs, and even if they did, there’d have to be a workaround available. Briefly: Subsidizing birth control riders for folks whose company wont give it is very cheap for government/taxpayer.

    1. HPV is diffferent from other vaccines,( cause sluts*) so I suspect religious objections to it will be considered more valid than, say, religious objections to MMR.

    2. Birth control will never be covered or subsidized by the US government and isn’t covered now. Yes, it ought to be, but the US is too religious.

    *I’m not saying I agree with it, just that most religious people strongly object to a vaccine against a sexually transmitted disease because they think women who sleep around ought to be punished. This is also why birth control will never be subsidized or available over the counter.

  36. #36 Johanna
    July 3, 2014

    PGP: last I checked, I can buy condoms at the drug store.

    *Hormonal* birth control will never be available OTC, no. But then again, given the broad range of side effects (been there, got the tee-shirt) I’d prefer that there be *some* medical supervision in their prescription, even if it’s just a consult with an RN…

  37. #37 Narad
    July 3, 2014

    most religious people strongly object to a vaccine against a sexually transmitted disease

    I guess that rules out the Catholic Medical Association, the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and the Texas Catholic Conference from the “religious people” club.

  38. #38 Narad
    July 3, 2014

    Teh Joos? Mostly Haredim, obviously.

  39. #39 Narad
    July 3, 2014

    Iran? There’s only 75 million of you, so three-sigma outlier.

  40. #40 Chemmomo
    Ready to celebrate "the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried"
    July 3, 2014

    PGP@35 36

    This is also why birth control will never be subsidized or available over the counter.

    Every insurance plan I’ve ever had covers birth control. Since the US government has only recently become involved in healthcare (and not in my own), I consider that subsidized.

    I agree with Johanna@36: condoms are available. They aren’t even over the counter – they’re on the shelf. And I also agree that the various types of pill should have a gate keeper writing a prescription and monitoring side effects, which include things raised blood pressure – not something on most young women’s minds.

    What exactly do you want over the counter? Diaphrams? They need to be fitted. An IUD? Are you planning to insert your own? Please visit the real world some time, before commenting on it.

  41. #41 Narad
    July 3, 2014

    I have to admit that I’m surprised that Gr—pon is in Malaysia. (JAKIM has declared vaccination acceptable.)

  42. #42 Narad
    July 3, 2014

    Since the US government has only recently become involved in healthcare

    Oh, but Medicaid has been around for a while; PPACA tried to extend eligibility. Most states already provided contraception coverage.

  43. #43 Chemmomo
    Ready to celebrate "the worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried"
    July 3, 2014

    Narad @42: thanks for the correction. And the links. I was thinking about universal coverage, and we still aren’t quite doing that yet.

  44. #44 Narad
    July 3, 2014

    I was thinking about universal coverage, and we still aren’t quite doing that yet.

    With some states actively opposing the bits that have been accomplished.

    “Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick called the White House report ‘wrong’ in an email to The Associated Press.”

  45. #45 Shay
    July 3, 2014

    Birth control will never be covered or subsidized by the US government and isn’t covered now.

    The US government picked up the tab for my birth control the entire time I was on active duty, as it does for all female personnel.

    (It also pays for vasectomies).

  46. #46 Sid Offit
    July 3, 2014

    Study mercury and pretend it’s all vaccines. Good trick. Good thing the idiots in the media are to stupid to see the difference

  47. #47 Sid Offit
    July 3, 2014

    Oh and birth control isn’t health care.

  48. #48 Chris,
    July 3, 2014

    Mr. Schecter: “Study mercury and pretend it’s all vaccines.”

    Please tell us which vaccine on the present American pediatric schedule is only available with thimerosal. Do on included influenza, since half of those approved for children have thimerosal free versions.

    Then, Mr. Schecter, you can explain exactly how you are not benefiting from the responsible families in your community that vaccinate. Tell us how you are not a parasite.

    “Oh and birth control isn’t health care.”

    Then explain how you would feel if your daughter became pregnant in the next year or so. Would you be willing to raise that grandchild? Be honest.

  49. #49 Sid Offit
    July 3, 2014

    To be a parasite requires an action. Not vaccinating is not an action. Parasites take from others or control others. Those who don’t vaccinate do neither. Thise who force vaccines on the unwilling are the parasites since they exert control over others for their own selfish reasons. Please learn the meaning of words before commenting further

  50. #50 Sid Offit
    July 3, 2014

    Then explain how you would feel if your daughter became pregnant in the next year or so. Would you be willing to raise that grandchild? Be honest.

    This does not demonstrate birth control is health care

  51. #51 Gray Falcon
    July 4, 2014

    An error on “Sid”‘s part: You are acting when you don’t vaccinate. You eat, you breathe, you excrete, all of which can act as disease vectors. Also, I imagine he considers people who don’t work but collect unemployment to be “parasites” as well, so I know he considers that argument valid.

  52. #52 Chris,
    July 4, 2014

    “Not vaccinating is not an action.”

    So you admit to being a parasite. Because all it has to do is live off of the efforts of others, which is what you are doing.

    “This does not demonstrate birth control is health care”

    So you have provided all of the birth control your daughter needs. You’ve taken her to the doctor, gotten her the required protection and/or showed her where to buy condoms. And if all else fails you are going to step up and be a proper grandfather and provide all of the prenatal care, and pediatric care for that child.

    Good for you!

  53. #53 Gray Falcon
    July 4, 2014

    Also, elemental mercury and thimerosal are different things. If “Sid” were honest, he wouldn’t use the word mercury in that manner. Why do we keep him around, he clearly isn’t interested in honest discussion?

  54. #54 Sid Offit
    July 4, 2014

    Chris, you seem to have issues with reading comprehension. I explained why your parasitism argumnet is delusional, but you contiune to refuse accept the obvious. As such I am powerless to help you.

  55. #55 Sid Offit
    July 4, 2014

    Gray

    At 9:00 on an ipad I’m not allt hat interested in the pedantry about the differences betwen mercury and thimerosal. I think we all know the point I was making

  56. #56 ann
    July 4, 2014

    Oh and birth control isn’t health care.

    Yes it is.

  57. #57 ann
    July 4, 2014

    Why anyone would want to advertise being uptight enough to hold that opinion is a mystery to me.

    BTW.

  58. #58 Sid Offit
    July 4, 2014

    Great argumnent, Ann. I’m convinced

  59. #59 ann
    July 4, 2014

    To be a parasite requires an action

    According to my understanding and the dictionary, a parasite is:

    an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense

    Sounds like a match to me. What action do you think is required?

  60. #60 ann
    July 4, 2014

    It is my pleasure to serve you.

  61. #61 ann
    July 4, 2014

    Not vaccinating is not an action.”

    Only if you don’t value having free will and the liberty to exercise it autonomously enough to call doing so an action.

    Why do you hate free will, liberty, and autonomy?

    It’s the 4th of July, ffs.

  62. #62 Chemmomo
    Skipped all the comments in between and will now catch up
    July 4, 2014

    Sid Offit @49

    Not vaccinating is not an action.

    Once again your sorry excuse for reasoning compels me to quote Getty Lee: ( http://www.metrolyrics.com/freewill-lyrics-rush.html )
    If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice

    Your inaction is a choice, and deliberate.

  63. #63 Gray Falcon
    July 4, 2014

    The difference between mercury and thimerosal is not a matter of pedantry. In chemistry, and in all sciences, one must be exact with one’s terms. For example, ammonium nitrate is a fertilizer, ammonium nitrite is an herbicide.

  64. #64 Chemmomo
    Still working through the comments
    July 4, 2014

    Sid @47

    Oh and birth control isn’t health care.

    Get back to me after you carry a pregnancy (conceived due to lack of birth control) to full term and deliver a baby. So is your wife OK with the idea of maybe getting pregnant any time the two of you desire to take things all the way?

  65. #65 Narad
    July 4, 2014

    Oh and birth control isn’t health care.

    Bob, I say this with all due deliberation: I imagine that you’re proud that your daughter looks just like you.

  66. #66 lilady
    July 4, 2014

    Offal made several comments on Dorit Rubinstein-Reiss’ guest post about providing reproductive health services to teenagers.

    http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/allowing-teenagers-choose-vaccination-constitutional-desirable/#comment-1461045106

    Boob doesn’t want to give teens the opportunity to protect themselves with HPV vaccines.

  67. #67 Narad
    July 4, 2014

    Utter hilarity: Bullethead, in addition to fantasizing about running a publishing business and lying to people about having published child-care volumes, has delusionally resorted to the Royal We.

  68. #68 Narad
    July 4, 2014

    Hah. The genius who brought you this restricts commenting on his lame-ass FB page. After all, it’s his! all his!. Anybody could have given this to me for free!

    Given that the last sighting was “at 9:00 on an ipad I’m not allt hat interested in the pedantry,” I imagine that Bob will be on the wrong side of an imaginary “that’s OK, baby” conversation come daybreak.

  69. #69 Narad
    July 4, 2014

    Hey, Bob, remember back when it was “shut ins and outcasts” who thought Jenny sucked?

  70. #70 Helianthus
    July 4, 2014

    To be a parasite requires an action.

    Oh boy.
    So, if I don’t bother to take out the garbage and expect my roommate do it for the both of us, I’m not a parasite? Good to know.

    Actually, you are right, Bob. Deciding to not take an action is an action in itself.

  71. #71 Lawrence
    July 4, 2014

    As to birth control being health care – perhaps Sid would like to explain the standard treatment for Ovarian Cysts…..

  72. #72 Chris
    July 4, 2014

    Mr. Schecter: “Chris, you seem to have issues with reading comprehension. I explained why your parasitism argumnet is delusional, but you contiune to refuse accept the obvious.”

    I accept that you don’t get to redefine words (or their spelling) to fit your fantasy, parasite. You are benefiting from the community immunity by the fact that your responsible neighbors vaccinate. Your blatant stupidity is an action. You actively put blinders on to avoid reality.

    So as you send your daughter off to a private college, you have made sure that she will either be very chaste or are going to be quite willing to pay cash for either birth control or prenatal care… and possibly pediatric care. So what will you be doing?

    You are aware that university medical clinics refer to dorms, especially co-ed dorms, as human forms of rabbit hutches? Right?

  73. #73 lilady
    July 4, 2014

    Where’s Boob?

    According to his Linked In page, he’s still president of Pressarius Publishing.

    https://www.facebook.com/RtAVM/posts/501301683273179

  74. #74 Helianthus
    July 4, 2014

    @ lilady

    Could you please find another nickname for Mr Schecter? The one you are using could refer to a perfectly respectable part of a woman’s anatomy.

  75. #75 lilady
    July 4, 2014

    Which name would you prefer, I use? He certainly isn’t Dr. Paul Offit a respected physician and researcher….and not a respected author as the real Sid Offit is:

    of·fal
    ˈôfəl,ˈäfəl/
    noun
    noun: offal; plural noun: offals

    the entrails and internal organs of an animal used as food.
    refuse or waste material.
    decomposing animal flesh.

    He certainly doesn’t have the attributes of women’s boobs:

    boob
    1 [boob] Show IPA Slang.
    noun
    1.
    a stupid person; fool; dunce.
    2.
    British . a blunder; mistake.
    verb (used without object)
    3.
    British . to blunder.

  76. #76 Rebecca Fisher
    July 4, 2014

    How about “Geoff Shitbucket”?

  77. #77 Helianthus
    July 4, 2014

    @ lilady

    I like the first one. It’s rather descriptive of this person’s opinions.

  78. #78 Politicalguineapig
    July 4, 2014

    Johanna: But then again, given the broad range of side effects (been there, got the tee-shirt) I’d prefer that there be *some* medical supervision in their prescription, even if it’s just a consult with an RN…

    Chemmomo: And I also agree that the various types of pill should have a gate keeper writing a prescription and monitoring side effects, which include things raised blood pressure – not something on most young women’s minds.

    Okay, first of all, the problem with gatekeepers is..they keep gates. Birth control availability depends entirely on the local doctor’s and pharmacist’s good will. Also, pelvic exams are hell.

    Secondly, condoms are different. They’re for guys. Abstinence and celibacy do not work in that case. (Or they can, but usually with unfortunate effects.)

    Narad: I guess that rules out the Catholic Medical Association, the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and the Texas Catholic Conference from the “religious people” club.

    I have to admit, I’m very surprised. I wonder what the plan is there. And Iran has well, odd policies.

    Ann: It’s the 4th of July, ffs.
    I like the fourth, but it kinda annoys me. I’m not a real American, even though I was born here, so I never feel like it applies to me.

  79. #79 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 4, 2014

    Secondly, condoms are different. They’re for guys.

    You might be interested to know about this product: http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/f.c.-female-condom-female-contraceptive/ID=prod6052635-product

    Admittedly, at least for Walgreen’s it’s not stocked in the store itself (presumably because of poor sales), but it is available with no gatekeeper.

  80. #80 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 4, 2014

    By the way, while condoms are worn by guys I’d suggest they’re for both members of the sexual act.

  81. #81 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 4, 2014

    For guy condoms, that is.

  82. #82 Denice Walter
    July 4, 2014

    Getting back to Robert’s own “in-action” re: vaccination…
    well, I’m not here to try to argue one way or the other about THAT although one way makes sense BUT…

    aren’t creating a blog and a facebook page, updating the latter frequently and encouraging an audience of 47 thousand to share storiess, strategies and contacts about avoiding vaccination, getting around laws and finding doctors who don’t push vaccines AND praising non-vaccinating with photos of happy babies saying, “No Vaccines for me!” ( or suchlike), sort of, kind of, like ACTIONS?

    All of these things don’t JUST HAPPEN whilst one goes on watching television and sipping on an iced tea. I mean, all of those additions don’t occur on their own. They needed someone to put them into motion on the web. Proselytising is an action, isn’t it? Or did all of those Christian martyrs get offed for doing nothing?**

    ** Joking

  83. #83 ann
    July 4, 2014

    That non-action thing is apparently a go-to argument. It’s featured on his blog, too:

    But it is painfully obvious that doing nothing, i.e., not vaccinating, does not “contribute” to anything since it is not an action.

    By that logic, it would be painfully obvious that people who starve their children to death aren’t culpable for it. (Doing nothing, ie, not feeding a baby, does not “contribute” to anything since it is not an action.)

    Logic doesn’t seem to be a strong point, though:

    Amusing how you keep asserting this invented right to health.

    Yeesh.

  84. #84 Sarah A
    July 4, 2014

    Not vaccinating might not be an action, but sending your unvaccinated kids to school certainly is. After all, so-called “compulsory vaccination” only applies to children being sent to public school – no one’s breaking down people’s doors to rip kids from their parents’ arms and give them shots, though this seems to be the image antivaxers are trying to create with their “health freedom” rhetoric. Parents who want to send their kids to school but evade vaccination requirements are basically taking advantage of a social welfare program (in the broadest sense of the term) without abiding by the social obligation to take reasonable precautions to avoid harming others. Sounds pretty parasitic to me.

  85. #85 Johanna
    July 4, 2014

    @pgp

    1) female condoms exist.

    2) I agree that the requirement of a pelvic exam solely for BCP should not be necessary. Hence my suggesting a consult with an RN.

    Hormonal birth control is kind if complicated and isn’t one-size-fits-all so, yeah, I believe there *should* be a gatekeeper.

  86. #86 Denice Walter
    July 4, 2014

    In addition, our friend, Robert is not only not vaccinating his child ( and self, I assume) BUT
    he is encouraging others to do the same by providing (mis)information, a place to gather and exchange “ideas”, applauding them and heaping derision on people who support vaccination.

  87. #87 Chris,
    July 4, 2014

    Hence my response to Robert Schecter, the owner of the “Vaccine Machine” blog and active crusader against public health is apt:

    “Your blatant stupidity is an action. You actively put blinders on to avoid reality.”

    Because somehow as a father of a daughter going off to college he is also blatantly ignorant of what happens when eighteen to twenty year olds who live away from home are concentrated into one place. And it is just not a higher chance of a meningococcal infection.

  88. #88 Denice Walter
    July 4, 2014

    @ Chris:

    As well as many opportunities for infections of other types…
    such as measles, mumps, rubella, flu, swine flu,pneumonia, pertussis, tetanus, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, hpv, hiv etc.

  89. #89 Chemmomo
    With my flag out
    July 4, 2014

    PoliticalGuineaPig @78
    You didn’t answer the question..

    Exactly what kind of birth control (in addition to condoms which already are available off the shelf) do you think should be available over the counter?

  90. #90 Narad
    July 4, 2014

    That non-action thing is apparently a go-to argument.

    He’s been trotting out that line for ages. One of my fondest hopes is that he has an auto accident and passers-by just stop and idly watch him bleed out.

  91. #91 Narad
    July 4, 2014

    ^ Although I’d settle for people standing around watching him receive a random street beating for its entertainment value.

  92. #92 Gray Falcon
    July 4, 2014

    Headline news in my home state: A man is suspected of murdering his small child by deliberately leaving him outside in a hot car. So yes, negligence and inaction are, in fact, crimes.

  93. #93 ann
    July 4, 2014

    How very Pontius-Pilate of him.

    I want all your dreams to come true, needless to say. But while it may be foolish of me, I hope for better things.

  94. #94 Chris,
    July 4, 2014

    Actually, I would be satisfied if his daughter realizing his beliefs are dangerous to herself, will go to the college’s student health clinic. There she should both get vaccinated and acquire birth control.

    And not even tell him, since she is over eighteen she has say over how to treat her body. But, alas, it may be too late to cancel the brainwashing she received from her father.

  95. #95 Chemmomo
    With my flag out
    July 4, 2014

    I’m with Chris. That would be the best possible outcome.

  96. #96 Chris,
    July 4, 2014

    And to take his words with a bit of a change: “Not vaccinating telling is not an action.”

    ;-)

  97. #97 Denice Walter
    July 4, 2014

    Fortunately there’s this little trendy thing going around called
    ‘ rebelling-against-parents’-most-deeply-held-and-cherished-beliefs-which-signals-budding-autonomy-self-identity-and-mental-health’
    a/k/a
    ‘be-independent-of-others’-influence’
    and ‘to-thine-own-self-be-true’

    I’m suspicious about young adults who agree totally with their parents because they exist in a new era- not the one in which their parents grew reached maturity-and new ideas and mores are apropo.

  98. #98 Politicalguineapig
    July 4, 2014

    Chemmommo: Exactly what kind of birth control (in addition to condoms which already are available off the shelf) do you think should be available over the counter?

    Basically the pill and plan b. Even with RNs, you can’t trust all of them, and y’know, the pill is available over the counter in a few countries. Stuff like IUDs or injectable birth control should be left to a physician I suppose, though they’ll be illegal in a few years.

  99. #99 lilady
    July 4, 2014

    Offal would probably go apoplectic if he ever sat in on the counseling sessions between me and teens and adults who were LGBT and who were straight…because “nice people” do not discuss such things.

    (Anecdotal) More than 30 years ago, I brought my 12 year old daughter to her pediatrician for a physical, prior to entry into 7th grade. Her doctor asked me to leave the examining room so he could speak with her in private.

    After ~ 20 minutes she joined me in the waiting room and on the way home she told me he questioned her about inappropriate “touching” by family members/family friends and questioned her about any sexual activities she might be engaged in….offering reassurances that he would be available to counsel her.

    That was the opening I needed to reassure her that her relationship with her doctor was inviolate and was not subject to interference by me. Too bad for Boob’s child that he views doctors as money grubbing vaccine-pushers.

  100. #100 Shay
    July 4, 2014

    Even with RNs, you can’t trust all of them,

    Can’t trust all of them to do what?

  101. #101 brewandferment
    July 4, 2014

    pgp–there are also these things available OTC:
    –the contraceptive sponge (don’t know if it still is since I don’t use it anymore, but it did return after a hiatus and AFAIK there haven’t been any recalls)
    –contraceptive film–it’s a very thin square that is vaginally inserted and melts to provide contraception
    –contraceptive suppositories
    –and one other totally free option: oral sex never gets anyone pregnant (although it’s not free of STD risk by any means)

    None of these are as fool-proof as hormonal methods but they can be quite effective when used by motivated users. As Johanna and others have said, there are sound reasons for having medical supervision. Also, the pill is not suited for spur-of-the-moment needs, unlike barrier (ie OTC) devices/other insertables described above, and plan b.

    “Stuff like IUDs or injectable birth control should be left to a physician I suppose, though they’ll be illegal in a few years.”

    What are you talking about?? have you somehow confused Margaret Atwood’s book “The Handmaid’s Tale” as non-fiction? FYI, read her comments as to her inspiration for the book. Hint: it wasn’t the US.

    A pregnant child/child’s significant other is actually less scary than some of the STD’s out there, and only condoms are reliable protection for them (except abstinence of course.) Condoms for both genders are available OTC with no gatekeepers required.

    Therefore, why don’t you seem to accept that women are competent to be gatekeepers of their own bodies?? as in, one of the parties to sex must effectively use a condom or there will be no entry into my body.

    And totally my opinion but medical insurance should be completely decoupled from one’s place of work, both for preventing the whole Hobby Lobby-type scenario as well as a purely privacy issue–nothing in my medical care is any of my employer’s damn business, with certain narrow exceptions relating to job performance that are carefully spelled out in advance and there is oversight to prevent abuse, such as in certain safety matters: people with seizure disorders probably shouldn’t operate machinery as an example. Which may not even be an accurate example but it’s for illustrating a point.

  102. #102 Chemmomo
    Land of the free, home of the brave
    July 4, 2014

    PoliticalGuineaPig @98
    As you are aware, I disagree with you on the pill, because it involves long term use of hormones. Plan B is not regular birth control, and, honestly, I have mixed feelings about it. I think it should be readily accessible, but it too is hormonal and there is the potential for harm from misuse.

    In any case, you are talking about “over the counter.” All you are doing is changing the gatekeeper from physician to pharmacist. If you don’t trust the doctors in your area not to impose their religious beliefs on you, why do you think the pharmacists or nurses would be a better option?

    though they’ll be illegal in a few years

    Fat chance that will happened in my state (CA), nor in most of the northeast.

    You’re just trying to blame politics for issues of human biology, because you enjoy blaming politics.

    In any case, if you feel you are being repressed where you live, why don’t you save up some money and move somewhere more liberal? This is 21st century America. You have more options than just complaining about how rotten the people around you are. You need to expand your horizons.

  103. #103 novalox
    Watching siddy boy bat way below the Mendoza line
    July 4, 2014

    I though sid boy wasn’t going to go online anymore, since the Internet was made by the government or such.

    Stay hypocritical, sid, stay hypocritical.

  104. #104 brewandferment
    July 4, 2014

    and more logical flaws in PGP’s comments: if there are valid reasons for medical supervision in hormonal birth control, then the answer is (in PGP’s world) to remove supervision so that (her irrational, IMO fears of) overreaching of religious gatekeepers doesn’t happen?? How is that actually in women’s best interests–here, take this potentially harmful hormonal medication with no medical oversight so you don’t have to interact with a medical professional who might actually, you know, care about your health and safety?

    Made illegal? I’m pretty sure there is no US regulatory agency out there that has the a) interest and b) ability to intercept any such things ordered online from outside the US. They play a pathetic (and wasteful) game of whack-a-mole with drug supplliers, and it is remarkable how inventive people are at getting around laws they don’t like.

    Last of all, where exactly would you consider to be more in sync with for your own location since you feel you aren’t really American? why haven’t you found yourself at that place yet?

  105. #105 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    July 4, 2014

    brewandferment – quite correct on the contraceptive sponge. Ever since the phrase “sponge worthy” entered the vernacular, I’ve assumed they were no longer available. But no! They’re at the local drug store! As are the things found on this page: http://www.walgreens.com/store/c/female-contraceptives/ID=361271-tier3

  106. #106 palindrom
    July 4, 2014

    Did someone suggest IUDs over the counter? I expect that was an oversight — even a skilled practitioner can find them very tricky to insert.

  107. #107 Chemmomo
    Land of the free, home of the brave
    July 4, 2014

    Palindrom @106

    Did someone suggest IUDs over the counter?

    Yes, I was making a point. Johanna had already pointed that hormonal birth control (the various pills) may have side effects which should be monitored by health professionals. Then the clueless one went on to complain about pelvic exams being required to obtain those pills, and supposed the IUDs and injectables would be OK to leave in the hands of doctors. Someone needs to acquire more actual life experience, and get out of the box.

  108. #108 Chris,
    July 4, 2014

    Denice Walter:

    Fortunately there’s this little trendy thing going around called
    ‘ rebelling-against-parents’-most-deeply-held-and-cherished-beliefs-which-signals-budding-autonomy-self-identity-and-mental-health’
    a/k/a
    ‘be-independent-of-others’-influence’
    and ‘to-thine-own-self-be-true’

    I owe a great debt to a friend who on the week after we graduated from high school who read me the riot act after I expressed parental induced homophobia. Because of her I dropped the prejudice I learned from my father and made some very interesting friends during my first year in college.

    I tried to get a hold of her a couple of years later to thank her and tell her about some of my adventures, like going to a disco looking like a “normal” couple, only we were both judging all of the guys. Unfortunately that was just about the time she died in a car crash. :-(

  109. #109 Denice Walter
    July 4, 2014

    @ Chris:

    Right. Erik Erikson got a few books out of the concept. ( “Identity, Youth and Crisis.”, “Young Man Luther”)

    Actually, since my family was of a rather liberal bent- and gays were accepted in my family- I had to forge my identity on other venues.
    I hung out with performance artists and writers in diverse locales. And dated many men and travelled. And dressed really differently. Although I did dress WELL. No rebellion there.

  110. #110 Johnny
    127.0.0.1
    July 4, 2014

    Therefore, why don’t you seem to accept that women are competent to be gatekeepers of their own bodies?? as in, one of the parties to sex must effectively use a condom or there will be no entry into my body.

    Don’t you know that because there have been a few men who have raped women, that just proves that all us guys are are waiting for our chance to rape and impregante the next woman we find ourselves alone with? That’s why some religions don’t allow a woman to be alone with a man that isn’t her father or husband – it’s for her protection.

    /sarcasm

  111. #111 Politicalguineapig
    July 4, 2014

    Chemmomo: If you don’t trust the doctors in your area not to impose their religious beliefs on you, why do you think the pharmacists or nurses would be a better option?

    I don’t trust them either, I meant buying birth control off the shelf like one does with tampons or pads. Or preferably from a dispenser; no human interaction required.

    breandferment: How is that actually in women’s best interests–here, take this potentially harmful hormonal medication with no medical oversight so you don’t have to interact with a medical professional who might actually, you know, care about your health and safety?

    Er, you’re assuming that medical practitioners automatically put their patients first. Valid in most cases, but it’s easier all around not to make medical people choose between their religion and patients. As for ‘best interests’- well, it’d save a lot of stress.

    have you somehow confused Margaret Atwood’s book “The Handmaid’s Tale” as non-fiction?

    I haven’t, but a lot of people on the other side have confused it with a manual.

    Last of all, where exactly would you consider to be more in sync with for your own location since you feel you aren’t really American? why haven’t you found yourself at that place yet?

    Well, the very short answer is I don’t speak Spanish and I haven’t seen enough North American birds. I have been considering England, since it’s one of the few countries where people read. I like to eat, which I’m sure is a drawback to living there. Norway might be nice too, but I don’t speak Norse. Anyway, that’s moot till I scare up enough money for a passport.

  112. #112 Narad
    July 4, 2014

    I’m with Chris. That would be the best possible outcome.

    That would just be a reason for him to denigrate her as being unfit to join him in Liberput if he got wind. I want ol’ Bob Schecter to have his dream world come by, sit on his chest, and robotically repeat “amusing how you keep asserting this invented right to live” while staring in his beady eyes.

    Do you really think he wouldn’t crap all over those simpletons who donate blood? Live the dream, Bob.

  113. #113 Denice Walter
    July 4, 2014

    …OH, Heavenly Muse:
    altho’ I am entirely grateful for the bounteous gifts which have bestowed upon me though thy gracious benificence, I ask sincerely to be able to get through to PGP….THX…….

    Alright.
    PGP:
    you need to visit liberal and hipster enclaves and get to know the denizens there BETTER: travel about your own country ( or one where you can speak English) to places which seem to be less harsh (to you) than your present abode so that you can feel safe enough to communicate with people.
    You needn’t go thousands of miles or to NYC or SF either. There is a great big country only a short distance north.

    HOWEVER even if you went to PORTLAND, everyone there will not automatically agree with you on eveything and everyone will not be exactly as you might like them to be.

    Because people aren’t all the same: two people who agree politically might disagree fervently about lifestyle or money issues. People can differ on many variables which becomes clear when you know them better. One of the people I get along with best has very different political and religious views BUT we agree on other more personal issues- like women’s rights. individuality, human relations- and just like each other.

    I could give a hundred more examples in my own life : in relationships, you appraise similarities and differences- like a benefits/ risks ratio- and decide if the pluses outweigh the minuses. And sometimes it’s not at all clear and makes decisions** about xontinuing the relationship extremely difficult.

    I think because of your strong political beliefs about woman’s right perhaps you should get to know people who are active in that movement. Or those who support science.
    Oh, wait, That’s who we are.

    ** should I stay or should I go?

  114. #114 Chris,
    July 4, 2014

    Narad: “That would just be a reason for him to denigrate her as being unfit to join him in Liberput if he got wind.”

    Which is exactly why she should not tell him. See my Comment #96.

    “I want ol’ Bob Schecter to have his dream world come by, sit on his chest, and robotically repeat “amusing how you keep asserting this invented right to live” while staring in his beady eyes.”

    Patience, patience. Once she has graduated and on her own, she can tell dear old dad that he is a fool.

    But that is just a wish. She may still be completely brainwashed and thinks everything her father says is golden. Until, of course, she gets a vaccine preventable disease or starts the process to make him a grandfather.

  115. #115 ann
    July 4, 2014

    have you somehow confused Margaret Atwood’s book “The Handmaid’s Tale” as non-fiction?

    I haven’t, but a lot of people on the other side have confused it with a manual.

    Nobody who was seriously interested in either sexual repression or totalitarianism would mistake that ridiculous book for a manual, imo.

    (Not a fan.)

  116. #116 brewandferment
    July 5, 2014

    PGP: “I don’t trust them either, I meant buying birth control off the shelf like one does with tampons or pads. Or preferably from a dispenser; no human interaction required.”

    OK, well we’ve given you a list of several things which can be bought off the shelf. a random selection of drugstore.com as a potential supplier includes about 150 choices: female condoms, vaginal contraceptive films and gels, the sponge, and of course a plethora of every possible permutation of male condoms that one could envision–even vegan/ethical, whatever that means. So that’s solved.

    And anyhow, banning birth control would also cut off a pretty hefty cash cow for a lot of companies–methinks it would be too lucrative to kill.

    One other perspective: abortion and reliable birth control for women has been quite the boon to far too many men for it to go away–they get to have fun without the vastly increased chances of having to pay child support. I guarantee you that most men aren’t eager to pay for 18 years of raising very many kids–how exactly would it be to a man’s advantage to make things like IUDs and injections become illegal??

    And don’t give me that foolishness about the quiverful people, or mormon polygamists–of the approximately 150 million males in America (dunno how many are adults, but let’s just say 125 million are adult males), how many, honestly, do you really think are interested in more than 3 or 4 kids max? I’ve known way more men that are unwilling to have ANY children than I know ones who eagerly desire more than 2 kids. There are a fair number who are OK with the idea of 3 or 4, but not exactly anxious for that many.

    And here’s one other fun little fact for you: the military will pay for vasectomies for men, but only with their spouses permission and some other critieria to make sure such a permanent choice is appropriate (age, family status, etc–but in most cases it’s waiverable). Except that on deployment, they can get it done by a general surgeon without any ok from the homefront. Guess what? there’s quite the waiting list for vasectomies on deployment. Somehow I don’t think that quite fits your profile of men, but there you have it. And think maybe that’s not fair to a wife who wants a kid??

    sorry in advance for going off topic so much but once in awhile such stuff makes me see red…

  117. #117 Chemmomo
    Watched the fireworks
    July 5, 2014

    Politicalguineapig@111

    Or preferably from a dispenser; no human interaction required.

    If you are not engaging in human interaction, you do not need birth control. If you are mature enough to have a sexual relationship with a person of the opposite sex, you should be capable of making an appointment with a medical professional to evaluate for your best option for contraception.

  118. #118 Rebecca Fisher
    July 5, 2014

    @Narad – If you were walking down the street and you saw six people beating the hell out of Robert Schecter, would you stop and help?

    Or would six be enough?

  119. #119 Krebiozen
    July 5, 2014

    PGP,

    I have been considering England, since it’s one of the few countries where people read. I like to eat, which I’m sure is a drawback to living there.

    You would be very welcome here, but you might be well-advised to leave your bizarre prejudices at home. Where did you find them? The 1950s?

    Sadly people in the UK read less than those in most other European countries (PDF). On average we spend only 6 minutes each day reading books, and 20 minutes reading other material. In the US people spend, on average, more than 30 minutes each day reading just as a leisure activity.

    Also, we do have food in England, much of it excellent. There are high quality restaurants serving foods from every corner of the globe and we have supermarkets that provide ingredients for whatever you might want to cook yourself.

    My American wife complains about some of the food we like here, but that’s mostly a matter of the food she and we were raised with. One of the most revolting things I ever ate was a chili dog in a diner in Michigan, closely followed by a dish containing cucumber, lime jello and mayonnaise – WTF?

    Conversely, I like Marmite and baked beans on toast (preferably with grilled cheese on top), both of which my wife thinks should not be classified as food at all. She also has a problem with our ground beef (not fine enough, too little fat), bacon (doesn’t taste the same) and potatoes (ditto), and the lack of a few brand named goods – her family send her occasional food parcels – but in general the food here is as good as anywhere else. You don’t have to eat the brain and kidney pie or the overcooked vegetables boiled in water for at least for an hour if you don’t want to. By the way, we have dentists here too these days.

  120. #120 Krebiozen
    July 5, 2014

    Erratum – I made a small error in the US reading stats in my last comment above – I misread 0.32 hours as 32 minutes (the format in the European survey I also cited is HH:MM). The survey found that Americans aged over 15 years read for leisure for about 20 minutes each day. That’s probably very similar to reading habits in the UK (6 minutes each day reading books, and 20 minutes reading other material).

    If you really want readers*, go to India (though I have deep suspicions about the veracity of those figures).

    * That makes me think of Bill Hicks reading a book in a diner in the deep South, and the waitress announces, “Looks like we got ourselves a reader…”

  121. #121 Narad
    July 5, 2014

    closely followed by a dish containing cucumber, lime jello and mayonnaise – WTF?

    WTF, indeed. As my great aunt well knew, you’re supposed to used grated carrot (no pineapple). And she made her own mayonnaise.

  122. #122 Narad
    July 5, 2014

    @Narad – If you were walking down the street and you saw six people beating the hell out of Robert Schecter, would you stop and help?

    Nope. What am I, a parasite?

    Or would six be enough?

    One can only accept the benevolent wisdom of what an efficient market has chosen to provide.

  123. #123 Politicalguineapig
    July 5, 2014

    Kreb: Sadly people in the UK read less than those in most other European countries (PDF). On average we spend only 6 minutes each day reading books, and 20 minutes reading other material. In the US people spend, on average, more than 30 minutes each day reading just as a leisure activity.

    Really? That’s weird. I really don’t think of the US as a country of readers. Any idea what the stats are for Canada?

  124. #124 Krebiozen
    July 5, 2014

    PGP,
    Really trying to generalize about a country the size of the UK, much less that of the US, is futile. If you travel on the London underground you would expect UK reading figures to be much higher, as every other person in the rush-hour has their nose in a book, a newspaper or more often these days, some mobile gadget or other. However, when I lived in rural East Anglia I knew families that didn’t have a single book in the house (a shock to me from a home with hundreds). The true picture? Who knows?

    Canadians? According to the link I posted in my correction, they read a little more than those in the US.

  125. #125 Denice Walter
    July 5, 2014

    I would to guess that reading would have something to do with an urban/ rural dimension and educational level despite location. But even then.

    AND the British food thing.
    Isn’t Jamie Oliver a Britiish guy? He tries to convince people to eat more vegetables. Aren’t there much more serious chefs in London these days and…. um…
    Indians, Pakistanis, Bangledeshis?
    Not eveyone enjoys fish and chips and fried candy bars.

  126. #126 Chris,
    July 5, 2014

    Why should I let the national average of any country affect my reading habits?

  127. #127 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    July 5, 2014

    Why should I let the national average of any country affect my reading habits?

    Because apparently it’s a proxy for “favourable” political leanings, OTC birth control, perfect medical care and hard-to-find Beanie Babies.

  128. #128 Chris,
    July 5, 2014

    I know where those hard-to-find Beanie Babies are… in the detritus of the boxes my kids have left in their rooms. When one moved out I found lots of them under the bed, piled in the closet and stuffed here and there. Along with the two metronomes my daughter claimed she lost.

  129. #129 Krebiozen
    July 5, 2014

    One more thought for PGP: I think you would like living in a university town, perhaps somewhere like Ann Arbor in Michigan, or even Athens in Georgia, which may be closer to your current home.

    I love Ann Arbor, which somehow reminds me of Cambridge in the UK where I spent most of my youth (until it got too small for me and I moved to London). There’s plenty of culture and counterculture there, and lots of bookshops.

    Since my impressions of Georgia are almost entirely gleaned from watching ‘The Walking Dead’ I had images of it being populated by rednecks wielding crossbows (the zombies, I assume, are fictional), but I have a friend who lives in Athens GA (he moved there from Michigan) and though I haven’t yet visited he assures me it’s an oasis of liberalism.

  130. #130 Chris,
    July 5, 2014

    “I haven’t yet visited he assures me it’s an oasis of liberalism.”

    I’ve heard the same about Huntsville, Alabama. Because it is a major NASA and aerospace engineering site.

  131. #131 Denice Walter
    July 5, 2014

    Oh, I don’t know.. I’ve tried so hard. I even invoked the muse – I forget which one responds to my entreaties-
    I cannot make headway with PGP.

    Perhaps she sees her situation as virtually impossible to remedy because THEN it doesn’t pay to make an effort because the path to the goal is fraught with insurmountable obstacles and success is practically out of reach.

    If things are so difficult, you don’t have to try.

  132. #132 Krebiozen
    July 5, 2014

    Denice,

    Jamie Oliver hails from a village just a few miles from my childhood home. There are other English chefs of varying expertise, of course.

    Quite a bit of what passes for English cuisine is really a relic of wartime rationing, something I only realized recently. Things like shepherd’s pie and crumbles were created because of a lack of ingredients for pastry, and sausages were padded with breadcrumbs because of a lack of meat. This may go some way to explaining the terrible reputation we have for food.

    Excellent English bread, cheeses, fish and seafood are available, and we have good meats, vegetables and fruits too. A good roast beef dinner with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, well-cooked vegetables and horseradish sauce or English mustard is hard to beat, despite the stereotype (says the ‘rosbif’). Fish and chips, when done well, is very good indeed.

    When impecunious I have eaten dreadful food in France (hard-boiled eggs in bechamel sauce?) and India (watery daal with easy cook rice, and a ‘pizza’ that turned out to be a chapati sprinkled with tomato ketchup and paneer), both places with great reputations. Generally speaking you get what you pay for.

  133. #133 Denice Walter
    July 5, 2014

    I think that Alice Waters ( of Chez Panisse) has had a huge influence on how moderns now want to eat after a legacy of packaged, tinned, canned miserable cuisine which had something to do with postwar culture as well. Going to simpler, more *natural* ingredients and fresh vegetables ( of course, she’s from Berkeley) and fruits makes a big difference. And mixing in global ideas about spice etc.

    I’ve had awful food in France also.

  134. #134 palindrom
    July 5, 2014

    The late, great, Frank Zappa ended “200 Motels”, his occasionally brilliant self-indulgent monstrosity of a movie, with a number entitled “Strictly Genteel”, which begins with an operatic-style bass soloist intoning, in a rather ponderous waltz-time melody,

    “And may the Lord have Mercy
    On the People of England
    For the Terrible Food
    Those People must Eat”

    Another great moment comes in his parody of Arnold Schoenberg’s expressionist Sprechstimme style, in “nun suit on cardboard boxes”, but that’s another story.

  135. #135 herr doktor bimler
    July 5, 2014

    Quite a bit of what passes for English cuisine is really a relic of wartime rationing

    An entire generation of English persons grew up preferring chicory extract to real coffee.

  136. #136 Narad
    July 5, 2014

    I think that Alice Waters ( of Chez Panisse) has had a huge influence on how moderns now want to eat….

    I think that’s a tough one to ponderomotively ascribe to Waters. One might even try to trace it back to spa cooking.

  137. #137 brewandferment
    July 5, 2014

    Denice at 131: Bingo! Victimhood is always easier than actually putting on one’s big kid panties and marching off to slay dragons.

    A subversive book I often give as a shower gift to mothers of baby girls: The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

  138. #138 squirrelelite
    July 5, 2014

    @brewandferment,

    We read that one to our daughters, too!

  139. #139 Travis
    July 5, 2014

    @brewandferment
    I had not thought about his books in a long time, though they make up a significant amount of my book related memories growing up in the 1980s. Reading about him I was surprised that his books were pretty unknown in the US for so long. I guess I always took it for granted that as he was so well known in Canada, he must have been well known in the states. I also had no idea he was originally from the US.

  140. #140 Politicalguineapig
    July 5, 2014

    DW: I would to guess that reading would have something to do with an urban/ rural dimension and educational level despite location.

    Actually, I want to go into publishing. More readers= healthier publishing industry. As for the rest; well, I have to accumulate a sh*ton of money first for passport, living expenses, and airfare, and that’s difficult when the only jobs available in the states are minimum wage. (Why, yes, I do have a bachelor’s degree, but unless it’s in the sciences, forget getting anything but waitressing or barista jobs.)

    Kreb: Oddly, I do live in a university town. There are four within two miles of me, and two more along my commute. Yes, it’s a pretty liberal state, but I don’t kid myself that the US is getting anything but more conservative and stupid.

    All the liberal brightish people are busy shrieking about vaccines and homeopathy, or wasting their time defending same. I admit vaccines are useful, but really, about the best thing that could happen is withdrawing them from communities that don’t vaccinate, and then waiting.

    Heck, Pakistan’s changing their tune on vaccines pretty quickly. How long would it take for Marin to ask for doctors and vaccines again?

  141. #141 brewandferment
    July 5, 2014

    In the 80s I was grown but they were definitely around when my first kid was born mid 90s. Love You Forever is the best known I think, and I really loved reading it to my kids. My best friend, an elementary teacher, thinks LYF is creepy though. It is a bit odd when you really think about it and as illustrated, but of course you just look past the absurdity and see the message.

    ann re Handmaid’s Tale–I don’t think I’ve read it since college in my mid 20′s (late bloomer you might say) so maybe I need to reread to see how my perspectives have changed. I was impressed by it then, and I was intrigued by her discussion of Afghanistan-area as the inspiration. Maybe I’ll dig it out one of these days after I finish the last Divergent book.

  142. #142 Narad
    July 5, 2014

    Actually, I want to go into publishing. More readers= healthier publishing industry.

    I can scarcely imagine a business that you would find more objectionable to actually work in.

  143. #143 ann
    July 5, 2014

    What Narad said.

    Same for academe.

    I advise learning to suffer fools gladly. It’s not that hard. They’re just like you and me once you get to know them.

  144. #144 Chris,
    July 6, 2014

    Denise Walter: “I’ve had awful food in France also.”

    The worst meal I had in France was an Eiffel Tower restaurant, total tourist trap. Meals outside of Paris were much better.

    brewandferment: “Love You Forever is the best known I think, and I really loved reading it to my kids. My best friend, an elementary teacher, thinks LYF is creepy though.”

    It is creepy. I bought it at a school book fair sometime in the late 1990s. I read it once, fell down crying and never picked it up again. It may have to do with personal experience, since my mother died when I was in fifth grade.

  145. #145 ann
    July 6, 2014

    @brewandferment –

    If it gave you enjoyment and food for thought at any time in your life for any reason, please don’t mind me. I’m too persnickety sometimes.

  146. #146 Politicalguineapig
    July 6, 2014

    Narad: I’m only a bitch online. I’m usually very quiet and polite in real life. Besides, editors are expected to be nasty.

    Ann: I don’t plan to go into academe. Boring, low pay, and I’d have to get a PHD, get on the tenure track..I can’t imagine a worse life. And again, I’m astonishingly different in real life. I may be annoyed at the fact that my friend base is mostly suburban people, but at least I’m not stupid enough to talk politics at them or say I spend more time at concerts than at church. The worst fight I actually ever got into was via Facebook. I do kinda regret losing the friend over that, but he thought being a Christian was more important. (And by that, I mean the sort that won’t stop spamming everyone with “inspirational messages.” I was hesitant to friend the formerly vegan schoolmate for about the same reason. I like to know what people are doing, but I hate getting flooded with messages.)

  147. #147 Narad
    July 6, 2014

    Narad: I’m only a bitch online. I’m usually very quiet and polite in real life. Besides, editors are expected to be nasty.

    I don’t think you understood my remark about the publishing business. And no, “editors” aren’t expected to be any such thing, although I’m not sure what flavor you’re imagining.

    In any event, it’s not the sort of thing the UK has any reason to import.

  148. #148 Scottynuke
    July 6, 2014

    @ PGP:

    Solipsism — You’re doin’ it wrong.

  149. #149 Renate
    July 6, 2014

    @Chemmomo#62
    The lyrics of Free will were written by Neil Peart. I hate to admit I like Rush, considering Neil Peart admired Ayn Rand.

  150. #150 Denice Walter
    July 6, 2014

    @ PGP: ( I’m not going to touch the job counselling issue – I promise)

    Funny that you should mention Marin:
    while it is true that they have a very high rate of unvaccinated children, they have many other amentities to offer. I think you’d like how they vote. Have you ever been there?

    I’ve had many outstanding experiences in that county: first of all, it’s beautiful and always photographs well. I’ve gone there and felt right at home and am not surprised in the least that people seem to accept me as well ( hippies and artsy folk usually do- but EVEN the more business-y types). I’ve had excellent food and persued educational activties that involve geology, plant and animal life and oceanic research- informally, of course. And watched the mountain bikers and kayakers. Gone to art galleries.

    Here’s something that happened in Marin that probably would not happen almost anywhere else:
    I took a ferry to SF; the other passengers were- on the average- adults age 40-80, mostly couples, only a few children.
    Into this somewhat reserved mix comes a group of teenagers- about 8 or 9, including several girls, a couple and two obviously gay young men. One gay was extremely exuberant, talking and joking non-stop. The kids did silly things, sat in each others laps and sang a little, generally having a good time.

    I didn’t see one adult look askance at them or exhibit disdain, even subtle disdain. There seemed to be smiles and a lack of concern at their antics. They were just kids having fun on a boat. I can easily imagine how well their act would go over in other climes: I’m sure that even if there had NOT been the outstanding gay guy, quite a few people would be intolerant of the silliness and loudness. Not here.

    Another time, I waited in a long line in a ladies’ room at a natural area with a few dozen women and girls: it was so multiethnic/ racial that there were only about 3 real white folk – myself included- there. They were black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native Americans.

    Another time, sitting at a bench outside some shops drinking iced tea, I met several interesting people who just wanted to talk. And there are many other incidents that give me a very good impression about the place.

    You have to be able to see positives as well as negatives and then make choices. Don’t automatically write off a place because 8% of parents fear vaccines. Some of those parents might be the same age as you are and have similar interests except for the woo, e.g. feminism is an unwritten law ( perhaps even writ by now). So is inclusion.

  151. #151 ann
    July 6, 2014

    @ PGP –

    I’m sure you’re perfectly charming.

    It’s publishing that’s objectionable.

    (I suppose some editors are nasty when they can get away with it. But I don’t think they differ from any other class of employed persons in that regard.)

    ___________________________

    @ brewandferment, Take Two –

    What the heck. I might as well own my opinion, since I’ve been rash enough to express it already:

    I thought it was a ridiculously misconceived book because (among other things) there is absolutely no society on earth or in history in which women have been deprived of their freedoms because men are only interested in them for one thing: Child-bearing.

    But some explanation of how the extant profit-oriented and sociocultural factors you mentioned @ #116 had been overcome would also have been nice.

    And….Absent those things, I just think that book’s a ludicrous, ill-advised exercise in allegorical misapprehension.
    Politically objectionable, even, though inadvertently so.

    There you have it.

  152. #152 ann
    July 6, 2014

    Although ftm, there’s also no society on earth or in history in which gender-relations are organized around and governed by an elaborate, work-intensive system designed to compensate for and/or correct the perceived defects and shortcomings of the pool of females available for mating/breeding.

    I mean, typically, you just throw them away and get another when they don’t work out.

    Silly book.

  153. #153 Chemmomo
    In another heat wave
    July 6, 2014

    Renate @149

    The lyrics of Free will were written by Neil Peart

    You are right; I’ve been sloppy since Lee is usually list first. I will keep it in mind, because we all know I’m going to have to use that particular quotation again.

  154. #154 Narad
    July 6, 2014
    The lyrics of Free will were written by Neil Peart

    You are right; I’ve been sloppy since Lee is usually list first.

    I’ve been trying to dislodge that earworm all day. Guided visualization of the cover of Fly by Night hasn’t helped. I may resort to looping this.

  155. #155 brewandferment
    July 7, 2014

    Hi ann,

    thanks for the analysis! I think some of the book’s appeal was a case of time and place: among other things, it was probably the first work of contemporary literature that I’d picked up on my own and actually enjoyed. Whether or not it was actually considered literature at the time, I don’t remember, but suffice to say that it was significantly more complex than my leisure reading had been up until then. Plus, I was working towards an engineering degree with few of my gender in the first place, and even fewer who spoke English as their first language. Not, mind you, that I considered it a problem itself, but it was often daunting to communicate mundane daily matters, let alone more complex literary themes. And then, I hadn’t had enough life experience nor foreign travel to be ready to articulate the stuff that I did here, almost 30 years later…so yeah, it impressed my collegiate self but I completely get your point and I think I agree. I am not sure yet if I actually want to reread from this vantage point or if I’d just like to put memories of the thoughts and feelings I experienced then away and not scold my naive self but just leave her be as she was…

  156. #156 ann
    July 7, 2014

    Be proud of her. You have a reason to be.

    When I was in my mid-20s, I barely knew a thing about any part of the world well enough to recognize and have politically insightful thoughts about it. Including the parts within a five-foot radius of where I was standing and long had stood, quite frequently.

    And on paper, it seems plausible. I just happened to be more worldly by the time I read it.

    Cheers. Thanks for putting up with my grumpy, crabby, snootiness.

  157. #157 Rebecca Fisher
    July 8, 2014

    @PGP What sort of publishing? Book, magazine, newspaper, online? (Not that those options are mutually exclusive these days, obviously). If it’s magazine publishing you want to get into, don’t come to the UK at the moment – even hugely experienced people are being laid off and having difficulty finding positions, although there are always entry level ad sales jobs going – the standard non-editorial route into magazine publishing.

    For an editorial job you’ll generally need a relevant degree – English or Journalism usually.

  158. #158 Narad
    August 5, 2014

    The lyrics of Free will were written by Neil Peart. I hate to admit I like Rush, considering Neil Peart admired Ayn Rand.

    Neal Peart side note (no, I haven’t looked more deeply).

  159. #159 Narad
    August 5, 2014

    ^ “Neil”