Over the last three days I’ve been complaining about how the Tribeca Film Festival selected for screening Andrew Wakefield’s antivaccine propaganda- and conspiracy-laden quackfest of a documentary entitled Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe. I also took TFF to task for its extremely disingenuous response about its being about “discussion and dialogue.” You might also recall that I speculated, based on Andrew Wakefield’s having bragged to the faithful that Leonardo DiCaprio was promoting his film (and then, just as fast, denying that he had ever said any such thing) that perhaps Leonardo Di Caprio or another big name star who was antivaccine-sympathetic had greased the wheels to get this film into Tribeca. Another possibility I suggested was one of the Tribeca Film Festival’s founders, Robert De Niro, based on his having an autistic child.

Well, I just got an e-mail from Tammie Rosen at Tribeca Enterprises that reads:

I wanted to provide you with following statement from Robert De Niro, co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival, regarding Vaxxed at the Festival:

“Grace and I have a child with autism and we believe it is critical that all of the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined. In the 15 years since the Tribeca Film Festival was founded, I have never asked for a film to be screened or gotten involved in the programming. However this is very personal to me and my family and I want there to be a discussion, which is why we will be screening VAXXED. I am not personally endorsing the film, nor am I anti-vaccination; I am only providing the opportunity for a conversation around the issue.”

Thank you,
Tammie

The statement appears legit, as it is now on the Tribeca Facebook page. Classic. Send out the press release admitting something bad (but not apologizing for it) on a Friday afternoon before a holiday and hope it doesn’t attract much notice. I’m only surprised Ms. Rosen didn’t wait until 5 PM. Of course, perhaps one of the intrepid reporters I mentioned the other day had discovered it was De Niro and the Tribeca Film Festival had no choice but to release a statement.

So it was De Niro who got Vaxxed into Tribeca. I had rather suspected as much, because someone who had worked on a movie in which De Niro was one of the leads a few years back (and who, of course, wishes to remain anonymous) e-mailed me and told me that De Niro’s wife had been seen talking to Andrew Wakefield on the set and that the two seemed friendly. I know more, such as who else was there (and thus was probably the person who introduced Wakefield to her) and what movie set it was, but that’s all I feel comfortable saying about it publicly. I don’t want to risk any identities.

In any case, if Robert De Niro and his wife Grace want to help their autistic child, may I suggest that “dialogue” generated by a propaganda film by a known scientific fraud whose UK medical license was revoked featuring a viewpoint trumpeting a long-discredited idea that MMR causes autism grafted onto a conspiracy theory about the CDC “covering up” the evidence that vaccines cause autism that has no basis in fact is not a good way to go about this. If De Niro really wants “dialogue,” maybe he should invite Brian Deer to attend the screening. If plane fare from the UK is too steep, then there are a number of experts he could consult on the East Coast. Heck, Paul Offit is in Philadelphia, a short Acela ride away!

I almost feel sorry for Mr. De Niro. Almost. He’s about to be besieged by antivaccine cranks, who will now look at him as a hero and try to get him to support all sorts of wacky quack and pseudoscience causes. I hope he likes his new admirers.

Actually, I do feel a bit sorry for Mr. De Niro. He’s now finding out the hard way why those of us who’ve studied him say that Andrew Wakefield discredits anything he touches. That now includes the Tribeca Film Festival.

Comments

  1. #1 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    April 7, 2016

    Marsha #385:

    So if they’re not 100% effective, how can they be mandated for children to attend school[?]

    Do you know what else is mandatory and yet not 100% effective? Seat belts. Car seats for toddlers. Hygiene protocols in food preparation.

    Where’s there’s risk there must be choice.

    Nothing in life is completely free from risk. In the case of vaccines, the risks of being vaccinated according to schedule are far outweighed by the risks of the diseases they guard against. Every single disease we vaccinate against can kill, and can cause severe negative sequelae in those who survive.

    The flu vaccine is just a push for profit.

    My Medical Aid not only allows me to get the flu shot for free, it awards me points for getting it. They have these people called “actuaries” who look at risk. The actuaries’ calculations show it’s better for the Medical Aid for me to get jabbed than not.
    #393:

    Going back to Japan for a minute… this is interesting..[link]
    [Supposed quote from pdf linked to above]

    Marsha, I went to that link. I then did a word search for the passage you quoted. It wasn’t in that document.
    Did you really think that we wouldn’t check your claims out? You’ve just been caught in a lie. Also since in your comment #418 you said “Hahah … cutting and pasting the bits that suit you??”, I’d call you a hypocrite.
    @sadmar #426:

    This thread isn’t ‘feeding the troll’. It’s giving the troll a free pass to a deluxe all-you-can-eat buffet.

    We engage the trolls for the sake of lurkers who may be undecided. And it works. It worked for me. I know, sample size of 1 and all that. In 2010, I read of a gastroenterologist named Andrew Wakefield who had been found guilty of a bunch of charges related to research he’d done on autistic children. Curious, I read more. Eventually, I came across Respectful Insolence. At the time, antivaxx warriors were still strong. The calm refutations to their false claims not only convinced me that the antivaxxers were wrong, they taught me how to spot and refute bad arguments.
    Marsha, your link at #432 is by “ChildHealthSafety”, a name well known to regulars of this blog. Let’s just say that if you’re relying on Clifford Miller and John Stone, you are wrong.

  2. #2 Narad
    April 7, 2016

    Where’s there’s risk there must be choice.

    Man, being reduced to regurgitating this slogan is just sad. The topic is U.S. school vaccination requirements, yes?

    There’s a transparently obvious choice. It is called “homeschooling.” Complaining about it from the antipodes is profoundly unimpressive.

  3. #3 Narad
    April 7, 2016

    @sadmar #426:

    This thread isn’t ‘feeding the troll’. It’s giving the troll a free pass to a deluxe all-you-can-eat buffet.

    Oh, FFS. </killfile>

    s.m.h.

    Jesus Fυcking Christ, it’s one-upping Eternal September with preciously punctuated condescension.

    <killfile>

  4. #4 Peter Dugdale
    homeofhomeopathy
    April 7, 2016

    Julian Frost

    We engage the trolls for the sake of lurkers who may be undecided. And it works.

    Seconded.
    There’s a certain glibness about Marsha which has to be countered, and many thanks to those who make the effort.

    It’s been a good illustration of how, once their point has been countered, they move seamlessly on to another without dealing with the facts they’ve been confronted with.
    Truly, the glib shall inherit the earth.

  5. #5 Helianthus
    April 7, 2016

    @ Julian Frost

    This thread isn’t ‘feeding the troll’. It’s giving the troll a free pass to a deluxe all-you-can-eat buffet.

    We engage the trolls for the sake of lurkers who may be undecided.

    Most of my own efforts are a mix of a bit escapism (venting on anti-vaxers to avoid e.g. yelling at the @sshole colleagues next door) and a strong case of SIWOTI.
    But if I can pass on some relevant info, I guess my time is not utterly wasted.
    It’s annoying to leave the questions unanswered. Especially when the lies these questions support can kill. I positively hate the anti-HPV brigade lies that carcinoma cancer could be prevented/cured by frottis. No, it could be detected by frottis.
    Detection is not the same as prevention. Terminology, look it up.

    I have to admit, the feeling of déjà vu was very strong about 250 comments up. We could save everybody’s time by making a FAQs website and just refer any visitor to it. It’s always the same old stuff coming back (now, it’s Bill Gates).

    Sadmar’s recent comments are very disheartening. I feel we are useless.
    —————————————————-

    I was riled recently by a front-page article in a local French newspaper, an interview of one Pr Joyeux. So I discovered one of our own brand of anti-vaxer.
    To put it short, he is anti-all. Anti-vax (sorry, “pro-safe vax”), anti-pill, anti-milk, anti-pesticides*… A good example of crank magnetism. But he is a nice grand-dad with a happy smile, and a Professor and a Cancer Surgeon, so he gets a free pass.
    He is also in relation with a couple of fraudsters whose business is based in part on using internet petitions to collect personal info and sell the list to anyone interested.

    * Not that there aren’t good reasons to be cautious about all of these.
    But after sampling some of his work, and seeing it was a mix of the usual exaggerations (or outright fabrications) and universal, non-relevant truths (nutrition is important! so is breastfeeding!), one gets the feeling the activities of Joyeux et al. are more about riding the bandwagon and milking the state and the layman for all the money they could throw his way than about public safety.
    The above-mentioned fraudsters are financed by one of our research agency, for FSM sake. Their effect on the field? Nil. They claim credits for other lobbying associations’ successes.

    Some days, I’m tired of all this manure.

  6. #6 Murmur
    UK-ia
    April 7, 2016

    If Marsha wants (as it appears from her comments about wotsisface being not only a medical doctor but having – oooooooh, impressive – military experience) to play the argument from authority game, I’m afraid I can trump that: in 30 years as a nurse, mostly in CAMH, the years prior to that at university being around quite a lot of medics, having family friends who are medics all my life, I cannot think of one who would support the stuff she cites…

    And, going back to vaccines and autism, if the likes of Michael Rutter, Lorna Wing, Uta Frith, the Gilbergs, Simon Baron Cohen and…and…and…every psychiatrist and paediatrician I worked with who was involved in assessment and diagnosis of autism did not think there was any evidence linking the 2 that is good enough for me (especially as I have never seen any good evidence either and I have good training in reading scientific papers).

    • #7 Marsha
      April 7, 2016

      Think you might have an argument with the thousands of parents who witnessed their child regress immediately after a vaccine…

    • #8 Marsha
      April 7, 2016

      Why would they make any attempt to want to link the 2- what’s their motivation to dig any deeper? Everyone knows what pharma did to Wakefield and what they do to anyone who speaks out against them… takes guts to be a whistle blower.

  7. #9 Murmur
    UK-ia
    April 7, 2016

    And, for any lurkers or anyone else who’s not come across it, I will recommend this – http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Read-Paper-Basics-Evidence-BasedMedicine/dp/1118800966?ie=UTF8&keywords=Greehalgh%20How%20to%20read%20papers&qid=1460018521&ref_=sr_1_sc_1&s=books&sr=1-1-spell – as a handy helper in sorting out decent papers from utter guff like the Geiers and their ilk.

  8. #10 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    April 7, 2016

    And Marsha still hasn’t told us what constitutes an “independent” study. Such a simple question, yet she consistently refuses to inform us. How are we to have any kind of reasonable discussion if we don’t know what she’ll accept?

    Oh, and Marsha, as to your Bill Gates bit, let’s look a bit at public health. We know that when children are healthy and likely to survive to be adults, the number of children that couples have goes down. That’s because they don’t need to produce a lot of children in order to have a good chance of some surviving. What Gates is talking about is just that: make people healthier so that they don’t have to have a lot of kids. This seems to be a concept that is absolutely lost on anti-vaccine activists like Marsha.

  9. #11 Reality
    April 7, 2016

    Those who thought Robert De Niro got religion and came round to rationalism after consulting “scientists” before canceling the Tribeca showing should look at this:
    Fox5 NYC interview from April 6 2016:
    fox5ny(dot)com/good-day/118077722-story

    YouTube copy of the Fox5 report:
    youtube(dot)com/watch?v=KGX2TVigyfs

    He seems to be dancing around and seems to imply that he believes there is a connection between vaccines and autism and that he’d still like to help disseminate Wakefraud’s propaganda.
    From his weak “explanation” after pulling it from screening at TFF I kinda’ thought he might be as dumb and gullible as any other actor and swallowed the anti-vaccine, anti-science lies in his ignorance.

    It seems to me we haven’t heard the last from this knucklehead.

    (I tried to post this late last night with active links and the screen merely flashed and took me to the top of the page. I thought that maybe the active links kicked it to moderation, but I don’t remember anyone claiming that happens so I don’t know what happened.
    2nd time’s a charm.)

  10. #12 Denice Walter
    April 7, 2016

    HELLO Reality! ( I’ve always wanted to say that)

    Along similar lines about De Niro-
    see prn.fm frontispiece article ” Why the CDC is Petrified about the Film VAXXED” ( or suchlike, I didn’t copy it)

    The crappy writers assert that RFK jr reported that De Niro told him he was under great pressure to pull the film. ( in an early paragraph of the long, dodgy piece of concentrated woo that even includes Celia Farber!).

  11. #13 Delphine
    April 7, 2016

    Definitely NOT vaccinated Delpine, my mum wasn’t my kids aren’t…
    I have had most of the usual childhood illnesses and now have lifelong immunity and my kids & husband got chicken pox a few yrs ago (from a vaccinated neighbour I might add)and got through it very well. Kids bounced back much quicker, probably because their immune systems haven’t been compromised by toxic vaccines whereas my vaccinated husband suffered more (when I say vaccinated I mean with the limited schedule from the late 60’s 70’s when varicella wasn’t available).
    Interestingly, I have read of links between people who have the DTap being more susceptible to pneumonia after illness and low and behold when we all got a cold a couple years ago, my husband (only one vaccinated) got pneumonia and we all (unvaccinated ones) recovered quickly. In relation to your flu, you were probably more susceptible to it because you had the pertussis vaccine or DTap. I’ve haad Swine flu and others and recovered within the usual 7-10 days with no complications.
    In reference to your Uncle and mumps, it is much safer to have mumps as a child to avoid sterility. Unfortunately with the vaccine schedule this is delaying the onset of these ‘normal childhood illnesses’ and putting men more at risk of sterility as they get older as many do not have their ‘booster shots’ and more like to get the diseases as the vaccine wears off.
    In reference to your Dad in the blitz… not surprising someone who is suffering stress in a wartime situation is immuno-compromised and likely to contract an infection or disease and end up in hospital. Hence the reason more people die of these things in 3rd world countries. You should also remember that people vaccinated with the old inactivated measles vaccine are also at risk of contracting atypical measles which is often more serious than measles itself.
    An grandparents, well what can I
    say… they certainly didn’t have the nutrition, sanitation and hygiene that we have today. Typhoid and cholera are diseases that are esily remedied with better living conditions and clean water and in many countries there never vaccinations for Scarlet Fever or small pox and these were eradicated without intervention.
    Maybe it’s worth your while to explore the dark side and get to know many of the vaccine injured children and families that I know and advocate for. They too are in their thousands and included in pharma studies such as the GSK confidential study link attached where 36 babies died. I personally have friends with life long seizures, brain damage, paralysis, autism etc thanks to vaccines. My Dad is the only one vaccinated in our family (he refused to have us vaccinated) and he is the only one with chronic asthma and everyone else not vaccinated has no inflammatory illness.
    So Delphine, I can see your argument and that’s it’s personal but we have our lived experiences too.

    You can see *my* argument? But it was your argument that vaccines don’t prevent the spread of disease, they merely mitigate the symptoms. Yet none of you are immunized! If that’s what you truly believe, when suffering from a VPD, wouldn’t you want to reduce your symptoms if you could?

    It pains me very deeply to type this, Marsha, but I am forced to conclude that when it comes to your true motives, you are (wait for it) not being entirely honest here.

    I just can’t let this one go: An grandparents, well what can I say… they certainly didn’t have the nutrition, sanitation and hygiene that we have today. Typhoid and cholera are diseases that are esily remedied with better living conditions and clean water and in many countries there never vaccinations for Scarlet Fever or small pox and these were eradicated without intervention.

    Firstly, no country has a vaccine for scarlet fever, because a vaccine for scarlet fever doesn’t exist.

    Secondly, my grandmother contracted a VPD (measles) because a vaccine for measles didn’t exist in the early 1900s. She contracted scarlet fever shortly thereafter because a. there is no vaccine for scarlet fever and b. her immune system was likely compromised due to the prior measles infection.

    Thirdly, as for sanitation, hygiene, and nutrition, I would posit that an upper class child living in the English countryside (and not suffering from typhoid or cholera, but measles then scarlet fever, Marsha) was quite likely not the starving ignorant unwashed example you reached for, Marsha.

    Lastly, Hence the reason more people die of these things in 3rd world (sic) countries is probably not a topic you should broach.

  12. #14 Chris
    April 7, 2016

    Julian Frost: “We engage the trolls for the sake of lurkers who may be undecided. And it works. It worked for me.”

    I personally find the Japan DTP lie to particularly noxious. For one thing it is a very old lie, and there is easily available PubMed literature to show that it is a lie.

    The bit about Bill Gates promoting eugenics is just plain idiotic. Yeah, he is putting his money into making sure kids are healthy and have a chance to grow up, so families go from six kids to just two kids.

  13. #15 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    April 7, 2016

    @Delphine

    Very likely that measles played a role in the scarlet fever, considering measles virus suppresses the immune system for 2-3 years after infection.

  14. #16 Ellie
    Still on the green side of the grass
    April 7, 2016

    “An grandparents, well what can I say…”

    As a grandparent (a great grandparent, no less) I am often amused, appalled, and above all, irritated by nonsense like this. One would think my parents and grandmother who lived with us, never fed me fruits and vegetables, and that after sending me outside of the cave to play in the cesspit, didn’t bother to tell me to bathe.

    Another candidate for Dara O’Briain’s sack.

  15. #17 Delphine
    April 7, 2016

    because a vaccine for scarlet fever doesn’t exist.

    I was wrong. George & Gladys Dick did develop a vaccine for scarlet fever in the mid 20s, but it faded from use with the advent of penicillin. Wouldn’t have helped my grandmother anyway, she had scarlet fever long before the vaccine.

  16. #18 Narad
    April 7, 2016

    in many countries there never vaccinations for Scarlet Fever or small pox and these were eradicated without intervention

    I’m sure it will come as quite a surprise to S. pyogenes to learn that scarlet fever has been “eradicated,” whatever the fυck that’s supposed to mean in the first place.

    The smallpox prong, of course, is simply drooling idiocy.

  17. #19 Denice Walter
    April 7, 2016

    Just when I thought it was safe and that the brouhaha surrounding Andy’s miserable film was over and done with…but
    NO!!!!

    According to Celia Farber ( The Truth Barrier**), Andy learned that his Neue Meisterwerk has been tossed by another film fest ( Houston World-Fest) because of…..
    you know.
    Farber spoke to Andy and Carmel on the phone who told the sordid tale.
    Maybe Del will do a film about how they will Fight The Power etc.

    I have to go to my dance class

    ** I’ll say there’s a barrier to truth

  18. #20 Alain
    April 7, 2016

    Murmur@#451,

    does that qualify: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Interpreting-Medical-Literature-Gehlbach-Paperback/dp/B011DCBJJO/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460063643&sr=1-5&keywords=Stephen+Gehlbach

    I got it for 0.01$ canucks money some time ago on the Canucks version of amazon…

    Alain

  19. #21 MI Dawn
    April 7, 2016

    Hi, all! Sorry I posted and ran yesterday; didn’t mean to leave you with the explaining of the affectionate “minions” term to Marsha. Thanks for those who did. I’ll talk to Lord Draconis about extra shill money (and exemptions from having to feed the hatchlings for a while).

    Funny…if smallpox wasn’t eradicated, how come we no longer give the vaccine? Yes, isolation of those infected helped, but so did given the vaccine to prevent those doing the isolation from getting the disease.

    Not that I ever expect Marsha to read anything with documentation, but “Inside the Outbreaks” by Mark Pendergrast has a great section about the eradication of smallpox, for those of you who enjoy that kind of book.

    • #22 Marsha
      April 7, 2016

      Never vaccinated for it in Australia.

  20. #23 Ellie
    Still on the green side of the grass
    April 7, 2016

    They stopped giving smallpox vaccine right before my youngest child was born. I gave the doctor such a hard time about that, until he quietly and patiently was able to explain why she wasn’t going to need protection from smallpox in this country. Probably went home and told his wife about the crazy mother in his office that day. Some of us are very concerned about protecting our children from VPD.

    Thanks MI Dawn for mentioning that book. It looks interesting and I found a nice cheap used copy on Amazon.

  21. #24 Delphine
    April 7, 2016

    MI Dawn, OT but you would like this. Had an at-school lunch with a group of fellow mothers from my daughter’s school today. One brought along her adorably squooshy newborn. Another woman in the group had the temerity to ask how he was born.

    New Baby Mom: I had a cesarean due to previa.
    Clueless Nosy Parker: Wouldn’t they let you even try for a vaginal birth?
    New Baby Mom: Sure, but I told them I wanted to live.

    We exchanged phone #s, I like her already… 🙂

  22. #25 MI Dawn
    April 7, 2016

    Marsha: never say silly stuff; you should know by now we will call you on it. Of course they used to vaccinate for smallpox in Australia. History of Smallpox in Australia Or do you get a kick out of us showing how you lie?

    @Delphine: AAACCCKKK!!! Thank goodness your friend has brains in her head. And much enjoyment of the new little one.

  23. #26 MI Dawn
    April 7, 2016

    Marsha: the last smallpox case in Australia was 1938. Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1978. Most countries stopped routine vaccination on or before that point (many, like Australia, were able to stop before that, as they could just have people sit in quarantine until they were sure those people, most who came by ship, didn’t have any communicable diseases).

    The fact that we no longer have to give the smallpox vaccine to ANYONE because we have successfully eradicated it proves we could do this with many other disease that don’t have an animal carrier, like MEASLES and MUMPS and POLIO. In fact, polio was almost eradicated, until you stupid antivaxxers started yammering, and certain intelligence agencies did stupid things.

    So, Marsha: why do you like seeing people anywhere in the world suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases? Why don’t you want to help your fellow humans?

    • #27 Marsha
      April 8, 2016

      You see the lie is in the label… ‘vaccine preventable’. Firstly I don’t think that this is true when I see many people getting the diseases they were vaccinated for i.e. chicken pox (in my neighbours case), pertussis (many outbreaks in vaccinated communities, measles…
      AND I could ask you the same question! How can you possibly let an uneducated doctor (and they are – I have asked many GP’s in the past what the ingredients are and their risks and what are the chances of getting the disease to a chance of an adverse reaction) and none could tell me. They go to their pharma funded Universities to learn their pharma funded ‘studies’ and then go into practice to go to their pharma funded conferences and get pharma funded to push their drugs, vax etc
      So again, how can YOU let an uneducated GP (med doc) stick an injection directly into your child’s blood stream full of adjuvants and chemicals known to cause neurological problems like aluminium (amongst a huge list of adverse reactions) and then say you’ve made an informed choice to sing ‘Que Sera Sera’ while these ingredients de-myelinize your child’s nervous system and cause brain damage through encephalitic reactions, make them seize, paralyse them (which happened to 2 friend’s babies) or worse die. Did you never look at a VAERS list and feel sick prior to vaccination especially when the US vaccine schedule has something like 74 vaccines which is probably in excess of 40 shots (if they’re in combinations) and that’s only up until you’re 18 yrs old. Then it’s boosters for the rest of your life.
      I once worked out the chances of an adverse reaction compared to winning the lottery and I was 45 x more likely to have an adverse reaction than win and that’s based on the broad 1:1,000,000 stats that the CDC give you for a serious reaction, which we all know is bollocks and given the high level of corruption and revolving doors between the FDA, CDC & pharma, why would you trust them? Just like they thought DDT, thalidomide and many other public health initiatives and drugs were safe only to find out later they weren’t.
      So why would I stick a chemical cocktail into my beautiful healthy child’s body when they already have strong immune systems and cripple it with adjuvants and toxins when their chance of getting the disease for which they’re being vaccinated for is rarely life-threatening or disabling (especially in the western world) and the chance of severe adverse reaction is far greater? I think I’d rather chance a few spots and a fever for a week with lifelong immunity than a life time of allergies, asthma, exzema, seizures, brain damage, possible autism, auto-immune disease or death, just because the government / medical community (who are known to get it wrong regularly) say so!?? My kids can do what they like when they get older but for now, it just doesn’t make sense to me to inject a healthy child with a concoction of poison many times over with a huge list of likely reactions, on a ‘what if’.

  24. #28 TBruce
    April 7, 2016

    Never vaccinated for it in Australia.

    Paging Drs Dunning and Kruger…

  25. #29 Chris
    April 7, 2016

    Marsha, Marsha, Marsha: “Think you might have an argument with the thousands of parents who witnessed their child regress immediately after a vaccine…”

    Alex, I’ll take “Unverified anecdotes by imaginary people” for 200 dollars.

  26. #30 sadmar
    April 7, 2016

    @ Hellanthus

    Sadmar’s recent comments are very disheartening. I feel we are useless.

    Please, don’t take those comments too seriously. The reason I try to frame them as humor is that i don’t want them to be ponderous or authoritative. I know Narad, among others, takes my tone to be condescending, but I honestly don’t mean it that way at all. I’m guessing my habits of expression may be unfamiliar to many minions, and hard to parse as such. In my (limited) social circles, we’re mainly all jokesters, and good-natured ribbing is the norm. You can assume I’m smiling and winking at you, and just too lazy to pepper the comments with smiley/winkey emoticons, which also strike as too cutesy and bad graphic design anyway.

    So, I see myself as just doing a bit of prodding toward other ways of looking at the whack-a-troll, FWIW, YMMV.

    I certainly don’t want to discount Julian’s experience, and I have no doubt that expanding the sample beyond 1 would reveal any number of other folks who found. “The calm refutations to their false claims not only convinced me that the antivaxxers were wrong, they taught me how to spot and refute bad arguments.”

    So, let’s move the questions to:
    1) When do the refutations reach a point of diminishing returns?
    2) What do lurkers take away from calm refutations continuing ad infinitum against comments that are not so much bad arguments, as fairly obvious non-arguments: filled with ranting bile-spew, nasty snark, SHOUTING, and embeded clips from Infowars. What are the possible negative consequences of taking silliness seriously, not so much on any one time comment and reply, but cumulatively?
    3) When (or under what conditions) do the benefits of refutation Julian so nicely states become outweighed by the negative effects of clogging the bandwidth, giving ‘false balance’ credibilty to anti-science quacks, or just descending into exchanges that make both ‘sides’ appear to be obsessive ‘weirdos’?
    4) Given that we all only have so much time to devote to this blog, even if whack-a-troll isn’t “useless”, are there more productive uses of our resources we be better off engaging in the battle for the lurker mind?

    Mulling this over as I write, I’m thinking the responses to trolls fall into several different categories on a spectrum from calm-straitforward refutation, to subtle sarcasm, to anger, to giving the trolls a taste of their own medicine, all of them problematic, i.e. a lose-lose-lose proposition. The problem is that trolls don’t play by any rules, which handicaps any form of reply. If we remain calm and sober, we seem cold in the face of personal passions, in addition to taking garbage too seriously. If we respond in anger, we forfeit the claim to objective science, and may resort to anecdote. If we return fire on the smack, we sink into what lurkers may see as a shouting match engendering a ‘plague on both houses’ withdrawal.

    [It’s awfully hard to resist the urge to fierceness in SIWOTI. Look at my comments. I refused to engage Marsha, my #349 being a calm response to Chad @339. After which Marsha called me a Sadman with a herd mentality spreading fairy tails. I didn’t take that bait, but when I finally got to teasing y’all about the length of the thread, being in joking mode, I did refer to her as ‘MarshBog’ and a ‘fille de joie’ which I found on Google as a charming French slang expression for ‘whore’ (literal translation: ‘maid of ecstacy’). So, I can’t exactly claim to be holier-than-thou here…]

    Bottom line, I guess, is that I have a hard time imagining lurkers bothering to readi through a thread of 460+ comments going back-and-forth with a troll, much less having that yield any productive results.

    As for better uses of time, I’ll toss two suggestions into the hat:
    1) For the lurkers, more focus on how Wakefield’s use of images of ASD kids reinforces disgusting and harmful stereotypes.
    2) For ourselves, more critical self-examination about our strategies to counter anti-vax messages. I thought I’d posted in one of the threads here my thesis that Andy played the scientific community as part of a long con to get Vaxxed into commercial theaters, I thought I offered that Ripping Tribeca was a blunder that I’m convinced Andy anticipated and was set up to exploit from well before the Tribeca announcement. But I can’t find it. So either I posted it somewhere else or I’m just hallucinating. Anyway, I suggested there were lessons to be learned here. I have my opinions, but this is something to be talked out as dialogue. With some self-critical thinking, IMHO skeptics could develop a much better understanding of how to play the public opinion game, since they’re basically starting somewhere on the negative side of zero in that regard.

  27. #31 Orac
    April 7, 2016

    I know Narad, among others, takes my tone to be condescending,

    That’s because your tone often is condescending.

  28. #32 Orac
    April 7, 2016

    Andy played the scientific community as part of a long con to get Vaxxed into commercial theaters, I thought I offered that Ripping Tribeca was a blunder that I’m convinced Andy anticipated and was set up to exploit from well before the Tribeca announcement.

    Having studied Wakefield for years, I really do think you give him too much credit here. He’s clever, but not that clever. He’s a short term con man, not chess player who plans several moves ahead.

  29. #33 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    April 8, 2016

    @Marsha #472:

    ‘vaccine preventable’. Firstly I don’t think that this is true when I see many people getting the diseases they were vaccinated for i.e. chicken pox (in my neighbours case)

    MMRV is very recent. Are you sure your neighbour was vaccinated against chicken pox?

    …pertussis (many outbreaks in [under]vaccinated communities)

    FTFY. In addition, all of the cases I’ve read about occurred in people who had been deliberately unvaccinated, or children too young to be vaccinated.

    They go to their pharma funded Universities to learn their pharma funded ‘studies’ and then go into practice to go to their pharma funded conferences and get pharma funded to push their drugs, vax etc

    Pharma Shill Gambit noted.

    So again, how can YOU let an uneducated GP (med doc) stick an injection directly into your child’s blood stream…

    Vaccines are not injected directly into the bloodstream, you champion ignoramus.

    …full of adjuvants and chemicals known to cause neurological problems like aluminium

    Ever heard the saying “the dose makes the poison”? There is more aluminium in a banana than in the entire vaccine schedule. I eat bananas almost every day.

    Did you never look at a VAERS list

    Did you not see my comment above where I said that VAERS is a list of adverse events that occurred within a certain timeframe of vaccination, so events that MAY HAVE, not must have, been caused by vaccination?

    the US vaccine schedule has something like 74 vaccines

    To quote Penn and Teller, “Bovine Faeces!”

    the broad 1:1,000,000 stats that the CDC give you for a serious reaction, which we all know is bollocks

    Citation needed that that statistic is an understatement.

    I think I’d rather chance a few spots and a fever for a week with lifelong immunity than a life time of allergies, asthma, exzema, seizures, brain damage, possible autism, auto-immune disease or death.

    As I pointed out above, all the diseases we vaccinate against can kill, and have other negative sequelae like blindness, deafness, permanent lung damage, sterility and permanent brain damage, and at orders of magnitude many times that of vaccine adverse events. Basically, Marsha, you are leeching off herd immunity and risking subjecting your children to diseases that could kill or disable them.

    I now agree with sadmar. It was a good exercise for my mind to engage you when you first showed up, but now you’re just throwing out PRATTs (Points Refuted A Thousand Times) like miscalculations of risk, the Toxins Gambit and the Pharma Shill Gambit, and easily refutable claims like Australia never using the smallpox vaccine. In addition to being dishonest, you’ve now become boring.

  30. #34 Amethyst
    The Crystal Gem
    April 8, 2016

    As I pointed out above, all the diseases we vaccinate against can kill, and have other negative sequelae like blindness, deafness, permanent lung damage, sterility and permanent brain damage, and at orders of magnitude many times that of vaccine adverse events. Basically, Marsha, you are leeching off herd immunity and risking subjecting your children to diseases that could kill or disable them.

    Ah, but you forget that Marsha and her kids are of the Anti-Vax Ubermensch – nothing will ever get past their super-human immune systems! Or if, perhance, it does it will be nothing but a mild cold, you see.

  31. #35 Murmur
    UK-ia
    April 8, 2016

    Alain @465

    Yup, Gehlback will do; I used Greenhalgh as it is a pretty commonly used text in UK-ian medical and nursing schools.

  32. #36 Murmur
    UK-ia
    April 8, 2016

    Julian @478

    You’ve pretty much summed it up.

    Just add in the “unsupported, unverified anecdote trumps clear clinical evidence” trope…

  33. #37 Murmur
    UK-ia
    April 8, 2016

    Oh, as the concept of “regression” in autism was introduced, it should be pointed out (yet again) that this whole area is fraught with difficulties, lack of clear, repeatable definitions, observer biases and the like, making it very, very hard to be sure that regression occurs anywhere near as much as some claim.

  34. #38 herr doktor bimler
    April 8, 2016

    the US vaccine schedule has something like 74 vaccines

    In much the same way that a sparrow is something like an ostrich.

    chemicals known to cause neurological problems like aluminium

    I for one applaud the correct spelling of “aluminium”. And it is true, it is known to cause neurological problems if a large enough chunk of it falls on your head, but this is true of most things, except perhaps helium.

  35. #39 Helianthus
    April 8, 2016

    I once worked out the chances of an adverse reaction compared to winning the lottery and I was 45 x more likely to have an adverse reaction than win

    Maybe that’s because you are not supposed to win at the lottery.

    Like any state-sponsored or mafia-sponsored game of chance, its purpose is to part the customer of its money. Giving a little money to a very few customers is an acceptable side-effect.

    • #40 Marsha
      April 9, 2016

      Wow the comparison with Big Pharma are amazing… ‘state sponsored mafia’ and keep making promises of success but actually giving very little benefit to their customers to keep them coming back for more!

  36. #41 Helianthus
    April 8, 2016

    @ Sadmar

    I thought I offered that Ripping Tribeca was a blunder that I’m convinced Andy anticipated and was set up to exploit from well before the Tribeca announcement. But I can’t find it. So either I posted it somewhere else or I’m just hallucinating. Anyway, I suggested there were lessons to be learned here.

    You posted it, it was on the first thread about Tribeca.

    I actually answered you, pointing you that
    1 – Wakefield would have reacted either way, maybe not following an established tactical tree (I will trust Orac’s analysis above), but he would certainly not have waited patiently if it looked like he was going to be swamped under critics during the projection at Tribeca.
    2 – skeptics are the opposite of a borg collective. We are not unified, there are many “leaders” and many currents, most of them ignoring each others. The flamewars between the currents could be quite intense, I found out.
    So expecting an organized and well-thought reaction is, if not beyond the possible, at the minimum highly unlikely.
    And I’m not sure uniting the skeptical movements is something to wish for.

  37. #42 MI Dawn
    April 8, 2016

    Like some of the others, I am going to give up on Marsha. Once she posted the 2 ridiculous statements (“vaccines injected directly into the bloodstream” and OMG ALUMINIUM!!!!111111!!!!), I realized that I had better things to do, like mow the lawn and talk to people of intelligence who actually read and do research. (Which means avoiding some of my own antivax friends for a while, or I’ll bite their heads off.)

  38. […] Film Festival, of which he was one of the co-founders. Before that, he had revealed that it was he who had bypassed the festival’s regular selection procedures and asked that the film be shown. All of this happened after an uproar over a film so full of […]

  39. #44 sadmar
    April 8, 2016

    Hey, MI Dawn:

    Can you come over and mow my lawn when you’re done with yours? It’s really tiny, just a little strip behind the mobile home at the back of the lot. but I can’t seem to get to it as I’m too obsessed with posting comments on RI…

    (all in jest, <3)

  40. #45 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    April 8, 2016

    I’ll just leave this here for Marsha. It might help her understand why her “something like 74 vaccines” bit is utter nonsense. Or, if not Marsha, perhaps the lurkers.

  41. #46 rs
    April 8, 2016

    “the mobile home at the back of the lot.”

    I’d be more concerned about the tornados it’ll attract. For the grass all you need is a goat.

  42. #47 sadmar
    Not in the Midwest
    April 9, 2016

    @rs
    Correlation ≠ causality. Scientist have actually studied this, and found trailer parks don’t attract tornadoes, tornadoes attract trailer parks.*
    ____
    * Actually, they concluded that due to economics, zoning, etc., trailer parks had just been built disproportionately in spots where tornadoes tend to land.

  43. #48 Alain
    April 9, 2016

    Sadmar,

    You pay my passport and the round-trip plane ticket (or train if applicable), I’ll mow your lawn and make you a batch of spaghetti sauce 😀

    Al

  44. #49 Julian Frost
    South Africa
    April 10, 2016

    So Marsha returns and places a comment under Helianthus’s one at #484, but instead of making claims, she descends into snideness.
    Marsha, you lose.

  45. #50 OP
    April 10, 2016

    @Julian

    What did you expect? That she accepted defeat?

  46. #51 Lawrence
    April 10, 2016

    Hmmmm….well let’s see, over the past 70 years, we’ve seen a huge drop in infant mortality rates, across the board, life expectancy continues to rise year over year, several types of Cancer can now be cured, while overall survival rates also increase, diseases that once were common are now no longer so (including the eradication of Smallpox & the near eradication of Polio)….and I could go on and on….seems like “Big Pharma” has actually done more to alleviate human suffering than anything else in human history.

  47. #52 Peg Futrell
    United States
    April 28, 2016

    I think we should keep an open mind and thoroughly evaluate an argument. Calling a belief or conclusion of someone “quackery”, does not merit as a valid analysis. Ideally, as a nation that suffers from hugely rising rates of autism (as well as metabolic disorder), we should be focusing on funding independent research on its possible causes. (Research studies are conducted and funded by vested interests currently.)

    This site, and its author, resorts to the method of “destroying the source” in order to argue against an argument. What about addressing an argument head-on, or at least acknowledge the need for proper studies to determine the causes of autism?

  48. #53 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    April 28, 2016

    @Peg Futrell:

    I think we should keep an open mind and thoroughly evaluate an argument.

    This “argument” HAS been thoroughly evaluated. Multiple large well-designed studies have been done looking at whether the MMR Vaccine causes autism, either on its own or in conjunction with other vaccines. None found any link.

    Calling a belief or conclusion of someone “quackery”, does not merit as a valid analysis.

    It does when it is backed up by numerous citations and independent sources. And it does when the belief is demonstrably flawed.

    Ideally, as a nation that suffers from hugely rising rates of autism…

    Rising rates of autism, or rising rates of diagnoses of autism?

    …we should be focusing on funding independent research on its possible causes.

    The current research strongly points to a genetic cause for autism. As I said above, the research done into whether or not vaccines cause autism argues very strongly that it doesn’t.

    (Research studies are conducted and funded by vested interests currently.)

    False.

    This site, and its author, resorts to the method of “destroying the source” in order to argue against an argument.

    Did you see those blue words in the text? They’re hyperlinks to evidence for Orac’s claims.
    De Niro may love his son very much, but on this matter he is wrong. Wakefield is a proven liar who was hired to find evidence implicating MMR in autism, conducted research without proper approvals, subjected autistic children to invasive tests (blood draws, colonoscopies, Lumbar Punctures) to gain evidence, cooked the data when it pointed AWAY from a link, set up businesses to profit from his scare-mongering about MMR (including creating his own vaccine), did not disclose his multiple conflicts of interest and finally, when given the option to perform a much larger study, stalled for years.

    What about addressing an argument head-on, or at least acknowledge the need for proper studies to determine the causes of autism?

    The proper studies have been done. The fact that you don’t like the answers doesn’t give you the right to reject them as being done by “vested interests” when they’re not, or to say that they haven’t been done.

    • #54 Peg Futrell
      United States
      April 28, 2016

      In your response to my comment, you have proved my points.

      One, you call people liars and “wrong” (De Niro suggests that we keep an open mind. Are you saying that that is wrong? If that is not what you mean, then what is “wrong”?).

      Two, you assume that I don’t like the answers of the studies that you cite. I did not state on which side of the argument I’m falling, but rather let’s keep an open mind and ensure that studies are done by independent groups.

      Third, you respond with a simple “false” that I say the studies are funded by vested interests. (I can come up with a lot of documentation on this, if you’re interested.)

      Finally, do you really think autism rates are not rising? Do you have your head stuck that far into the sand?

      We could keep this dialog going, but I don’t think you’re mature enough to even have it. There is nothing scientific or open-minded about you. So … keep on name-calling, it serves you well, and your fans here seem to love it.

      • #55 Orac
        April 28, 2016

        Ah, so you’re a tone troll. Good to know.

  49. #56 MI Dawn
    April 28, 2016

    @Peg Futrell: since you apparently ignored Julian’s lovely comment, I’ll respond also.

    One, you call people liars and “wrong” (De Niro suggests that we keep an open mind. Are you saying that that is wrong? If that is not what you mean, then what is “wrong”?). De Niro is suggesting we keep an open mind about vaccines causing autism. Numerous studies have shown that isn’t true. Why should we keep testing this? My mind is open IF new studies done properly and published in peer-reviewed journals show something different. That’s how science works.

    Two, you assume that I don’t like the answers of the studies that you cite. I did not state on which side of the argument I’m falling, but rather let’s keep an open mind and ensure that studies are done by independent groups. OK. What’s independent? Studies not done in the US? Done already. Vaccines don’t cause autism. Studies not done by drug companies? Same result. Studies not done by ANY government funding? Try the open poll done by (IRRC) JB Handley’s group which showed vaccines were actually protective. WHAT would you accept as a study that could actually pass an IRB board? How would you fund it? Who would do the study?

    Third, you respond with a simple “false” that I say the studies are funded by vested interests. (I can come up with a lot of documentation on this, if you’re interested.) What vested interests? (see above) Are you actually claiming EVERY first world country has a vested interest in vaccines and thus falsifies results?

    Finally, do you really think autism rates are not rising? Yes. We don’t believe autism rate aren’t rising. What we DO believe is that *diagnosis* of autism and related ASDs is improving. Note that in the UK when they did a survey, they found the same rate in older adults, who just didn’t have official diagnoses as children. Do you have your head stuck that far into the sand? No, I’m sure, knowing Orac, that his head isn’t stuck in the sand. However, I am sure that you will refuse to view all the evidence.

    If you have an open mind, go to Matt Carey’s blog (Left Brain, Right Brain), follow the links, and look at all the “whistleblower” documents that Matt obtained and made public. Which Wakefield, Hooker and all had MONTHS previous to Matt, and didn’t make public. Maybe because they didn’t want their lies exposed.

  50. #57 MI Dawn
    April 28, 2016

    My kingdom for an edit function…
    To clarify:
    In a sense, every country *does* have a vested interest in vaccines. Vaccines protect their citizens and keep them healthy. But in Peg’s sense of “financial interest”, most countries don’t have a vested interest.

    And, to correct another statement:
    “Yes. We don’t believe autism rate aren’t rising…” should be : Yes. We don’t believe autism rate ARE rising…

  51. #58 Liz Ditz
    Great State of California
    April 28, 2016

    For Peg Futrell:

    In advocating for vaccines, I refuse to stigmatize autistic people.

    Autism is a natural variation in being human.

    Vaccines don’t cause autism.There’s no “debate” over vaccines and autism.

    On the one hand, there’s the overwhelming weight of the scientific evidence: vaccines are not causal in autism. On the other hand, there are people who passionately believe that vaccines cause autism.

    The “vaccines cause autism” belief, while heartfelt, is erroneous and harmful.

    This mistaken belief causes harm to autistic people in many ways. One example is that the focus on vaccine causation has diverted time, money, and social resources away from meeting the real needs of autistic people. Another is that the vaccine myth has lead parents to subject their children to harmful and useless “cures” such as bleach enemas, long courses of unneeded medications, and/or restrictive diets.

  52. #59 capnkrunch
    April 28, 2016

    Dismissing positive studies due to vested interests then saying we need to be open about Hooker’s and Wakefraud’s work just blows my mind. Doublethink at its finest

    No need to say anything else about Wakefraud but I wonder how many antis realize the main reason Hooker’s reanalysis was retracted was because he failed to disclose his ongoing NVICP petition. He also serves on the board of an AV organization. He has a direct financial incentive to promote the autism-vaccine myth and appears serially incapable of disclosing it.

  53. #60 titmouse
    April 28, 2016

    One, you call people liars and “wrong” (De Niro suggests that we keep an open mind. Are you saying that that is wrong? If that is not what you mean, then what is “wrong”?).

    If somebody lies about something very important or lies several times, that person is a “liar” by definition. Wakefield’s charts on his patients did not match what he wrote about those patients in his Lancet article. That is scientific fraud, aka lying.

    If you take a test in a science class, some of your answers may be marked wrong. Because thanks to science human beings can sort answers that are much better than others. For example, we know the Earth travels around the Sun, not the other way around. And we know how vaccines work. And we know that it’s just a coincidence that around age 2 is when kids get their early shots and learn to talk. Problems with social relatedness stand out more with new communication challenges.

  54. #61 sadmar
    April 28, 2016

    PF seems unaware that research on the actual causes of autism has been derailed by the necessity of devoting mucho $$ and person-hours into debunking the damn MMR nonsense. The ethos of the comment appears to be that any question of fact on which a minimum number of people dissent from cnsensus ought to be approached with an open mind by everyone, no matter how fringey their numbers or justifications. I shan’t ask what PF might exclude from this mandate, but I can rate a few ‘controversies’ myself:
    • the sun revolves around a flat earth: EXCLUDE
    • the first moon landing was faked by Stanley Kubrick: EXCLUDE
    • Ted Cruz is Satan incarnate;Trump and Clinton are reptilian alien shape-shifters; DISCUSS
    • the MMR causes autism: EXCLUDE

    PF seems to be tone trolling the wrong website. There is no greater absence of open-mindedness than those whose unquestionable bedrock first principle is ‘the vaccines damaged my child”, and are blind to the harmful consequences of their ideology for autistics, as Liz notes above.

  55. #62 MI Dawn
    April 28, 2016

    @sadmar: I do have questions about Cruz and Trump. Clinton…I think she’s just one of Lord Draconis’ hirelings.

  56. #63 sadmar
    April 29, 2016

    MI Dawn:
    Call me clueless, I don’t know who Lord Draconis is.

    I just read this on Deadspin in a piece about bonkers wing-nut Curt Schilling:

    There’s a truly harmful belief that the right to say something is the same as the right to have it taken seriously. In this line of thinking, all voices are equally valid… Dismissively, it’s called the “gotta hear both sides” fallacy. In practice, it normalizes the crazy and the evil and the stupid by implying that everyone deserves to have even actively harmful beliefs treated respectfully.

    Earlier this morning, at the dentist’s, I saw the New Yorker review of philosopher Michael Lynch’s new book. “The Internet of Us”, a contemplation of truth claims and epistemology in the age of Google. The best I can paraphrase the relevance here is that almost nobody ‘hears both sides’, but everyone gets their belief treated seriously in their own bubble. At NYT.com, Lynch wrote;

    People on both the left and the right tell one another that “the information is right there; people just aren’t paying attention to the facts (Google it!).” The very availability of information can make us think that the ideal of the informed citizen is more realized than it is — and that, in turn, can actually undermine the ideal, making us less informed, simply because we think we know all we need to know already…
    increasing recognition of the fact that Googling can get you wherever you want to go can make us deeply cynical about the ideal of an informed citizenry — for the simple reason that what counts as an “informed” citizen is a matter of dispute. We no longer disagree just over values. Nor do we disagree just over the facts. We disagree over whose source — whose fountain of facts — is the right one. And once disagreement reaches that far down, the daylight of reason seems very far away indeed.

  57. #64 Chris
    April 29, 2016

    sadmar: “Call me clueless, I don’t know who Lord Draconis is.”

    He is our shill paymaster. All would be revealed when searching this site using his name. (oh, and he is also the Bay Area artist who provided the cover art of the schedule for the one “The Amazing Meeting” I got to attend: TAM9 from Outer Space.”)

    If you want to get in on running jokes learn how to use this Google feature: Lord Draconis site:http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/

  58. #65 Liz Ditz
    Great State of California
    April 29, 2016

    Oh my oh my. Vaxxed is being shown in my … well, not neighborhood; but in several venues near enough that I can go tomorrow morning (maybe) or Saturday AM at the latest. The all-star panel of Wakefield, Tommey, Hooker, and Bigtree will be at showings in Berkeley and San Francisco — afternoon and evening showings I intend to avoid.

    In the meantime, today Professor Reiss went to a just-after-lunch showing in The Big Apple; she and another were the sole souls in the audience. Because the audience was so sparse, the always-polite Reiss felt it was acceptable appropriate to deploy her smartphone (with that annoying lighted screen) and well, not live-tweet, but live-comment the film.

    I also was given access to an audio file — the soundtrack, if you will — of the film. I am about 1/4 of the way through listening to this and taking notes matched up to Prof. Reiss’s.

    I am not planning to write a review, but a time-stamped catalog of where and how this not-a-documentary deviates from objective reality and oh, maybe, the truth.

  59. #66 herr doktor bimler
    April 29, 2016

    Brian Deer interviewed today on New Zealand radio on L’affaire Wakefield:
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons/audio/201798875/anti-vax-sentiment-brian-deer

    This is not the first time that the public-funded radio network have called on Brian for commentary. The target demographic is the respectable, liberal middle class who would be gaining their information from the Guardian if it were easily available.

  60. #67 sadmar
    April 29, 2016

    Oh, I Googled, but didn’t find anything definitive. I knew ‘Lord Draconis’ was used here as “our shill paymaster”, but I didn’t know where the name originated, how it came to be used here, and what connotations it might carry if brought over from some other source – like maybe a character in ‘Dr. Who’ or some other form of popular fiction I have avoided. After further Googling of RI, the first use of the name I can find here came on 2/13/2010 when someone began posting parody comments signed ‘Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L’ from ‘PharmaCOM Orbital HQ, 0010101101001’ on/within ‘Glaxo PharmaBase 7’.

    So I rephrase my question: did that Lord Draconis pull the name out of his butt, or is it taken from some other source, and if so, what?

    yrs,
    The Duke of Early

  61. #68 sadmar
    April 29, 2016

    Liz:
    Opera Plaza? 12M? Louder Than Bombs goes off at 12:05, so I’d guess a person could buy a ticket for that and just go to Vaxxed instead to deny Andy, Bigtree and Diaz the ticket proceeds. IIRC, the Opera Plaza has really small auditoria, two are only about 50 seats, but even if Vaxxed is in one of those, it wouldn’t sell out at noon today (Fri) and maybe not tomorrow, either. Saturday evening they’re showing it on two screens at 7;10 and 7;40, with Q&A’s after both. The 7:10 and an earlier 4;25 w. a Q&A are sold out. 2nd screening today at 2:15. ‘April and the Extraordinary World” is at 2:25 for plausible cross-ticketing.

    I’m wondering if//when I could/might go…

  62. #69 MI Dawn
    April 29, 2016

    @sadmar – I actually don’t know where Lord Draconis got his name from. I’m not sure he ever said. He just appeared one day, as you noted, in the comments and has been intermittently paying us off ever since. (Though for some reason, my checks seem to keep getting lost in the mail…)

  63. #70 Amethyst
    The Crystal Gem
    April 29, 2016

    I’m pretty sure he is a high-ranking member of David Icke’s Reptillians.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reptilians#David_Icke

  64. #71 Denice Walter
    April 29, 2016

    The name Draconis derives from the constellation Draco from which our great lord originates, his full name being, Draconis Zeneca. He is married to Astra.

    He is the over master of the alien reptilian hoards which secretly overran planet earth about 50 years ago and went into the pharmaceutical business in order to render its population submissive and needy, always wanting prescriptions.

    Many earthlings have sold their souls to Lord D in order to benefit financially from his vast wealth and get invited to really super parties- you probably interact with quite a few of them here at RI. Actually, many of them.

    One day, I was uietly observing the lilies in the garden of the Luther Burbank house on a trip to California and I saw a well dressed man who looked rather normal despite a slightly scaly appearance: he came over to me and asked if I wanted to make oodles of money serving mankind. Of course, I had no idea at the time how he meant ‘serving mankind’ but I soon found out.

    That was years ago and I quickly rose in the ranks of Pharma.COM using all of my wits and talents to help our lord fulfill his plans and spread the word that SB medicine and its drugs are absolutely necessary to human life and that alternative practitioners are basically pure bollux and tripe.

    Because my messaging and advance work with populations were so successful, I was rewarded with riches, exotic automobiles and fabulous clothes. I became a personal friend of Karl Lagerfeld, who sends me samples . I have a painting by Turner in my foyer. And I had my pick of new male recruits because I usually preside over Orientation Day. I am frequently used to smooth out rough surfaces that occur when aliens from a warrior planet take over major corporations.

    Sadmar, you’re in luck if you’re interested in a position: Pharma.COM operates from the three earthly Loci of Evil ™ which are NY, London and SF- in fact Draconis himself makes his earthly residence in Santa Rosa.
    You’ll notice that many of his shills and minions are stationed near those places.

  65. #72 Amethyst
    April 29, 2016

    @Denice

    A “The Twilight Zone” and a David Icke reference in the same post? Niiiiice.

  66. #73 MI Dawn
    April 29, 2016

    @ DW: Thanks for the past history! I wasn’t aware of all of that. Can you please talk to the accountant and find out why I don’t get my checks?

  67. #74 has
    April 29, 2016

    MI Dawn@517: Think yourself lucky. I went to Orientation Day and all I got was “so nasty even the hatchlings wouldn’t lick you” snark.

  68. #75 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 29, 2016

    Lord Draconis has a presence on Facebook, though neither of his accounts has had much recent activity. His personal assistant, Miss Flinders, has wisely avoided a Facebook account under her own name (or has blocked me, it’s hard to tell).

  69. #76 sadmar
    color me literal
    April 29, 2016

    OK,I’ve done as much Google as I can handle, so let me just check that I have this right:
    • David Icke claims world leaders are actually shape-shifting reptilians from planets in the orbit of Alpha Draconis, which is an actual star.
    • Icke also frequently rants against Big Pharma.
    • Icke himself does not assert that the pharmas are run by reptilians.
    • Since Icke traces all power webs back to the reptilians, it follows that the pharmas do the bidding of the reptilians, even if Icke himself only refers to the ‘pharma overlords’ as humans.
    • Some of Icke’s disturbingly sizable fanbase have thus concluded that the pharmas are run by reptilians masking as human.
    • Neither Icke nor his followers have identified a pharma overlord by the name Lord Draconis. That identity was only created to parody Big Pharma CTs in general by associating them with Icke, via the name being drawn from the star he alleges the reptilians hail from.
    • The ‘Lord Draconis’ name is not exclusive to the person who has posted here.

    Remaining questions:
    • Was RI’s ‘Lord Draconis’ the first ‘Lord Draconis’ to appear in some public forum?
    • Did use of the name chain out from a single originator, or did several folks adopt it w/o knowledge of others?
    • What spectrum of perspectives exist among the various ‘Lords Draconis’? E.G. do any take the reptilian thing at least half-seriously, or adopt it as a ‘performance art’ life-identity, like various theatrical ‘satanists’?

  70. #77 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    April 29, 2016

    sadmar,

    A great SciFi short story (I can’t remember who wrote it) is: How to Serve Man.

  71. #78 Chris
    April 29, 2016

    “• Did use of the name chain out from a single originator, or did several folks adopt it w/o knowledge of others?”

    Just one guy, someone that some of us (including myself) have met.

    It’s a running joke, don’t make too much of it. It is kind of like Eneman and Hitler Zombie were running jokes a while ago.

  72. #79 bern jenkins
    San Jose, CA
    April 29, 2016

    Interesting comments ! I Appreciate the insight . Does anyone know where I could get a template a form document to fill out ?

  73. #80 sadmar
    April 29, 2016

    Rich:
    ‘To Serve Man’ is an iconic episode of The Twilight Zone based on a short story by Damon Knight. I know that one.

    Chris:
    I’m not making anything of it. I’m just curious about the larger pop culture phenomenon outside of RI. I have always understood the reference here as a joke on the pharma shill gambit, some ‘supreme leader’ co-ordinating the shill conspiracy and doling out extravagant payments to his minions.

    And I have an EneMan, purchased at a thrift store a few years before I discovered RI. Better yet, I have a blue plush Staph microbe: http://tinyurl.com/jgg49hc

  74. #81 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores
    April 30, 2016

    Thanks sadmar for the reminder of who wrote that short story. I can remember most of the scifi I’ve read but authors not so much.

  75. #82 Liz Ditz
    Great State of California
    May 1, 2016

    1. So I watched Vaxxed yesterday at noon. Me and about 7 other people in the 150-seat theater. No gasps from the audience. The film is a very slick piece of propaganda spreading fear and loathing of autistic people and of vaccines. A Periscope of the Q&A at the evening showings is available; I am not going to watch…. Review of the film forthcoming.

    2. Sadmar I will ask Lord Draconis to make an appearance here.

  76. #83 has
    May 1, 2016

    @Liz Ditz: 1. Look forward to reading your review; putting away all the breakables now. 2. Also ask His Lordship for your own private tropical island as you definitely deserve it.

  77. #84 Lord Draconis Zeneca
    Gaxxon PharmaCOM Base Riviera
    May 1, 2016

    MESSAGE BEGINS————————

    Shills and Minions,

    Let it never be said that I am “too busy” or “too terrifying” to summon for an important moment in our planetary assault. Minion Ditz, or, as we call her back home, Ma’ach Chvek D*mohnkhay Preek (Pleasant-Seeming-Yet-Highly-Efficient Eviscerator of Monkeys) always has my complete attention when she pulses my subcutaneous transponder. It seems that someone has a question as to the veracity of my existence. Well let me assure you, that I am quite fictional. I mean, really, shape shifting reptiloids running the world? What kind of Pharma have you been ingesting of late? Such a thing couldn’t possibly be . . . OR COULD IT? (cue dramatic music and thunderclap effect)

    Oh, now, no long faces, I’m just farting with you, as the hatchlings say. Of course we’re real. Our planetary leader, Great Egg Mother L’izz (may she have mercy on her minions) prepares for her next hundred years here on this dreary little backwater, and aside from the occasional hiccup (the dreadful Shkrelli incident comes readily to mind) our plan for total planetary domination continues apace.

    Honestly, I’d be hamming out with you more if this ghastly site was compatible with our iPad, but it stumbles, crashes and there is a maddening delay when I type. And lets’ face it, typing is hard enough with four inch claws.

    Stay merciless and evil my minions and shills.

    Yrs Vry Trly,
    Lord Draconis Zeneca
    VX7ihL
    Grand Mavoon of the Imperial Fleet, Hight Chancellor of HIH’s Primate Kennels, Order of the Flensing Knife

    PS
    Thou shalt have no other Evil Pharma Overlords than Me. I am the one, the only, the original, Lord Draconis Zeneca™.

    010011110011111
    —————-MESSAGE ENDS

  78. #85 Chris
    May 1, 2016

    🙂

  79. #86 Denice Walter
    May 1, 2016

    Seriously, Draconis, you’re richer than god,
    Get a compatible device.

    Love and kisses,
    DW

  80. #87 Chris
    May 1, 2016

    Liz Ditz: “Review of the film forthcoming.”

    I wait eagerly for that review. In the meantime I have downloaded this podcast: TWiV 387: Quaxxed.

  81. #88 has
    I'm just jazzed about being on the show, man.
    May 1, 2016

    Righto, merciless and evil it is, boss. And many happy conquerings to you too!

  82. #89 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    May 1, 2016

    His Scaly Lordship does not get “compatible devices”. He “influences” standards bodies to make web sites compatible with him.

  83. #90 The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge
    May 1, 2016

    His Scaly Lordship does not get “compatible devices”. He “influences” standards bodies to make web sites compatible with him.

    He’s Microsoft? Explains a lot…..

  84. #91 Helianthus
    May 1, 2016

    @ Sadmar

    I have a blue plush Staph microbe

    Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh. I love the microbes plushies. I offered a few to my former boss.

    Your link to Giant Microbes (if it was for this shop) is being redirected to some general list of toys retailers.
    Here is another link for the curious connoisseurs.

    @ Denice

    Seriously, Draconis, you’re richer than god,
    Get a compatible device.

    Compatible to this site or compatible to his claws?

    I was about to suggest he enlists a few monkeys – I mean humans – to type his messages for him.
    But, nah. Give a monkey access to the trans-space ansible rooms, and soon the Milky Way sophonts will be engaged in a shooting war with the Andromeda galaxy. Again.

  85. #92 Liz Ditz
    Great State of California
    May 2, 2016

    I am delirious with pleasure that Our Scaly Overlord’s return to these halls of wisdom has again elevated the dialog.

  86. #93 Liz Ditz
    Great State of California
    May 2, 2016

    “Review of the film forthcoming.”

    I keep having to stop writing to go break things and stomp around. I was too busy taking notes while watching to really process how vile one pervasive subtext of the film is:

    Autistic children are subhuman screaming monsters who ruin their parents’ lives and blight the whole family.

    And another parent-perspective subtext:

    I had a beautiful delightful child…I was robbed of that child and left a monster in my child’s place

    Another subtext is that AJW is the only person who has ever investigated vaccine safety…reliably.

    Matt Carey exposed this in April 2013:

    Mr. Wakefield repeats his claim that his opinions on the MMR were based on a 200 page report on measles vaccines. He didn’t even mention his 200 page report at the time of the Lancet paper and press release. Ignore the research he did (we should have. It was faulty and unethically performed). Instead, let’s look to his report. A report which only now he will release to the public, according to his YouTube video. Yes, no one has seen his report. We were all supposed to take his opinion for the past decade and a half. He didn’t even tell us about his report. We were just supposed to have such confidence in him that we were supposed to have assumed he had some reason.

    I am not going to link to the YouTube Video. You can find it by searching for “Dr. Andrew Wakefield response to the measles outbreak in South Wales” on YouTube. In it he claims to be “seeking to put [the 200 page report] online.

    Have any of you ever seen this report?

    Carey is referring to a report that is made much of in the Vaxxed film. It’s a 1996 report that Wakefield (I think) submitted to the Royal Free. Has that report ever been published or made publicly available? I think

  87. #94 Brian Deer
    May 2, 2016

    Wakefield’s “200 page report” was commissioned from him by the UK’s Legal Aid Board to support speculative litigation. It was part of the secret contract at the heart of his grotesque conflict of interest.

    I have a draft version of it. It’s a ludicrous, superficial analysis by a former surgeon, with no expert competence in almost any matter discussed within it.

    You would have to seriously wonder why anyone would commission such a report from him.

  88. #95 Julian Frost
    South Africa
    May 2, 2016

    You would have to seriously wonder why anyone would commission such a report from him.

    Because he tells people what they want to hear, perhaps?

  89. #96 Renate
    May 2, 2016

    I had a beautiful delightful child…I was robbed of that child and left a monster in my child’s place

    A monster? is that a way to describe a child with autism? I hope your child will never be reading this. Only for writing this, I detest you, whoever you are.

    My parentes sometimes described me as someone with a user manual, that wasn’t included. And I suppose I am.

  90. #97 Renate
    May 2, 2016

    Parents of course.

  91. #98 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    May 2, 2016

    Julian Frost — exactly. His report was commissioned to determine whether there was money to be had in suing vaccine manufacturers. They paid him to come up with a reason to sue, and he delivered. Didn’t have to be proven true, just had to be plausible enough. And isn’t it *interesting* that he then went and did his twelve-patient study right after that, where amazingly they all fit a conveniently lawsuit-ready profile? Even if he had to alter the records to make it so?

    Renate et al: yeah, the language that underlies so much of the Curebie movement, that kids with autism are changelings, monsters, etc . . . it pisses me the hell off. I mean, I know my daughter often wishes her days were easier. But she’s a wonderful person. She’s plagued with self-doubt, though, and if she ever hears any of this crap, it would infuriate her. She’s matured enough that by now I think she’d just call it racist (we’re still working on the exact applicability of that term; she uses it for any sort of prejudice), but when she was younger it would’ve really cut her deep. She worries enough about not being able to make it as an adult; she doesn’t need jerks like that adding to her troubles.

  92. #99 Denice Walter
    May 2, 2016

    Right, Calli, LIz, Chris, all:

    I find much of what the TMs** and warrior mothers** of AoA write about their children’s daily lives objectionable:
    they elaborate details concerning personal hygiene as well as documenting their disabilities- including intellectual ones-
    do we really need to read about how some girls have problems independently addressing monthly issues or how a person may need diapers or enjoy entertainment designed for pre-school youngsters when they are chronologically teenagers? Similarly, videotaping and posting their ‘heroic’ struggles with speech or tying their shoes.
    Usually this is balanced with praise for their beauty, innocence or inner goodness. We’ve heard that centuries ago, haven’t we – as *une bonne Chretien*?

    It’s not about the kids- it’s about the mothers’ self-aggrandisation and need for attention. They use these websites as platforms for publicity: perhaps a stairway to a new career as a writer or autism advocate lecturer amongst the woo-besotten- already Skyhorse is fulfilling their wild dreams: I hate to count how many of them have penned books.

    Much of their recitatives are paraded about as indictments of the evil practitioners/ companies/ governments which ’caused’ their woe. A few of the parents act as naïve scientists or super sleuths trying to uncover the web of deception in book form- as far as I’m concerned, most of the deception lies on their side of the fence, starting with Andy.

    ** especially Stagliano, Jameson and Goes.

  93. #100 Helianthus
    May 2, 2016

    @ Liz Ditz

    Autistic children are subhuman screaming monsters who ruin their parents’ lives and blight the whole family.

    Is this awful sentence really something some parent said and they put it remorselessly in the Vaxxed movie?

    OK, I can imagine someone using the term “monster” out of a bad mix of anger, frustration, and self-entitlement.
    But “subhuman”? “blight”? Well, the whole frelling sentence?
    And now everybody, the child included, will know this person said that?

    These parents are lost souls; Vaxxed film-makers are beyond vile for enabling and abetting this deshumanisation.

  94. #101 Helianthus
    May 2, 2016

    @ Denice

    I don’t know why I’m surprised, that’s no news, you and other warned us already about this sort of parents.

    I think it’s seeing the sentences in all their glorious, naked violence.

    Growing up, I accumulated a few bad memories of not measuring up to my parents’ expectations. Nothing violent or abusive, just the usual attrition of life, I guess.
    But I can only start imagining the intense level of grief and self-deprecation I would fell if me or my sister has been called a “blight” by either of my parents.
    And having met a few handicapped children, I have no doubt: however “subhuman” they could be, they are perfectly able to figure out they are at the receiving end of pity and scorn.

  95. #102 Calli Arcale
    http://fractalwonder.wordpress.com
    May 2, 2016

    Denice:

    I find much of what the TMs** and warrior mothers** of AoA write about their children’s daily lives objectionable:
    they elaborate details concerning personal hygiene as well as documenting their disabilities- including intellectual ones-

    Oh jeez…. Yeah, I was just thinking about the language, but you’re right — they post stuff that is WAY too personal about their children’s struggles, and oh sweet lord that has gotta be painful when the kid eventually sees it. I’ll admit, raising an autistic kid is challenging. But you don’t get a ribbon for it, and autism isn’t even the only thing that can make raising a child extremely difficult. I can understand being frustrated, and even with mourning the loss of the sort of future you thought your child might have. It’s the painful cognitive dissonance you go through as you accept reality. But being frustrated doesn’t change your responsibility.

    Kids have so few rights. It’s better than it was, but realistically they have few rights, and disabled kids have even less. They can’t sue you for putting videos of your deepest, darkest shames onto Facebook or YouTube. Heck, some places parents are starting to get into some difficulties for posting shaming videos, but a video about how your child struggles with proper toileting? Totally fine, nobody’s gonna come after you, and you know why? Because they think disabled kids won’t ever see it or understand it. They don’t think about disabled kids getting bullied, because they think of them only in abstract terms anyway. Disabled kids aren’t often thought of as having agency, and in some cases they aren’t even considered to be fully sentient.

    Goddamn dark ages, it seems like.

  96. #103 sadmar
    May 2, 2016

    Liz is PARAPHRASING the SUBTEXT of Vaxxed. No parent said that stuff about ‘subhuman monsters’.. That’s Liz’s description of how THE FILM portrays the kids. We can’t relally know what the parents who appear in vaxxed feel about their children. Andy (or whoever is reallydoing the filmmaking parts of ‘directing’ Vaxxed) will be cherry-picking images and soundbites from hours and hours of material to create a narrative of ‘families blighted by the great autism conspiracy’. The quote is not something a parent said, or even necessarily thinks: It’s Liz’s analysis of how AJW wants parents (with AD kids, or just prospective parents) to view autism.

  97. #104 Denice Walter
    May 2, 2016

    @ Calli:

    To be fair. no one has posted a video about toiletting yet but they do discuss it more than they have to . The videos I’ve seen concerns of struggling with speech or schoolwork. One of them ( oh, guess!) perseverates upon her children’s choices in entertainment which much lower than their chronological ages.

    I sometimes feel as if they are having a competition amongst themselves:
    Who is the greatest martyr
    Who has the worst life
    Whose children are the most incapacitated
    Who has sacrificed herself most.

    And, never forget those photos and videos of the late Alex S.

  98. #105 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 2, 2016

    Sadmar has it right re: paraphrasing. However, we do know that Wakefield has described autism as a “blight“, a term which Grace Hightower did not disagree with strongly enough to bother chastising Wakefield for using it.

  99. #106 sadmar
    May 2, 2016

    Todd:

    Liz will speak for herself, of course, but i took her paraphrase to mean that the way the footage/audio of kids and parents is used in Vaxxed presents an image of ASD that is considerably worse that the mere word “blighted” can convey.

    That’s why I wound up in the mis-communication tiff with Matt Carey on LBRB, about how he couldn’t “know the film” w/o seeing it. That is, he could know it was factually bogus and slam that bogusness, but he couldn’t know what the image track was saying about ASD kids and their parents. Pictures and words are both open to interpretation, of course, which means they can signify different things to different people – but not anything and all the meanings that anyone other than idiosyncratic viewers will find are rooted in the text, and makers have a responsibility for them, whatever their claimed (or actual) ‘intent’.

    In short, this aspect of the film is as damning of AJW and his collaborators, if nor more, than anything he has put in words.

    And, yes, we can’t forget Alex Spourdalakis. In fact, I’ve been thinking the first question posed to Robert De Niro – or anyone who has bought into and repeated Wakefield’s ruse – ought to have been, “Have you seen Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis? Are you aware Dr. Wakefield exploited the Spourdalakis family, helped drive Dorothy Spourdalakis to murder her autistic son, and then made a film apologiznig, if not justifying, her crime?”

  100. […] evidence that he had antivaccine proclivities. In fact, I was rather surprised when Robert De Niro admitted that it had been he who had unilaterally decided to include VAXXED in the film festival he founded, bypassing the […]

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