. . .or a spread in Playgirl.
Orac has a nice essay today for your Christmas Eve reading about a USA Today article yesterday by Liz Szabo that called out celebrities for their pseudoscientific proclamations and advice entitled, “Are celebrities crossing the line on medical advice?”
So that’s where I came up with this thought: it would be great if some folks who talked science-based sense became celebrities so they’d at least have the same platform to counter people like Jenny McCarthy. On his comment thread, I suggested that we can only hope that Orac someday gets a movie deal and acquires the public celebrity that some of these jokers have.
From Liz Szabo’s USA Today article:
Celebrities have the power to do tremendous good, Hesse says. Lance Armstrong, who survived testicular cancer, has advocated for funding and policy changes to help cancer patients and has raised more than $325 million through his foundation.
“People like Katie Couric and Lance Armstrong can do a lot to teach people that it is important to talk to their doctors about screening for cancer,” Hesse says. “Some would say they have done more for the cause of public awareness for cancer than most scientists.”
Yet celebrities also can spread misinformation much faster than the average person with a wacky theory, Hesse says.
Correcting that misinformation — even with a mountain of evidence — can be a challenge, says Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “It’s much easier to scare people than to unscare them,” Offit says.
Okay, so maybe we don’t need Orac in Playgirl. Perhaps just winning a few Tours de France or anchoring The Today Show or the CBS Evening News.
But then I thought about the MDs out there who have celebrity. They are also most commonly also jokers who are scaring people or otherwise offering dubious, misleading, and pseudoscience-based advice.
The truth – Eat moderately-sized, primarily plant-based meals, exercise at least three days a week, don’t smoke, and drink alcohol in moderation if you must – is not as glamorous as creating hysteria, feeding conspiracy theories, or trying to sell the latest supplement, book, or “practice.”