As hard as it is to believe, I've been writing about the antivaccine movement for over 12 years now, and dealing with it online for close to 17 years. If there's one thing that all that exposure to the pseudoscience, logical fallacies, misinformation, and outright hatred spewed forth by antivaccine activists on a daily basis, it's that language matters. Antivaxers know this and are constantly trying to twist language to their ends. For instance, other than hard core antivaxers who are refreshingly honest, most antivaxers really, really hate being called "antivaccine." I like to think it's because they still harbor some shame for such harmful beliefs, but in reality it is far more strategic than due to any guilt or shame. They know that being perceived as antivaccine is a bad thing; so they do everything they can to counter the term. Unfortunately, their rhetoric belies their denials, as I document in a semi-regular feature I like to call The annals of "I'm not antivaccine." For instance, Robert F. Kennedy frequently denies that he's antivaccine and, indeed, goes even farther by calling himself "fiercely pro-vaccine." Unfortunately for him, his rhetoric comparing vaccines (and the autism that he believes to be caused by them) to the Holocaust, not just once, but several times.
So it was with great interest that I discovered an article in a magazine called Natural Mother Magazine. I know, I know, any publication called something like Natural Mother is very likely to be filled with the most annoying woo, and this magazine is no exception. However, in the February 2017 issue, there was a revealing article by someone named Guggie Daly entitled Vacctivism Terminology: How to Empower Instead of Cower. My first thought reading the title is that the title was just too cutesy for words. My second thought was that if Daly is going to tell antivaxers how to use language to empower, maybe she shouldn't use such a headline. My third thought was: Wow, this is the most blatant example of what I've been talking about all these years. I hadn't heard of Guggie Daly before; apparently it's the pseudonym of a Missouri "mommy blogger" very much into home birth and also very, very antivaccine if her article is any indication. Apparently she's popular among antivaxers; so it's amazing to me that I had never heard of her. So what is the message she's promoting?
She starts out by warning her fellow antivaxers about how their words shape perceptions about them, which is true, and blaming the public health establishment and (to her) its lapdog media for this:
As with many profitable topics in our culture, the vaccine topic is filled with emotionally charged, artificially crafted phrases and words. This is intentional, to deliberately shape consumer perceptions and trigger negative connotations upon reading a certain word. Phrases can also make subtle assumptions, even when used by those who oppose vaccines.
Nothing about this is accidental. Utilizing the media and public health sectors to shape consumer opinion is a basic practice, and vaccines are not immune to it. When a parent continues using certain phrases without realizing the carefully shaped perception behind it, she can unknowingly adopt a defensive stance.
Her solution? Change to being "assertive":
When you consciously change your words from being defensive to assertive, it might shift your soical interactions enough to have more fruitful conversations, too.
In reality, what she is doing is not so much being "assertive," but going deep into Orwellian territory with pretty much every vaccine-related term you can think of starting with one as basic as "unvaccinated":
Original terms: Unvaccinated, unvaxxed.
"My daughter is unvaccinated."
"We don't vaccinate."
Preferred terms: Vaccine-free, intact immune system.
"My son has an intact immune system."
"We are vaccine-free."
One can't help but note here that being vaccinated or unvaccinated does not correlate with having an "intact immune system," except in the case of children with immune deficiencies who can't be vaccinated with attenuated live virus vaccines. Their vaccination status does correlate with an intact immune system, just not in the way Guggie Daly thinks it does. She mistakenly thinks that vaccines somehow harm the immune system, hence her use of such deceptive terminology. She even admits it, using one of the most mind-numbingly inapt analogies I've ever heard:
Why the originals are problematic: "Un" implies lacking. This is the same concept in the circumcision topic. To have a whole body is not a deprivation, but a bare minimum expectation. Your child is not uncircumcised, but rather in the natural default. The normal state of the human body is to have an intact immune system and intact genitals. You don't walk around saying you're unlobotomized, as if you missed out.
That's right. Vaccines are like circumcision or being lobotomized, like cutting a part of the body off or damaging the brain? Nice. What was this about her saying she's not "antivaccine" again?
Which brings us to:
Original terms: Anti-vaxxers, anti-vax, vaccine skeptics.
"I'm an anti-vaxxer." "We're vaccine skeptics."
Preferred term: Vaccine safety advocate, vaccine safety proponent.
This is, of course, the oldest twisting of language in the antivaccine playbook. I first heard this trope around 9 years ago, when Jenny McCarthy was first diving headfirst into the antivaccine movement. It was a favorite of hers. It wasn't convincing then, and it's not convincing now, particularly given Guggie Daly's previous attempt to conflate being vaccinated with not having an intact immune system, clearly believing that vaccines somehow damage the immune system when they do not. Let's hear her reasons:
Why the originals are problematic: Vaxx and its various forms are intentional keywords. They were not pulled out of thin air. I highly discourage advocates from ever using it. I appreciate that some larger vaccine safety advocates have adopted its usage for their purposes, but at the grass-roots level these terms can only hinder. Similarly, other phrases involving skepticism have already been artificially manipulated in the media to create a connotation of scientific ignorance or paranoia. Slick media manipulation means when consumers hear these terms, their brains are triggered to conjure up negative connotations, and even connotations associated with terrorism, fanaticism, scientific denial, etc. It will override any ability to have a science-based, calm decision.
I actually laughed out loud at this. In reality, as someone who self-identifies as a skeptic, I find it as annoying as Guggie Daly when the media refers to "vaccine skeptics," but for an entirely different reason. Antivaxers are not vaccine "skeptics." They are vaccine denialists. Use of the word "skeptic" to describe them doesn't trigger a negative reaction. Rather, if the use of "skeptic" does trigger a negative reaction, it's not a negative enough reaction; using the term basically whitewashes what antivaxers are about, as though being antivaccine was being skeptical instead of a denier. At the same time, using the word "skeptic" to describe science denialists dilutes the term and gives such people more status than they deserve.
Guggie Daly's Doublespeak continues with an attempt to rename the term "vaccine-preventable diseases":
Original term: Vaccine-preventable disease (VPD), eradicated
"My child has never contracted a VPD!" "These diseases are eradicated anyway."
Preferred terms: Vaccine Related Disease (VRD), shifting epidemiology, renamed, better diagnostic criteria.
Why the originals are problematic: VPD implies that vaccines effectively prevent disease, which is questionable on many different levels. Using this term still adopts the vaccine program as the natural default. Switching to VRD can cause the other person to ask questions, which can open up to authentic connection and real learning instead of simply being angry at each other. VRD reminds us that vaccinated individuals can carry disease and transmit disease to others. It also reminds us that vaccines can alter the incidence of other diseases. For example, when people receive the Pertussis vaccine, they become very susceptible to parapertussis:
Yes, there is evidence that vaccination against Bordetella pertussis, the main cause of whooping cough, can lead to increased colonization with Bordetella parapertussis, which has led to speculation that increasing rates of whooping cough might be due to B. parapertussis. Not surprisingly, antivaxers have latched on to this research, even though it's all basically in rodent models and is nowhere near as supportive of an antivaccine messages that the whooping cough vaccine somehow increases the risk of whooping cough in children as antivaxers like Guggie Daly thinks they are. Basically, large randomized studies have shown no inkling of the phenomenon observed in mice happening in humans.
But back to the language. Guggie Daly is quite blatant about wanting to imply with her term "vaccine-related disease" that vaccines somehow cause disease and that they don't prevent the VPDs that they are targeted against. Again, it's hard to describe this as anything other than Orwellian.
Interestingly, she doesn't like another favorite antivaccine term, "vaccine-injured." Obviously pro-science advocates hate that term because it implies that autism is a vaccine injury when it is not. That is not, of course, the reason why Guggie Daly disapproves of it:
Original terms: Vax-injured, vaccine injury, vaccine-damaged
"My son is vax injured." "I'm scared of vaccine injuries." "She's vaccine-damaged."
Preferred terms: Adverse reaction, listed side effect, inherent risks.
Why the originals are problematic: First, let me put this down. Children are humans and deserve the utmost respect as individual people. The vaccine program itself exploits these non-consenting, innocent people. When we are sharing about vaccine victims online, we must always be vigilant so as not to unintentionally adopt the same exploitative and disrespectful tone as the pro-vaccine side. Let us always speak to the upper standards of HIPAA and try to be as inclusive as possible while also accurately sharing information to warn other parents.
Second, it's important to be specific because many parents are not educated on vaccine adverse reactions. Hearing the phrase vaccine injured is meaningless because they cannot conjure up any connection to it. What does it mean to be vaccine-injured? How does that work? What does it look like? Why was it the vaccines? The don't know, and their brains can't make the cognitive connection from such a useless phrase.
Interestingly, the example she chooses to illustrate this does not involve autism, but hearing loss from MMR vaccine. I wonder why.
Be that as it may, Guggie Daly's entire article is as blatant an example of torturing language to serve an ideological purpose as I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot. I've frequently pointed out what I like to call the "I'm not antivaccine, I'm a vaccine safety advocate" gambit, a trope so transparent that it generally takes very little digging to demonstrate that the person using it really is antivaccine. I was surprised to learn that some antivaxers don't like the term "vaccine-injured," given how often I had seen it used.
Whatever the actual terms used, abused, and twisted into something else to promote the antivaccine agenda, I've always known that the manipulation of language is inherent in antivaccine rhetoric, be it the claim that vaccines are dangerous or the various conspiracy theories that are at the heart of antivaccine beliefs. I can't help but thank Guggie Daly for making my point for me so clearly.
Besides, when I think of antivaccine language, I think of this:
- Log in to post comments
Firstly, you are correct that her language is Orwellian and correct to be concerned that people may fall for it. I can easily imagine someone who isn't wise to antivaxx language falling for it.
Secondly, that video was first hilarious, then excruciating.
Orwellian? No. I'd say it sounds more like someone took a couple of courses in marketing and advertisement. Advertisers have been doing this for as long as they've wanted to sell things. Change the phrasing to make what you're selling as exciting and desirable as possible. It is deceptive and misleading, but it's also bog standard. Orwellian, in my understanding, is reversing the meanings entirely. War is Peace, Weakness is Strength, etc. All good propaganda changes the focus of those the propagandist is trying to influence. Idiot-sticks is doing just that. Change the focus, change the conversation to what she wants it to be.
I'd argue that saying one is "not antivaccine" but rather a "vaccine safety advocate" is pretty Orwellian, because what antivaxers do and believe is pretty much the opposite of a true safety advocate. Ditto "vaccine-related diseases." That word implies that the vaccine caused the disease, exactly the opposite of reality, where the vaccine prevents the disease.
Yes, there is evidence that vaccination against Bordetella pertussis, the main cause of whooping cough, can lead to increased colonization with Bordetella parapertussis, which has led to speculation that increasing rates of whooping cough might be due to B. parapertussis. Not surprisingly, antivaxers have latched on to this research, even though it’s all basically in rodent models and is nowhere near as supportive of an antivaccine messages that the whooping cough vaccine somehow increases the risk of whooping cough in children as antivaxers like Guggie Daly thinks they are. Basically, large randomized studies have shown no inkling of the phenomenon observed in mice happening in humans.
AVers (should we call them UnVactivists?) are really gonna hate a just-published very important study regarding protection of newborns by maternal Tdap vaccination (given during pregnancy, at least 8 days before delivery) which showed: "Among 148,981 newborns, the vaccine effectiveness of maternal Tdap was 91.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 19.5 to 99.1) during the first 2 months of life and 69.0% (95% CI, 43.6 to 82.9) during the entire first year of life." (Article located here).
Feeding (most) children broccoli or spinach instead of diet exclusively composed of ice cream also exploits those non-consenting, innocent people. And yet I see no advocates of banning a healthy diet for them...
I guess she didj't notice that once you call yourself "vaccine-free," the term "vaccine safety advocate" is impossible. You've just admitted you're completely ANTI-vaccine, so the "i like vaccines as long as they're safe" dodge is no longer available.
The term “vaccine-related disease” instead of "vaccine-preventable disease" reminded me of something I've heard from multiple anti-vaxxers (online, not in real life).
Their child gets chicken pox and they insist it's from a recently vaccinated child shedding. From what I've read, this is possible but very rare, and the rash has to be present on the vaccinated child.
This drives me crazy. They insist their child wasn't exposed to chicken pox any other way, so it has to be from shedding. The blogs "Living Whole" and "Modern Alternative Mama" both have stories like this. I've also heard it in Facebook discussions.
Given they think roseola or fifths disease are measles, we can take that observation with a boulder of salt. But they're "web-certified" doctors [snort].
Guggie is never going to convince antivaxers to give up the phrase "vaccine-injured". It's way too entrenched in their ideology.
She might just as well argue for retiring the appellations "Pharma Shills" and "Dr. Proffit".
On the positive side, we've just had a nice exchange of vaccination letters to the editor in my local paper. The first one was a thoughtful endorsement of immunization by a pediatrics resident, followed by a letter from an RN who argued that vaccines aren't safe (quoting the $$ figure of money paid out by the vaccine court over the years, a staple of antivax websites). I responded by looking at safety concerns in the context of disease-related injury and death (referencing the ongoing measles outbreak in Romania and the Disneyland outbreak). Then the peds resident followed up with an excellent analysis of how the vaccine court works and what its decisions mean.
It's encouraging to see pro-vaccine activism in the newest generation of physicians.
Nothing frustrates me more than to talk to fellow nurses who are anti-vax. They do not represent my profession well. >:(
@ Panacea--AV doctors just as bad: I once had a doctor whose child had caught a vaccine preventable disease that the child had not been vaccinated against. Thankfully the child did well. This doctor-parent wouldn't tell me what kind of doctor they were that would make them think their child didn't need vaccines. That night I looked up this doctor who was, big surprise, not a real doctor, but a naturopath.
There is enough projection in that paragraph alone to run every IMAX theater in the US for a year. Anti-vax types have been trying to wield language to their advantage for years. The specific terms she's using may or may not be innovations on this front, but it's exactly the game her ilk have been playing.
I don't think the children are given the choice to be protected against polio, diphtheria, hib etc' either. Nobody asked them to consent to take that risk.
Yep. Being antivax is all about the parents, not about the child. That's why they always harp on "parental rights" and basically almost never give any evidence of having considered even for a moment the rights of the child.
Yes some of the "improved" terminology does give an Orwellian feel, but the majority of them (2/3 in your list), are marketing type terminology. Vaccine-free and Intact immune system. Nonsensical statements in the context of what they claim to be discussing. Vaccine Related Disease (VRD), shifting epidemiology, renamed, better diagnostic criteria. the first is Orwellian, but the other three are market-speak.
To be clear I DO NOT agree with what they are trying to do with white-washing their stupidity. However, I also don't agree that they are Orwellian. They verge on it in places, but overall it doesn't seem so to me.
You have my condolences for having to deal with idiots. I could not have a good, or even endurable, working relationship with people like that. If it matters, people like you are why people like me still trust the medical profession.
Long time regular readers know that pedantry annoys the hell out of me. It really does. And, make no mistake, you're being pedantic about this. I'm sure from your harping on it that this is a pet peeve of yours. That's fine. We all have our pet peeves. But I really don't care about this one. :-)
Here's some new language from the FDA that vaccine safety advocates can embrace:
Not manufactured with ...
Having been in auto-mod for ~ 4 years, this caged humming bird dreads watching Orac's minions (e.g., vultures) freely devour each sacrificial lamb that is presented.
Speaking of Robert F Kennedy,Jr,there is this out there too.
@ MJD #17
You've been in automatic moderation for four years and still many of your latex-laden and other comments make it into release? I would say our kind host has a very light touch and is indeed a very tolerant perspex box of blinking lights.
I note that every time I've let MJD out of automatic moderation, he's relapsed to his old perseveration about latex. He should be grateful I don't just ban him outright.
I messed up my e-mail (and HTML) on the last comment, so until it comes out of moderation, this won't make sense, but -
Back on topic.
The Natural Mother Magazine has issues on line, and I looked thru a few. I've found you can learn a good deal about the readership of a magazine by looking at the ads.
It makes sense they are anti-vax, NVIC has an ad in every issue I looked at. They were against SB 277, but that was strange, because the also seem have an ad for a homeschool company in every issue.
I also see ads for homeopathic "medicines" in every issue, as well as herbal supplements. A good number deal with increasing milk production of nursing mothers. I guess in the competition to be the perfect mother you look for any help you can get.
But the most offensive thing I saw wasn't an ad, but a recipe for salsa. It started off OK with a pound of tomatoes, but it called for 1 small jalapeño, and said that was optional.
@ Anonymous Pseudonym #15
Thanks, I appreciate the kind words. The reason I get so frustrated with these nurses is because they are risking the goodwill my profession has spent 150+ years building up over nonsense . . . just because they don't want to get a flu shot at work every year, or because they don't have enough science education and buy into the woo.
I have to face it; nursing attracts a lot of touchy feely types who buy into it. But the level of trust the community gives us also gives us a tremendous responsibility that we must wield wisely lest we use it. We already know the kind of damage anti-vax docs like Bob Sears and Jay Gordon are doing. We've seen the damage Andrew Wakefield did.
I get irate when I see nurses contributing to that same kind of damage by validating anti-vax views. I tremble waiting for the emergence of a nurse who manages to get the kind of influence other anti vax health care professionals have, and seeing what happens.
Worse, I tremble as I type this that someone is going to provide me with an already existing example :(
Read Reasonable Hank blog if you want to go into apoplexy.
A person that Orac has blogged about many times finally comes clean:
Robert Oldham Young, 65, admitted in his plea that he didn’t have any post-high school educational degrees from any accredited schools.
The defendant also admitted that he was not a microbiologist, hematologist, medical doctor, naturopathic doctor or trained scientist.
Alternative med enlists the finest medical professionals to their cause (sarcasm).
@Panacea #10 & 23, our eldest had her mind blown when a classmate from her nursing school, who was in all of her classes, went antivax.
Worse, the woman came up with crap that was not even wrong.
It makes me wonder if she slept through her classes!
As I understand it Orwellian refers to language manipulation to lower intelligence, critical thinking, control the population. What I believe we have here is an application of the Whorf-Saphir hypothesis that langugage influences perception and behavior. An example would be the lawyers trick of asking a witness, "when the cars smashed together did you see broken glass" and they would reply yes even if there was none, or if they wanted a different answer "when the car tapped the other car was there broken glass" the answer would be no, even if there was broken glass. This is also known as magical thinking, making things so because you think it is so, in this case using a spell or slight of language.
I would be so tempted to go super-chipper-scientist at anyone who tried the "vaccine safety advocate" on me.
AV'r:"I'm a vaccine safety advocate."
Me: "Oh,t hat's so great! Aren't you super excited about the new 2-strain oral polio vaccine? It's such an improvement on the 3 strain! And have you heard about the new cholera vaccine out of Bangladesh? It's just so exciting how they've managed to really improve it, and I'm so glad the UN stepped up to make it available."
AV'r: Backs away slowly.
AV'r: "My child has an intact immune system."
ME: "That's nice. Does leukemia or lymphoma run in the family?"
"I'm not antivaccine".
Me: neither am I. Since it's autumn here, I went and had my annual influenza vaccine earlier this week...
MJD:Please. Hummingbirds are both beautiful and useful, unlike you. Please don't malign their good names.
@ #20 Orac
"Perseveration?" I think that's the first time I've come across that word outside of an animal behavior context or legal proceeding.
I've only encountered the word Perseveration in a mental health care context, with organic brain disease/injury present or not present.
I've mainly encountered the word preservation in a mental health context. (Personal experience.)
Perseveration. Stupid autocorrect.
@JP #34, oh Lord, please preserve me from mine enemy, the dreaded snail cracker!
Bloody hell... ;)
More seriously, you should see the ones I miss when dyslexia catches up with me in my fatigue! Nearly as bad, frequently, humorous in hindsight.
Had you bothered reviewing the entire site, you'd see Orac make complaints against pedantry on multiple occasions, whether in relation to something he typed or another user.
Fuck off Travis.
"" this caged humming bird""
Eh, just Schwochert again Wzrd1.
Well, now he wants to cuddle.
Can you pass me that snake stick? I've got just the cuddler for him.
Orac (#20) writes,
He should be grateful I don’t just ban him outright.
I did watch the YouTube video titled, "How Anti-Vaxxers Sound to Normal People" and my comment was triggered by the soft porn skit therein which inaccurately suggested a 1% allergy incidence.
If the word "Latex" is anywhere in your post, including videos and pictures, shouldn't everyone have the freedom to express their opinion of said material without the fear of being banned?
Panacea @ 10 and 23
I was a distinct rarity being a nurse who already had a science degree and had a better working knowledge of anatomy, statistics, how to read a paper and what constitutes evidence than most clinical colleagues of whatever discipline, but especially nurses. Drove me up the wall listening to some of the utter bolleaux some came out with. Far too much "touchy feely, well I feel this must be right and I'm a good person..."
I never bothered pretending to be a "good person"...
@Murmur #42, how can one be a "good person" and be touchy feely with a foley in one hand? ;)
Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that someone is standing behind me with a wet trout?
@Murmur: I went into nursing having taken every science course I could in high school. That helped because my LPN and ADN education didn't focus on how to evaluate evidence. They coudln't; it's all programs like mine can do to train us to do the basics in 12-24 months. Not that BSN programs are always better--even though mine had a research course, it was more about the basics of how research is done than how to evaluate the results.
Still, you don't have to fall for woo even if you don't have a science background. And fortunately you can still be a good person, and not be touchy feely ;)
@41 & 43
Seems that the various nursing credentials need to focus more on the hard science and less on the well-rounded individual. Out of curiosity, were there any courses on critical thinking required in your programs, or were they optional as the science courses seem to be? Around here a Bachelor of Nursing four year degree has all of eight science classes required (Anatomy and Physiology (x2), Stats for Biologists, Psychology, Pathophysiology(x2), Pharmacotheraputics, and Microbiology.) One of the courses kinda/sorta promotes critical thinking as a side effect. The rest is how to be a nice person, work with others, and do the job of being a registered nurse.
Touchy-Feely is nice, my Nurse Practitioner was. But I would really have preferred that she wasn't throwing woo at me. No I don't want to see a Chiroquacker. No I don't need to see a Nutritionist.. No I don't care that he went to university to become one. But she was a real nice lady who had great people skills.
The RN whose letter to the editor on vaccine harms I mentioned earlier, turns out to be connected to a "medical freedom" group in my state, which (non-shockingly) focuses on antivax claims.
This RN did a presentation to the group highlighting the "alarming" frequency of post-vaccination Guillain-Barre syndrome she allegedly has seen in the hospital, although curiously she never mentions GBS caused by influenza infection. She refers to GBS risk as "the tip of the iceberg" as regards vaccines, as she is also aghast about vaccines derived from "tumors" being injected into the body.
Obviously most RNs are more sensible than this (and their professional organizations' positions on immunizations reflect it). It's still discouraging to see people in respected health professions foisting deceptive and bogus antivax ideology on the public.
DB: She'd better watch her step. Boards of Nursing are less forgiving than Boards of Medicine. They can nail her on unprofessional behavior if they decide she's bringing a bad name to it.
Murmur: My LPN program shared the first 2 semesters with the ADN program at my community college. I got a solid nursing education because of it. Only the co-requisites (which I took before starting the program) were different, and I took the RN ones because I knew I'd go back for my RN later: 2 semesters of A&P, one semester of microbiology, 2 semesters of psychology (general and developmental).
When I enrolled in a BSN program later I took Non-Parametric Statistics, 2 semesters of General Chemistry and added abnormal pscychology.
I was not required to take a critical thinking course, nor do the programs I've taught in/teach in require it. My last program does offer it as a Humanities elective, and some of our students take it though I don't see that it helps. I try to fill in the gaps in the classroom but it's hard. ADN students want to focus on "what do I need to pass the test." Actually learning to think is not on their radar, which sucks because it's the foundation of good patient care.
One of my BSN professors was heavily into woo, though I didn't recognize it at the time as woo (my own critical thinking skills were still developing sad to say). She offered a 1 credit elective called Therapeutic Touch. Some of the local doctors would even write orders for it. Back then the whole idea of the body healing in different ways meant I didn't examine the idea very critically. I thought the whole idea of chi plausible enough. I did have some success with it with patients. I realize now its just the placebo effect.
I still think the body can heal in unexpected ways; the mind can do things we just can't explain right now. But if as PROVIDERS we're going to offer something, I now believe we should be able to prove that it works.
And now for something completely ... the same old crap, via Mike the Mad Biologist (link in full, just in case you're afraid you might wind up at infowars):
Isn't NitWitOrdure fond of someone who spews for Infowars? Ol' John Crapandpuke?
OK, as a former Humanities professor and 'published authority' on dystopian fiction, I guess Iit's my duty to weigh in on the proper meaning of "Orwellian".
In short, both Anonymous and Orac are wrong, but Robert Blew is pretty close, However, I have no desire to play language cop. The way Orac uses "Orwellian" in the OP may be off, but it's a very common 'misuse' and we know what he means by it. But I do understand why folks get a little pissy about indiscriminate use of the term, since there' are important aspects of Orwell's insight that get lost in the process.
"Orwellian" refers to any method of social control playing a significant role in the rule of Ingsoc depicted in 1984, either in exact method or in general principle. While most often used for manipulative language, it also includes "Big Brother Is Watching" surveillance, "We've always been at war with Eastasia" fake history, the "memory hole", the inability to tell whether the underground opposition us real or a 'false flag' leader, etc. As far as just Orwellian language is concerned, is still confusing the whole with one of it's parts. The complete inversion of meaning is "Doublespeak". Insoc also employed "Newspeak", the elimination of certain troubling words, and reducing nouns derived from once-meaningful terms to opaque abbreviations (e.g. "Ingsoc"). Thus, in general, any "deceptive and manipulative use of language" can be considered Orwellian, depending on who is using it and what for. It's NOT Orwellian without the element of large institutions employing it for the purpose of social control of a subordinate population.
A classic example of recent Orwellian language is 'Shell Shock" giving way to "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" and then just PTSD, to mask the root cause in political violence. However, Orwellian language isn't limited to obscuring the negative or the overtly political, so a lot of advertising/marketing campaigns are indeed subtly Orwellian in terms of propagandizing for the values of consumption culture if not for the specific product at hand.
Anyway, power relationships are the key, and thus\ Gugie Daly's euphemisms are NOT truly Orwellian, because they come from an individual and have no social power behind them. Gugie and her NatMom pals may use her terms consensually among themselves, but they can't make their use oppressively ubiquitous, shutting out "thoughtcrime" by repressing it's terms. Moreover, they're a fringe minority trying to upset the (in this case, good) social order, not support anything.
Robert only errs in saying Orwellian language "lowers intelligence". Rather it channels intelligence into certain directions and walls off others (e.g. no critical thinking). One of the sophisticated aspects of 1984 that rarely gets noted is that the lower classes are NOT subject to Newspeak/Doublespeak/Big Brother's telesceens etc. They are kept in place by material forces, too busy meeting the basic survival needs of everyday life to have time for anything ideological. The Orwellian control is directed towards the bourgeoisie like Winston, people who work more with their heads than their hands.
Some folks have observed that Orwell would have predicted that "Orwellian" would itself get used in an Orwellian way. If we consider Orac a voice of the medical establishment, we might consider him guilty of a misdemeanor count on that charge for referring to a fringe crank like Daly as "going deep into Orwellian territory". The resonance serves as a kind of scare tactic by over-estimating her power, and that of the AVs generally. But I'd guess that is how Orac sees things, what with his fears of Trump's anti-vax connections... Still, if there's a web comedy video that's anywhere near accurate making fun of how AV language manipulation sounds "to normal people" it ain't really Orwellian, as a level of normalization with 'normal people' is implicit in the strict definition of the term.
Frankly, I'd bet if Daly tries to pass off “My son has an intact immune system," in mixed company as an answer to "has your son had his shots" she'll quickly find herself among folks unable to stifle their laughter.
Sadmar, you are wrong when you say "A classic example of recent Orwellian language is ‘Shell Shock” giving way to “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” and then just PTSD, to mask the root cause in political violence."
You don't have to be a rifleman in combat, or a soldier, or in a war at all, to have PTSD. The name change came about because there are lots of other things that can cause it: being a victim of or witness to a brutal crime, being caught up in a natural disaster, living with prolonged domestic abuse or bullying, and just about any other seriously traumatic event you can think of. There has been some suggestion that cerebral trauma can produce or worsen the symptoms.
My "favorite" example of doublespeak is "enhanced interrogation', meant to take the place of torture. Torture, of course, is evil, but if it's only enhanced interrogation, well, then it can't really be all that bad. I mean, if it was torture, wouldn't our leaders be honest enough to call it that?
You can also look to "police action", like we had in Korea from 1950 to '53, the very loose use of "bandit" instead of "freedom fighter" and it's obverse, "militant" in place of "terrorist". And of course we all know about "alternative facts".
Sadmar (#50) writes,
...she’ll quickly find herself among folks unable to stifle their laughter.
Sometimes laughter isn't the best medicine.
Q. Can a vaccine induce the production of antibodies that are undesirable and cause harm.
If the answer is YES then the immune system is no longer intact and the phrase "intact immune system" is compromised.
I've co-authored two books on how vaccines can cause atopy (i.e., many allergies) and adversely affect a person's well-being. :-)
A classic example of recent Orwellian language is ‘Shell Shock” giving way to “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” and then just PTSD
Back in the 1860s it was referred to as "soldier's heart." It's been around a long time, under one name or another.
"Shell shock" was the WWI term. I think the longest-running synonym was "battle fatigue". That ran from WWII up to the modern psychological diagnosis of PTSD, which I never saw till the '80s.
Shell shock emerged as term during World War I, displacing "nervous disorders," which had been compensable illnesses notably under the Bismarckian social legislation. Railroad workers and telephone operators had been the most common beneficiaries.
"Switching to VRD can cause the other person to ask questions."
Yes. Questions like "Are you an idiot?"
I actually understand the function of 'PTSD' as a broader term, and I pulled the example from a page on Orwellian language – that is, it wasn't my assessment that it's "classic". I think George Carlin used it in a routine. That probably dated from when the public was first hearing the term, and that being in relation to Vietnam vets, I'd still say it's Orwellian in that context. Part of my point is that no term is purely Owellian in and of itself. It's all context dependent.
I too was thinking "enhanced interrogation" might be a better, more recent example. How about that! Great minds, etc... ;-)
BTW, John Huston made an amazing, moving documentary for the Pentagon at the end of WWII that's just soldiers with "shell shock" being interviewed by the psy docs in a military hospital, shot with a hidden camera. It's called "Let There Be Light". Very few people have seen it though, because the brass kinda buried it, thinking the pain it showed would come off 'anti-war'. It's available at The Internet Archive now...
Let me see if I have this right - If an immune system is presented with something foreign and it produces antibodies, it is not intact. If an immune system is presented with something foreign and it doesn't produce antibodies, it is intact.
Is that more of that Orwellian language?
Is anyone watching the "truth about vaccine series' hosted by Ty bolinger? Talk about major crap. here is last night's link, it disappears by 9pm EST. https://go2.thetruthaboutvaccines.com/docuseries/episode-5/?utm_campaig…
In fact, you can own his whole set to share with your friends:)
No, just garden-variety scientifically-illiterate.
Strange how the treatment of "shell shock" differed by nation.
The British would take the man out of the line and put him first in a hospital and later in a convalescent center, usually what was then known as a mental hospital. These men usually ended up emotionally damaged for life.
By contrast, the French would take the man out of the line and send him to a rear area facility for a day or two, where he could bathe, have a couple of decent meals, and sleep in a real bed. Then he would be reminded that his mates were depending on him, and he would be sent back to his unit. Compliance was near to universal, and refusal could be prosecuted as desertion.
The current treatment is to keep the soldier as close to the unit as possible when PTSD symptoms are noticed, preferably early symptoms being noted and the soldier hasn't had his or her condition significantly degraded.
Basically, the earlier addressed, the better the outcome. If one can interrupt progression at the earliest stages, recovery is complete and rapid.
So, a casualty may only need to be evacuated to a FOB, rested, fed for a few days and a full return to duty can occur.
If the casualty is more severe, evacuation to the company or battalion area may be called for. If severe enough, recovery and treatment is performed in a rear area.
Feelings of guilt are not uncommon as a complicating factor in recovery, as the casualty feels that he or she has let their team down. Hence, one of the reasons to keep the casualty as close to the unit as possible.
One major complicating factor still remains the challenge of having commanders accept the condition of their soldier being a very real and potentially debilitating injury that requires treatment. This has resulted in soldiers not being permitted to seek treatment and in far too many cases, lifelong disability and a life that is far from optimal in quality.
Johnny (#58) writes,
Let me see if I have this right...
You've added the word "foreign", Johnny.
A definition of foreign is strange or unfamiliar.
If there are strange and unfamiliar proteins in vaccines (e.g., contaminants) then it's possible the vaccine may not be safe.
It is known that some packaging can leach strange and unfamiliar proteins into the vaccine solution.
When this happens, the vaccine is not intact.
Vaccine safety advocates strive to make sure each and every vaccine is intact.
ORD @60: Have you seen The Great War from American Experience on PBS? It was on last week (still on the app) and it's amazing.
They showed a bit of film of some British shell shock patients and they're just shaking, shaking so they can't walk, shaking their heads. It makes me wonder if, at least in WWI, part of shell shock was actually TBI, as well as PTSD.
Is it Orwellian to call car bombs 'air bags'? It does sound so much softer.
JustaTech, haven't seen it yet, but I DVRed it.
There has been speculation, and some evidence, that brain trauma is a factor in the incidence and manifestations judged as PTSD in Iraq/Afghanistan veterans. It makes sense, too. If a "mere" punch can cause significant brain injury, then I'd think that the force of an explosion powerful enough to flip armored fighting vehicles could do much worse. Behavioral changes can certainly be caused by cerebral injury, and if no one believes or understands the problems the soldier is reporting, then substance abuse, aggression, or self-destructive behavior may be the only way to cope.
Science-Mom (#59) writes,
No, just garden-variety scientifically-illiterate.
The question posed in (#52) wasn't rhetorical, can you please respond in the absence of personal attacks?
I received a Tdap vaccine four days ago and asked the nurse if said vaccine was not manufactured with...
She said "Yes" with confidence and pride.
That's what I'm talking about - Vaccine safety.
You didn't answer the simple question (#52) with a Yes or No.
Well ask a stupid question...
Define what antibodies and what harm and what you mean by "intact immune system" because the mere production of unintended antibodies doesn't implicitly cause harm nor does it render an immune system no longer "intact".
Michael J. Douchenozzle begs the question:
Q. Can a vaccine induce the production of antibodies that are undesirable and cause harm.
If the answer is YES then the immune system is no longer intact and the phrase “intact immune system” is compromised.
The correct answer is YES, which means the immune system is in fact intact. My immune system is intact, if hypersensitive to certain proteins.
BTW, Mikey, did you ever stop beating your wife?
Science Mom (#68) writes,
...the mere production of unintended antibodies doesn’t implicitly cause harm nor does it render an immune system no longer “intact”.
I've spent the last ~ 9 years here at RI explaining how a certain protein contaminant in vaccine packaging can cause harm.
Orac willing, I'd gladly spend another nine years doing the same if necessary.
@ Orac's minions,
Who agrees that the production of unintended antibodies from vaccinations are inevitable and acceptable?
Yes, indeed. Why, the Spanish Influenza pandemic, if you recall that event in history, had people rendered comatose, due to a mistriggering of incorrect antibodies against that strain of influenza, which rendered them comatose.
They responded, briefly to leva-dopa at one point, but eventually, performance degraded.
Since, we've learned of specific genetic traits, down to specific genetic coding, which was responsible for that and a failure that cause a small number of people to become cataleptic from one version of one specific influenza vaccine, which was withdrawn.
But no, for you, it's all about latex. I find your fixation, which is what it is for you, objectionable, as my wife suffers from a severe latex allergy.
Something that delayed surgery for her a year ago, as the for-profit hospital chain here still uses latex on a regular basis.
One RN was held by her throat against the wall, as she sought, per her own admission, to prove my wife was not highly allergic to latex. Due to the gravity of the offense, she was terminated for cause and the hospital also had her license to nurse revoked within the state.
Against my recommendation. Doctor had her full medical record, training would have sufficed.
So, now you have one of my triggers.
Want others? She has advanced osteoporosis, cervical disc disease to the point where I found only one disc semi-functional and non-impinging and L5-S1 has given her advanced equina cauda. Add in Lupus, to add fun factor. Add in type-2 diabetes.
Now, add in, I appear to have herniated a disc catching her six months ago, when she started to fall and against all training, I didn't guide her to the floor, I caught her, after gallbladder surgery and incidental umbilical hernia, secondary to cesarean section surgery scar failure, x 30+ years.
Now, add in, my car engine failed, likely, blown head gasket on a high mileage and ancient (1996) car. No way to get to medical appointments to use immunotherapy to create bone so that my wife can get her surgery, no additional diagnostic imagery, which is 10 - 20 miles away, due to limited ability for her to utilize public transportation. Add in her degrading condition. Now, add in my own degrading condition, now requiring the use of a cane.
We had an internal investigation recently. I became a topic of interest, due to a lack of cash far too often and we do have national security interests at stake. In short, I have a security clearance and the company didn't want a problem with someone who could lose a clearance and tarnish an otherwise sterling report.
I had a senior VP, who received my full, open and honest report, in literal tears. Along with HR's VP.
Orac has warned you repeatedly, not knowing a hint of this. Just using sanity.
Now, you all know a small piece of my pie.
But, hit my final trigger point, you'll learn what a horror being hung, drawn and quartered really is. Your head, covered in pitch and planted at the approach to the capitol.
I suspect that my TSH has wandered down a bit of late. :/
Probably due to dietary changes, due to a lack of markets nearby.
But, my patience has worn out, as a molecule thick film can be trivially abraded.
Welcome to *my* world.
The real world.
Where, I've killed badder than you every morning, wiping my butt after a morning sitting on the toilet.
Minimal facts, loads of innuendo, trainloads of BS and a hint of factual matter, amplified times ten thousand.
I'd suggest that you go away, but I'm not a stakeholder on this forum.
But to a human immune system, wouldn't every non-human substance be foreign? Isn't the 'active ingredients' in vaccines, by definition foreign? How is an immune system that responds to a foreign substance not 'intact'?
Yes, contaminates in anything, including vaccines, are often, but not always, a problem. But if they aren't a problem, then, well, they aren't a problem (or at least not a big problem). You (and the idiot Vinu) have never shown that a big problem exists. You have repeatedly claimed there's a problem, but have never shown it to exist, and you haven't shown it for years, which is why our host has put you in a box.
As near as I can tell, MJD's silly book came out in 2011, and it was our host's rather insolent take down of the book that drew MJD to RI. (For some reason, that post didn't show up in a search, or I'd have provided a link.)
I guess we can add math to the list of things MJD doesn't do very well.
The human immune system does a great job of manufacturing self-reactive B cells on its own, for that matter.
Like this one? (You're going to have to hit the Wayback Machine for Prometheus's series.)
Yeah, that post shows up, but the original RI post (the first link in the body - http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/05/anti-vaccine_contortions_they… ) comes up with an error message, as does our host's second article on the same subject.
Modify as so.
Don't let MJD out of the box again. Let him work out his latex fetish elsewhere. I suggest the he work with one of the many fine therapists found in each edition of Backpages.
Dude hit my full trigger set on a really bad day.
And no, I'm far from an idiot. I didn't reveal my full trigger set.
I vented because of my wife, for she wants, erm, full marital relations tonight and she had a problem with withdraw for a week, due to religious holiday abandonment of patients refills that I forgot about.
Yeah, *really* bad day, out of quite a few.
Add in cirrhosis for her. :(
Johnny (#72) writes,
You have repeatedly claimed there’s a problem, but have never shown it to exist, and you haven’t shown it for years, which is why our host has put you in a box.
When both science and pseudoscience agree on something you know there's a problem.
It's ironic that Natural News is sending out warnings about this natural product.
*I've* used the term 'perseveration' MANY times at RI but I don't perseverate upon it.
Notice that my post follows an illustrative example
( I also use words like 'illustrative/ illustrate')
@sadmar: thanks for mentioning the movie. Very interesting. I teach PTSD to my students, and I think this movie will make an interesting resource.
Where is your evidence that the minute amount of latex in vials of vaccines cause health issues?
Julian Frost (#83) writes,
Where is your evidence that the minute amount of latex in vials of vaccines cause health issues?
Are you asking me a direct question about this material?
I thought we weren't going to do that?!
If Orac finds out we'll get burned, both of us.
Julian Frost (#83) writes,
Where is your evidence that the minute amount of l@tex in vials of vaccines cause health issues?
Are you asking me a direct question about this material?
I thought we weren't going to do that?!
If Orac finds out we'll get burned, both of us.
@Panacea: Are you familiar with Pat Barker's work? If you're not, I recommend Regeneration, which deals with W.H.R. Rivers' work at Craiglockhart and especially the Sassoon case.
Just for giggles when I was in the lab today I looked at all the saline and Lactated Ringer's solution bags, by the 3 main manufacturers.
Guess what? All of them are latex free! Says so right on the bag. So are all of the tubing sets used to go into those bags!
(We do have latex gloves because one employee can't get nitrile gloves on due to an injury. But we also don't work with patients.)
So MJD, you are so hopelessly ill-informed as to be fractally wrong. Please go away.
@ Justa Tech (#85),
Glad to hear your lab is jumping on the bandwagon.
Did anyone in your lab consider helping the injured employee get the nitrile gloves on?
Please keep me informed...
A little late to the party, but the Straight Dope just went through all the terms for PTSD:
Justatech: Has MJD ever been right- or even vaguely sort of correct- about anything? Like most anti-vaxxers, I wouldn't even trust him to give a weather forecast.
@James Lind: no, but I will certainly look into it :)
JustaTech, has your lab tried Halyard Heath (formerly Kimberly-Clark) lavender nitrile gloves? They are supposed to be thinner and more stretchy than typical nitrile, yet still offer good protection. I want to try them, but can't find them in less than case lots (2500 gloves!).
Except for some elastic bandages, urinary catheters, gloves and a few odd bits, latex has been gone from heath care products for years. I wish we could say the same for you-know-who.
Oddly, our Willis-Knighton facilities still do have latex in some of their facilities. When going over the final checklist for my wife's gallbladder surgery, we noticed that her latex allergy wasn't recorded.
That delayed surgery as they had to prepare a latex free OR, where she was scheduled in a regular, latex using OR. I found that astonishing, as back on the east coast, I don't know of any hospital that is still using products with latex in them.
Even the Army stopped using latex,
Back in the Bronze Age, when I worked in surgery or did procedures, I greatly preferred latex gloves to any others. I used nitrile gloves to mix chemo under the hood, and they were adequate for that, but lacked sensitivity, As for polyurethane gloves, they share the same problems as polyurethane condoms: poor fit, come off too easily, and have the sensitivity of a cheap shower curtain (Don't ask!).
Even now, retired, I still prefer latex both for crafts and for, um,...extremely intimate apparel.
Back in prehistory, when my junior medics preferred exam gloves, I went with surgeon gloves, all pure latex.
Later, as I learned of latex allergies and their level, I explored various surgeon gloves of nitrile construction.
Eventually, I initially purchased, out of pocket my gloves and later, was issued the very same gloves.
My wife has two hypersensitivity reactions of military interest.
Nitrate hypersensitivity (think instant blown blood vessels in the eyes, unconsciousness, paradoxical hypotension) and latex allergy.
Initially, a gliding slope of bad reactions to condoms used by me. I immediately switched to sheepskin (a joke and lie, nitrile).
Don't get me into my examination of latex procedural gloves, which could not hold air, buy the case frigging load.
And we were expected to be up to our shoulders and chest in blood...
I'm guessing you were back of the queue when they handed out smooth rides then?
Wzrd1, I am not dismissing the importance of protecting patients and staff with known or unsuspected latex allergy. I don't minimize allergies. I have had a couple of anaphylactic reactions myself and can testify that they're no joke.
It's just that for gloving up my protrusions of either the digital kind or elsewise, I have found nothing that works as well as latex for protection and for sensitivity.
For that reason, for nonmedical, personal use, they should be no more restricted than peanuts or shrimp.
doug @92: Oh I wish we were allowed to use those gloves! They're sooo nice. But they're not cheap. So we can't have them.
MJD @88: We're not jumping on any bandwagon. That's just the way everything comes. I don't think we could buy infusion-approved fluids with latex if we wanted to. You're just in denial about the abundance of latex in the modern medical system.
As for my colleague with a disability, are you suggesting I restrict a scientist's ability to use the lab to when there is someone else around to glove them like a child?
I already said that there is no reason for us to *not* use latex, and you want us to violate the ADA?
You're really quite ignorant. Please go away.
KeithB #89. The worst description of PTSD was coined by Bomber Command, Royal Air Force in the Second World War.
Bomber Crews were expected to complete a 'Tour' consisting of 30 night missions before they were considered for RnR and understandingly, some suffered.
If any aircrew reported symptoms to the Unit Medical Officer they would be stripped of rank (the lowest rank for aircrew was an
...and is, Flight Sergeant.
They spent the rest of their war cleaning latrines after being branded "LMF".
Lack of Moral Fibre.
Apologies for the split post, my tablet decided it was so interesting, it prematurely sent it.
I live In Chicago and decided to contact Chris Kennedy and ask him what his position was on vaccinations. He is running for Gov. Got an autoreply to thank me for my support. WTF?
@101 I'm sure that the same auto reply goes out to every email. I get auto replies like that from my congressman all the time, only once in reply to a "supportive" email, because most of the time I am complaining, and occasionally, calling him names (but never profane).