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Dumbest comment of the year from an antivaccinationist?

While I’m recharging a bit from the Christmas festivities yesterday to the point where soon I’ll be able to write a substantive post, full of the Respectful Insolence™ and science or medicine that readers have come to expect, here’s something to amuse (I hope).

On Sunday, I wrote a not-so-respectfully insolent takedown of a truly mendacious Huffington Post article by antivaccinationist and card-carrying member of the mercury militia, Deirdre Imus, wife of washed up shock jock Don Imus. In essence, while deconstructing her misinformation about the alleged dangers of vaccination, I also lamented that having her husband back on the air not only gave this husband-and-wife duo of antivaccination loons a national platform to parrot the pseudoscience, cherry-picking, and lies of the mercury militia to a mass audience, but it also displaced my favorite morning radio talk show (Curtis & Kuby) with an obviously inferior product.

To my surprise, given how much commenting had slowed to a trickle in the week leading up to Christmas, this post inspired close to 100 comments. Driving the commenting, however, was an influx of Don Imus fans. Where they came from, I don’t know. Perhaps someone posted a link to my article on an Imus fan site somewhere or sent it to a mailing list. Wherever they came from, they immediately proceeded, through the sheer volume of their moronic comments, to do their best to lower the collective average IQ of this blog, the erudite comments of my usual readers notwithstanding. (See? Even Orac can suck up to his readers.) If these are typical Imus fans, I have to say that I’m not impressed.

Well, not quite. One such Imus fan going under the ‘nym “channelXRFR” produced something that did impress me, albeit not in the way that anyone should want to impress anyone else. He produced what I initially called the dumbest comment of the month, but, upon further reflection, I think it deserves to be the dumbest comment of the year. Indeed, were it not for Fore Sam, I’d be seriously tempted to nominate it for dumbest comment of all time on this blog:

The point is ORCA lost C&K and so now argues children should be vaccinated with mercury… Sorry for your loss – but should children lives be put at risk?

Yes, that’s right. According to channelXRFR, apparently the reason I went after Deirdre Imus’ fear-mongering article is not because it bothers me to see such misinformation and paranoia about the single most effective public health intervention in the history of medicine, vaccines, go unanswered. Apparently it’s not because I have a long history of refuting such nonsense on this blog. No, to channelXRFR, my motivation must have been personal pique at having my favorite radio show displaced by Deirdre Imus’ husband. Apparently channelXRFR is so fixated with Don Imus that he thinks the motivation must always come down to personal dislike or envy of his apparent hero.

Never mind that I criticized Imus and his support for the whole “mercury causes autism” concept beginning in June 2005, when he had antivaccination True Believer had Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on his show and proposed hosting a “debate” on the issue, which, I’m sure, probably turned out much like staged “debates” between creationists and evolution supporters. If Imus weren’t an antivaccinationist and his wife weren’t routinely spewing misinformation on his radio show and that repository of antivaccination lunacy, the Huffington Post, I wouldn’t have even mentioned his return to the airwaves. Quite frankly, if he weren’t a propagandist for the antivax contingent, he wouldn’t even be worth my mentioning on this blog.

Personally, I think it will be very hard to top channelXRFR’s entry for dumbest comment of the year. (If you think there’s one more “worthy,” though, feel free to post it in the comments below.) After all, there are fewer than six days left in 2007, and due to the usual holiday lull I expect blog traffic and commenting to be down at least 30-40% from the usual.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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