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Britney Spears and Hugh Hefner join the anti-vaccine brigade

In the celebrity vaccine wars, as we all know, Jenny McCarthy has become the de facto leader of the “vaccines-cause-autism” lunatic fringe. However, apparently she has managed to recruit another celebrity to help her out. Her choice is amazingly appropriate: Britney Spears, who was seen at a fundraiser for “Jenny McCarthy’s autism charity Generation Rescue.”

Because no one knows parenting and science like Britney Spears, I guess.

On the other hand, I have to wonder what J. B. Handley, founder of GR, thinks of having the Hollywood press refer to his baby as “Jenny McCarthy’s autism charity”? Of course, I wouldn’t exactly call GR a “charity.” In reality, it’s far more of a propaganda machine pushing the discredited idea that mercury in vaccines somehow causes autism, although of late it’s moved the goalposts and–shall we say?–“readjusted” its idea to blame combinations of vaccines and “toxins” in light of the continuing barrage of studies that fail to find a link between mercury-containing vaccines and autism. I also can’t help but wonder what the other “charity” supporting the belief that vaccines cause autism, TACA, thinks about GR stealing its celebrity spokesperson. (Remember, Jenny arranged her “Green Our Vaccines” rally primarily under the sponsorship of TACA.)

There were a some other celebrities at this fundraiser that seemed equally appropriate. Yes, Hugh Hefner showed up with his “Girls Next Door,” as did Charlie Sheen and his new bride. A perfect confluence of beautiful people demonstrating that special brand of stupid that only celebrities seem able to achieve!

Of course, while Charlie Sheen has already shown that he’s drunk the anti-vaccination Kool Aid, I’m sure that neither Britney Spears (who is so utterly clueless about virtually everything other than music, and whether she understands music is pretty darned debatable) nor Hugh Hefner has a clue about the real agenda of Generation Rescue, namely supporting the scientifically extremely dubious belief that some way, somehow, it’s just got to be the vaccines that cause autism, no matter how extensive the evidence to the contrary is. I’m sure they have no clue that GR’s real agenda is to support all manner of pseudoscientific quackery to “cure” autism, preferably by lending it an undeserved patina of science. All they know, I’m guessing, is that it’s an “autism charity” and that Jenny McCarthy supports it. Their “people” probably told them that it would look good for them to show up to “support” autistic children, that it would be a lovely photo op. There’s also the element of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours,” as in “you show up to my charity fundraiser, and I’ll show up at yours.” Who cares what the actual charity is? It’s charity, after all, right?

Perish the thought of all those marchers on Washington Jenny led last month with their signs likening vaccines to toxic waste or weapons of mass destruction.

I wonder what Hugh Hefner, for instance, who happens to have a lot of business savvy and is certainly way more intelligent than the bubble-brained Jen and Brit show, would say if he were ever to learn just how outside the mainstream of autism science and treatment Generation Rescue and its founder are or how GR supports pseudoscience and anti-vaccine fear-mongering. Sadly, probably nothing. It’s all about self-promotion and forging alliances, after all, and Hef is good at nothing if not that (well, that and sleeping with women young enough to be his granddaughters–ew!). I highly doubt Hef or Britney care one whit about autism, quack “biomedical treatments,” or that science has failed to find any sort of link between autism and vaccines or thimerosal, despite having looked extensively. They and their publicists just like the positive press for supporting what looks like a “worthy” cause on the surface, and they know that the entertainment press is even more scientifically clueless than the regular press, Britney especially, given that she’s trying to resurrect her moribund career. All the celebrity press will report is what it’s reporting already: How “fabulous” everyone looked.

And in Hollywood that’s all that matters. Kiss kiss.

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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