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Quacktion Figure™: Immortalize your favorite promoter of pseudoscience!

It’s a wonder no one ever thought of this before (at least, not to my knowledge), but Todd over at Harpocrates Speaks has. Over there today, what do we find?

A Quacktion Figure™:

Ever wanted to enjoy the adoration of tens of others? Had an idea for a new product to patent, but had pesky competitors that needed discrediting? Have you ever dreamed of creating a controversy where there was none? Have you thought that violating research ethics would be a quick way to accomplish all this, but never had the narcissistic chutzpah to pull it off?

Well, now you can.

You’ll have to click through to find out who the first of a line of Quacktion Figures™ are. All I will say is that the very first one in the series is most appropriate.

Who else should be made into a Quacktion Figures™? Mark and David Geier look like obvious candidates? Dr. Oz? Yes, definitely. Joe Mercola and Mike Adams? Unquestionably.

But who else would make a good A Quacktion Figure™?

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]

41 replies on “Quacktion Figure™: Immortalize your favorite promoter of pseudoscience!”

A Meryl Dorey action figure would be great… With a Crocodile Dundee style hat, a “boomerang of lies” – lies that keep on coming back, and a bunch of little kangaroos as followers – because they jump around issues of science.

Yeah, that would be nice.

On my desk this morning is a motion-sensitive, legless Halloween ghoul, who when triggered flashes glowing red eyes, crawls forward and howls nonsensically.

We could market a set of Brave Maverick Doctor action figures on the same principle, starting with Jay Gordon. Sample dialogue: “I’m not anti-vaccine!” “I hardly give any vaccines, and not to little kids!” “You’re idiots paid off by Big Pharma!” “Why are you insulting me?” “Buy my DVD!”

I’m sure we could arrange a marketing deal with Amazon.

I actually have a little Nikola Tesla action figure that a graduating student gave me as a gag.

Tesla was not a medical quack, and as a younger man he made important contributions to electrical technology, but in his later years he turned into a blowhard and a crank. He’s the patron saint of many woo-meisters and conspiracy theorists. One of palindrom’s laws is that the more breathlessly a commenter mentions Tesla, the less physics they are likely to understand.

Would like a bronze of Andrew Weil, you rub his shiny bald head for good luck.

I think that AoA and GR could supply a good number of (in)action figures.
Jake Crosby hijacking Q&A
Dan (not a scientist) Olmstead throwing darts
Jenny McCarthy colored in indigo (age restrictions may apply for this one)

So many opportunities Todd. Good luck with the series.

@ Todd W.:

Spectacularly, irreverently great!
I especially like how you have the figure highlighted suggesting that it is truly made of moulded plastic: in other words a lifelike representation of Andy W.! What’s next Clay-mation(tm)?

Clever that you should include appropriate props- think of the possibilities if you should you decide to portray Gonzalez, Hulda Clark, or Generic Scientologist Dude! And we all know what Dr Oz will be wearing. Too bad that there aren’t that many ladies: I could consult about that- “what to wear as you bilk people”. And I like the idea MikeMa had of a “set” of figures (AoA): like Star Wars -Collect them all!

I, along with many other people I know, would nominate the dentist that Jenny McCarthy does testimonials for. He does really bad, very expensive dental work, but Jenny’s testimonials keep patients going to him. He is now a founding member of a new marketing organization called the American Academy of Oral Systemic Health (basically expensive “woo” services and products). Here he is with the microphone at a recent AAOSH meeting:

Hulda Clark – great idea! She could be pursued by a horde of grotesque little parasite action figures.

It would be in the best of taste (not intended for children under three, however).

@Denise Walter

Gotta give credit to Lil Peck, who did the artwork. She did a great job making the figures look toy-like.

BTW, please feel free to leave comments over at my place, too!

Bravo, Todd!! Amazing! Can’t wait to see the whole series. Will they get a headquarters? A Thoughtful House Pak Mail box that transforms into some kind of small robot perhaps?

What about Jim Humble and his MMS (and now he also advocates putting pool shock in capsules and selling them for the purpose of killing all sorts of viruses, bacteria, etc., as well)?

Or the founders of “DanielChapter1,” Jim and Tricia Fiejo. They regularly practice medicine without a license on a nationwide radio show and continue to ignore a court order to send a letter to people who have bought their cancer “cures” previously and relabel their products as NOT a cure or treatment for any disease.

@Dangerous Bacon on 8 –

Ugh! Hubby attached himself to a “zapper” last night (there’s a reason I call myself Mrs. Woo).

After one argument about money he wastes on unproven alternative treatments he actually threw a Hulda Clark book at me and yelled, “Get educated.” ~shakes head~

What is most worrisome is that he of course never tells me why he feels poorly (or symptoms) and will guess something is wrong and self-doctor rather than telling me so I could perhaps drag him to a medical PROFESSIONAL within a reasonable space of time.

Well, the obvious ones: Andrew Weil, Gary Null, Kevin Trudeay, Dana Ullmann, and Lionel Milgrom.

There should be room for Peter Duesberg and Henry Bauer as well (and the rest of the AIDS denialists; Harvey Bialy, Celia Farber and so on), Russell Blaylock, Andreas Moritz and our old friend Rolando Arafiles. Among antivaxxers there are plenty, of course (Olmsted, Kirby, Blaxill, Loe Fisher, Habakus and Handley are obvious ones, and for the truly insane I’m sure Daniel Ayoub would make a collector’s item). Then, of course, there is Gary Craig and the thought field therapy people.

Hulda Clark is dead, so if anyone should be immortalized in this manner it should presumably be her heir, Tim Bolen. Rashid Buttar is another candidate, as is Peter D’Adamo for his blood type diet. And perhaps the most ardently anti-science one of all: Larry Dossey. Maybe Tom Harkin and Oprah should receive this honor as well?

As for lesser figures, it would perhaps be worth commemorating Harold Buttram (he looks pretty scary), Dennis Paul Knicely, Julian Whitaker, Christopher Maloney (he needs it), Suzanne Somers, Andrew Moulden, Lenny Horowitz, Mary Leitao, Marc Neumann, and William Nelson as well.

And, of course, Deepak Chopra.

(It could, of course, be an international line; I’d love to see Mischa Norland receiving more exposure).

Love all the guesses coming out. This was just a limited idea (6 figures to start), but with the feedback I’m seeing, I’ll see about expanding the line. At any rate, check back every Friday for the next several weeks to see the new ones.

@Todd W.: Smashing idea!

As a person with MS, I would like to nominate the MS community’s own version of Jenny McCarthy. Joan Beal is an opera singer who, like Jenny, got her MD from the University of Google and plays doctor on the Internet. Joan’s cause is CCSVI and unfortunately her page has gained a lot of followers on Facebook:

She’s a big fan of conspiracy theories accusing skeptical medical professionals (mostly neurologists, but even a vascular surgeon and a cardiologist have been attacked by her and her followers) as being shills for “Big Pharma”. Not surprising she peddles her own woo, “The Endothelial Diet”. She also encourages her followers to donate to Dr. Paolo Zamboni’s foundation dedicated to the study of CCSVI as well as for his invention, an ultrasound Doppler machine that accurately diagnoses CCSVI. Did I mention that Dr. Zamboni is a vascular surgeon and is the one who discovered CCSVI?

If she’s too obscure of a nominee then Dr. Oz gets my vote. He was going to air an episode on CCSVI (big surprise) with Montel Williams before the FDA gave him a righteous smack down over the “cyanide in apple juice” episode.

Ugh! Hubby attached himself to a “zapper” last night (there’s a reason I call myself Mrs. Woo).

Oh, Mercy, I had never picked up on this bit of zapper lore:

Parasites can be killed with a very low voltage. But only if the voltage is 100% POSITIVE OFFSET and if the voltage is varied up and down repeatedly. If the varying voltage becomes NEGATIVE, even momentarily, it supports and maintains their lives.

That’s right, parasites have an intrinsic, universal reference ground. It may be that the only thing to do, Mrs. Woo, is to fight fire with fire — threaten to surround yourself with HHGs for the duration of such actvities. A keening recitation of some of Whitman’s lesser works might drive the message home.

On my desk this morning is a motion-sensitive, legless Halloween ghoul,

For some reason I imagine this as merchandise from AoA.

Thank you Narad. I especially appreciate the “Whitman’s lesser works” idea. 😉

You could go completely performance-art bonkers.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up–for you the flag is flung–for you the bugle trills

Shopping list:

* Bell
* Orgonite
* Flag (Tibetan thangkas not recommended)
* Bugle (eponymous corn snack and regular trilling may suffice)
* Diaphanous gown
* Optional: functional Jacob’s ladder

I like to believe that certain sorts of bonkers can recognize themselves when outdone, or at least see through for a bit.


Mrs. Woo…My husband has a personal “zapper” but he doesn’t strap it to his back. It’s a personal bug zapper, shaped like a small tennis racket and it was a gift from our friends from Germany. (We always use my husband as bait on the back deck to attract mosquitoes and gnats and they don’t bite us.)

I didn’t realize that I’d suggested it is strapped to his back. You get little velcro straps wet and wrap one around a finger or the wrist (forget which) of each arm and then let it run its “prescribed program,” in which it supposedly cycles through all of the necessary frequency to kill every single parasite within you (since you know that it’s parasites that cause all diseases known to man, of course). 😉

I have to admit I don’t know how he even can do it with a straight face. He insisted I try it once and I felt absolutely ridiculous.

Mrs. Woo: Oops I made a mistake. Zappers such as your husband has DO NOT work while strapped to the back. It is best to use the velcro strips and follow the directions contained in the pamphlet for maximum effectiveness.

~raises eyebrow~

Lilady, really, you don’t have to be kind on MY account (I married Woo, but never had much faith in charlatans or even chiropractic; my father raised me to avoid such things).

Perhaps we should take a larger parasite and attach it very well to the zapper electrodes and then give Mr. Woo a demonstration. If it lives, he admits that it doesn’t work. If it dies, well, I have to go find another parasite and try again, because it obviously wouldn’t have been damaged by a little plastic box with a nine-volt battery!

Mrs. Woo: My husband’s insect zapper (miniature tennis racket) really does work on those blood-sucking mosquitoes. He is at that age now, where I really worry about West Nile Virus because of all his leisure activities. He will be up at the crack of dawn today, to trudge over sand dunes, to go surf fishing. I’m just a little paranoid because of my history working in public health.

As you know “they” all are a little quirky.

Will the Geiers come as a set, or will they need to be purchased separately for maximum profit?
Whateveer the cost, they should absolutely, positively never be presented to children under the age of…they should never be presented to children.

I have nothing to contribute other than to say that this has



Glad you like! It made my day to see that Orac had blogged about it.

Stay tuned, though. There will be another one this Friday (as well as a new one for each of the next 4 Fridays)!

“Stay tuned, though. There will be another one this Friday (as well as a new one for each of the next 4 Fridays)!”

It’s Friday folks…and Todd didn’t disappoint!

Just one question Todd…what is the height of Schroedinger’s cat?

For some reason I thought the figures were going to be alt/cam “practitioners”…but this is very appropriate. After all, the investigation of the recent death of a little boy while undergoing chelation for autism in a doctors office, revealed that a “chelation therapist” “IV pushed” the chelating agent that killed him.

I remember a number of years ago, while working in public health, one little kid who was chelated for a dangerously elevated lead blood level…which was done in the hospital. As I recall, the health department lead abatement specialists found peeling lead-based paint that the youngster had incorporated into his diet.

I still see that many of alt/cam chelation “practitioners” are advertising on the internet. They offer treatments for autism, “chronic” Lyme disease, fibromyalgia…and any other “condition” you could think of.

Just keep ’em coming Todd.

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