Antivaccine nonsense Movies

Crank fight! “Reasonable” cranks vs Died Suddenly

Last month an antivax propaganda film Died Suddenly was released. it’s so bad that COVID-19 cranks are pushing back. Hilarity is ensuing.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a not-so-Respectfully Insolent review in my own inimitable fashion of a video entitled Died Suddenly. As you might recall, this 68-minute pseudodocumentary went viral, positing a conspiracy theory in which COVID-19 vaccines are supposedly causing young healthy people to “die suddenly.” The cause as claimed in the film is massive clots caused by the spike protein produced by the mRNA vaccines, and the “evidence”—such as it was—includes anecdotes by embalmers relating how supposedly they’ve been finding more and more clots in bodies that they have been embalming. Chief among these is an embalmer named Richard Hirschman, whom we’ve met before feeding clots to Mike Adams to incompetently analyze by mass spectrometry and determine that they are not clots but rather “self-assembling nanostructures.” More recently, an experienced embalmer named Benjamin Schmidt subjected himself to the movie, and his take on Hirschman’s claims that the clots he was finding in bodies was not positive. To boil it down, Schmidt points out that (1) the clots shown in the movie are nothing unusual (in fact, they’re normal); (2) there’s no evidence presented that embalmers are finding more clots in the recently deceased; and (3) Richard Hirschman is a talented embalmer but an utterly incompetent scientist, given how easily he’s taken in by confirmation bias, disinformation, and conspiracy theories.

In brief, Died Suddenly is so blatantly full of obvious lies and misinformation, as evidenced by its use of clips of people who are claimed to have “died suddenly” who either actually just fainted and did not die and/or collapsed before there were even vaccines for COVID-19—and, in one case, collapsed before the first cases of a disease due to a novel coronavirus had even been described—that even some COVID-19 conspiracy theorists are…uncomfortable…with it, even if they are down with the film’s overall message that massive numbers of otherwise healthy people are “dying suddenly” because of the vaccines.

For example—and I can’t belief I missed this when it was published a couple of weeks ago—Dr. Robert “inventor of mRNA vaccines” Malone added a doozy to his Substack entitled Sins of Information Warfare, adding in a hilarious bit of false equivalence, “Do the sins of our opposition wash our own sins clean?” Let’s see what Dr. Malone thinks, though:

At the moment, there is a very active discussion regarding the increasingly viral video “Died Suddenly”. Other commentators (for example “The Daily Skeptic” and Josh Guetzkow) have appropriately noted that the (generally well funded and produced) video includes segments which are misleading at best, falsely imply one or more cause-effect relationship between a sudden death event and vaccine administration, or otherwise employ cinematic license to stoke outrage. I have previously written regarding the business model of Stoking Rage for the up and coming podcaster, and in my opinion this strategy is fundamentally the same as the “fearporn” business model of corporate media – and in particular CNN.

I once pointed out how some of the most “out there” cranks like to point to even worse cranks as a way of representing their conspiracy theories and disinformation as being “reasonable” compared to even more outlandish theories and disinformation promoted by others. In this case, Dr. Malone is taking on the role of the “reasonable” crank, using Stew Peters as the even more outlandish crank to compare himself to. Amusingly, the article by Josh Guetzkow to which Dr. Malone points another example of this, as Guetzkow is credulous about many claims in the film:

There is some great information in this movie. Information that could — potentially — open people’s eyes and minds. In particular, the interviews with the embalmers and morticians are incredible. The long, white fibrous material they have been finding in dead people’s arteries and veins after the vaccine rollout is truly horrifying. It isn’t new, but it’s presented all in one place in a highly compelling way, especially the scene where you see it being removed from a dead body during an embalming session. 

The movie would have been far more effective if it had just focused mainly on that and dug deeper. For example, there is still a question as to whether the clots are what are causing people to die, or if they form post mortem. It would have been valuable to show what they’re made of and to prove that they are distinct from another type of post mortem clotting. There are other things that could have been done to make a much stronger case about the clots. 

But unfortunately the film taints and tarnishes the material on the clots and other important information1 by covering it with a lot of garbage. 

Actually, as I pointed out before, it’s all garbage, including the claims of embalmers finding abnormal clots when embalming the bodies of people who had “died suddenly.” So, basically, Guetzkow likes the claims about clots while showing actual seeming skepticism about other claims in the movie. I will, however, admit that I laughed out loud when I read Guetzkow’s lament about Died Suddenly:

In the opening montage of the film, interspersed with clips related to people dying suddenly, we see images and clips related to the following: MK Ultra, CIA and Project Mockingbird, Lee Harvey Oswald and the JFK assassination, green screens with ISIS beheadings and Zelensky green screens, George W. Bush’s lies WMDs in Iraq, the words “Conspiracy Theory,” Alex Jones wearing a tinfoil hat, the BBC’s premature reporting on the collapse of WTC Building 7, (fake?) Moon landing footage, UFOs, Bigfoot, and what appears to be the Loch Ness monster.

What was the point of interspersing the montage with all this conspiracy theory fodder? Was it to plant in the reader’s mind that what they were about to see was on par with Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster? That only a tinfoil-hat wearing conspiracy theorist would pay attention to the material in this movie? That it is just like every other conspiracy theory out there? 

What other possible reason could there be to associate your movie with those things unless your goal was to discredit it in the eyes of every observer who is not “into” conspiracy theories? If the goal is to reach a wider audience, the documentary shoots itself in the foot in the first three minutes — even if every conspiracy theory alluded to in that montage is true. If they want to sabotage their own film, fine. But they are also discrediting the rest of us fighting against the encroaching biomedical fascism, associating everything in this movie with Bigfoot. And it pisses me off.

So very, very close and yet so far!

It turns out that Guetzkow was also very unhappy with this segment, with hilarious results:

People have said: everybody makes mistakes and no documentary nails the facts 100% of the time. Of course that’s true, and I myself have made more than one honest mistake. But even if all the errors in this documentary can be chalked up to “everybody makes mistakes,” it doesn’t explain the attempt to blackwash the movie by associating it with a bunch of conspiracy theories like Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster. So my conclusion is that the mistakes were not honest.

This made me laugh quite heartily too.

As I pointed out in my review of the movie two weeks ago, the reason that Peters interspersed all the conspiracy fodder is obvious. Peters knows his audience. What Guetzkow appears not to know is that the disinformation he’s promoting about COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccines is very much of a piece with all the conspiracies featured in the opening montage of Died Suddenly. It warms the cockles of my old skeptic’s heart to see how uncomfortable the filmmaking techniques of Died Suddenly are to those who find themselves spreading the same sorts of COVID-19 and ant antivax conspiracy theories featured in the film.

Ditto how uncomfortable Died Suddenly makes Dr. Malone:

For what its worth, I hold “our side” to higher standards than I have come to expect from corporate (broadcast and published) media. I reject the assertion that, on the battlefield of the current 21st century unrestricted media and information war which we are immersed in, it is acceptable to employ the tactics of our opponents. I have heard others in the medical resistance community advocate the schoolyard “logic” of “they are doing it to us, and so we have to do it to them”. I firmly reject this. Any “win” on the information war battlefield which is based on this type of rationale will be transitory and self defeating. It is not a win if we become one with the ethics of our opponents. 

This is not just an information war, it is a battle over what is right and good versus what is fundamentally evil. Our opponents clearly believe that the ends justify the means, and that ethics – right and wrong- are completely situational and subject to the same logic widely accepted by the “Virtuals” caste; that there is no objective truth or reality, and reality and ethics are whatever one believes them to be. The ultimate derivative of the logic of “cultural relativity”. The logic from which springs the transsexual movement denialism of the genetic/biologic basis of gender.

I laughed out loud again at the part about how Dr. Malone holds “his side” to “higher standards,” seemingly not recognizing that the “tactics” that he and his allies use are rooted in misinformation and conspiracy theories every bit as outlandish at their core as the conspiracy theories about the JFK assassination, the moon landing, the destruction of the World Trade Center, and all the other conspiracies featured in the opening montage of Died Suddenly. What Guetzkow and Dr. Malone don’t like is having their noses rubbed in how they have become indistinguishable from the likes of Alex Jones, Mike Adams, and Stew Peters. (I also like how he managed to bring in culture war tropes—such as transphobia—as he complains about a movie promoting the same misinformation about COVID-19 that he’s been promoting for well over two years because it leans too heavily into conspiracies for his taste.

Indeed, reading Guetzkow’s discussion of Bill Gates is constructive. He is very much unhappy that the movie parrots a common antivaccine mischaracterization of a TED talk as Gates “admitting” that vaccines will cause global “depopulation,” even as he seemingly “understands” how that interpretation came about:

Then they cut to Chad Whisnat, a plain-spoken, down-to-Earth Funeral Director saying something to the effect of: “Bill Gates said he’s going to reduce the population with vaccines. I can’t think of any other explanation than that taking those vaccines is going to kill people. It’s common sense. I wasn’t an anti-vaxxer but I am one now.” 

I agree that is the common sense interpretation of that statement. And I agree that people in power, including Bill Gates, talk publicly about the need to reduce the world’s population — there is an elite agenda. And that agenda has nothing to do with Chad’s common sense interpretation of what Bill Gates said.

“Common sense”? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

No, seriously. It’s almost as though Guetzkow doesn’t think that the antivax interpretation of Gates’ old TED talk is unreasonable, even as he immediately pivots to a seemingly more “reasonable” interpretation of the very same “depopulation” conspiracy theory:

As stated publicly, the elite depopulation agenda is an effort to reduce population growth. And the publicly stated means of achieving this is to lower the birth rate by reducing child mortality, improving the standard of living, and creating greater access to contraception and abortion. It is well known that in areas where child mortality rates are high, women have more children. There are several reasons for this I won’t get into, but suffice it to say that when child mortality goes down, women have fewer babies. Same is true when the standard of living goes up. The reduction in the birth rate more than compensates for the number of infant lives saved, so overall you get a reduction in population growth over time. If mass vaccination campaigns of babies in poor countries reduce child mortality, then you can (somewhat counterintuitively) lower population growth — without killing people and without making them infertile.

Amazingly, this is actually correct, but Dr. Guetzkow can’t resist immediately adding his doubts about whether vaccines actually reduce child mortality, saying that he’s “not going to get into the evidence for or against the claim that vaccinations reduce child mortality in impoverished countries or whether that is the best way to achieve that aim,” mainly because his point “is not whether that is true or whether Gates or anyone else actually believes it.”

He then complains about how Peters “packages” the “common sense” interpretation in Died Suddenly:

The point is this: there is another way to understand what Bill Gates said in his Ted Talk and another way to understand the goals and means of those who talk about the need to reduce the world’s population — one that does not include mass murder and forced sterilization (though some would count abortion as mass murder). 

“Died Suddenly” comes out very strong from the starting gate pushing the idea that Gates and all these people who talk about reducing the world’s population want to kill and sterilize us. The problem is that they never acknowledge or address the alternative way of explaining what the depopulation agenda is — the one focused on reducing growth rates by lowering infant mortality. All they offer is the ‘common sense’ interpretation.

And even if that is true, it is a terrible way to package the factual evidence of increased deaths and reduced fertility as a result of the COVID-19 jabs. You will never convince anyone who is on the fence about those facts when it is packaged in the notion that the elites are trying to kill and sterilize the population, for the simple reason that the public statements of those who push the population reduction agenda allow for a different, more benevolent interpretation of their actions.

Oddly enough, he’s sort of correct about this. It is actually hard to persuade reasonable people of the accuracy of your position by “packaging” it in the “notion that elites are trying to kill and sterilize the population,” but not for the reason he states. Rather, it’s very difficult to persuade someone with such a “packaging” because it’s so very, very bonkers, not because the “elites” pushing a “depopulation agenda” make benign statements that “allow for a different, more benevolent interpretation of their actions.”

Even more hilarious is Dr. Malone’s complaint in which he compares Died Suddenly to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s The Real Anthony Fauci:

For either side of the debate. It is often said, when debating an opponent (or an internet troll) that “you are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts”. Furthermore, these types of “artistic license” distortions of truth cause both damage to the credibility of the arguments being made (which may otherwise be valid), and can also cause psychologic pain.

Furthermore, these types of errors become weapons which will be deployed against us by our opponents in this unrestricted information war battlefield.

Allow me to provide a counter example from recent history. The Jeff Hays video production of “The Real Anthony Fauci,” a full-length feature documentary based on Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s runaway bestseller, was meticulously (internally) fact checked before being released. Anything stated during the many interviews which were used to generate the final product which could not be documented was left on the cutting room floor. It did not rely on either hyperbole or misrepresentation. And (unfortunately) it did not go viral.  But it will withstand the test of time.

Seriously, Dr. Malone’s invocation of the old adage that “you are entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts” made me laugh out loud too, given his prolonged history of spewing all manner of disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and conspiracy theories about how he is being “erased” from Wikipedia. And then don’t get me started on RFK Jr. and his book and movie full of conspiracy theories about Anthony Fauci, lab leak, and HIV/AIDS denial.

Finally, one COVID-19 conspiracy theorist, Mathew Crawford, thinks that Died Suddenly should have stuck to what he calls “simple messages” about “medical freedom” and the “medical freedom movement” (MFM).

Understand that much of my critique of Died Suddenly is based in this terrible feeling after 34 months of research, I see an unnecessarily noisy MFM signal that is being bombarded by false or questionable information making it harder for both people in the MFM and people on the fence who might join the MFM to discern the most important basic truths:
  • Nobody should be coerced into medical experiments or treatments.
  • Individual autonomy is important for human health and progress.
  • The experimental quasi-vaccines were barely tested on small populations and only “shown” by highly questionable evidence to be safe or effective.
  • There is substantial evidence that the vaccines are injuring and killing people.
  • Fertility risks are an existential threat, and there are safety signals that need serious attention.

Even as he takes what he thinks to be the “reasonable” position lamenting how “bringing up Big Foot from the get go—isn’t the best way to carry a person soberly over the barrier of cognitive dissonance,” Crawford parrots common COVID-19 antivax talking points, such as misrepresenting the vaccines as unethical human experimentation that were inadequately tested and cause infertility. None of this stops him from identifying Stew Peters as a “chaos agent,” noting that “nearly every good researcher I’ve talked to takes issue with it, and for a variety of reasons.” Even more amusing is how Crawford expresses amazement, claiming to have been “honestly shocked to see Steve Kirsch in the Stew Peters production because (1) he never mentioned it during his steering committee meetings (few of which he attended over the past 8 months), and (2) I thought he had better judgment than to muddy his reputation by working with Stew Peters—particularly after Peters watched the water for snake venom until it blew up into a dumpster fire (that’s not a defense against the dark arts spell).” Steve Kirsch, you will remember, is one of the crankiest of COVID-19 antivaxxers, one who loves to challenge critics to five hour debates on YouTube or Rumble.

I do so love a good crank fight. This one, which pits Stew Peters his film Died Suddenly on one side and Robert Malone, Mathew Crawford, and Josh Gruetzkow on the other is classic because it demonstrates how there is a spectrum of science deniers and cranks. More importantly, it demonstrates how most cranks refuse to accept that they are cranks, to the point that having their noses rubbed in the sorts of conspiracy theories that they support, even if they don’t directly argue for them themselves makes them profoundly uncomfortable. This leads them to attack what they see as even worse cranks in order to reassure themselves that they are, in fact, reasonable. It is quite entertaining to watch.

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]

46 replies on “Crank fight! “Reasonable” cranks vs Died Suddenly”

It’s encouraging this is apparently as ridiculous as it is, in the same way it is encouraging that the concussion candidate in Georgia was not elected yesterday (Walker). But despite both efforts being very much in the low IQ department, both gained far more traction than deserved. MAGA, in both cases, is still dangerous – not in a partisan sense, but in a sanity sense.

This is the first time I’ve heard of Mathew Crawford, so I went and did my cursory homework. The dude is too crazy for the Marshall Institute.

He also thinks he understands the science of epidemiology, virology and immunology better than scientists and thinks that Ryan Cole is a credible doctor.

I can’t quite comprehend why someone like Malone, who once did publish credible research, doesn’t understand that just saying something repeatedly doesn’t make it true. Mathew Crawford makes a living doing dumb things like that and bitcoin, but Malone used to have to do the hard work of supporting his claims.

I might have insight concerning Malone. He shows up on prn, NN and Del’s fiasco. I gathered ( from an interview on NN IIRD) that he lost lots of money ( invested in real estate, the 2008 Market crashed, big debts) and moved to the country and lived in a trailer to raise horses for rich ladies to ride. It’s possible that he lost a job during this time period precipitating the move/ career change. He never said “retired”.

Are you suggesting he turned to anti-vaccine grifting due to the financial issues, or that some of this may feed into trying to seem reasonable? (Asking sincerely – not sure what the insight is on).

I’m not sure either. It sounded like he had severe financial problems post 2008 and moved to raise horses. His Wikipedia page says he worked for various companies after 2008 though . The interview was in the past few weeks at Natural News.

What?? I thought Malone and his wife were rather well off, and owned the horse ranch/farm in VA where they live. He just got back from a Thanksgiving trip to Istanbul, I believe.
But I don’t watch many videos or listen to podcasts these folks do, so appears I am missing some key info about Malone.

@ Malo:

Malone says a lot of things.
Like other alties I follow, he makes much of his hard work ” on the farm” although he probably is worth a great deal of money and could hire helpers. He claims he “lost everything” after 2008.
The interview is worth listening to if you can tolerate the level of smugness and self promotion by both of these guys.
28 November 2022, Natural News.

Overall, he just sounds false to me. People with real money sometimes, as a PR save, stress “how hard they work” or how they had had very humble beginnings. They are regular people.
Right. On an elite horse farm producing “Olympic calibre” horses for rich women who fear getting hurt. His words, not mine.

@ Dorit:

I found the interview Nov 28 2022 Natural News. I only listened to a little bit. ( 8 minutes in) He was only paid one dollar for his invention. He invested in 7 properties later, had to move for a contract in Georgia and was bankrupt by the Crash. He had a “nervous breakdown” and PTSD.

Well that explains some of it. Given his demands to be seen as “the inventor” he seems to have some personality issues. It probably makes him almost impossible to work with and he just can’t keep a job. Now he can be a cult leader and it satisfies his complexes.

Having some free time, I blithely listened to more of Malone and Adams. My initial impression when I first heard it was that Malone ” had issues” and that is now conformed.

He has a book about his life out. After crying poverty as I quote above he invokes several conspiracy theories:
— his Wikipedia page was edited by British intel guy, Phillip Cross
— US DoD, Homeland Security, CIA are responsible for the pandemic
— he’s a “patriot”, i.e. right wing supporter, wanted a red wave
— he’s not getting consulting jobs now
I could only tolerate to 24 minute mark.

He barely got his PhD and he bailed on med school. Clearly a greed-driven grifter

Robert Malone’s book “Lies My Gov’t Told Me”, released a couple days ago under the auspices of Children’s Health Defense, should be a real lollapalooza.

RFK Jr. starts the ball rolling with an intro praising Malone for being one of the brave few to stand up to the “military industrial intelligence apparatus” which is weaponizing the pandemic for its malign purposes.

The book has garnered a bevy of celebrity endorsements. The star-studded names include Mike Adams, Joe Mercola, Meryl Nass, Joseph Ladapo, Tucker Carlson, Joe Rogan, Jenny Beth Martin (co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots), Naomi Wolf and Roger Hodkinson, a Canadian pathologist who declared that Covid-19 is “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated” and “just another bad flu”.

I gather from the Amazon preview that the book is heavily about Malone, his wife and their brave struggles against the machine. Should be a most compelling read.

Believe it or not, the loons I follow say almost exactly the same thing! Someone else’s altie pile of BS is “NOT fact checked”
or supported by ” peer review ( sic) articles”. They themselves ‘follow the science’ and base their rants upon ‘DATA’. They create long lists of references and name drop well known scientists or philosophers: ” ..Feynman once said..” or “.. Bacon’s idols..” as if they understood what they were quoting. They even list footnotes and “methodology”. They teach “critical thinking”. They work in “labs ” and “counsel” people.
However, they insult actual SBM, sceptics and people like Orac in the same fashion.

As an aside…
I’d like to point out the bang up job Orac’s minions have done of late concerning various trolls, anti-vaxxers and contrarians.
I won’t single anyone out because so many are so truly excellent.
It’s important to call out egregious nonsense because naive readers might believe that it’s meaningful if no one objects. Trolls can brag that they pwned Orac and Co or that they “instructed” us.

Didn’t Adams set up his lab so he could “prove” how much better his magical nostrums are than those of his competitors?

More to denigrate his competitors by showing they contained heavy metals. He never bothered measuring any of his own. Adams discovered that this was not that profitable, so he turned his equipment onto things where he could attract more marks not already wedded to supplements instead of medicine. Then Adams is the ultimate grifter, moving from one target to another as his marks start to lose interest.

And he continues. He tests each product he sells and other companies’ goods. Most of the latter are contaminated.

Much more fun to watch this than the mockumentary. Thanks to Doctors Gorski and Wilson for reviewing this nonsense (so the rest of us don’t have to).

“Lied Suddenly”

This “DIED SUDDENLY” documentary is so bad

Debunk the Funk with Dr. Wilson
December 7, 2022

Orac, what you are describing is several people (Josh Guetzkow, Crawford etc) who try to be honest to the best of their ability. Instead of supporting an antivax video of dubious quality, they brought up its shortcomings and their disappointment with the lack of fact checking on the part of Stew Peters. They are not simply cheering for every antivax video. You can disagree with their views or opinions, but all of them showed evidence of integrity and being concerned about facts.

Antivaxxers do not need to pretend like they agree on everything. This is their strength and not a weakness – we are a community of critical thinkers.

Fact-checkers love Stew Peters for a great reason! Stew Peters likes to publish crap and makes a good target for fact-checks.

This technique of fact-checking crap to prevent people from looking at good stuff is called: Vaccine-like “Inoculation” of Minds with “Weakened Forms of Misinformation”, which I discussed.

I never really discussed antemortem vs postmortem clots because I do not know enough about them. However, there is a fact check says that indeed there is a phenomenon of “pandemic clots”. The fact-check is titled: The film “Died Suddenly” rehashes debunked claims and conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccines

In it, there is a curious passage: Several embalmers explained to PolitiFact that they had indeed noticed an increase in the presence of blood clots. But contrary to the claims, these clots appeared in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people who had died of COVID-19, some of them “long before vaccinations were available”.

So the healthfeedback fact checker Iria Carballo-Carbajal acknowledges the new “pandemic clots”, but says they are not from vaccines. It’s a fact check after all. I also would not be surprised that Covid does whatever Covid vaccines do — so it is possibly true that victims who die of severe Covid would also have such novel clots, just as vaccine victims would.

That fact check convinced me that the clots are real. What causes them is a good question to be answered carefully.

Does any of the readers of this forum have such clots sitting in their blood vessels? I hope not!

First, thank you for acknowledging and admitting you’re anti-vaccine, in a change from the previous efforts to mask your true position.

Second, this is actually unusual. Usually anti-vaccine activists do not call each other out. I think that the only reason we see some of it is that the movie is so easily shown extreme and false.

That has also happened in the past in various characterization, but it’s rare. Here is Orac examining another anti-vaccine scramble.

Dorit, I am an antivaxxer by the definition of the word: anyone who is against SOME vaccines and SOME mandates is an antivaxxer (Merriam-Webster). Orac also refers to anti-Covid-vaxers as antivasxers.

I do not opine on every single vaccine in the world because I frankly do not care about most of them and do not know enough. I only care about Covid vaccine and flu vaccine.

Recall, Igor, that a defining characteristic of antivaxers is unwillingness to name a single vaccine that they’d recommend.

You fit that picture very well.

Speaking of definitions, deliberately misleading viewers with images that are supposed to be of people suffering serious Covid-19 vaccine-related side effects but actually represent unrelated events preceding the existence of such vaccines is not “cinematic license” – it’s lying in order to deceive.

As for antivax cranks trying to gain credibility by criticizing even worse cranks, we’ve seen that on RI quite recently.

I do love the suggestion made by one antivax critic of “Died Suddenly” that its over-the-top references to other conspiracy theories could be part of a conspiracy to delegitimize Covid-19 conspiracy theories. “Someone who pretends to be one of us is trying to make us look even dumber than we are!”

A scary thought.

P.S. a better source is a politifact fact check titled: “Embalmers finding ‘strange clots’ in jabbed people”

Embalmers and funeral home workers say they are noticing an increase in unusual blood clots among the deceased. Some of them, without evidence, are attributing it to the COVID-19 vaccines.

Experts we talked to say there’s something to the claim about a greater incidence of blood clots, but they dismiss the idea that it’s linked to the vaccines. What embalmers are noticing, they say, could well be the effects of COVID-19 infection itself, and those effects are occurring in people who are vaccinated and unvaccinated.

“The association between COVID-19 and blood clots was recognized early in the pandemic among hospitalized COVID-19 patients,” said Yazan Abou-Ismail, a hematologist at University of Utah Health. “These patients experienced blood clots both in deep veins and arteries, which sometimes led to strokes and heart attacks. Although these conditions have mostly been seen in patients with severe COVID-19 illness, people with moderate illness have also developed blood clots.”

Abou-Ismail said the incidence of blood clots ranged from 20% to 40% among patients with severe COVID-19 illness, and 3% to 9% among those with mild to moderate COVID-19 illness.

COChristi herself dig out a papet COVID causes microclots, remember that ? Not clots enbalmers speak about.

Hilarious that you are telling a few pathologists who hang around here about what a mortician found. What’s next? The butcher is going to tell veterinarians what he/she found?

I never really discussed antemortem vs postmortem clots because I do not know enough about them.

Your conspicuous lack of knowledge hasn’t stopped you from discussing other matters hereabouts.

Then they cut to Chad Whisnat, a plain-spoken, down-to-Earth Funeral Director….

LOL, all funeral directors are literally down to earth.

More srsly, this crank fight (specifically the desire of cranks like Malone not wanting to be grouped with other cranks) reminded me of your RI where Geert Vanden Bossche suddenly realized on stage that Del Bigtree owned him when Del shut him down regarding pushing back against old school anti-vax tropes.

“What was the point of interspersing the montage with all this conspiracy theory fodder? Was it to plant in the reader’s mind that what they were about to see was on par with Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster?”

Interesting. That’s not how I understood it at all.

What I saw was a portrayal trying to say:

“Look, the deaths of real people with real families who are really mourning their loss aren’t being taken any more seriously by our public health authorities as you would take the Loch ness Monster”.

I didn’t give the Bigfoot image a second thought. Maybe because I’ve been posting here for years & am very used to people mocking my daughter’s vaccine death in the same tone they would use if I came here to post that “Bigfoot is real”.

Because yes; our public health authorities are treating the very real deaths of vaccinated people & their very real mourning families the same way they would treat someone who said they were abducted by aliens.

With contempt. By mocking them.

The death of your daughter is tragic. As a reminder, your daughter, a premie with many complications, died from SIDS after her oxygen was discontinued at home.

There is no basis for blaming vaccines there, and using her to put other children at risk of preventable diseases and arguing against protecting people from COVID-19 is problematic.

I don’t think anyone mocked her death. People have, sometimes, mocked your misuse of her death in the service of anti-vaccine efforts.

That’s why I’m very careful about discussing such cases. Parents conflate criticism of their use of their child’s death to promote antivax misinformation with mocking them or their child.

Speaking of mocking death, years ago, there was an antivaxxer who posted here complaining about how pro-children’s-health advocates lacked empathy, because though they sympathized with her about the loss of her child, they didn’t agree with her about the cause. This same person thought that children being blinded by SSPE and then dying in agony was hilarious. I guess her empathy was somewhat stunted too ( .

If “Christine Kincaid” is still around, she’ll no doubt complain that it’s unfair that we only remember her as the creature mocking childrens’ deaths. But remember the lesson of McGregor the Bridge Builder.

“Because yes; our public health authorities are treating the very real deaths of vaccinated people & their very real mourning families the same way they would treat someone who said they were abducted by aliens.

With contempt. By mocking them.”

No. This is just how you perceive it. Your perception is NOT reality, as we’ve continually seen in your comments here and on other pages. You have made it your identity, and any questioning of your conclusions are now personal attacks on that identity.

I find you disgusting and I have no sympathy left for you, because it is YOUR CHOICE to make claims that just aren’t based in the evidence you think exists. You are NOT a scientist and the sooner you realize you are not an expert in anything about vaccines the better you will be able to live with the rest of the world. Your identity is self-destructive, you will not be able to fit into the larger society, so you live for your anti-vax community (a cult) and allow them to confirm your identity. Anyone else you see as treating you with “contempt”. How should we treat a liar that can’t support their claims with scientific evidence?

I am much in agreement with you, Jay.
Studies have shown that parents believe messages about vaccines when they come from parents more than when they come from scientists/physicians thus, in the decade several some agencies also include parent informers to affect the public’s view of vaccines.

If a person chooses to believe nonsense/ act on themself is one issue BUT spreading unrealistic BS is another thing. As I wrote elsewhere, some of these anti-vax mothers choose to proselytise all over the internet. I can cite specific examples and names too. Vulnerable readers might take them seriously and follow their advice rather than SBM. They imagine themselves to be educators and saviours of children when they could be potentially harming children by scaring parents about vaccination. Their role models are mis-informers like RFK jr, Wakefield, Mercola, etc. They also teach other anti-vaxxers how to spread the news.

#1 predictor that a patient is going to have a bad course with chronic disease? They become their disease. They let it define them.

The difference between Guetzkow’s, Orac’s and Christine’s readings of the montage sequence suggested ‘this is a job for professional film analysis!’ so I took a look. Montage sequences in docos often are used as Eisentein theorized, to make a clear point. Which may lead viewers to expect there to be such a point being made by a montage, even when there isn’t one. The Died Suddenly sequence does not, however, use montage in an Eisensteinian way, that is establishing a context of interpretation via a “dialectical” clash of different concepts. It’s just a run through of visual references to different things that have been labeled as conspiracy theories. The result IMHO, is therefore open to a wide range of plausible interpretations, though these are likely to be more a product of the confirmation biases of the viewer than of the sequence itself.

I come from a school of film analysis rooted in semiotics, and as a general rule we don’t go into discussions of intent. Nevertheless, I found myself asking why, if we assume the makers of Died Suddenly are competent in their craft, they would open their piece with something so open-ended. My hypothesis: it’s not that they’re pitching the piece to devotees of those other CTs, but rather to the conspiracy curious, folks who imagine there might be some actual conspiracies going on, but also suspect that some CTs are nothing more than hooey.

The sequence may be taken to function as a kind of innoculation. That is, if it wasn’t there, those merely curious viewers might think “oh this is just another wild conspiracy theory foisted by people who have no self-reflection.” What the montage does definitely show, though, is the maker’s are aware that the thesis they will present will be cataloged by many as among those other CTs. This would mark them as more savvy communicators than Guetzkow, who naively imagines that ‘the vaccines are killing masses of healthy people!’ could be presented as just sober science of a completely different order from CTs.

One way of organizing a documentary is by opening with a question that the subsequent material will investigate and ultimately answer. This is something like an essay in inductive form (rather than deductive form which puts the thesis statement up front) where the conclusion only comes at the end — even if you have a pretty good idea where it’s going from the get go. By just running the gamut of CTs superficially, there’s a kind of non-judgement of them individually, which can be seen as posing a question the film will then answer: which type of CT is this? One of the crazy ones? Or one of the ones that might hold some measure of truth? Of course, the makers wouldn’t alienate any conspiracy curious viewers by suggesting which ones in the montage are which. To the extent that makes the montage confusing, it’s meaning obtuse, presumably that confusion would be dispatched one way or the other by the end of the piece.

How well any of this actually works with any actual viewers is an open question.

Reading over this thread compleat with Malone, Adams, Kirsch and RI trolls/ contrarians…
I feel confident quoting / paraphrasing a poet, ‘ when people show you who they are, believe them.’

Because they reveal themselves so effectively. You can ascertain when someone actually studied deeply and when they are cosplaying or mimicking erudition. Here is a striking example, for laughs, yes, but highly telling.
A woo-meister who serves as a supposedly accomplished ‘educator’, ‘researcher’ and ‘professor’ instructs his students that
when you read or study, listen to a lecture or watch an educational video, you should restrict yourself to 15 minutes only so that you can learn the material
That’s it! ONLY 15 minutes. Not more. People spend too much time studying when they could be living life. Teaching children at very early ages is destructive. University students try too hard to over learn. You don’t have to learn in depth, learn just enough to get by. This attitude explains much about the speaker not about education.

“so that you can learn the material”

That’s a bigger tell. The purpose of education is so that you can perform the skill being taught. “Facts” establish the knowledge base on which the skill depends. Little is gained (or learned) when one can only recite facts. Examinations should test that the student can perform the skill being taught. That is, don’t tell me all about hammers, nails and wood; show me that you can build a house.

[…] Those of us who follow the antivaccine movement were not the least bit surprised when, immediately after COVID-19 vaccines were granted emergency use approval (EUA) by the FDA in December 2020, antivaxxers started claiming that they were claiming that they were responsible for a wave of death and destruction, ignoring the fact that COVID-19 itself was literally responsible for a wave of death and destruction. Although they shouldn’t have been, my colleagues were surprised at how rapidly claims of a “vaccine holocaust” showed up on full display within weeks to a few months after the mass vaccination program began two years ago and by 2021 antivaxxers were in full COVID-19 “vaccines are depopulation” mode. By 2022 the antivax narrative was fear mongering using false claims that vaccines were responsible for a wave of cardiac deaths of young people, which became “died suddenly” narrative, even though the phenomenon of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) had been described as early as the 1970s. This claim produced a variant that showcased recently in a conspiracy movie disguised as a documentary entitled Died Suddenly, whose central narrative was the false claim that COVID was so over-the-top that more “reasonable” conspiracy theorists (or at least those who wanted to portray themselves as “more reasonable”) attacked it. […]

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