“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within...”
Romans 12:2

The Celebrity Culture - Part One

Hilary Butler - Monday, August 11, 2008

Why is it, do you think, that when it comes to vaccines, "truth" isn't displayed but pretty faces are? What is it, that convinces people like Dr Paul Offit that the most successful way to get parents to vaccinate their children is to pit one Hollywood "star" against another in some sort of popularity contest? It smacks of using meaningless trade names that tell us nothing to deceive you into smallness of thinking. Is this another example of, "What's important is not what you say, but how the hearer feels after you've said it"?   "There there dear, I vaccinated my children, so you should feel okay about vaccinating yours." Is that how YOU make medical decisions?  Taking your pick between whether Amanda Peet or Jenny McCarthy make you feel better?

About what?  Does the vaccine defender validate your decision to vaccinate, and reaffirm your belief in the system?  Does the vaccine critic threaten your ego, by pointing out that most people have made decisions in the past by just doing what everyone else does, or tells them to do?

People who have not yet vaccinated their children are more able to be objective in any discussion, because there's nothing riding on it.  Their ego isn't yet threatened.  The only thing they are defending is doing nothing until they feel informed, and your can't criticise that.  As yet, they have no psychological need to defend a choice which they can't undo.

People who have already made irreversible choices however, have a problem when confronted with people in the process of making an informed choice.  Having allowed doctors to inject potentially toxic substances into their child, particularly if they didn't seriously consider information for themselves, when they listen to others evaluating information they didn't consider, what does that make them feel?  Defensive? Threatened?  If that person is their friend, and makes the opposite decision to them, how do they then view their own decisions?  Do they feel that they "must" be 'right'?

In my experience, most vaccine defenders fall back on "authority" and say that the doctor's word assuring them this is safe and right, is enough, even though that's admitting that they didn't really make an informed choice for themselves.

What we have there is a battle of the feelings.  The need for those who vaccinated, to validate their choices through tribal reinforcement. 

The problem for the system is that the numbers of people not vaccinating are growing.  They feel the need to do something about it.

Actress Amanda Peet now dedicates her face to "Every child by two", and actress Jenny McCarthy to the "Green the vaccines" campaign.  To my mind, neither campaign has merit. Amanda Peet shows her ignorance for all to see with a broad sweep and Jenny McCarthy gets the fine print ridiculoously wrong by saying things like "vaccines have ether in them" when they don't.  Amanda Peet states the ultimate oxymoron, which is, "Don't listen to celebrities." 

It creates debate, but is it constructive?


Dan Olmsted,  would have every-one get behind a campaign called "No child by two" which means that no child receives any vaccines before the age of two years.

Who does anyone listen to and why? It is this question that parents should be considering carefully. Do you listen to celebrities because it's easier to do what someone else does, who you "think" might have thought about something for five seconds longer than you did? Do you do your own research, with skills you have all been taught?  Do you work out what is right for YOU?  If you have a faith, do you talk to God about it? Though to some doctors, that immediately puts you in fruitloop land, since anyone who believes fairy stories about God has lost the plot.

Why has the culture we live in, developed to such an extent where doctors or medical organisations consider "celebrities", be they politicians, sportspeople, actors, tv presenters, whoever... valid points of reference for important parenting decisions? 

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