Friday, January 30, 2015

Yesterday was an upsetting day when the trivial medium of Facebook became heavy, weighted in pretension. The stomach churns, acquaintances repel and are repelled.

Fuck all a ya'll, the guy said in that movie about the American pharmaceutical industry and Other.

Henry's foot doctor said, as he probed in his big toe, There's no certainty with this stuff, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

We were talking about the hysteria over the measles outbreak.

That's it, someone said, if you don't vaccinate your kids, you can't be my friend.

The luxury of feeling in control.

What else? I read a little blip on the Poetry Foundation website that resonated. Her poetry is generative, a poet said. Generative.
That's exactly it. I'll read and participate in what's generative, and I'll discard and dismiss what's not.


  1. Sort of like, "Does this bring me joy?"
    Which I asked myself as I tossed a few things this morning.

  2. I wonder what the opposite of generative would be? Consumptive? I imagine something many headed and ravenous - chewing up, spitting out. I choose generative too.

  3. Ah...measles. My daughter, unvaccinated until her 20th year had nothing...until the MMR she HAD to have to immigrate this year. Guess what? She got the measles FROM THE VACCINE. All over body rash, low grade fever, cough, runny eyes, VERY swollen lymph glands in the neck. Fuck 'em all.

  4. Facebook has become the wild, wild west.

  5. I had a small argument with my husband yesterday over Facebook. I fucking hate it. Not just a little hate either. It is a evil unto itself with the privacy issues alone but add all unhealthy detachment (send a fucking card when someone dies, don't write a sympathy on a wall!) and mean-spiritedness and it is all too much.

  6. Every time I read these hysterical posts about vaccinations--or those who choose not to-- I think of you. And I think, at least I know better. I know a fuller story. Because of your blog. Those people freaking out over "anti vaxers"--they know so little of the story. As is often the case with people freaking out.

    Die Facebook Die.

  7. The opposite of generative is interpretive as least as far as art is concerned. When this issue comes up I promptly direct the responder to this blog because Elizabeth speaks so intelligently on the topic. She is schooled y'all.

  8. That sounds like a fair response!

  9. Yours is the only voice on vaccines I have ever been tempted to share. Ever. There are so few out there that speak in a way that I think is fair and sane and full-picture. Never did I think the country would explode, on both political sides, with such shaming and anger at people who've questioned certain vaccines or certain things about vaccines. Never did I expect that vaccines, of all things, would turn into the same old tired unreal black&white polemics that is every national conversation. To question vaccines is to be outcasted. And I don't think the country understands the implications of that. My kids just learned the ASL sign, "Grumpy." "Grumpy," my one year old says and scrunches her hand over her face. It makes me beyond grumpy, this whole conversation, and I'm always tempted to engage when friends ( so many friends, so many freaking friends) share articles about the morons who didn't vaccinate, about what a moron *you* are if you don't. And this from a mother whose 1-year old got her MMR shot precisely on time (and suffered through side effects the medical community would and could do zilch about, until I finally had her treated by a homeopath, whose remedy took the symptoms away in 12 hours). But I never engage, because the shaming is powerful, powerful stuff.

  10. I see so many people who I like, some I even love, say uninformed things about vaccinations. People who fight shaming in so many other areas indulge in shaming over this one topic. I did vaccinate my large brood but it was nerve-wracking since my oldest had a very bad reaction to MMR. I was given the MMR as a very grown woman (with 6 kids) because I had never had rubella and I couldn't assure my Ob-Gyn I would never have another baby. I had a horrible reaction to that inoculation. Not a single doctor would or will yet acknowledge what happened to me. I still carry the results of that inoculation in my body. At least the CDC and the FDA list my reaction now as a possible adverse effect in adult patients.

  11. I have yet to cease being astonished at the force of the opposite reactions to the vaccine issue, and I cannot claim to be free of it. When I read the hatred and vitriol directed at "anti-vaxxers," it is all I can do to sit on my trembling hands and let the urge to type, in all caps, "THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN ANTI-VAX MOVEMENT!" subside. It is all I can do to walk away and quiet the emotion-tide of statistics and evidence and fallacies as they cascade through my brain and push to exit my mouth until I can remember that it is compassion I seek, for everyone, for all of us.

  12. I started this comment to you days ago, but the blizzard distracted me....

    Facebook has an ugly underbelly, just like the comments anywhere on the internet. There are so many angry, ill informed or paradigm-trapped people out there irrationally picking for a fight on every topic under the sun that I wish I could stop reading them, but I can't.

    This topic, well I'm befuddled. Anyone born in the 1960's or before survived unvaccinated. My daughter's future college roommate's mom is the director of the National Vaccine Information Center who has made this issue her life's work, due to a family medical history of adverse reactions to the vaccines. I assume her daughter isn't vaccinated, and mine is, and I wondered if I should be concerned, so I looked her up and listened to her speak on youtube and was enlightened, because she is an engineer who analyzed infant and childhood mortality data & found a frightening correlation to immunization schedules. We're just talking death here, not adverse reactions or medical complications. If you haven't seen the National Vaccine Information Center fb page, I'd check it out, as they have data, facts, figures, all the things my brain craves, and if you're inclined some snappy visuals to aid in the discussion. They advocate for the legislative rights of parents to choose what and when to vaccinate their children for, and to educate the public.

    Me, I'm loathe to discuss facts in public anymore or engage in the debate because people get really pissed when you try to tell them something contrary to what they believe, and I am at heart a conflict avoider. You are so much more brave than I am, but you have had to be.

    I also read this week that ground zero for the measles outbreak isn't Disney, but an Amish community in central Ohio, where the county is sorely underfunded and staffed.

    I spent maybe an hour educating myself, with as open a mind and as little fear as I could manage, and I find most of the rhetoric online to be overemotional and underinformed, and my first gut reaction to the topic was wrong, precisely because I wasn't informed. It takes a lot of time and effort to get good information, doesn't it?

    I'm sorry people are being so alarmist and unsympathetic and unscientific on social media. but I am not surprised. I have learned to slink away from the Noel's on facebook - you know the angry guy who argues with Mary over everything, the cliche and stereotyping angry guy. He's looking like the ill informed vocal majority to me.

    I blame the media, or lack thereof for the ignorance, since many people seem to be getting their information from comments from other people, and there aren't many real reporters anymore, let alone real news, or good scientific analysis.

    It's scary out there. Bravo to you for trying. I should be more brave.



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