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Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop: Allergic to fact-checking

Earlier this week, the New York Times ran a fascinating feature about Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop. In it, we learn—surprise! surprise!—that Gwyneth Paltrow does not like fact-checking. We also learn that the criticism of Goop’s selling of pseudoscience and quackery has reached the point where Paltrow has given in and plans to hire a fact checker. Unfortunately, I strongly suspect that it will do no good and that skeptics will have as much work to do refuting Goop’s quackery after the fact-checker is hired as we do now.

Regular readers know that I’m not a big fan of Gwyneth Paltrow or her “lifestyle” company Goop. The reasons, of course, are quite simple. Gwyneth Paltrow has created a very successful business based on selling expensive beauty and wellness products to women with, to borrow a phrase from Mitchell and Webb, more money than sense (something I have no problem with), a major part of her brand also involves the dark side of “wellness.” In other words, through Goop, Paltrow sells utter quackery, devoid of fact-checking, science, or reliable evidence. That quackery ranges from the silly and probably harmless (jade eggs or Body Vibes energy stickers, anyone?) to dangerous quackery like the stylings of a woman like Kelly Brogan, who claims to be able to treat depression “naturally” without drugs, but is also an antivaxer, HIV/AIDS denialist, and borderline—if not outright—germ theory denialist. (She was mentored by none other than Nicholas Gonzalez, the quack who claimed to be able to cure advanced pancreatic cancer with a regimen based on pancreatic enzyme supplements and coffee enemas. Her “In Goop Health” summits have also featured psychic mediums doing cold reading, Dr. Eben Alexander, the neurosurgeon who “died” and came back to life (and now says that spontaneous healing of cancer can occur with love), and Anita Moorjani, who claimed to have healed herself from lymphoma after death. (I’m not joking.) Let’s just put it this way. Having only relatively recently begun to pay attention to Gwyneth Paltrow, I’m nowhere near in Dr. Jen Gunter’s or Tim Caulfield’s league in countering her pseudoscience, but I do my part.

So it was with great interest that I saw a story about Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop on Wednesday in the New York Times. I’d have written about it for yesterday, but I saw it too late in the day and had already finished my post for yesterday. However, observations from the story are worth discussing, even if a day late. The story is by Taffy Brodesser-Akne and originally entitled The Big Business of Being Gwyneth Paltrow. However, I’ve noticed that, since yesterday, the title appears to have changed to How Goop’s Haters Made Gwyneth Paltrow’s Company Worth $250 Million, which makes me wonder whether the old Gray Lady’s editors were interested in a more click-baity title. (Don’t believe me? Check out this Tweet.) Maybe by the time you see this post it will have yet another title.

Be that as it may, what Brodesser-Akne’s story reports is both revealing and depressing about how Paltrow’s Goop brand evolved from a humble newsletter in which Paltrow recommended things to her readers to the quarter billion dollar juggernaut that it is today. Even though the article is two long by a factor of two and way too precious in tone, full of stray observations that I don’t really give a rodent’s posterior about, such as Paltrow’s being able to smoke an occasional cigarette now and then without becoming addicted, it’s well worth reading, particularly for its insights into how resistant is Gwyneth Paltrow is to fact-checking Goop..

The article starts with Paltrow being a guest at a business and entertainment class at the Harvard Business School, in which her answers to students’ questions tell of the rise of Goop from humble beginnings (well, at least as humble as any beginning can be when a big star is behind something):

She talked about why she started the business, how she only ever wanted to be someone who recommended things. When she was in Italy, on the set of “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” she’d ask someone on the crew about, say, where the best gelato was. When she was in London, on the set of “Shakespeare in Love,” she asked a crew member where to find the best coffee; in Paris, she asked an extra where to find the best bikini wax; in Berlin, the massage you can’t miss. She wasn’t just curious. She was planning this the whole time.

The first iteration of the company was only these lists — where to go and what to buy once you get there — via a newsletter she emailed out of her kitchen, the first one with recipes for turkey ragù and banana-nut muffins. One evening, at a party in London, one of the newsletter’s recipients, a venture capitalist named Juliet de Baubigny, told her, “I love what you’re doing with Goop.” G.P., as she is called by nearly everyone in her employ, didn’t even know what a venture capitalist was. She was using off-the-shelf newsletter software. But De Baubigny became a “godmother” to Paltrow, she said. She encouraged her vision and “gave permission” to start thinking about how to monetize it.

At first, Goop — so named not just for her initials and for, you know, goop, but because someone along the way told her that all the successful internet companies had double O’s — appealed to an audience that admired G.P.’s rarefied lifestyle. Martha Stewart (for example) was an aspirational lifestyle brand, true, but the lifestyle was so easily attainable once Stewart took her wares to Kmart and Macy’s.

This is where the difference between Goop and Martha Stewart came in:

G.P. didn’t want to go broad. She wanted you to have what she had: the $795 G. Label trench coat and the $1,505 Betony Vernon S&M chain set. Why mass-market a lifestyle that lives in definitional opposition to the mass market? Goop’s ethic was this: that having beautiful things sometimes costs money; finding beautiful things was sometimes a result of an immense privilege; but a lack of that privilege didn’t mean you shouldn’t have those things. Besides, just because some people cannot afford it doesn’t mean that no one can and that no one should want it. If this bothered anyone, well, the newsletter content was free, and so were the recipes for turkey ragù and banana-nut muffins.

The company began in 2008 and was incorporated in 2013. By the time Paltrow was holding court in that Harvard classroom last fall, Goop was worth $250 million. But how did Goop go from an aspirational brand recommending various clothes, foods, and recipes to selling out and out quackery? The infiltration and co-optation of the company by quacks seems to have begun after she meet Elise Loehnen, a former magazine editor who had been ghostwriting for Paltrow’s friend, personal trainer Tracy Anderson. As Anke puts it:

Loehnen wasn’t just interested in wellness; she was obsessed with it. Wellness, she argued, isn’t just about a spa you’re going to or a cleanse you’ve started or a diet you’re on. It’s how local your food is. It’s how the chickens you eat all went to the right schools. It’s the water you drink. It’s the cures you never thought possible. It’s the level of well-being you didn’t even know to ask for.

With Loehnen as editorial director, Goop’s quackery really took off. There were regular Q&A’s published with “healers” like Alejandro Junger, a cardiologist known for an “anti-inflammatory” regimen (sound familiar?) and has advocated frog venom as a psychedelic for healing. Then there was Steve Gundry, whom I’ve discussed before, who believes that lectins are the new gluten, basically the cause of many chronic conditions. In came the acupuncturists and psychics and Kelly Brogan. In came the bee-sting therapy, the “detox” regimens, the psychic vampire repellent, and the jade eggs. In came, in brief, the woo.

Perhaps the most telling part of the story comes just past its halfway point, where we learn about the introduction of the quarterly Goop magazine (which I’ve mocked, along with Stephen Colbert). The first two issues were a product of a partnership between Goop and Condé Nast, a collaboration in which the Goop content would be overseen by a Vogue editor. The collaboration rapidly fell apart, and the reason that it fell apart is the most telling part of the Goop story. Brodesser-Akne first points out that Condé Nast, like most major publishers of magazines in the US, has a lot of rules, and Goop’s ethos rapidly collided with the rule-bound ethos of Condé Nast. The first rule was about marketing:

The rules she’s referring to are the rules of traditional magazine making — all upheld strictly at an institution like Condé Nast. One of them is that they weren’t allowed to use the magazine as part of their “contextual commerce” strategy. They wanted to be able to sell Goop products (in addition to other products, just as they do on their site). But Condé Nast insisted that they have a more “agnostic” editorial approach. The company publishes magazines, not catalogs. But why? G.P. wanted to know. She wanted the Goop magazine to be a natural extension of the Goop website. She wanted the reader to be able to do things like text a code to purchase a product without even having to leave her inert reading position and wander over to her computer. A magazine customer is also a regular customer.

In other words, Condé Nast wanted to publish a magazine, but Paltrow wanted to publish an advertisement, a catalogue, that just happened to have some articles in it that looked like nothing more but articles but were really designed to move product. That conflict, however, wasn’t the most telling. This one was:

But the other rule is — well, the thing couldn’t be fact-checked. Goop wanted Goop magazine to be like the Goop website in another way: to allow the Goop family of doctors and healers to go unchallenged in their recommendations via the kinds of Q. and A.s published, and that just didn’t pass Condé Nast standards. Those standards require traditional backup for scientific claims, like double-blind, peer-reviewed studies. The stories Loehnen, now Goop’s chief content officer, wanted to publish had to be quickly replaced at the last minute by packages like the one on “clean” getaways.

G.P. didn’t understand the problem. “We’re never making statements,” she said. Meaning, they’re never asserting anything like a fact. They’re just asking unconventional sources some interesting questions. (Loehnen told me, “We’re just asking questions.”) But what is “making a statement”? Some would argue — her former partners at Condé Nast, for sure — that it is giving an unfiltered platform to quackery or witchery. O.K., O.K., but what is quackery? What is witchery? Is it claims that have been observed but not the subject of double-blind, peer-reviewed studies? Yes? Right. O.K., G.P. would say, then what is science, and is it all-encompassing and altruistic and without error and always acting in the interests of humanity?

I must admit here that, cynical old quackery investigator that I am, I was both pleasantly surprised and impressed that the management of Condé Nast cared enough about the traditional rules of publishing regarding fact-checking to endanger such a potentially lucrative new partnership. I honestly didn’t think that, outside of major newspapers, fact-checking was considered all that important anymore and was more than happy to be disabused of that notion. I also couldn’t help but laugh out loud reading the above passage. Of course, Goop wouldn’t want to be fact-checked, at least not by fact-checkers who aren’t under Paltrow’s control. Fact-checking is very inconvenient to a business that exists to sell an aspirational lifestyle cut adrift from anything resembling standards of facts, evidence, and science to back up claims and statements published.

Clive Thompson, a journalist for Wired and the NYT Magazine laid down a very illuminating Tweetstorm about just this point, how Paltrow did not want to subject Goop to fact checking:

The whole thread is worth reading in detail, but I do want to highlight specific Tweets, for instance:

Yes, Goop does very much use the same language of right-wing conspiracy theorists, because, right-wing or left-wing, conspiracy theorists operate and think in largely the same fashion. They want to blur the lines between fact and fiction, science and pseudoscience, medicine and quackery. Note Paltrow’s questions: What is science? Is it all encompassing and altruistic and without error and always acting in the interests of humanity? Well, no, no one ever said that science is all-encompassing and altruistic, and certainly no one has ever said that it is without error. However, the fact that science is as imperfect as the humans who do scientific investigation does not mean that mysticism, quackery, and pseudoscience should be given credence on par with that of science. That is the false dichotomy implied by promoters of quackery like Paltrow and promoters of conspiracy theories like Alex Jones. Just because science is imperfect doesn’t mean I have to take Gwyneth Paltrow’s bullshit seriously.

As Ben Goldacre once put it:

In the article, Paltrow invokes Ignaz Semmelweis, whose evidence that handwashing before delivering babies would prevent puerperal fever was rejected by doctors 160 years ago. that is indeed a shameful episode in medical history, but I can say one thing with great confidence. Gwyneth Paltrow is no Semmelweis, nor is any of her stable of quacks that she uses to generate medical content for Goop.

And as Clive Thompson put it:

Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t like fact checking and didn’t want Goop subject to it, and that alone should make you very suspicious of any claims published in Goop. In fact, it’s worse than that. Paltrow likes being criticized by skeptics like Jen Gunther and Tim Caulfield (and—who knows?—maybe even me) because Goop can make money off of that:

But something strange happened. Each of these pronouncements set off a series of blog posts and articles and tweets that linked directly to the site, driving up traffic. At Harvard, G.P. called these moments “cultural firestorms.” “I can monetize those eyeballs,” she told the students. Goop had learned to do a special kind of dark art: to corral the vitriol of the internet and the ever-present shall we call it cultural ambivalence about G.P. herself and turn them into cash. It’s never clickbait, she told the class. “It’s a cultural firestorm when it’s about a woman’s vagina.” The room was silent. She then cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled, “VAGINA! VAGINA! VAGINA!” as if she were yodeling.

No, it was clickbait. Indeed, the Goop counterattack against Jen Gunter last summer was clearly very calculated to gin up the controversy. As long as a year ago, some skeptics, myself included, were asking if Goop was winning.

That’s not to say that the constant barrage of criticism against Paltrow and Goop for its marketing of quackery hasn’t had an effect. Hilariously, Goop has concluded that it needs fact checkers:

After a few too many cultural firestorms, and with investors to think about, G.P. made some changes. Goop has hired a lawyer to vet all claims on the site. It hired an editor away from Condé Nast to run the magazine. It hired a man with a Ph.D. in nutritional science, and a director of science and research who is a former Stanford professor. And in September, Goop, sigh, is hiring a full-time fact-checker. G.P. chose to see it as “necessary growing pain.”

By this point, I was laughing uproariously. That’s because a month before I had read Dr. Gunter’s post in which she described Goop’s first steps in this direction. Basically, Goop is retroactively labeling “wellness” posts so that “women can figure out what was pure bullshit, what was just the hypothesis of a naturopath, and what might actually be factual.” These are the categories:

  • For Your Enjoyment: There probably aren’t going to be peer-reviewed studies about this concept, but it’s fun, and there’s real merit in that.
  • Ancient Modality: This practice is nearly as old as time — many find value in it, even if modern-day research hasn’t caught up yet (it’s possible the practice will never attract its attention).
  • Speculative but Promising: There’s momentum behind this concept, though it needs more research to elucidate exactly what’s at work.
  • Supported by Science: There’s sound science for the value of this concept and the promise of more evidence to come soon that may prove its impact.
  • Rigorously Tested: The validity of this concept is pretty much undisputed within the world of M.D.’s, D.O.’s, N.D.’s, and Ph.D.’s.

As Dr. Gunter notes, so many of Goop’s wellness posts were—surprise! surprise!—”just for fun.”

So does anyone want to guess how this new Goop “fact-checker” will operate? My guess is that this fact-checker (and Goop) will, to paraphrase the famous old adage about statistics, use facts as a drunkard uses a lamppost—for support, rather than illumination. After all, it’s not the facts themselves that are used to support an argument or assertion, but how those facts are used. Are they cherry picked? Is disconfirming evidence properly weighed against the evidence for the assertion being made? Are the scientific studies cited well-designed, well-executed, and properly analyzed? My guess is that any Goop fact-checker will simply check to see that any statements of fact can be backed up, but will pay precious little attention to whether the way those statements of fact are strung together to support a claim or the marketing of a product is supportable.

Indeed, one can’t help but agree:

However, Dr. Jen understands why Goop would never choose her:

Of course, Tim Caulfield would be a perfectly fine alternative, given that Dr. Gunter doesn’t appear to want the gig:

Somehow, though, I doubt that Caulfield would want the gig either.

I was half-tempted to end my post by humbly proposing myself as a third alternative if neither Dr. Gunter nor Mr. Caulfield want the gig, but I realize that being Goop’s fact-checker would be far too painful and limiting, and, as is the case for Dr. Gunter, Goop couldn’t afford me either.

Besides, we’ll all continue to fact-check Goop long after the fact-checker is hired, and I bet that we’ll still have plenty of work to do.

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]

53 replies on “Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop: Allergic to fact-checking”

Ignaz Semmelweiss had problem with traditional medicine, the western one. Miasmas cause diseases, facts do not count. Paltrow has exactly same attitude, notice class ancient modalities.

Yes, I found this comparison to Semmelweiss ironic and insulting. Semmelweiss was the one doing science in his time, and that’s why he was right. He gasp fact-checked what was commonly thought at the time.

He also proved the old adage, “Good science is good observation.” He noticed differences in mortality rates between mothers who delivered with medical students, and mothers who delivered with midwives in the same hospital, and he investigated why.

Paltrow only investigates the size of her bank account.

That stupid jade egg she hawks has instructions that at least say to boil the thing before using (though nothing about letting it cool off). Nothing about not sharing it with others, though.

In other Goop-related news, the Wall St. Journal ran a full-page ad yesterday announcing a forum hosted by several people it considers business leaders – including Gwyneth Paltrow (I’ll have to go back and look at the issue to provide details). Sad stuff for a newspaper that has done good reporting and editorial features on science-based issues, including vaccination and the now collapsed Theranos empire.

Invoking Semmelweis is one of the sure signs of a quackery enthusiast, along with references to “allopathic” medicine, Just Asking Questions, ducking criticism of alt med by citing deaths from medical errors, phony charges of pharma shill-dom etc.

I recently had the honor of being labeled a “militant fundamentalist Semmelweis-reflex sheep” when responding to an online review of an antivax DVD (the person offended by my comments describes herself as a “lactivist antivaccine liberal”.

I wash my hands of such lunacy. 🙂

Gwyneth Paltrow (I’ll have to go back and look at the issue to provide details). Sad stuff for a newspaper that has done good reporting and editorial features on science-based issues, including vaccination and the now collapsed Theranos empire.

Invoking Semmelweis is one of the sure signs of a quackery enthusiast. I was recently accused of being a “militant fundamentalist Semmelweis-reflex sheep” by a person annoyed at my comments about an online review of an antivax DVD (this individual styles herself as a “lactivist antivaccine liberal”.

I wash my hands of such nuttiness. 🙂

For some reason my comment got truncated. I was referring to the Wall St. Journal running a full-page ad yesterday announcing a forum of alleged business leaders – including Gwyneth Paltrow.

Rigorously tested includes NDs opinions? Talk about shooting the credibility in the face.

I do think it’s adorable that you believe that major news-papers (and other major news outlets) actually perform rigorous fact-checking. In my experience, reading news about anything I’ve been personally involved with has led to much rolling of eyes and gnashing of teeth over inaccuracies and outright fabrications. True, reporters try to get multiple sources for their stories. Unfortunately, they run into the problem of circular reporting the same as every-one else. Vastly simplified, A talks to B who talks to C who talks to D. The reporter gets the initial story from A and verifies it with D. A and D don’t know each other, and have no mutual friends, so the story is good.

The same thing applies to science articles when the reporting is done by a generalist. They tend to believe the people with the education. So talking about Breast Cancer, they’d use you as a source, but they’d just as easily use an ND or some other quack to confirm the science.

There is a technical term for articles (of whatever length, and whether online or in print) that don’t correspond to reality. That term is “fiction”.

There is nothing wrong with good fiction labeled as such. There is a serious problem with retroactively labeling what appeared to be serious articles as such (which is what the “For Your Enjoyment” category essentially is). And I, like Conde Nast, take the radical position that fictional articles should be either labeled as such, or not published in a reputable publication.

As I have said before, one of the requirements of good fiction is that it has to be plausible. Far too much of what Goop has been pushing fails that criterion.

Speculative articles are a gray area. Some speculation clearly labeled as such as OK, but the basis for the speculation needs to be made clear, and a rational observer should be able to agree that it’s a plausible extrapolation of what is known, rather than extracted from the author’s nether regions. Otherwise, it’s fiction.

And that’s even before we get into the question of who is doing the fact checking. At least on medical topics, if an ND thinks there is something to it, run away.

Orac’s title states, “Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop: Allergic to fact-checking.”

MJD says,

The medical definition of the word “allergic” is clearly defined.

Does Gwyneth Paltrow have a documented IgE-mediated immune response to fact-checking?

Most definitely not, based on adaptive-immunity etiology.

@Orac,

You may want to change the title in an effort to avoid being perceived as a “hypocrite”.

MJD’s suggestion:

Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop: Fact-checker wanted.

Q. Why does MJD continue to bring clarity and understanding to Respectful Insolence (RI).

A. To be rewarded, someday, as the first person to write a guest post for RI. 🙂

Since no one else has…

OH PLEASE!

News flash:
Orac uses “allergic” in a figurative manner, i.e metaphorically. He is capable of abstract thought as are most adults.

You do not IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM “bring clarity and understanding” to RI

You, instead, attempt to sneak in references to your issues with latex allergies, such as your recent foray concerning condoms.

Dear Denice Walter,

Orac writes, “They want to blur the lines between fact and fiction, science and pseudoscience, medicine and quackery.”

MJD says,

Here’s a subjective article on the role of metaphors in science.

http://www.cartoonscience.org/new-blog/2017/2/2/on-the-role-of-metaphors-in-science

Let’s all stop using metaphors that can be used to blur the lines between fiction and fact, pseudoscience and science, quackery and medicine.

Let’s all stop using metaphors that can be used to blur the lines between fiction and fact

No problem: FOADIAF. HTH, you fucking shitwit.

HAND.

Q. How does MJD continue to bring clarity and understanding to Respectful Insolence (RI).
A. Because someone who knows shit from Shinola will correct him.
Think much of yourself, oh Bear of Very Little Brain?

MJD,

Q. Why does MJD continue to bring clarity and understanding to Respectful Insolence (RI).

A. To be rewarded, someday, as the first person to write a guest post for RI.

How about getting hired by realbotix to beta test harmony AI dolls conversation skills? You’ll have more chances of being hired there compared to writing a post here.

Disclaimer: some of these dolls may want to check in to the psych ER after such grueling testing…

Al

MJD, we all get it, you have a latex fetish.

Here is some news for you, lots of people have fetishes, mostly they are not that interesting except to the person with the fetish. Most people restrain themselves from talking about their fetishes at every opportunity, but not you.

I wouldn’t be offering you a gig at RI. I have read one or two of your paid to publish “papers”. They remind me of Vogon poetry.

Speaking of bad things happening to bad people, Alex Jones got suspended from Facebook. Sadly, it’s only for a month,not a permanent ban, and it only applies to him, not Natural News or anyone associated with him.

PGP:

Mike Adams just featured RFK jr’s video, which was previously censored by facebook, on both his website and his new you-tube clone. He’s marketing it as un-censored** and an alternative to mainstream big business web giants ( facebook, you tube, Wikipedia).
Mike’s video channel will include a means for content providers to sell their goods and services easily.

** but I doubt he’ll allow SBM, liberals, democrats, socialists, LGBTQ rights advocates, university students, feminists, abortion choice advocates, immigrants’ groups, sanctuary cities, unions, people from SF, NYC, PR, gun control supporters, atheists, agnostics, sceptics etc.

Luckily, I have my tiny violin handy, having just found it so I could play it for Ivanka Trump’s discontinuing her brand of clothing.

Oh thank goodness. I heard YouTube pulled InfoWars too (though I don’t know for how long). Every time I read about the latest thing he’s said I wonder how one man can be filled with so much hate.

I read the NYT article the other day and thought it hilarious that GP has to hire fact checkers:

if they’re for real, won’t their work result in scaring the faithful away?
She provides fantasy-based material for a fantasy-based
audience. Aren’t they there for the woo?

On the other hand, it’s possible that she will hire people as Null does: he has a “scholar in residence”, Richard Gale, who co-writes ( and probably edits) his claptrap and is currently seeking “researchers” to report on new “science” ( i.e. woo).**

As we have all learned at RI, having an MD, DO or PhD does not inoculate you from accepting BS.

** yes, I thought about applying myself

frog venom as a psychedelic

Oh, dear, here I thought it was going to be bufotenin or 5-MeO-DMT, but no, it’s “kambo.”

“the neurosurgeon who “died” and came back to life”

It is understandable that a zombie with a thirst for brains would choose to become a neurosurgeon.

RS: Zombie neurologists tend to get caught pretty quickly, although Ben Carson hasn’t been found out yet . If you really want to make it as a zombie, becoming a gravedigger or a pathologist are better career paths.

MJD: No wonder you’re such a terrible writer. Even non-fiction writers use metaphors. Have you actually read any chapter books? Ever?

@ Politicalguineapigeightyfive,

I recently wrote a book about artificial intelligence and put one of Orac’s metaphors in Chapter 5.

https://www.amazon.com/Patents-Artificial-Intelligence-Michael-Dochniak/dp/1527506649

“AI is very likely to be quite important in years (more likely decades) to come in health care. Maybe one day it will lead to a real Tricorder, just like in the original Star Trek series.” – Orac

Orac’s quotation was brilliantly entertaining but probably raised many eyebrows (including Leonard Nimoy who played the character Mr. Spock).

I understand that MJD was being needlessly pedantic in his neverending tedious quest to sound smart, but seriously, that response was on the level of admitting he actually is thirteen lizards in a trenchcoat or urgently needs transport home to his native planet because he simply can’t cope with the English language.

Protip, dude, maybe try being learning some things and get an online platform of your own, if you’re that thirsty for a blog.

He’ll never do it. Any blog MJD starts will get less attention and comments than Jake Crosby’s. At least here, he can get people to interact with him.

that response was on the level of admitting he actually is thirteen lizards in a trenchcoat or urgently needs transport home to his native planet because he simply can’t cope with the English language

Which response?

I agree with Political Guineapig.
Michael, if you are THAT desperate to see your words published, set up your own blog. Sites like WordPress, Typepad and Blogpost allow you to do it pretty swiftly and easily. There are even numerous online guides to take you through the process. Your banging on here and pushily demanding that Orac allow you to post your drivel on his blog is tedious. Heck, it was tedious long ago.

MJD: Oh, yay, more promotion of your drivel, which I hesitate to dignify with the word ‘written work.’ Also, that’s a simile, and it’s not even yours. Have you considered English and grammar classes? Or maybe visiting a library sometime?

@ Narad, PGP, Julian and ORD,

Thank you so much for your excellent comments. It is heartening to know that I have such esteemed colleagues in the sublime task of talking sense to drivel.

Of course I know as well as you do that we cannot ever expect to affect this creature BUT we do it solely for the benefit of the lurkers, newbies and those too shy to speak up.
So that they never take MJD’s material seriously.
That they see that no comment is ever too naïve or un-informed and
that Orac is magnanimous and even allows really awful stuff here.

DW: You’re welcome. It’s not so much the idiocy of MJD’s material that gets me, though don’t get me wrong, that is really irritating. It’s that his writing skills are so subpar, and he has absolutely zero idea. I could find five fanfics on any given day that would blow his books out of the water.

According to Wikipedia, “MJD may refer to:
Modified Julian Date – see Julian day
Machado–Joseph disease
the Manx language (SIL code)
Maurice Jones-Drew, former NFL running back
Moenjodaro Airport
The Democratic Progressive Party, Chinese transliteration of “Minjindang”.

In Machado-Joseph Disease (which I don’t claim our remora has), “Some symptoms, such as clumsiness and rigidity, make MJD commonly mistaken for drunkenness.” There you have it, a perfect metaphor for another MJD we all know.

Yep, Goop is going to get a fact-checker. Remember that one meaning of “check” is to block or stop something.

Or it could be that any facts that sneak their way in need to be identified so that they can be expunged to preserve the site’s purity.

Goop seems pretty small time now that I’ve discovered the Sophia Health Institute (run by Dietrich Klinghardt M.D. PhD, pioneer of the 5 Levels Of Healing).

Dr. Klinghardt and his army of staffers (mostly NDs but a sprinkling of other healthesque sorts) offer a dizzyiing array of services at their (surprisingly small based on Google Street View) facility in Woodinville, WA, including Constitutional Homeopathy, Infrared Sauna Detoxification, Biopure Cocktails, Psychokinesiology, lots of emphasis on Chronic Lyme Disease (which I gather most of us have), Applied PsychoNeurobiology (APN for short) and many other nifty services and products. One I find especially intriguing is the Oligoscan, “an electronic measure that reads the skin content of heavy metals and healthy minerals”. It’s supposed to be “painless and low cost” so what have you got to lose?

Anyway, as Orac might say it’s a target-rich environment for woo detectives, and those who aren’t nasty skeptics will want to check out how they can be healed of their toxic overloads from vaccines, GMOs, chemtrails etc.

http://sophiahi.com/meet-the-team/

Ah yes, Dr Klinghardt. I have a long and sorry history with this one. Anyhow, I think Orac did profile the good Dr as an example of a MD/PhD gone completely off the rails.
Dr K and Joe Mercola have recently begun a bromance to synergistically move their wares.

@PGP85,

Any attempt to fact-check Orac’s respectful insolence will bring out a whole-lot-of “nasty” in less than half of his minions. More than half of his minions resist said nasty most of the time. – MJD

MJD: If you want something other than nasty from me, EARN IT. You could do this by: not being stupid in public, not pimping your so-called books here, and maybe taking a while off from here to improve your writing skills. I mean, seriously, I shouldn’t have to explain basic grammar to a dude your age. And while I’m at it, I’d like to point out that this is the internet; pearl-clutching about how people should be more polite wins you no points and no respect.

BTW, anyone who wants a good book to read should check out Space Opera by Cathryn Valente. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Eurovision.

Why do they call it shoe polish instead of shoes polish?
Maybe we should send you a tin of Shinola. You can post here when you work out the answer.

MJD: Your hypocrisy is another thing I hate about you.

Narad: Did you have a bad day or something?

Hey Orac!

We agree about paltrow and goop. isn’t it amazing? lol

Goop is full of idiotic nonsense. Goop defrauds and miseducates people at the same time. There are some good ideas in the alt medicine community, but Goop is garbage.

dang, the article AND the comments were pretty entertaining….. my “writing style” and punctuation are my own(i’m sure i will suffer some wordy rebuffs on that)….

i will say that our species is trending towards idiocy, with some exceptions(there are a few posters here that seem pretty normal, and uninfected with “the dumb-downs”)…..

but as a member of that intellectually declining group of souls, i have to admit a certain amount of sadness with a pinch of anger…..

we cant all be “smart”…. so i am sad for those who AREN’T smart, and sad for the folk who believe Liars….

i am angered by the people/corporations who shun responsibility, and make illegitimate profit from naive or desperate people…..

lets hope that the “world of science” gets repopulated with altruistic/loving/talented scientists who RE-SHAPE science into the “institution” its very core ideals foster, namely performing good science(“the scientific method” to use a worn out and tattered maxim), and further enhance Humanity’s ability to provide substantial improvement to ALL Humans Quality Of Life…..

it’s NOT a “right” of ours, it’s a privilege….. to be allowed the freedom to breathe/live easy, in a world of pain and hardship….

THANK your Scientists !!!!, and BE altruistic…….

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