I had to restrain myself on the telephone today, during a conversation with a very nice person. I did so.
I did not call this person a fuzzy-brained example of what happens when pregnant mothers are frightened by Deepak Chopra best-sellers. In fact, having had previous experience with this very nice person, I'm ashamed that I was caught off guard by the comment delivered to me over the phonelines.
You see, during a discussion about BB's health, my acquaintance tendered the following, which made me grit my teeth and search, silently and desperately for some inoffensive bromide with which to respond:
BB should take milk thistle to "clean his liver" of "impurities." .
Milk thistle? To clean his liver???? Are you in-frakking-sane??
Let's leave aside the fact that I haven't got one frail clue on god's green earth what milk thistle is, except that it sounds vaguely unpleasant. It's just everything that the entire impossibly medieval-tinted comment encompassed and represented to me.
It's the fucking fuzzy-headedness that assumes that Western medicine is EEEvil, and Science is Baaaaad, (wooooo! Pretty scary, eh kids?) And that non-Western medicine works better. Why? Because ... because ... because it's not Western Medicine.
Or perhaps it's because our animal spirits reach through our chakras and straighten out our fucking subluxations when we eat macrobiotic goat feces, and refuse to take our insulin, because if the Great Ascended Beings who sank Atlantis and govern us through the stars wanted our bodies to, you know, work right, they'd do it naturally. Organically. Without medicine.
Geez, I hate it when unnatural inorganic shit works to keep me alive, don't you?
Chemistry, folks. Titrated doses. Medicine that works.
Case in point: We don't take slippery elm for headaches, because Evil Scientists were able to replicate what slippery elm did, improve upon it, oh, about A GAZILLION TIMES, make sure that each dose had the same amount of really effective painkiller (and, hey, all without stripping the damned elms of their slippery bark!) Oh, and no misplaced powder of amanita mushroom to gum up the works.
It's called aspirin.
Did you ever notice how much Evil Science has added to our lives? Like light bulbs, central air, life-span and good teeth?
In addition to saving vast forests of slippery elm, Evil Scientists also found ways to control diabetes, fight cancer, attack mental illness (because that whole "trepanning to let out the sick humours/devils/bad blood" thing was going so well - oh, wait. It wasn't.)
Evil doctors work their hearts out to keep us alive, along with Evil Nurses, Evil Nurse Practitioners, Evil Nurse's Aides and Physical Therapists, Evil Psychiatrists and Evil ... well, you fill in the blank.
And to forestall what may be inevitable "Oh, she doesn't understand the intangibles of the spirit/what about the Third World and the way shamans keep their tribes healthy and centered/doctors never listen, and they're arrogant, and make mistakes" responses - let's be real clear on a few things.
Drug companies can do awful things. That's called greed and bad policy.
Doctors can be assholes. That's called ... being an asshole.
The Third World? The tragedy is that we're not providing them with the Evils of Science. Evils like clean water, medicine, and enough food.
That failure isn't one of science, or medicine, or the scientific method.
It's one of humanity.
Science doesn't fail us. Medicine doesn't fail us. We fail us. It's the spirit inside us, that fails us, that fails our brothers and sisters in the Third World, or our own cities and rural countryside. We Don't Share. We Don't Play Well With Others.
That isn't Evil Science. That's Stupid Humans.
Western medicine isn't the problem, and I don't want to live without it. So keep your goddamned milk thistle to yourself.