Monthly Archives: January 2015

Vaccinate Against Stupidity

I don’t feel that there is any reason to debate an Anti-Vaxxer when it comes to the Science of vaccines. At this point, if someone still believes that vaccines cause autism, no study, no research, no rationality will ever cause them to bend. But, let’s be honest here, vaccines do not cause autism. At all.

No, the point I wish to debate is a new crop of folks that seem to think that vaccination falls under a rights issue; that parents should have the RIGHT to determine if they should vaccinate their children or not. Because this is the new argument I see cropping up online. I see people arguing that, individuals should be allowed the choice of whether to vaccinate their children or not, that no-one has the right to tell them to vaccinate little Billy or little Susan from the measles or the mumps.

Now, I am all for people being free from government intervention in their day-to-day lives. I believe that the State has no place in determining what is marriage. I believe that the State has no place in determining what God we choose to worship (or not worship). I believe that the State has no place in our day to day interactions with each other, so long as those interactions do not harm one another.

The point of a society, on a very basic level, is to ensure a basic level of security and happiness for the individual. Otherwise, we’d be living in the wilderness, huntin’ deer and choppin’ wood and growin’ crops and surviving as individuals alone and free. Society protects us, helps us, keeps us safe on a fundamental level. It provides infrastructure. It provides security. It provides a basic level of support.

We have a lot of laws that protect us from individuals that act in ways that harm the majority. You cannot rob banks. You cannot steal. You cannot blow up buildings. You cannot act in a way that hurts other people. That is the strength of a society. It protects us from the selfish, single-minded, obtuse, moronic and absolutely stupid individuals who believe that they, for some reason, know better than scientists and professionals who make their bread and butter from studying human illness.

So when an anti-vaxxer says that they have the RIGHT to not vaccinate their children, I get a little angry. If you do not have the RIGHT to rob a bank when you need money, if you do not have the RIGHT to speed down the highway when you’re late for work, if you do not have the RIGHT to endanger CHILDREN and PEOPLE in every other instance, what the fuck makes you think you have the right to risk epidemic death and disease just because you are stupid enough to believe fraudulent studies that were disproved years ago?

We have reached the point where we are so afraid of confrontation, of debate, that we are allowing people who have no position, who are arguing a point with no scientific evidence, who believe something with no basis in reality; to determine how the rest of have to live our lives. We are now living in fear of diseases that were wiped out generations ago, because our society has grown so afraid of causing offense, so afraid of dismissing stupidity out of hand, that we have become ineffective.

There is no debate here. There is no argument. There is no discussion. Anti-vaxxers are hurting us, hurting ALL of us, by refusing to vaccinate their children. And every moment that we refuse to shut these people down, every moment that we  allow them a podium where they spew their idiotic and mindless rhetoric, we are allowing them to continue hurting us all.

Society only works when we work together to protect the weakest among us. When we allow morons with loud voices and baseless opinions to hurt our children, which is what happens when an un-vaccinated child spreads disease in a public place, then maybe it is time to re-evaluate the society that allowed this to happen.

-D-

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Filed under Thinking and Pondering: Science, History, Analysis and Over-Think

Play Review: Chalk by Walt McGough

Fresh Ink Theater Company presents CHALK. Written by Walt McGough and directed by Sarah Gazdowicz, it is currently running at the Boston Playwright Theater through January 24.

I haven’t been to very many plays.

Five.

I’ve been to five plays.

So I’m not the most informed when it comes to this particular medium. However, I do know when I’ve had a damn good time and I had one last night.

Chalk is a tightly wound story, involving only two characters and a single space that, at times, feels perilously small for the heroine. Maggie (Christine Power) is, by all appearances, the last survivor of the end times. Until, that is, her daughter Cora (Caroline Rose Markham) suddenly reappears. It quickly becomes clear that this is not a friendly reunion and that something is horribly wrong.

Chalk makes great use of its space. The set sketched out the environment without being visually overwhelming. Old books, stacked cardboard boxes, and flickering lights and the thrum of a generator in the background let me know all I need to about Maggie’s refuge. And there are so many little touches that helped to enhance the feeling that we were peering into a little slice of post apocalyptic life. As the audience was sitting, Maggie went about her morning routine within her shelter; brushing her teeth, some calisthenics and tending to the circle. It let us into her life gradually, before we were thrown in with a bang.

Both Christine Power and Caroline Markham brought their all to their performances. Power’s Maggie reminded me a lot of Frances McDormand’s character in Fargo: sweet no-nonsense sensibilities with a biting sarcasm when necessary. And Markham was a spitting, mean-spirited creature, full of vitriol and animalistic fury. They counterbalanced one another and drew toward one another and held my attention the entire show.

In spite of the subject matter, which could potentially be overwhelmingly depressing given that is the end of the world, there was hope and humor rather than grim and gritty. Walt McGough‘s story eschewed the usual tropes and cliches that are rife within this genre. This is no The Walking Dead or A Boy and His Dog where humanity is shown to be THE REAL MONSTER: this is a small scale story focusing in on a mother and her daughter. It’s two people circling each other and figuring each other out and it’s funny and touching and wonderful all balled together. There’s one moment at the end, when Maggie throws back a line at Cora that’s hilarious, the kind of line you’d hear in any action movie as a throw-away gag, but it turns into an important, defining moment in the final act. It’s a play with good feelings in bad times and that’s really what I needed right now.

It’s a well-written, well-acted, well-produced feature that provides a great reason to get out of the house and into the theater. Even if you’re like me and you don’t really go to plays, this one you should make the effort to see. It’s seventy-five minutes long, hilarious, deals with the end of the world and will make you have an emotion or two. Go!

I give it five bags of chalk dust and a cherry pop tart.

To buy tickets to see Chalk (playing at the Boston Playwright’s Theater), please go HERE.

For more information about Fresh Ink Theater and their future works, go HERE.

-D-

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Filed under Pop Culturing: Movies, Books, Comic Books and Other Arts