Just when you think that Internet commentary is nothing more than a wretched hive of scum and villainy, a light shines through so strongly it can help restore your optimism about people.
By now you know about anti-vaccination mouthpiece Jenny McCarthy. I’ve written about her many times: how she claims vaccines cause autism (they don’t), how she “cured” her son of autism with a gluten-free diet (she didn’t), how she rails about vaccines being full of toxins (they aren’t) while literally injecting her face with the single most toxic protein known to science.
Yeah, that Jenny McCarthy. It’s possible she’s more well-known in the general public for being a comedian, host of the The View, and of course a Playboy model, but on the ‘Net she’s widely understood to be a voice for frankly dangerous anti-vax nonsense.
On Thursday, McCarthy asked a question of her fans on Twitter to see what they’d say. What she got was a dose of the reality she helped spawn. The question:
What is the most important personality trait you look for in a mate? Reply using #JennyAsks-- Jenny McCarthy (@JennyMcCarthy) March 13, 2014
Really, she should’ve known what would happen. I would’ve expected a vast series of snarky retorts about vaccines… and I would’ve been right. But what they said exceeded my most fervent hopes. Here’s a selection of just a few I liked out of hundreds.
Someone who respects that science isn't on some secret malicious crusade to screw us over and that vaccinations save lives #JennyAsks-- Scallywag (@ScallywagSprint) March 14, 2014
What qualities do I look for in a mate? Science literacy and critical thinking skills. #JennyAsks-- Tricia-Lee (@tricialeesings) March 16, 2014
#JennyAsks someone who gets their medical advice from real doctors, not antivax cranks.-- Michael Rops (@SkepticalBelg) March 14, 2014
While I do love getting diseases that were eradicated in the last century, I would say vaccinated is a trait I look for #JennyAsks-- Jennifer Lott (@JennLott) March 14, 2014
Ideal mate accepts scientific consensus & considers the elderly, infants & immune compromised b4 spreading baseless hysteria. #JennyAsks-- Kevin Folta (@kevinfolta) March 16, 2014
There are so, so many more. Go look for yourself.
Remember, while McCarthy has been rather quiet on this front lately, we’ve seen many outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States. Cases of measles tripled here in 2013, mostly due to anti-vaccination propaganda. There’s an outbreak in NYC going on right now, and one doctor isn’t afraid to point a finger right at the anti-vax movement. I don’t blame him; outbreaks tend to be centered in places where vaccine rates are low and someone traveling abroad brings the disease back with them.
I am a parent. My vaccines are up-to-date, as are my wife’s, and especially—especially—my daughter’s, including Gardasil. I know the lives we save may not be just our own, but that of the lovely toddler across the street, that of the carefree four-year-old next door, and every baby, every immune-compromised person, every elderly person we see. I’m even happy that my family’s own contribution to the herd immunity may save the life of some child whose parents didn’t vaccinate him.
No one deserves to die of measles. Of pertussis. Of polio. Of the flu. Talk to your board-certified doctor, and if they recommend it, get vaccinated.