Congratulation sex in which did not end
Did CDC Conspire to Hide Vaccine Risk?Simpsonwood Conspiracy Claims Debunked Concerns RemainBy Daniel J. DeNoonFrom the WebMD ArchivesDid the CDC conspire with vaccine advocates to hide evidence that children get autism from mercury in vaccines ?The claim was made most forcefully by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in a 2005 article published in print by Rolling Stone and online by Salon, and in what Kennedy called an original research paper on his web site.Its a terrific story: A cabal of scientists corrupted by pharmaceutical company cash meets secretly at a wooded enclave outside Atlanta called Simpsonwood to hide convincing evidence that autism is caused by a mercurybased vaccine preservative called thimerosal.Kennedy, after obtaining a verbatim transcript of the conference, reveals the CDC plot. If, as the evidence suggests, our public health authorities knowingly allowed the pharmaceutical industry to poison an entire generation of American children, their actions arguably constitute one of the biggest scandals in the annals of American medicine, Kennedy concluded.Its such a good story, its still frightening parents seeking information on vaccine safety even though by January 2011 the article had been withdrawn by both publishers and removed from their web sites.Salon published five corrections to the story that went far in undermining Kennedys expose, according to Salons editors. Critics of the Kennedy piece, including a devastating critique by Seth Mnookin in The Panic Virus, further eroded any faith we had in the story, they wrote.Kennedys allegations spurred an 18month investigation by a U.S. Senate committee. That report found allegations of CDC misconduct to be unsubstantiated, and concluded that there was no coverup.So why does Kennedys story still frighten parents? What really happened? Is mercury in vaccines still a concern? Why does Simpsonwood continue to vex people on all sides of the vaccine debate?Early Concerns About MercuryThe FDA Modernization Act of 1997 called for the FDA to assess the risk of all foods and drugs that contained mercury. In late 1998, the FDA asked vaccine manufacturers to detail the use of mercury in vaccines.A CDC and FDA review quickly found that in the first six months of life, children were getting a cumulative dose of mercury from vaccines that exceeded the EPAs maximum safe exposure level. All of the mercury from vaccines comes from a compound called thimerosal.ContinuedTo be on the safe side, vaccine makers agreed to remove thimerosal from vaccines as soon as possible. Singledose vaccines are now thimerosal free (some may still have tiny traces of the compound), but no replacement yet has been found for thimerosal in the multidose vials.Thimerosal is a mercury compound. Ironically, it has long been used to make vaccines safer. Tiny quantities of thimerosal kept vaccines free of dangerous germs that used to cause deadly infections in healthy children.When researchers added up all the mercury in the infant vaccines, it was 40 greater than the amount of mercury the EPA considered a safe environmental exposure. This was a shock, recalls Christopher John Clements, MD, MPH, who then was an official with the World Health Organizations immunization program.I was the focal point for this issue in WHO, Clements tells WebMD. I was as distressed as the CDC to discover that there was such a small body of scientific literature published on the chemicals safety, despite its having been used in vaccines for many years.To be safe, the CDC, FDA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and vaccine manufacturers in 1999 agreed to remove thimerosal from all vaccines as soon as possible. This was accomplished in 2001 (except for flu vaccine , now available in thimerosalfree formulations).But what about children already exposed and what about ongoing exposure while thimerosal was being removed?Thomas Verstraeten, MD, a Dutch researcher working at the CDC, designed and led a study that looked at data from two large California HMOs. He looked for a link between neurological and developmental disorders and thimerosal exposure in 124,170 infants.And he did indeed see a red flag. Thimerosal appeared to increase childrens risk of tics , neurodevelopmental delay, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder , and language delay not autism, but close enough for serious concern.The data would be presented at the July 2000 meeting of the ACIP, a panel of experts that advises the CDC and FDA on vaccine policy. To prepare the vaccination community for the news and to figure out how to communicate Verstraetens preliminary findings to the public the CDC held a June meeting to seek the advice of outside experts: 11 consultants and 49 resource specialists.Because of other meetings being held in Atlanta at the time, the CDC had to look outside the city for a venue. A suburban conference center was open: Simpsonwood.ContinuedThe Simpsonwood ConferenceKennedys version of what happened is that the experts conspired to hide the Verstraeten data. From the meeting transcript, he selected phrases that seemed to prove his point. Then Kennedy said that the CDC bribed the Institute of Medicine to whitewash the issue (the IOMs 2001 report found no convincing evidence linking thimerosal to autism its 2004 report reached the same conclusion).A close reading of the publicly available transcript leaves a far different impression than Kennedys selective excerpts suggest. You can read it here .In the end, the Simpsonwood consultants voted that the Verstraeten study could neither confirm nor rule out a link between thimerosal and autism, and strongly called for more study.By the time of the ACIP meeting 13 days later, Verstraeten and colleagues had largely completed a planned second phase of their study. Essentially, the same study was repeated in a different HMO.This time, there was no warning signal. Taken together, the two studies confirmed the consensus of the Simpsonwood meeting: Because they could not establish a definite cause and effect between thimerosal and autism, further research urgently was needed to confirm or reject the link between the two.The ACIP then unanimously voted to continue the ongoing transition to thimerosalfree vaccines, but not to explicitly recommend against the use of vaccines containing thimerosal or to postpone vaccinations until thimerosalfree versions became available.Simpsonwood and Vaccine SafetyReading the Simpsonwood transcript, its hard to see the conspiracy Kennedy describes. Paul Offit, MD, recalls being interviewed by Kennedy and infuriated at being misquoted by him.Offit, chief of infectious diseases and director of the vaccine education center at Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, is coinventor of the rotavirus vaccine now sold by Merck. A staunch defender of vaccination and a member of the ACIP in 2000 hes a frequent target of antivaccination groups.To believe that the Simpsonwood meeting was a conspiracy, you have to believe the people who sat around that table eminent toxicologists and pediatricians included you have to believe they were in league to hide the truth, Offit tells WebMD. Whereas if you read that transcript, youll see they were trying to understand the issue and where to go from there.ContinuedThe focus on a Simpsonwood conspiracy also rankles Sallie Bernard, cofounder and president of SafeMinds, a group that advocates for research into environmental mercury as a possible cause of autism . The SafeMinds web site indicts thimerosal as a dangerous source of mercury.But what worries Bernard about the focus on Simpsonwood is that its a distraction from the issue of vaccine safety.Why the focus on Simpsonwood or on conspiracies? Its as if the concerns over vaccine safety were some narrow partisan group thinking these things up, Bernard tells WebMD.Thimerosal and AutismIn the decade since the Simpsonwood meeting, scientists have come to a better but still incomplete understanding of what thimerosal does in the human body.As it turned out, thimerosal is based on a form of mercury called ethyl mercury, while the EPA limits were based on methyl mercury. Why is that important? The body processes ethyl mercury far differently than it does methyl mercury.The body takes ethyl mercury out of the blood much faster than methyl mercury, turning it into lesstoxic inorganic mercury. Before the Simpsonwood conference took place, it was assumed that ethyl mercury was just as toxic as methyl mercury. Fortunately, it is not.Thats not to say that ethyl mercury has been proven 100 harmless. Ongoing studies offer reassurance, and studies of millions of children identify no risk to children with the highest levels of exposure to vaccines containing thimerosal. Nor do these studies find evidence of a subgroup of children particularly sensitive to thimerosal toxicity. But the fact that inorganic mercury accumulates in the brains of monkeys given high doses of thimerosal suggests theres more to learn about the preservatives safety.In 2006, Clements reviewed studies of thimerosal toxicology and vaccine epidemiology. He found 12 studies published since the Simpsonwood conference. Six found no link.Six did find a link all by the fatherandson research team of Mark Geier, MD, PhD, and David Geier. The Geiers research has been roundly criticized by medical reviewers. And it was found not credible in a 2010 decision by George L. Hastings Jr., special master of the U.S. District Court, also known as the vaccine court, which hears claims against vaccines. Hastings was charged with evaluating whether there is any evidence that thimerosal might cause autism .ContinuedSince the Clements review, studies have found no decrease in autism since thimerosal was removed from routine childhood vaccines.After an exhaustive review of 1,284 scientific studies and the testimony of 19 experts, the U.S. vaccine court in 2010 ruled that the hypothesis linking thimerosal to autism has no basis in fact. It means that U.S. courts will no longer consider injury claims based on thimerosal in vaccines. This applies to all pending and future cases.Although a brief Google search will turn up groups that remain convinced thimerosal somehow causes autism, the worlds scientific community has moved on.Bernard who spoke at the June 2000 ACIP meeting feels that the research communitys response to the warning signal reported by Verstraeten has been inadequate. Her point of view is that researchers have tried harder to disprove a link between thimerosal and autism than to find out what really is causing autism.One of the big gripes we have is there is this selfcongratulation because the benefits of vaccines outweigh the risks, Bernard says. But we could do a lot better on decreasing the risks. It is not sufficient that the benefits outweigh the risks you cant be so attentive to the benefit side of the equation and not to the risk side. Our point is there are many steps that can be taken to making the vaccine program safer.Offits gripe is with those who forget that vaccine researchers are parents, too.My basis is, Would I give this to my own children? This is not an usversusthem situation, he says. To see this as a conspiracy is wrong. What do you get from that cynicism? Outbreaks of whooping cough and measles ? . There is an instinct we can appeal to caring for each other.WebMD Health News Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on February 27, 2011SourcesSOURCES:Transcript, Scientific Review of Vaccine Safety Datalink Information, Simpsonwood Retreat Center, Norcross, Ga., June 78, 2000.Kennedy, R.F. Salon, June 16, 2005 (downloaded prior to being withdrawn by publisher).United States Court of Federal Claims, Office of Special Masters, No. 03584V, Vaccine Act Entitlement Causationinfact ThimerosalAutism Causation, filed March 12, 2010.U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, Executive Summary of theReport of the Ranking Member on Alleged Misconduct by Government Agencies and Private Entities Related to Thimerosal in Childhood Vaccines, September 2007.Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), meeting minutes, June 2122, 2000.Verstraeten, T. Pediatrics, November 2003 vol: 112 pp: 10391048 and 2004, vol: 113 pp: 932.Sallie Bernard, president and cofounder, SafeMinds.Paul A. Offit, MD, chief, division of infectious diseases and director, vaccine education center, The Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia.Christopher John Clements, MBBS (MD), MFPH (MPH), international public health and development consultant, Mount Eliza, Victoria, Australia.Burbacher, T.M. Environmental Health Perspectives, August 2005 vol 113: pp 10151021.Clements, C.J. Expert Opinions on Drug Safety, 2006 vol 5: pp 1719.SafeMinds.org web site, accessed Feb. 20, 2011.Gerber, J.S. and Offit, P.A. Clinical Infectious Diseases, Feb. 15, 2009 vol 48: pp 456461.RobertFKennedyJr.com web site, accessed Feb. 22, 2011 and earlier.De los Reyes, E.C. Archives of Neurology, April 2010 vol: 67 pp: 490492.Scahill, L. and Bearss, K. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, February 2009 vol 22: pp 5153.CDC MMWR, Thimerosal in Vaccines: A Joint Statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Public Health Service, July 9, 1999. 2011 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.Pagination
July 8, 2015 at 8:38 amSpareperrifiedJuly 8, 2015 at 8:21 amYou need to watch and listen to the full We should all be feminists speech. enoughsaidLinaJuly 8, 2015 at 8:29 amWhy does the TRUTH that men and women are equal bother some of you so much?? Why is this precious masculinity of your hingent on women being put down that show you that it isnt real or else it would stand on its own feet. Because feminism means a childfree life abi???? Stupid idiots who wont take the time to read or listen! Women on this side of the world do need to take feminism seriously and wield it nonapologetically because of imbeciles like you! And the other idiot talking about submission, who said thats the only way for marriage to work? They are two thinking adults who love each other treating each other as equals seems to work for them, why are you so worried? I swear, as I get older Nigerian mean become less and less attractive because of their mindsets and we women need to do better stop letting even the little offensive things slide, we have to teach these idiots that we expect nothing less!GodsBaeJuly 8, 2015 at 9:59 amIdiots like your father, brothers and sons that were raised and are being raised by you, your mother and your sisters. Which invariably makes you the biggest idiot and all other women who would write such because the society is not made of men alone. Its made of both sexes who had equal stake in raising kids. Make your point without being agressive and uncouth. Actual feminists dont announce and babble up and down the place. Their actions alone make men list and acknowledge them as equals. They dont need to get in a boxing ring for it.Now I would like to state few things. feminism is a social movement and should be left and limited to that! A relationship is defined as the two people or sometimes more(polyamory) want it to be. Feminism has no place in how a relationship works or should be. If the man wants to lick the womans feet, so be it, I dont think people ask if you dont tell. Same goes for the woman, if she want to die on top the man, I dont think anyone cares! Your values, your beliefs, your relationship! Yes! They are men who help their wives out, that doesnt make them feminists and they are men who dont, that does not mean they are not feminists. Its just their character. Feminism should be limited to equal pay, fundamental human rights etc, but it should be a no go area when it comes to relationship and how they should be.Feminists should also understand something, men are not the issue! The society made up of both sexes are. Like I said in a post sometime ago, feminists still have a damn long way to go, because in as much as some women are trying to use their brains and make something out of life, there are the same amount if women who survive and thrive on how the society is and make it by using their sexuality as a tool. Its not a stereotype, its truth. Thats why even when a woman is hardworking and her hardwork is paying off, some tiny voice might still be saying in other peoples head hmmmmmm, this girl might not be pure ooo, why? Because some girls are actually not pure. So awon feminists, start with your fellow women first and men would fall in line.That aside, Ms Adichie is super talented, very beautiful and super blessed. She should keep the novels rolling in,which are nothing short of epic everytime. As for her speeches and interviews et al,they are just her opinion, some of which I agree with and some of which I dont. I have my opinion already. That being said, she should keep on talking as shes very encouraging and empowering and a lot if young girls need that today. As for the bump, Ill say congrats when the bundle arrives.CeeceeJuly 8, 2015 at 3:43 pmGodsBae how can you write such insults and then follow up with . Make your point without being agressive and uncouth. You REALLY should take your own advice! I didnt even bother to read your essay because the first contradiction threw me off! kmtTransJennerJuly 8, 2015 at 8:38 amCooor!!! Being a feminist isnt mutually exclusive from having a family yknow! And, why must it be the woman that submits why cant the man summit? betterstill, why cant both parties submit to their relationship?
Then what is the answer? Not to be deluded by dreams.To know that great civilisations have broken down into violence,and their tyrants come, many times before.When open violence appears, to avoid it with honor or choosethe least ugly faction these evils are essential.To keep ones own integrity, be merciful and uncorruptedand not wish for evil and not be dupedBy dreams of universal justice or happiness. These dreams willnot be fulfilled.To know this, and know that however ugly the parts appearthe whole remains beautiful. A severed handIs an ugly thing and man dissevered from the earth and starsand his history for contemplation or in fact Often appears atrociously ugly. Integrity is wholeness,the greatest beauty isOrganic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things, the divine beautyof the universe. Love that, not manApart from that, or else you will share mans pitiful confusions,or drown in despair when his days darken.Robinson Jeffers, The AnswerThe myth of progress is founded on the myth of nature. The first tells us that we are destined for greatness the second tells us that greatness is costfree. Each is intimately bound up with the other. Both tell us that we are apart from the world that we began grunting in the primeval swamps, as a humble part of something called nature, which we have now triumphantly subdued. The very fact that we have a word for nature is 5 evidence that we do not regard ourselves as part of it. Indeed, our separation from it is a myth integral to the triumph of our civilisation. We are, we tell ourselves, the only species ever to have attacked nature and won. In this, our unique glory is contained.Outside the citadels of selfcongratulation, lone voices have cried out against this infantile version of the human story for centuries, but it is only in the last few decades that its inaccuracy has become laughably apparent. We are the first generations to grow up surrounded by evidence that our attempt to separate ourselves from nature has been a grim failure, proof not of our genius but our hubris. The attempt to sever the hand from the body has endangered the progress we hold so dear, and it has endangered much of nature too. The resulting upheaval underlies the crisis we now face.We imagined ourselves isolated from the source of our existence. The fallout from this imaginative error is all around us: a quarter of the worlds mammals are threatened with imminent extinction an acre and a half of rainforest is felled every second 75 of the worlds fish stocks are on the verge of collapse humanity consumes 25 more of the worlds natural products than the Earth can replace a figure predicted to rise to 80 by midcentury. Even through the deadening lens of statistics, we can glimpse the violence to which our myths have driven us.And over it all looms runaway climate change. Climate change, which threatens to render all human projects irrelevant which presents us with detailed evidence of our lack of understanding of the world we inhabit while, at the same time, demonstrating that we are still entirely reliant upon it. Climate change, which highlights in painful colour the headon crash between civilisation and nature which makes plain, more effectively than any carefully constructed argument or optimistically defiant protest, how the machines need for permanent growth will require us to destroy ourselves in its name. Climate change, which brings home at last our ultimate powerlessness.These are the facts, or some of them. Yet facts never tell the whole story. (Facts, Conrad wrote, in Lord Jim, as if facts could prove anything.) The facts of environmental crisis we hear so much about often conceal as much as they expose. We hear daily about the impacts of our activities on the environment (like nature, this is an expression which distances us from the reality of our situation). Daily we hear, too, of the many solutions to these problems: solutions which usually involve the necessity of urgent political agreement and a judicious application of human technological genius. Things may be changing, runs the narrative, but there is nothing we cannot deal with here, folks. We perhaps need to move faster, more urgently. Certainly we need to accelerate the pace of research and development. We accept that we must become more sustainable. But everything will be fine. There will still be growth, there will still be progress: these things will continue, because they have to continue, so they cannot do anything but continue. There is nothing to see here. Everything will be fine.We do not believe that everything will be fine. We are not even sure, based on current definitions of progress and improvement, that we want it to be. Of all humanitys delusions of difference, of its separation from and superiority to the living world which surrounds it, one distinction holds up better than most: we may well be the first species capable of effectively eliminating life on Earth. This is a hypothesis we seem intent on putting to the test. We are already responsible for denuding the world of much of its richness, magnificence, beauty, colour and magic, and we show no sign of slowing down. For a very long time, we imagined that nature was something that happened elsewhere. The damage we did to it might be regrettable, but needed to be weighed against the benefits here and now. And in the worst case scenario, there would always be some kind of Plan B. Perhaps we would make for the moon, where we could survive in lunar colonies under giant bubbles as we planned our expansion across the galaxy.But there is no Plan B and the bubble, it turns out, is where we have been living all the while. The bubble is that delusion of isolation under which we have laboured for so long. The bubble has cut us off from life on the only planet we have, or are ever likely to have. The bubble is civilisation.Consider the structures on which that bubble has been built. Its foundations are geological: coal, oil, gas millions upon millions of years of ancient sunlight, dragged from the depths of the planet and burned with abandon. On this base, the structure stands. Move upwards, and you pass through a jumble of supporting horrors: battery chicken sheds industrial abattoirs burning forests beamtrawled ocean floors dynamited reefs hollowedout mountains wasted soil. Finally, on top of all these unseen layers, you reach the welltended surface where you and I stand: unaware, or uninterested, in what goes on beneath us demanding that the authorities keep us in the manner to which we have been accustomed occasionally feeling twinges of guilt that lead us to buy organic chickens or locallyproduced lettuces yet for the most part glutted, but not sated, on the fruits of the horrors on which our lifestyles depend.We are the first generations born into a new and unprecedented age the age of ecocide. To name it thus is not to presume the outcome, but simply to describe a process which is underway. The ground, the sea, the air, the elemental backdrops to our existence all these our economics has taken for granted, to be used as a bottomless tip, endlessly able to dilute and disperse the tailings of our extraction, production, consumption. The sheer scale of the sky or the weight of a swollen river makes it hard to imagine that creatures as flimsy as you and I could do that much damage. Philip Larkin gave voice to this attitude, and the creeping, worrying end of it in his poem Going, Going:Things are tougher than we are, justAs earth will always respondHowever we mess it aboutChuck filth in the sea, if you must:The tides will be clean beyond. But what do I feel now? Doubt?Nearly forty years on from Larkins words, doubt is what all of us seem to feel, all of the time. Too much filth has been chucked in the sea and into the soil and into the atmosphere to make any other feeling sensible. The doubt, and the facts, have paved the way for a worldwide movement of environmental politics, which aimed, at least in its early, raw form, to challenge the myths of development and progress headon. But time has not been kind to the greens. Todays environmentalists are more likely to be found at corporate conferences hymning the virtues of sustainability and ethical consumption than doing anything as naive as questioning the intrinsic values of civilisation. Capitalism has absorbed the greens, as it absorbs so many challenges to its ascendancy. A radical challenge to the human machine has been transformed into yet another opportunity for shopping.Denial is a hot word, heavy with connotations. When it is used to brand the remaining rump of climate change sceptics, they object noisily to the association with those who would rewrite the history of the Holocaust. Yet the focus on this dwindling group may serve as a distraction from a far larger form of denial, in its psychoanalytic sense. Freud wrote of the inability of people to hear things which did not fit with the way they saw themselves and the world. We put ourselves through all kinds of inner contortions, rather than look plainly at those things which challenge our fundamental understanding of the world.Today, humanity is up to its neck in denial about what it has built, what it has become and what it is in for. Ecological and economic collapse unfold before us and, if we acknowledge them at all, we act as if this were a temporary problem, a technical glitch. Centuries of hubris block our ears like wax plugs we cannot hear the message which reality is screaming at us. For all our doubts and discontents, we are still wired to an idea of history in which the future will be an upgraded version of the present. The assumption remains that things must continue in their current direction: the sense of crisis only smudges the meaning of that must. No longer a natural inevitability, it becomes an urgent necessity: we must find a way to go on having supermarkets and superhighways. We cannot contemplate the alternative.And so we find ourselves, all of us together, poised trembling on the edge of a change so massive that we have no way of gauging it. None of us knows where to look, but all of us know not to look down. Secretly, we all think we are doomed: even the politicians think this even the environmentalists. Some of us deal with it by going shopping. Some deal with it by hoping it is true. Some give up in despair. Some work frantically to try and fend off the coming storm.Our question is: what would happen if we looked down? Would it be as bad as we imagine? What might we see? Could it even be good for us?We believe it is time to look down.UNCIVILISATIONWithout mystery, without curiosity and without the form imposed by a partial answer, there can be no storiesonly confessions, communiqus, memories and fragments of autobiographical fantasy which for the moment pass as novels.John Berger, A Story for Aesop, from Keeping a RendezvousIf we are indeed teetering on the edge of a massive change in how we live, in how human society itself is constructed, and in how we relate to the rest of the world, then we were led to this point by the stories we have told ourselves above all, by the story of civilisation.This story has many variants, religious and secular, scientific, economic and mystic. But all tell of humanitys original transcendence of its animal beginnings, our growing mastery over a nature to which we no longer belong, and the glorious future of plenty and prosperity which will follow when this mastery is complete. It is the story of human centrality, of a species destined to be lord of all it surveys, unconfined by the limits that apply to other, lesser creatures.What makes this story so dangerous is that, for the most part, we have forgotten that it is a story. It has been told so many times by those who see themselves as rationalists, even scientists heirs to the Enlightenments legacy a legacy which includes the denial of the role of stories in making the world.Humans have always lived by stories, and those with skill in telling them have been treated with respect and, often, a certain wariness. Beyond the limits of reason, reality remains mysterious, as incapable of being approached directly as a hunters quarry. With stories, with art, with symbols and layers of meaning, we stalk those elusive aspects of reality that go undreamed of in our philosophy. The storyteller weaves the mysterious into the fabric of life, lacing it with the comic, the tragic, the obscene, making safe paths through dangerous territory.Yet as the myth of civilisation deepened its grip on our thinking, borrowing the guise of science and reason, we began to deny the role of stories, to dismiss their power as something primitive, childish, outgrown. The old tales by which generations had made sense of lifes subtleties and strangenesses were bowdlerised and packed off to the nursery. Religion, that bag of myths and mysteries, birthplace of the theatre, was straightened out into a framework of universal laws and moral accountkeeping. The dream visions of the Middle Ages became the nonsense stories of Victorian childhood. In the age of the novel, stories were no longer the way to approach the deep truths of the world, so much as a way to pass time on a train journey. It is hard, today, to imagine that the word of a poet was once feared by a king.Yet for all this, our world is still shaped by stories. Through television, film, novels and video games, we may be more thoroughly bombarded with narrative material than any people that ever lived. What is peculiar, however, is the carelessness with which these stories are channelled at us as entertainment, a distraction from daily life, something to hold our attention to the other side of the ad break. There is little sense that these things make up the equipment by which we navigate reality. On the other hand, there are the serious stories told by economists, politicians, geneticists and corporate leaders. These are not presented as stories at all, but as direct accounts of how the world is. Choose between competing versions, then fight with those who chose differently. The ensuing conflicts play out on early morning radio, in afternoon debates and late night television pundit wars. And yet, for all the noise, what is striking is how much the opposing sides agree on: all their stories are only variants of the larger story of human centrality, of our everexpanding control over nature, our right to perpetual economic growth, our ability to transcend all limits.So we find ourselves, our ways of telling unbalanced, trapped inside a runaway narrative, headed for the worst kind of encounter with reality. In such a moment, writers, artists, poets and storytellers of all kinds have a critical role to play. Creativity remains the most uncontrollable of human forces: without it, the project of civilisation is inconceivable, yet no part of life remains so untamed and undomesticated. Words and images can change minds, hearts, even the course of history. Their makers shape the stories people carry through their lives, unearth old ones and breathe them back to life, add new twists, point to unexpected endings. It is time to pick up the threads and make the stories new, as they must always be made new, starting from where we are.Mainstream art in the West has long been about shock about busting taboos, about Getting Noticed. This has gone on for so long that it has become common to assert that in these ironic, exhausted, posteverything times, there are no taboos left to bust. But there is one.The last taboo is the myth of civilisation. It is built upon the stories we have constructed about our genius, our indestructibility, our manifest destiny as a chosen species. It is where our vision and our selfbelief intertwine with our reckless refusal to face the reality of our position on this Earth. It has led the human race to achieve what it has achieved and has led the planet into the age of ecocide. The two are intimately linked. We believe they must be decoupled if anything is to remain.We believe that artists which is to us the most welcoming of words, taking under its wing writers of all kinds, painters, musicians, sculptors, poets, designers, creators, makers of things, dreamers of dreams have a responsibility to begin the process of decoupling. We believe that, in the age of ecocide, the last taboo must be broken and that only artists can do it.Ecocide demands a response. That response is too important to be left to politicians, economists, conceptual thinkers, number crunchers too allpervasive to be left to activists or campaigners. Artists are needed. So far, though, the artistic response has been muted. In between traditional nature poetry and agitprop, what is there? Where are the poems that have adjusted their scope to the scale of this challenge? Where are the novels that probe beyond the country house or the city centre? What new form of writing has emerged to challenge civilisation itself? What gallery mounts an exhibition equal to this challenge? Which musician has discovered the secret chord?If the answers to these questions have been scarce up to now, it is perhaps both because the depth of collective denial is so great, and because the challenge is so very daunting. We are daunted by it, ourselves. But we believe it needs to be risen to. We believe that art must look over the edge, face the world that is coming with a steady eye, and rise to the challenge of ecocide with a challenge of its own: an artistic response to the crumbling of the empires of the mind.This response we call Uncivilised art, and we are interested in one branch of it in particular: Uncivilised writing. Uncivilised writing is writing which attempts to stand outside the human bubble and see us as we are: highly evolved apes with an array of talents and abilities which we are unleashing without sufficient thought, control, compassion or intelligence. Apes who have constructed a sophisticated myth of their own importance with which to sustain their civilising project. Apes whose project has been to tame, to control, to subdue or to destroy to civilise the forests, the deserts, the wild lands and the seas, to impose bonds on the minds of their own in order that they might feel nothing when they exploit or destroy their fellow creatures.Against the civilising project, which has become the progenitor of ecocide, Uncivilised writing offers not a nonhuman perspectivewe remain human and, even now, are not quite ashamed but a perspective which sees us as one strand of a web rather than as the first palanquin in a glorious procession. It offers an unblinking look at the forces among which we find ourselves.It sets out to paint a picture of homo sapiens which a being from another world or, better, a being from our own a blue whale, an albatross, a mountain hare might recognise as something approaching a truth. It sets out to tug our attention away from ourselves and turn it outwards to uncentre our minds. It is writing, in short, which puts civilisation and us into perspective. Writing that comes not, as most writing still does, from the selfabsorbed and selfcongratulatory metropolitan centres of civilisation but from somewhere on its wilder fringes. Somewhere woody and weedy and largely avoided, from where insistent, uncomfortable truths about ourselves drift in truths which were not keen on hearing. Writing which unflinchingly stares us down, however uncomfortable this may prove.It might perhaps be just as useful to explain what Uncivilised writing is not. It is not environmental writing, for there is much of that about already, and most of it fails to jump the barrier which marks the limit of our collective human ego much of it, indeed, ends up shoringup that ego, and helping us to persist in our civilisational delusions. It is not nature writing, for there is no such thing as nature as distinct from people, and to suggest otherwise is to perpetuate the attitude which has brought us here. And it is not political writing, with which the world is already flooded, for politics is a human confection, complicit in ecocide and decaying from within.Uncivilised writing is more rooted than any of these. Above all, it is determined to shift our worldview, not to feed into it. It is writing for outsiders. If you want to be loved, it might be best not to get involved, for the world, at least for a time, will resolutely refuse to listen.A salutary example of this last point can be found in the fate of one of the twentieth centurys most significant yet most neglected poets. Robinson Jeffers was writing Uncivilised verse seventy years before this manifesto was thought of, though he did not call it that. In his early poetic career, Jeffers was a star: he appeared on the cover of Time magazine, read his poems in the US Library of Congress and was respected for the alternative he offered to the Modernist juggernaut. Today his work is left out of anthologies, his name is barely known and his politics are regarded with suspicion. Read Jeffers later work and you will see why. His crime was to deliberately puncture humanitys sense of selfimportance. His punishment was to be sent into a lonely literary exile from which, forty years after his death, he has still not been allowed to return.But Jeffers knew what he was in for. He knew that nobody, in an age of consumer choice, wanted to be told by this stonefaced prophet of the California cliffs that it is good for man To know that his needs and nature are no more changed in fact in ten thousand years than the beaks of eagles. He knew that no comfortable liberal wanted to hear his angry warning, issued at the height of the Second World War: Keep clear of the dupes that talk democracy And the dogs that talk revolution Drunk with talk, liars and believers Long live freedom, and damn the ideologies. His vision of a world in which humanity was doomed to destroy its surroundings and eventually itself (I would burn my right hand in a 14 slow fire To change the future I should do foolishly) was furiously rejected in the rising age of consumer democracy which he also predicted (Be happy, adjust your economics to the new abundance)Jeffers, as his poetry developed, developed a philosophy too. He called it inhumanism. It was, he wrote:a shifting of emphasis and significance from man to notman the rejection of human solipsism and recognition of the transhuman magnificenceThis manner of thought and feeling is neither misanthropic nor pessimist It offers a reasonable detachment as rule of conduct, instead of love, hate and envy it provides magnificence for the religious instinct, and satisfies our need to admire greatness and rejoice in beauty.The shifting of emphasis from man to notman: this is the aim of Uncivilised writing. To unhumanise our views a little, and become confident As the rock and ocean that we were made from. This is not a rejection of our humanity it is an affirmation of the wonder of what it means to be truly human. It is to accept the world for what it is and to make our home here, rather than dreaming of relocating to the stars, or existing in a Manforged bubble and pretending to ourselves that there is nothing outside it to which we have any connection at all.This, then, is the literary challenge of our age. So far, few have taken it up. The signs of the times flash out in urgent neon, but our literary lions have better things to read. Their art remains stuck in its own civilised bubble. The idea of civilisation is entangled, right down to its semantic roots, with citydwelling, and this provokes a thought: if our writers seem unable to find new stories which might lead us through the times ahead, is this not a function of their metropolitan mentality? The big names of contemporary literature are equally at home in the fashionable quarters of London or New York, and their writing reflects the prejudices of the placeless, transnational elite to which they belong.The converse also applies. Those voices which tell other stories tend to be rooted in a sense of place. Think of John Bergers novels and essays from the Haute Savoie, or the depths explored by Alan Garner within a days walk of his birthplace in Cheshire. Think of Wendell Berry or WS Merwin, Mary Oliver or Cormac McCarthy. Those whose writings 15 approach the shores of the Uncivilised are those who know their place, in the physical sense, and who remain wary of the siren cries of metrovincial fashion and civilised excitement.If we name particular writers whose work embodies what we are arguing for, the aim is not to place them more prominently on the existing map of literary reputations. Rather, as Geoff Dyer has said of Berger, to take their work seriously is to redraw the maps altogether not only the map of literary reputations, but those by which we navigate all areas of life.Even here, we go carefully, for cartography itself is not a neutral activity. The drawing of maps is full of colonial echoes. The civilised eye seeks to view the world from above, as something we can stand over and survey. The Uncivilised writer knows the world is, rather, something we are enmeshed in a patchwork and a framework of places, experiences, sights, smells, sounds. Maps can lead, but can also mislead. Our maps must be the kind sketched in the dust with a stick, washed away by the next rain. They can be read only by those who ask to see them, and they cannot be bought.This, then, is Uncivilised writing. Human, inhuman, stoic and entirely natural. Humble, questioning, suspicious of the big idea and the easy answer. Walking the boundaries and reopening old conversations. Apart but engaged, its practitioners always willing to get their hands dirty aware, in fact, that dirt is essential that keyboards should be tapped by those with soil under their fingernails and wilderness in their heads.We tried ruling the world we tried acting as Gods steward, then we tried ushering in the human revolution, the age of reason and isolation. We failed in all of it, and our failure destroyed more than we were even aware of. The time for civilisation is past. Uncivilisation, which knows its flaws because it has participated in them which sees unflinchingly and bites down hard as it records this is the project we must embark on now. This is the challenge for writing for art to meet. This is what we are here for.
Posted on May 18, 2013 by Scott AlexanderTheres a tradition on Reddit that when somebody repeats some cliche in a tone that makes it sound like she believes she is bringing some brilliant and heretical insight like I know Im going to get downvoted for this, but believe we should have less government waste! people respond SO BRAVE in the comments. Thats what I mean by bravery debates. Discussions over who is bravely holding a nonconformist position in the face of persecution, and who is a coward defending the popular status quo and trying to silence dissenters.These are frickin toxic. I dont have a great explanation for why. It could be a status thing saying that youre the original thinker who has cast off the Matrix of omnipresent conformity and your opponent is a sheeple (sherson?) too fearful to realize your insight. Or it could be that, as the saying goes, everyone is fighting a hard battle, and telling someone else theyve got it easy compared to you is just about the most demeaning thing you can do, especially when youre wrong.But the possible explanations arent the point. The point is that, empirically, starting a bravery debate is the quickest way to make sure that a conversation becomes horrible and infuriating. Im generalizing from my own experience here, but one of the least pleasant philosophical experiences is thinking youre bravely defending an unpopular but correct position, facing the constant persecution and prejudice from your more numerous and extremely smug opponents day in and day out without being worndown only to have one of your opponents offhandedly refer to how brave they are for resisting the monolithic machine that you and the rest of the unfairlybiasedtowardyou culture have set up against them. You just want to scream NO YOURE WRONG SEFSEFILASDJO:IALJAOI:JA:OILFJASL:KFJA lot of common political terms pretty much encode bravery debates. Political correctness, mainstream media, liberal media, corporate media, rape culture , Big Government or Big Business or Big Anything, patriarchy, the climate establishment, or the anythinganything complex. By notatallacoincidence, these also happen to be some of the terms most likely to be inflammatory and get people angry. Has there ever been an argument that continued being civil or productive after political correctness was mentioned?The persistence of bravery debates is actually kind of weird. Shouldnt it be really really easy to figure out whos being oppressed by whom? The Spanish Inquisition had many faults, but whining about being unfairly persecuted by heretics was, as far as I know, not one of them. Can two opposing positions really be absolutely certain they are under siege?This question immediately reminded me of my recent observation about Christians and Muslims in the media. Whenever the media says something negative about Christians, comments and blogs and forums immediately fill up with claims that the media loves picking on Christians and that no one would ever publish a similar story about Muslims for fear of being offensive (eg 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ). And whenever the media says something negative about Muslims, comments and blogs and forums immediately fill up with claims that the media is Islamophobic and attacks Muslims any chance it gets and they would never dare pick on a large powerful group like Christians in such a way (eg 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 ).So for example, Aziz Mubaraki writes :There are numerous cases to judge whether there is bias against Muslims in the media, but in recent times look no further than the press coverage regarding the terrorist attack that took place in Norway not very long ago. Impartial population waited impatiently to read this act being explicitly described as a terrorist attack or an act of terrorism by the mainstream media. But never once the Christian label was used despite the fact that Mr. Breivik was a selfdescribed devout Christian. Therefore the important question is: Why is it when the person responsible for the terrorist act happens to be Muslim all of a sudden the religion becomes the focus instead?Yet israpundit.com writes :Big media has no qualms about boldly and repeatedly labeling the Norweigan shooter as a Christian, even describing him as a Christian Zionist, despite no evidence that he was any kind of devout Christian whatsoever. Yet till this day the same vile liberal media will not refer to the Fort Hood jihadist as muslim or emphasize the Islamic motivation behind the shooting. Neither do government reports on the jihad attack.So can we agree that this phenomenon of two opposing groups being equally sure they are bravely pointing out the worlds bias in favor of the other is, in fact, a thing?Because once we acknowledge it, its not really hard to explain.Psychologists have known about the hostile media effect for thirty years, ever since a 1982 study where they got proIsraeli and proPalestinian students to watch a documentary and found that:On a number of objective measures, both sides found that these identical news clips were slanted in favor of the other side. ProIsraeli students reported seeing more antiIsrael references and fewer favorable references to Israel in the news report and proPalestinian students reported seeing more antiPalestinian references, and so on. Both sides said a neutral observer would have a more negative view of their side from viewing the clips, and that the media would have excused the other side where it blamed their side.Note that this was not at all subtle. The proPalestinians claimed that favorable references to Israel outnumbered unfavorable references almost 2:1, but the proIsraelis complained that unfavorable references outnumbered favorable references at a greater than 3:1 ratio (p .001). Transforming a different measure mentioned earlier in the paper to a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is completely proPalestine and 10 is completely proIsrael, the average proIsraeli rated it a 3.2, and the average proPalestinian rated it a 7.4. These numbers were even higher in people who claimed to know a lot about the conflict. So even when exposed to genuinely neutral information, people tend to believe the deck is stacked against them. But people arent exposed to genuinely neutral information. In a country of 300 million people, every single day there is going to be an example of something hideously biased against every single group, and proponents of those groups have formed effective machines to publicize the most outrageous examples in order to confirm their claims of bravery. I had an interesting discussion on Rebecca Hamiltons blog about the Stomp Jesus incident . You probably never heard of this, but in the conservative Christian community it was a huge deal Google gives 20,500 results for the phrase stomp Jesus in quotation marks, including uptodate coverage from a bunch of big conservative blogs, news outlets, and forums. I guarantee that the readers of those blogs and forums are constantly fed salient examples of conservatives being oppressed and persecuted. And I dont mean cant put up ten commandments in school, I mean armed gay rights activist breaks into Family Research Council headquarters and starts shooting people for opposing homosexuality . Imagine you hear a story in this genre almost every time you open your RSS feed.(And now consider all the stories you hear every day about violence and harassment against your people in your RSS feed.)And if there arent enough shooters, someone is saying something despicable on Twitter pretty much every minute. The genre of we know the world is against us because of five cherrypicked quotes from Twitter is alive, well, and shaping peoples perceptions. Heres an atheist blog trawling Twitter for horrible comments blaming atheists for terrorism , and heres an article on the tweets Brad Pitts mother got for writing an editorial supporting Romney (including such gems as Brad Pitts mom wrote an antigay proRomney editorial. Kill the b.)Then we get into more subtle forms of selection bias. Looking at the articles above, I am totally willing to believe newspapers are more likely to blaspheme Jesus than Mohammed, and also that newspapers are more likely to call a Muslim criminal a terrorist than they would a Christian criminal. Depending on your side, you can focus on one or the other of those statements and use it to prove the broader statement that the media is biased against ChristiansMuslims in favor of MuslimsChristians. Or you can focus on one part of society in particular being against you for leftists, the corporations for rightists, the universities and if you exaggerate their power and use them as a proxy for society then you can say society is against you. Or as a last resort you can focus on only one side of the divide between social and structural power .So its far from a mystery how bravery debates can be so common or persistent. Or why everyone is so sure theyre on the brave side. But the interesting thing is that they actually work.I call your attention to two studies by Joseph Vandello et al. In the first , experimenters once again took the IsraeliPalestinian conflict but ran the experiment in the other direction. Here they presented maps that showed Palestine as the underdog (by displaying a map emphasizing a tiny Palestine surrounded by much larger Israel) or Israel as the underdog (by displaying a map emphasizing tiny Israel surrounded by a much larger Arab world including Palestine). In the Palestinians as underdogs condition, 55 of subjects said they supported Palestine. In the Israelis as underdogs condition, 75 said they supported Israel. And in the second , experimenters found subjects rated people who had been unfairly disadvantaged during a job interview as more attractive and more desirable romantic partners than people who had not been.Baaaaasically if you get yourself perceived as the brave longsuffering underdog, people will support your cause and, as an added bonus, want to have sex with you.And I dislike this, because bravery debates tend to be so fun and addictive that they drown out everything more substantive. Sometimes they can be acceptable standins for actually having an opinion at all. I constantly get farright blogs linking to my summary of Reactionary thought, and I hope Im not being too unfair when I detect an occasional element of Oh, so thats what our positions are!. There seem to be a whole lot of Reactionaries out there who are much less certain of what they believe than that they are very brave and nonconformist for believing it.I was too quick to start bravery debates at my old blog and am trying to cut down on them. I would also recommend that other people cut down on them. I think they probably fall into the large category of things that make people who already agree with you fistpump and shout Yeah! We are awesome rebels! while alienating everyone who doesnt hold your position.But what if you are being really brave by holding a dangerous and unpopular position? Shouldnt you get credit for that?I guess. I propose that if you write something and, for even just a second, you think of not publishing it, because of the risk to your reputation, or your livelihood, or your family, or even your life then go ahead and call yourself brave, and I will try to reassure you and tell you everything is going to be all right.If you think Not publish this? But then how would everyone know how brave Im being? Im going to plaster my name all over this thing so everyone knows exactly where to send the braveryrelated kudos! then stick to the damn objectlevel issues.Share this: