“Tonight I’m gunna party like it’s 1899”
As the clock ticked toward midnight a couple of nights back I received a knock on the door from a very strange character indeed.
Standing on the door step was a heavily robed individual whose face was completely shadowed by a large hood. A cloud of foggy mist seemed to hang about his personage (I assumed it was male), along with a strong moldy smell and for a moment I was lost for words. All that was lacking to fit the role of Death, was the scythe. He thrust forward a rolled parchment tied in strands of old rope and sealed with a bright red wax seal.
I peered at the seal which seemed to read Castle Cockamaymee, then back at the visitor. He nodded at the parchment and extended an arm with a huge sleeve from which poked a cadaverous finger. He wiggled it as if to say get on with it so I broke the seal and the rope strands fell away. I unrolled it and with growing delight read the text:
You are invited to Vaccine Myths New Year Celebrations at our stronghold in Middle Earth.
Your guide Byron, has entered through one of our temporary trans-dimensional space time portals to hand you this invitation. Please feel welcome to follow him back through said portal, at which point you will arrive at your destination.
Venue: Realm of Mythology’s Castle Cockamaymee, Middle Earth.
It was signed by all nine vaccine ringwraiths, led of course by Sir Vaccines Cause Autism and Vaccines Contain Mercury. Slayed by Dr. Rachie with Science at the momentous Battle of Castle Mamamia they had since regenerated many times. Then there was a host of other signatures including the deep impression left by the powerful hand of Big Pharma Myth. I was particularly pleased to see Improved Living Standards Wiped Out Disease in a steady hand. Last I’d seen of him was on October 25th just before Meryl Dorey’s Supercalifragilistichomeoprophylaxis Tour of W.A. He was quite unwell and eventually collapsed a shrivelled, dead husk starved of proper retelling and poisoned by attempts to support him with pseudoscience.
Vaccine Myths are, to state the obvious, myths. It is through the telling of these Myths and belief in them that they source their life essence: The Power of the Burning Stupid. Attempts to turn a myth into reality through bogus means and false claims of evidence is disastrous. More than any other Myth, Improved Living Standards has struggled with attempts to nail him down with junk science. Mainly antivaxxers using reduced mortality figures that followed improvement in sanitation to fallaciously claim a drop in disease itself. Bogus, doctored graphs needlessly tacked onto a retelling have taken their toll over and again. More than a few times skeptics have saved him from oblivion.
Of course Vaccine Myths can be regenerated at any time, provided human beings radiate enough Burning Stupid and retell the specific Myth. What we here tend to call lying. I could certainly hazard a guess or two at where Improved Living Standards had sourced the Burning Stupid to regenerate. Usually philosophical about this, Vaccine Myths will fight for their survival against what they call “broken humans”, who are those antivaxxers we deem completely insane. Broken Humans are void of the Burning Stupid tending to radiate pure malignancy along with copious amounts of deadly bogus “evidence”.
For these reasons Vaccine Myths, which technically don’t exist, resemble long-dead, recently exhumed medieval knights, armed to the teeth but with delightfully unique personalities. Having chatted quite a bit with Sir Vaccines Cause Autism, I’ve become rather fond of his calm, capable, non confrontational approach to things. As I followed Byron toward a misty cloud a few meters down the road I reflected on Autism’s impeccable manners and suave disposition.
Knighted for services to the Realm of Mythology in sustaining the Power of The Burning Stupid, he was quite embarrassed about all the fuss, preferring to keep on with his huge workload. Fiercely dismissive of false myths and an outspoken critic of Meryl Dorey he’d been kind enough to outline to complexity that goes into choosing a new Vaccine Myth or a simple Lie. Byron reached the mist, turned and beckoned with his finger in the universal language “Follow”, then promptly disappeared. I stepped into the mist expecting a sort of Star Gate experience.
Yet within a step I was standing in sunshine a few feet from an enormous wooden gate reinforced with steel bands and studs that rose hundreds of feet above me. I thought FaceTime was cool, but Space Time had advantages. To my right and left huge hewn stone walls, much higher the the gate followed the terrain for thousands of meters. It was topped with battlements, some of which protruded outwards in arcs for 30 meters or so, dotted with huge merlons, watchtowers, archery and observation decks. Massive iron framework could be seen attached at strategic intervals the purpose of which was lost on me, beyond exploiting gravity for some hellish bone crushing, brain splattering, boiling oil spilling purpose.
Thousands of arrow loops and rectangular ports dotted the wall. Deceptively small, I knew from ancient castles and defensive walls in our dimension that each opened into a huge funicular recess running through the wall giving archers ample room to move and depending on height hundreds of square meters of target range. All this for protection against the many Enemies of Reason, Sir Vaccines Cause Autism had once explained to me. Dark forces here were devoted to turning Myths into perceived reality with junk science thus ushering in the Age Of Darkness.
Their minions – slaves and soldiers – looked for want of a better description, like Orcs. I looked around and was amazed to see hundreds of corpses in various states of decay and dismemberment. It was close to freezing and patches of snow and ice lay across the ground. They could have been here for days or months. These Orc-like creatures were similar but could be discerned by uniforms under their armour. Antivaxxers dressed like Andrew Wakefield and were endowed with large silicon breasts like Jenny McCarthy and tangled, unwashed hair like Meryl Dorey. They had accents like Viera Scheibner. Many had monkey heads and wings. A rotting sign lay near a flying monkey corpse. It read “Open ze gate or zoon you vill be drownink in de mercuree”.
Chiropractors and reflexologists wore white coats and used large shields with anatomical signs and impossibly dumb claims on them. Creationists carried bananas, rode giant crockoducks and had hair like Baptist ministers. TCM practitioners had Rhino horns protruding from their heads and carried bags of useless herbs. Acupuncturists had needles protruding from their hideous faces which they probably plucked out and shot with tiny little cross bows that they carried. I lost count of how many corpses were dressed like the Pope and covered in Holy Bling. The Aura readers wore psychedelic robes. Crystal healers shot crystals with sling shots. New Age diagnosticians were clad in flashing LED’s and meaningless printouts. Theta healers reputedly frowned at the walls and yelled “Quantum” periodically.
The homeopath soldiers were the most pathetic though. They supposedly spread themselves so thinly it was impossible to detect any. Rather than attacking the defences they believed they could win by attacking themselves in small doses. The smaller the more deadly. Some would cut off a finger or gouge out an eye. Highly trained veterans might sprain an ankle. Their Elite Forces attacked in groups of one brandishing a shaving cut. They believed just a memory of them attacking was sufficient to get results.
Looking at these corpses and carnage, the more I thought about it the more I realised it was a perfect analogy to our own struggle between science and woo. Uncaring beneficiaries misled wave after wave of misguided but loyal minions who then suffered the real consequences. Eventually Byron flicked his finger at the gate as if to say get on with it (again) then wandered off down along the wall, nimbly hurdling the disproportionate armour covered breasts of a prostrate antivaxxer corpse. Just then a small door opened in the gate and I wandered inside.
It was an incredible spectacle. An entire medieval city faded into the distance in a display of colour, architecture, sound and smell. An elderly cadaverous looking gentleman standing nearby introduced himself as Butter is good for burns, and said he’d guide me to the Ballroom, situated in the original Castle Cockamaymee. As we walked along winding pathways he pointed out the various Halls of The Realm of Mythology. Each alternative to medicine was separately represented here as an “alternative medicine” Myth.
The Divinity Campus was huge, encompassing countless Myths and staff. Butter is good for burns informed me that a recent addition in the Creationist Myth faculty was an entire building devoted to tackling Intelligent Design. This bogus “evidence” threatened Mythical retelling and thus the various Creation Myths themselves. Apparently however the sheer power of the Burning Stupid given off by those who accepted ID was unprecedented. Divinity scholars were hard at work researching exactly what was best for Myths.
Butter also made a point of telling me that Theta and Quantum Healing were new faculties not heard of “back in my day”. He said that with such finality that I assumed he may not have long left. Eventually we came to a building large enough to be called a castle in it’s own right.
No doubt the original Castle Cockamaymee around which the city of Castle Cockamaymee had grown. Huge walls and a large slope, now covered in grass testified to it’s original defensive purpose. Butter led me up a huge winding staircase that went on and on crossing huge galleries, passing cavernous hallways and massive doors.
Eventually we seemed to reach the top and he used a huge steel knocker to bang on the door, then excused himself heading off downstairs.
A moment later the door swung open and I was greeted by what I assumed was a younger relative of Sir Vaccines Cause Autism. Just as I recognised the familiar weapons and medals of gallantry he announced, “Ah, wonderful wonderful and well met young Paul. Delighted you could come. Do come in dear chap. Things are just getting under way”, he beckoned with a flourish of his robed arm.
I was astonished. Rather than the usual mummified corpse, he looked quite fresh. Almost alive. “Thank you Sir Vaccines…“.
“Just Autism, dear chap. We can dispense with titles also. Now don’t be too surprised at the state of everyone’s regeneration. There’s been quite a bit of Vaccine Myth retelling at your end and loads of the Burning Stupid. What with the reaction to the immunisation incentives, followed by Dorey on radio, upheld complaints, followed by more interviews before that Woodford business and then the Woodford Festival itself, we’re jumping out of our skin. And it just keeps coming. Delightful! Now come and say hello to…”.
Before he could finish a voice yelled out “Paulie, Paulie, Paulie!”, and a tanned fellow dressed in tennis gear came hurdling furniture and dodging party goers toward us. As he came up I could recognise Improved Living Standards, Not Vaccination Wiped Out Disease. I couldn’t believe this was the same dead and shrivelled husk from a few weeks back.
“Thank Stupidity for Judy Wilyman and Meryl Dorey. Look at what Wilyman wrote to Nicola Roxon following the Immunisation Incentive change in late November”, he gushed excitedly. This is point one in her letter – point one!”. He held up his iPhone and I read:
There is no historical evidence that vaccines controlled any of the infectious diseases listed in government immunization policies – in any developed country.
“It even sounds a bit ambiguous but I’m the only Myth that comes close… and we know it’s one of her core beliefs, so Bam I was on my feet in no time. Then it kept getting retold and believed over and over again. Then Dorey said the same thing on Facebook trying to use the mumps outbreak as proof and then next she’s on 3CR before Woodford. Listen to this!”, he offered passing me the ear buds and tapping his iPhone screen. Sure enough, there was Dorey’s voice saying:
A lot of the credit that’s been given to vaccines for the decline in deaths and infectious diseases has nothing to do with vaccines. Because it all happened before the shots were introduced. Engineers did more to improve the health of Australians than doctors ever have.
“And of course, this is all in the governments own data she reckons. It’s awesome. I’m thinking of changing my name to Engineers did more to improve the health of Australians than doctors ever have, but it’s a bit long. Oh! I mixed it up with some rap also, so I can groove around the place. Have a listen”:
“Anyway, tonight I’m gunna party like it’s 1899”, he laughed. With that he high fived me, and boogied back into the party crowd. Autism smiled and said, “He’s been like that for days now but will soon calm down. Vaccines Contain Mercury is anxious to catch up. He’ll be by the fire if I know him. The nights get pretty chilly around here”. On the way down we bumped into Vaccines Have Never Been Tested chatting with My Child’s Immune System Will Be Overwhelmed. They introduced their lady friend Vaccine Lies as High Pitched Crying and Hepatitis B Vaccine Kills. All looked in great health and we spent some time discussing the intricacies of vaccine testing and the many hundreds of immune system insults children get each day just from putting hands in mouths and going about their business.
My Child’s Immune System Will Be Overwhelmed wasn’t looking his usually nervous self. Autism explained that this was because meningococcal C, pneumococcal and varicella would be part of the full immunisation assessment from July 2013 and that MMR would be replaced with Priorix-Tetra, a quadrivalent vaccine for measles, mumps, rubella and varicella. So whilst the Myth itself was still pathetic, Overwhelmed wasn’t taking it personally and expected quite a lot of retelling. Plus Dorey was on air recently now claiming children receive 50 vaccines before school. We mingled on chatting with the crowd, enjoying the fare. By now the party was in full swing.
Infectious Diseases Are Harmless and Children Should Get Them and his friend Vaccines Actually Cause The Infectious Disease They Should Prevent had no doubt had a few wines, but were engrossed in a fascinating philosophical discussion. Antivaxxers believed in both Myths. Thus, if Diseases Are Harmless (even good as many claimed) was believed then surely there could be no problem with Vaccines Cause Disease – quite the opposite in fact. Similarly, if Vaccines Cause Disease was believed, then this was a bonus for the belief in Diseases Are Harmless or Good. By logical extension on one hand, if children were meant to get the diseases, then vaccines would be the surest way to reach this goal.
On the other hand, if vaccines causing disease was a reason to not vaccinate then this denied the children from wonderful diseases such as “Melanie’s Marvellous Measles“. Clearly they seemed to cancel each other out. Which couldn’t be true as they were both here in the Realm of Mythology, existing under the power of frequently told Myths. A large crowd had gathered around following the discussion intently. They told us the two had already discussed whether one Myth was more mythical than the other, or if one could possibly cancel out the other slightly more.
Scribbled on a piece of parchment was the famous 60 Minutes statement. “So, vaccines are dangerous, and diseases are good”, to which Viera Scheibner had answered “Exactly”. They’d decided that as each Myth made up an equal half of this statement and it was “exact” in an antivaxxers thinking it was proof they were equally valid. Which brought them back to square one. Now they were discussing the impact of human stupidity, posing various ways it might be measured. Sir Vaccines Caused Autism looked on with pride and whispered, “They’re doing well… for non-existent entities of course. Once they work out that human stupidity is infinite and can’t be measured they’ll soon have their answer – even if it takes weeks. Er.., no offence of course dear chap”.
“None taken my friend, none taken”, I replied quietly. “Once they work it out I imagine they’ll be just as shocked as delighted at the sheer glare of the Burning Stupid”. We started to move away as Autism grinned and almost bumped into a magnificently regal and ancient looking character. He took a step back, removed a large hat and offered a sweeping bow speaking in what sounded like a German dialect. Viennese? Austrian? A bit of both? Could it possibly be..?
“Ah Paul”, offered Autism, “May I present my good friend and Peer of The Realm, Sir Water Has A Memory, who holds a similar position to mine in the faculty of Homeopathic Myths”.
Gobsmacked for a moment, I stared at his deep blue vest and purple cape, both etched with golden thread then at the glittering jewels on his sword handle, scabbard, belt and fingers. Eventually I composed myself and managed a bow of sorts. Memory offered a few pleasantries in English and at that moment a younger looking Myth wandered up. “Excellent, excellent I hoped you’d be nearby”, Autism said to him. “Paul may I introduce Homeoprophylaxis, one of our few dual faculty members here at Castle Cockamaymee“.
Homeoprophylaxis shook my hand and extended a warm welcome in a Cuban accent. We stood about chatting and laughing at human stupidity for a while. Both Memory and Homeoprophylaxis were very keen to find out about the progress of the bogus claim that Quantum Physics would one day explain homeopathy. They were delighted to know their Mythical status was not only quite safe but that Theta and Quantum healers had now started using the same excuse. We left them dancing a jig and singing in Cuban and Viennese.
Before I knew it we’d made it to the fire place, which was roughly the size of a garage door. Lounging about in chairs were Vaccines Contain Mercury, Vaccines Contain Toxic Ingredients and Vaccines Don’t Work Because Kids Still Get The Disease, and a host of female Lies. One gracious looking mummified female wandered over and Sir Vaccines Cause Autism introduced her as his wife the good Lady Pervasive Developmental Disorder Is The Same As Autism. No doubt Lady PDD had copped a large dose of regenerative vibes from Woodford, and looked almost as fit as her husband.
Vaccines Contain Mercury seemed to be holding Court over the group, many of whom were toking on a large hookah pipe he kept topping up with hashish and cannabis. Known for his signature reefer Mercury took the view that being dead and non-existent must allow for some vices. He gave me a laid back wave. “I see you met old Shit and Sugar“, he said to laughter referring to Sir Water Has A Memory. “But seriously – lovely chap and dearly loved he is. Come and join us. We’re just discussing topics for this years AGM. My Children’s Immune System Will Be Overwhelmed looks set for a new workload and young Pertussis over there (I waved to a new face) is certain to be approved by the committee as a new Myth. The only issue is which Myth. Bad Cough? Vaccine doesn’t work? Vaccine causes pertussis? Vaccine kills babies? Man, it’s enough to do ya head in”.
Just then a cheer went up and we counted down to midnight. As soon as the cheering, back slapping and kissing of mummified corpses finished a slow chant began. “Pharma, Pharma, Pharma…“, it continued until the muscular and armored physique of Big Pharma Myth leaped on top of a table to thunderous applause.
He was holding a microphone in his massive hand and from somewhere the tune of Mary Poppins’ Chim Chim Cher-ee came from an amplifier.
I joined in the applause as I realised what was going on. Big Pharma had toured with Meryl Poppins during the Supercalifragilistichomeoprophylaxis Tour of W.A. singing the Conspira Conspira Conspira-see duo. He waited for the right moment then started singing in his baritone voice:
Conspira, conspira, conspira-see – I’m evil and wicked and quite darstardlee
Conspira, conspira, conspira-roo – Bad luck will rub off, when I shake ‘ands with you
We tells you people we do things so pure – But in truth we hide, the real cancer cure
Conspira, conspira, conspira-see – You take all my drugs, I take your money
Flying about in me luxury jet – I pull the lever, and it’s chemtrails you get
We seem to work very ‘ard, travelling miles – But in truth we are, shape shifting reptiles
Conspira, conspira, conspirasee – I am just a slave to Malignancy
We tell you we do lots of randomised trials – But just sit around and twiddle some dials
Our ads and our packets are all really slick – But it’s all just designed to keep people sick
Everybody! Conspira, conspira, conspirasee…
Soon the whole place was jumping and different Myths and Lies took turns with the microphone. At one point I found myself dancing with Vaccines Contain Mercury who, reefer in hand, seemed to have mastered a style that combined Square dancing with trying to stamp out spot fires. A few good natured sword fights broke out but of course no-one could get hurt. Improved Living Standards was back dressed in traditional garb thoroughly enjoying himself. I was particularly impressed with the voice of one young Vaccine Lie who I later found out was Doctors Don’t Report Adverse Reactions. She had the crowd in the palm of her hand. Homeoprophylaxis himself looked smitten as she sang:
If you say it loud enough you ignore there is no praxis
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
When your patients are all dead blame oxygen atom’s axis
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay….
Slowly the night wore on and morning was approaching. I spent the better part of an hour chatting with Autism and Mercury about their early years together. It was easy to see why they were such firm friends. Mercury was furious about Dorey’s recent attempts to promote bogus and fraudulent nonsense to argue vaccines actually do cause autism. “It’s not just you”, he stressed to his friend, “But Lady PDD’s ontology has now been openly threatened by that ridiculous travelling side show”.
“I’m quite fine and so is my good wife and you know how I feel about fuss”, replied Autism. “Which reminds me, we have a sunrise breakfast to share. Paul, it’s been a pleasure once again. You simply must come back for the AGM dear chap, and no I won’t hear of any excuse. We do have time portals after all. How was the journey over? We thought you’d prefer it to our usual choice of coffin or sarcophagus”.
“Awesome… I mean, very comfortable. Quite suitable”.
“Wonderful then. It’s almost time for you to leave, so until next time I’ll be off and bid thee both farewell”, said Autism embracing Mercury in a brotherly hug. With that he headed for a side door and was gone. Mercury was rolling up another reefer and nodded toward the balcony door. I bade farewell all those who were still around (Big Pharma almost broke my hand in a bone crushing shake) and followed Mercury out into the freezing air. “So, what do ya think of the pace?”, he asked.
Words failed me. The sun was coming up and the view was magnificent. It stood to reason that as this was the original castle it was on the highest ground, giving an extraordinary view of the city below. Off in the distance I could see snow covered mountains. On the walls guards patrolled with one or two shooting an arrow or releasing some flaming debris from a catapult.
“It’s breath taking. Never seen anything like it. Is there some sort of battle or war or…?”.
“Battle?!”, Mercury sounded shocked. Nah. Just business as usual. Man, when there’s a battle they’re piled five deep down there. During the warmer months. Now we’re just keepin’ ’em honest as usual. Poor buggers – you’ve seen the different types, yeah? Dyin’ for every stupid pile of bat shit nonsense known to Myth. Lied to by the scum riddled creatures who dream up this madness and hope to profit from it”.
“Sounds familiar”, I replied.
“Indeed. And without you guys who knows what could happen here. Seriously dude. Give our regards to all at Stop The AVN and all the others standing up for science and reason. The more rational your world, the safer The Realm of Mythology. We’re in your debt… what with us not actually technically existing and all. But a Fact is a Fact and a Myth is a Myth. I think the universe prefers it that way”, he said gazing distantly at the sunrise. I was about to agree but thought better of it. Things seemed quite perfect for a moment.
Soon we noticed Byron hovering around a cloud of mist. “Ah. Here’s your ride”, joked Vaccines Contain Mercury. He shook my hand and slapped my on the shoulder. I wandered up to the mist. Byron pointed at my pockets and at the side of his head with his bony finger. Oh! I realised he meant keys, wallet, phone…
“Yes, all good”, I said. Byron nodded and stepped back out of my way. I turned to look back at the heavily armed semi-mummified knight.
“It’s been real man”, Vaccines Contain Mercury said pointing at me with two fingers clasping what was left of his huge reefer.
With that I stepped into the mist and vanished from the Realm of Mythology and the best non existent party I’d never been to.