I’m late today having burned through my entire Monday researching and then writing a piece about the media and the anti-vax movement in the US. Spent my morning tightening the article and hoping it works. I think it does, but I’ll only know later once others have read it. For now, I am in the lull between work.
As part of my research, I found myself reading Plague of Corruption: Restoring Faith in the Promise of Science by Dr Judy Mikovits. I don’t recommend anybody do the same (though I should also add that I didn’t finish it. I didn’t have that much time to waste).
It’s a peculiar book, at times sounding intelligent (sometimes actually revealing proper intelligence) but never feeling quite right. There’s something very odd about it. It’s hard to describe the problem but the prose feels distended, as though some great pressure has built up and this is the writer’s opportunity to vent. The narrative leaps around, sometimes wildly, always disturbingly, with statements made but rarely backed up.
Perfect example, from the first page:
“When I was in a lab, making breakthrough discoveries, such as how to develop AIDS drugs to solve our world’s greatest modern plague, the HIV-AIDS epidemic, it was never about glory or reputation.”
First of all, even if you had done this, would it be your place to boast about it? Would you boast about it in such a vulgar way?
Second, in every article I’ve read in scholarly and scientific journals suggested that Mikovits didn’t do any of this. She didn’t earn any glory and her reputation is now largely shot.
I guess this is the kind of line that an editor would have paused and mused over. It’s certainly a book badly in need of an editor but also something more. It reminds me of a few highly intelligent people I’ve known where their extreme intelligence has broken them, like they’ve looked into the sun too long and too intensely and it’s left them blind. They would talk engagingly about something for an hour and then suddenly drop in a fact like they eat lightbulbs for the sodium content.
It’s all most odd. The book begins with a rather sprightly forward by Robert F Kennedy Jr but the book itself reads like somebody has dictated it into a voice recorder and had the resulting text typed up. To say it’s a dumb book would be unfair. It is dumb to promote it and dumb to publish it. Perhaps it’s even dumb of me to highlight it and give it more exposure. The book itself is dangerous, unhinged, and seriously flawed as if written by somebody who has perhaps looked into the sun for too long.
Okay, back in the real world…
I have to contemplate getting rid of a nest of wasps that has appeared in the shed in the garden. I’m led to believe that it’s a job I shouldn’t attempt myself, which means I’ll have to pay somebody to get rid of it. The council charge £66, which sounds both a lot but also cheaper than the pleasure of getting stung multiple times. I’m tempted to leave it alone (do these nest eventually disappear?) but I’m also aware that some hot days are coming and I’ll want the window open. I don’t want wasps in my room. However, to ask somebody to approach the shed involves my accepting that the shed needs to be pulled down. That means it needs emptying and that means space has to be made elsewhere… Can I do any of that with wasps around?
Oh Christ. I hate jobs that escalate like this.
All I want to do is sit here and write and draw.
But it’s also raining so maybe I can put it off…
Today I plan to finish off some cartoons. I’ve hit 40 for Book Three of my cartoon ebook “trilogy”, meaning only 15 to go. That probably sounds better than it is. A few are just sketches and punchlines I like. I’ve also got a couple of cartoons I’m not so sure about making public. It occurred to me quite late into this project that I didn’t have to answer to anybody so I could be as tasteless as I like. The problem is that I might have been a bit too tasteless…