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Greetings, Pilgrims. We welcome you to the hallowed ground of this, the Snake Oil Bulletin. You've come just in time for the Cleansing of Impurities. Get on your knees, strap that basket to your head, and prepare yourself for ... THE BEES.

Gwyneth Paltrow never saw the Wicker Man, lets bees sting her face now apparently

You know what we haven't had in a few weeks seconds? A rousing session of Two Minutes Hate! Today's subject is that indefatigable font of nonsense Gwyneth Paltrow. In a sponsored blog post interview with the New York Times, Paltrow laid out the secrets of her eternal youth and beauty. Not once did she mention genetics and only once did she mention her multi-person professional makeup team. What an everywoman.

In the course of discussing her well-publicized love of alternative treatments like vaginal steaming, Paltrow let slip this bombshell that has the internet flapping its tut-tutting lips:

I’m always the guinea pig to try everything. I’ve got to try them all. I love acupuncture. Also, I just heard of a service called a sound bath, which might be too hippie-ish even for the likes of me. It’s some new healing modality. I might not be able to handle it.

But generally, I’m open to anything. I’ve been stung by bees. It’s a thousands of years old treatment called apitherapy. People use it to get rid of inflammation and scarring. It’s actually pretty incredible if you research it. But, man, it’s painful. I haven’t done cryotherapy yet, but I do want to try that.

Lead eyeliner and mercury foundation are thousand year old beauty secrets too, so kudos to Paltrow for reviving a classic.

Paltrow is speaking of apitherapy, an apparently real thing. Apitherapy is a branch of naturopathy (of course it is) in which non-extraterrestrial human beings inject bee venom into people's faces either through syringe or with actual live (well, soon dead) bees. The treatment claims to get rid of inflammation, kind of like injecting yourself with HPV to get rid of cervical cancer. It sounds like barrels of NOPE for someone like Yr Volpe who is allergic to bees and wasps, but we suppose it's probably pretty soothing if giant swollen pustules are your kink (no fetish shaming here!). The apitherapists themselves claim they also use products like honey and royal jelly, but edible bee vomit takes a backseat to their use of a lethal toxin to heal arthritis.

Paltrow did not elaborate on her use of apitherapy, but let's take a look at this terrifying video that shows the treatment in full. Ignore the obnoxious announcer; we didn't hire him.

Watch and be amazed as these kind white people improve their skin a little by ripping a bee's organs out through their stinger butts. For healing!

Naturally there's no validity to any of the apitherapists' claims but when has that ever stopped people from making a buck?

As for Gwyneth, we would point out the irony of a woman who doesn't like "toxins" in her makeup yet has no problem injecting an actual venomous toxin into her face. However, "toxin" in the woo world does not mean what it means in the real world. In the woo world, a "toxin" is always a man-made or artificial substance. It has been tainted by the false god of technological progress and for that it must be shunned. There are no toxins in nature because nature is a blessed mothering force, not a horrifying cacophony of death and gore whose only constant is its commitment to self-annihilation.

And speaking of commitments to self-annihilation...

Anti-vaxxer film diseased, festering, terminal

For the past two weeks, we've been reporting the trials and tribulations of anti-vaccination film Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe, created by lying liar Andrew "Proven Liar" Wakefield. After being unceremoniously dropped from the Tribeca Film Festival, Vaxxed found a place at a single, lonely, independent theatre in New York, though word is that one locus of infection is all it takes for the film to spread to other venues, not unlike a measles outbreak if you think about it.

After the limited screening of the film, the reviews came pouring in. To put it mildly, people hated it. Ed Cara of Medical Daily savaged the film, pointing out that the film never once mentions that Wakefield did his original study at the behest of a law firm putting together a class action lawsuit against a vaccine manufacturer, nor does it mention that Andrew stood to profit from his own, competing version of the vaccine. Rather, Andrew is presented as a noble crusader who was first inspired to pad his wallet heal the world by meeting a mother of a child with autism.

Most of the film consists of personal accounts of tearful white people telling stories of the difficulty of raising a child with autism. While we've no doubt their lives have been difficult and we extend all sympathy to them, the fact remains that parents are not automatically made immunologists, doctors, or researchers on the birth of a child. When they popped out their babies, a medical degree did not come attached to the placenta. They are not in a position to make the vaccine-autism connection with any amount of evidence other than their personal feelings and an ignorance of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

The primary contention of Vaxxed, and indeed most of Wakefield's later career, is that the CDC engaged in a calculated cover-up of a correlation found between the MMR vaccine and autism rates in African-American boys. Anti-vaxxers get a lot of concern trolling out of this finding, claiming institutional racism and blah blah blah. Vaxxed claims that the race connection was intentionally covered up by the CDC, but don't seem to realize that if the only evidence from the study pointed to a race-based correlation to autism, wouldn't that mean that there is no connection among non-black children? And for that matter, maybe it would have helped to actually show more than one non-white family on screen to prove their point.

But even the simple correlational claim by the film makers is iffy as hell:

Let’s take that second one first, isolated autism. Here’s the thing – when the CDC team published their study in 2004, they did report on this. Instead of autism isolated from all other conditions, they showed autism without intellectual disability. The CDC reported that the calculated risk for this group was “statistically significant.”

In other words – what did they hide? Nothing. It’s the same result that Wakefield says was hidden. The only question I have – if this result is so important, why didn’t Wakefield or Hooker notice for the 10 years after it was published?

In other words, the CDC did acknowledge the finding, but Wakefield et al. realized they could get more fame and money out of playing the noble whistleblower card. And what of the correlation itself? Why isn't it getting more traction? Simple, actually:

Thompson told Hooker that the CDC team [found] another possible result. This result was limited to only African American boys, a fact that is largely glossed over in a film of largely white people. And this Autism/MMR/African American boys result didn’t remain statistically significant under the CDC planned, more complete, analysis. Which is to say, it’s not strong, it’s not really controversial.

In other words, further study showed that the correlation didn't hold up. That is how science works. One statistic does not causation prove and outliers don't prove anything. In fact, the CDC's most recent yearly report on autism in America actually shows that African American children have a lower rate of autism than their white classmates so whoopsie!

Naturally this entire film is a smokescreen for Wakefield's real agenda: making money. Wakefield is nothing if not a promotion man and professional victim. He's made a killing on the anti-vaccine lecture circuit, and despite having his professional validity torpedoed, it hasn't stopped him from making money hand over fist. His "non-profit," Thoughtful House (now called Strategic Autism Initiative), while ostensibly a grant program for autism research, put most of its contributions toward Wakefield's salary. Over three years, Wakefield received about $316,000, while his charity only wrote four grants. Did those grants cover the rest of the contributions? Not even close. Over those three years, Thoughtful House issued a grand total of $80,000 in grants. That is 13% of their budget. Couple that massive paycheck with Andrew's speaking fees, and it isn't hard to see why he owns a mansion, on five acres, with six bathrooms and its own gymnasium:

Man, the CDC's conspiracy cabal just doesn't destroy lives like it used to.

[Left Brain Right Brain / Medical Daily / Center for Disease Control / Indie Wire / New York Times / Apitherapy /

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Fellow Wonkers, this last week of horror has been wearing on us all, because here we are in a world where the "president" of the United States has ordered that migrant children be taken away from their parents at the border, and is simultaneously proud of it (for his base) and cravenly blaming it on Democrats because even he knows it's morally reprehensible. But what the hell can we do about it, we are all keening, beyond calling our senators and representatives and posting sadness on Twitter, the latter of which is of dubious utility to anyone, and mostly depressing?

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There are perks to being the only Harvard professor willing to shill for the Bush League Mussolini. Everyone else has to haul ass to the Fox studio and sit for hair and makeup. Not Alan Dershowitz! He just parks his laptop in Pee Wee's playhouse and Skypes in that rant. Is he even wearing pants? We hope never to find out!

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