If you believed the media hype, you'd think we're headed for a 1918 pandemic this flu season. Breathless accounts of imminent mass death and overloaded public health agencies were accompanied by dramatic images of children wearing masks. The clarion call arose: "Vaccinate or die!"
Except, not so much. (Amazing, isn't it? This sort of morbid media hysteria has never misled us before.) More recent reports point to a "moderate" flu season that just seems worse because last year's was so mild. I would argue that making it seem worse serves the profit margins of the various entities that do so, but that's just a silly conspiracy theory, right?
Part of my snarkitude here derives from the fact that I have the flu. Or, at least I'm pretty damn sure I do. Some of what people chalk up as the flu is really just "flulike symptoms"—a bad cold or some other greebly—which makes it impossible to determine how many people actually get—or die from—the flu.
But I know my own body, and I haven't felt like this in 20 years—like, achy-shaky, head-exploding, lung-constricting, fever-and-chills, hacking-and-snorting CRAP—not since that time I passed a plastic water bottle full of cheap vodka around the back of a Cleveland-bound Greyhound on the way home for Christmas break.
My current condition was not nearly so well earned, but was the result of an easily quantifiable "perfect storm" of circumstances that lowered my resistance and exposed me at just the wrong moment. Infection (and crankiness), mine.
If the vaccination zealots are to be believed, I got just what I deserved, because I didn't get a flu shot.
I'm not the kind of person who goes in for much in the way of modern health care. I can count the number of times I've taken ibuprofen over the past 20 years on the fingers of one hand, and antibiotics, zero. I'm of the firm philosophical belief that given a clean, nutritious diet, a sensible lifestyle and the wide availability of sufficiently effective traditional remedies, there's no reason to contribute to the pharmaceutical industry's fantasy of a United States of Addicts.
The vaccinazis say this makes me a pariah who's responsible for killing babies and old people. In fact, they're aggressively attempting to make my philosophical choices untenable, if not illegal, by spending millions of dollars lobbying decision-makers to mandate flu vaccine and deny people such things as jobs and health care (how's that for circular logic?) simply for refusing to be vaccinated.
Since when is it a crime to get sick? Since it interferes with medical industry profits.
Vaccines have undeniably served to advance public health rather miraculously in the past century. When it came to the ravages of diseases such as smallpox and polio, the obvious risks of injecting yourself with small amounts of deadly viruses laced with various nasty chemicals turned out to be well worth it.
But there are some key differences with influenza, which is not a single disease, but an endlessly mutating strand of different diseases that will never be eradicated. More important (from Big Pharma's perspective), unlike other vaccines, flu vaccine is administered annually on a lifelong basis, which spells many billions of dollars in potential profits.
Never mind that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claim only about 60 percent effectiveness at best—a vastly inflated estimate, according to some recent meta-analyses—or that the vaccine itself can make people sick. The vast majority of the CDC's influenza Web page is devoted to promoting the vaccine, while way down at the bottom in fine print there's one tiny link titled "Good Health Habits for Prevention."
And never mind Big Pharma's long, sordid record of gaming regulatory processes, falsifying studies, covering up dangerous products, escaping culpability for adverse reactions and strong-arming and bribing doctors and public officials. Really, why would anyone of sound mind expect vaccines to be any safer than the rest of the poison peddled by these criminal corporations?
Unfortunately, our nation is not of sound mind. We're so conditioned to reach for a drug every time we face the slightest inconvenience—regardless of the risks or side effects—that we bend over and say, "Stick it to me!" We think it's our imperial right to eat fast-food dog shit three times a day with no ill effects and still raise a four-hour boner on demand.
I say fuck the flu shot. And fuck Pharma and its army of lobbyists and paid shills, with their guilt-tripping, body-invading bullshit. If I die of the flu, it'll be one less human on this ridiculously overburdened planet.
There. I feel better already.