Today's politics can be extremely depressing, and lead to unhealthy levels of rage. I offer here my favorite antidotes from the past several weeks. Such brilliant satire is essential to my sanity.
On May 11, John Oliver did a delightful piece on HBO's Last Week Tonight. The video has gone viral, and should be required viewing for all Americans. The segment offered "A Statistically Representative Climate Change Debate" as a clever response to the disproportionate and misleading air time given to the "sides" of scientific information.
"You don't need people’s opinion on a fact," Oliver reminds us. "You might as well have a poll asking: ‘Which number is bigger, 15 or 5?’ or ‘Do owls exist?’ or ‘Are there hats?'"
In case you missed it, WATCH IT NOW:
Last Week Tonight (Climate Change Debate)
Of course, Jon Stewart's The Daily Show is the mother (father?) of such intelligent satire, and where John Oliver apprenticed. They've also kept hammering on the anti-science crisis, particularly as embarrassing inaccuracies flow from the mouths of lawmakers and pundits on the extreme right. But recently, they gave the anti-science left some well-earned ridicule. On June 2, in response to the recent measles outbreaks in the US, The Daily Show's Samantha Bee investigated the epidemic of vaccine-science denial. It's a great one to watch.
We are introduced to blogger Sarah Pope, author of the Healthy Home Economist (and vaccine effectiveness denier). She is not a scientist or a clinician. Her website informs us that she does hold a degree "from the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution." She explains to Samantha Bee, "There is no herd immunity.....that's a myth." Pope also rebukes the concept of scientific consensus. Bee confidently diagnoses Pope with "stage 4 science denial" and defines her as the index case of the anti-vaccine outbreak in the US.
Dr. Paul Offit, renowned vaccine expert and science myth debunker, suggests that such denial will not be curbed until we have some large and dramatic vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks in the US.
Samantha Bee concludes, "Once Florida's under water and we all have polio, it'll be better."
HAVE A LOOK:
The Daily Show (Outbreak of Liberal Idiocy)
(Yes, it's particularly entertaining to me, as a scientist who's been focused on infectious diseases. I cherish any humor I can have so close to "home.")