Melanie's Marvelous Measles????

By Michael Edmonds 13/12/2011 35


I’ve just been alerted to a new and frightening piece of antivaxxer propaganda that has been produced in the guise of a children’s book (see here and here for other comments).

“Melanie’s Marvelous Measles” by Stephanie Messenger is promoted as a ” book (which) takes children aged 4 – 10 years on a journey of discovering about the ineffectiveness of vaccinations, while teaching them to embrace childhood disease, heal if they get a disease, and build their immune systems naturally.”

“Embrace childhood disease” is a phrase that frightens me. It completely ignores the fact that so-called “childhood diseases” cause distress and potentially permanent damage in innocent and vulnerable children. And the very idea of indoctrinating children as young as 4 into a mode of unscientific and anti-scientific thinking appalls me . I have to wonder what Ms Messenger’s next literary effort might be. Perhaps, “Polio Polly and her Iron Lung” or “The Wonders of Whooping Cough”?

With new outbreaks of measles occurring around the world, including in New Zealand this type of glorification of childhood disease needs to be challenged, loudly and vigorously.


35 Responses to “Melanie's Marvelous Measles????”

  • My first thought was that the author must never have had a child with measles. Even with a ‘mild’ case the child is not a particularly happy camper.

  • Ah, yes. Saw this on the IAS site. Given your recent success with other complaints perhaps you could make one to the charities com. with this as the basis? I certainly haven’t had any luck…

  • I wonder if a/the ‘real’ objective of the child’s book is so that the parents can self-justify their actions, rather than ‘educating’ the children. Encourage their kids to get measles & self-justify this to the child using the book.

    Darcy – are you saying the Charities Commission has not upheld your complaint? (As for IAS, I haven’t visited there in a while. Suffice to say what’s been added is appalling.)

  • I wouldn’t say that.
    What I would say is that the current status is, from my perspective, indistinguishable from being ignored.

    Perhaps a few more complaints might get someone’s attention?

  • Hi Darcy

    With work finally winding down, I’m hoping to have some time to look into making such complaints.

  • And even if you wanted to comment on this book on the IAS website you would find that the comments thread is .. closed.

    What a bastion of open and enlightened debate the IAS is (not).

  • Yes Carol, all comments for the site were closed a couple of months ago.

    That does not bother me so much, they are under no obligation to allow comments after all. I do find it interesting that they would start off allowing them and then stop after they started getting challenging commenters.

  • Wow, that is disturbing. There have been such giant changes in birth rates and childhood survival rates that if we all embraced such an idea, the population would surely reduce significantly within a generation. Mothers have fewer babies now as more are likely to survive into adulthood – precisely because we have immunisation. All this will do is serve to give children another excuse to wiggle away from the needle. Who the heck published this crap?

  • Oh I see, not just comments about the book.
    Sure, they’re not obliged to provide a comments forum, but it is very telling that they don’t welcome any kind of robust discussion or critical scrutiny, particularly as they don’t hesitate to dish it out themselves.

  • Make a complaint about a charity

    Thank you.

    We have received your submission and we will get in contact with you shortly.

    Complaint submitted.

  • How selfish of these people, who have access to medical infrastructure that impoverished nations can only dream of. Disease is a joke to anti-vaxxers, meanwhile measles is killing vulnerable and immunity-deficient children all around the world. The ultimate self-centered act.

  • Regards my earlier remark of objectives for the book, the IAS website has an advertorial ‘letter’ from the author who writes that the (main?) object was to ‘prepare’ the child for the “zealous vaccinator at school or in their community”. I note on her website the author blames the death of her child on vaccines. Her brief account of this reminds me that I must find time to write up the research I ran into about childhood seizures via Offit’s book. (I’ve mentioned it briefly in my review of Deadly Choices; the author of the book Michael mentions seizures in her child, which is why it jogs my memory.)

  • Alison, you just beat me by posting Orac’s blog link!

    I’m hoping my mini-complaint to the Charities Commission prods them into action on Darcy’s submission. It didn’t take long to compose and the more of us who do it the better.

  • Is “Messenger” a real name, or one adopted when the author realised that her True Calling was to Spread the Truth?

  • Carol & Darcy,

    You were mentioning IAS and discussions. They don’t have to offer comments on their forum—it’s their forum—but if they choose to do that, they can’t also claim to be encouraging discussion. Their latest article includes this statement: “We wish to encourage an atmosphere of intelligent discussion,” but they don’t provide for any discussion, let alone intelligent discussion.

  • herr doktor bimler,

    I have no idea, could just be an (unfortunate) coincidence

    Grant,
    Good point about the IAS not living up to their statement.

  • >“Melanie’s Marvelous Measles”

    What’s next?

    Lisa’s lovely leprosy? Ted’s teriffic tuberculosis? Mike’s marvellous mumps?

  • possum,

    I shudder to think what could come next.

    Perhaps someone could counter with “Mark’s Miserable Measles – a story of brain damage resulting from low vaccination rates”?

  • Michael that’s a great idea, the last time I said someone should I was told you should do it. So I pass on this pearl of wisdom and say you should absolutely do that.

    I can guarantee it will be better written than the original.

  • And to really bring the point home, said story could end with the child dying of that rather nasty sequel of measles infection, paraencephalities (can’t remember the acronym at the moment). Thankfully a reasonably rare event, but linked to ‘wild’ measles infection (& definitely not to vaccination).

  • I realise (after wrting it) that the above is so likely to be quote-mined by the resident equivalent of Beetlejuice, but ah well…

  • Haha :-) I can’t remember all the characters in Pratchett’s work like you. Swop memories? (Just kidding…)

    Which book(s) is(are) the troll in?

  • Detritus is a member of the City Watch, so anything with those guys (& werewolves, gnomes, vampires etc). In The Fifth Elephant he’s a cultural attache for Vimes on a trip to the Low King’s coronation; I find the thought of Detritus in an attempt – probably failed – at a suit quite entertaining. Also I love his weapon of choice: the Piecemaker (no typo there either!)

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