Portrait of a woo-woo

by Claus Larsen

In his book, “The Demon-Haunted World”, Carl Sagan tells of a taxi driver, who held the most crazy ideas about pseudo-science: Lemuria, Atlantis, UFO abductions, you name it. I often wondered if Sagan was just lucky – or unlucky? – to have met a person like that.

Not so. In the course of time, I have come across some really wacky people with the most outrageous claims and opinions. I will tell you about one of them. She is not by any standards the most crazy person I have ever held a conversation with, but, in her own way, she excels because of her variety of crackpot ideas. This woman stretches far and wide in the Land of Woowoo.

Let’s call her “Jolene”. Not her real name, of course. But she is a very real person.

Medicine Woman

Jolene works a registered nurse. This puts her in contact with the elderly, whom she is hired to take care of. Unfortunately for a person of her education and profession, she has not grasped the benefits of modern medicine. In fact, she considers most of it bunkum. One wonders why, if she holds those beliefs, she chose that kind of profession.

Among some of her claims about vaccines, a favorite of hers:

  • Vaccines are harmful.
  • People were not saved from vaccines.
  • A vaccinated child is dangerous to a non-vaccinated child.
  • A vaccinated child is as likely to get a disease as a non-vaccinated one.
  • Vaccinations had absolutely nothing to do with the cessation of smallpox.
  • Vaccinations cause ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).
  • Vaccinations cause a lower IQ.

True to Woo Woo-form, she has never been able to present any kind of evidence for a single of her claims. And even though she has been presented with a plethora of contrary evidence, Jolene does not change her mind. Instead, she usually flies off in a rage that makes Jack Nicholson in “The Shining” look like he’s on Thorazine.

Despite her limited education, she considers herself to be far more experienced and knowledgeable than the experts she meets in her daily life. She is more qualified than doctors and dieticians. She considers some people who seek pain relief as “scum of the earth”, solely based on their looks and manners. If she considers a patient’s need for pain relief unjustified, she simply denies them it. She has even thrown out medicine prescribed by a doctor, because she felt it was wrong to give it to the patient. She also considers herself capable of determining whether people are paranoid schizophrenic, and which patients should die.

The Nurse From Hell? Jolene considers herself a saint.

Extremely Dangerous

She doesn’t restrict her ideas to her patients. She seeks the weirdest medical advice from people who could best be described as witch doctors. Her midwife was one of them: When pregnant, Jolene, along with the midwife, “miscalculated” her date by a month and a half, then had to seek medical help from a doctor after she got sick from trying to induce labor with herbs, castor oil and exercise, by advice from the midwife. It almost killed the child. This did not weaken in any way her beliefs in alternative medicine or strengthen her trust in modern medicine.

Jolene has a very close relationship with her colon. Her shit doesn’t stink, she happily informs the world, because of her insistence on eating unprocessed foods (how she manages to get fresh vegetables during winter is a mystery – Jolene doesn’t buy “artificial” food, which also includes vegetables from a supermarket), and she believes that the colons of people who eat normally are filled with cakes of crud. Pounds of it. A substantial part of your weight consists of this crud. She really likes to talk about this. Freud would have had a heart attack, had he ever gotten Jolene as a patient.

Jolene has considered moving to Italy (she lives in the South states of the USA), to join a cult of which she knows nothing else than they got a cool website. She planned to bring her kids, too. The project fizzled, because she found out that she doesn’t like Italy after all. She discovered “for a fact” that cats are considered a delicacy there, and are raised in Tuscany “like cattle”. She never moved there. It was just another of the many ideas that get Jolene cranked up. If it sounds alternative, she will believe it.

Issues. Lots of ’em.

Among other things, Jolene has issues with Jews. For instance, she doesn’t consider them semitic. No, Arabs are the only semitic people. Jews are white. Jews have “cannibalized” one another. A “Talmudic Zionist Cult” exists today, similar to the one described in the notorious Protocols of Zion. And let’s not forget that “Jew” is a 20th Century term, it did not exist 200 years ago – according to Jolene. Historical references (Shakespeare and the Bible are two of many) be damned – or ignored. Did you know that President Eisenhower was Jewish? He is in the Jewish American Hall of Fame, so he must be Jewish, right? See note  

She doesn’t like “liberals”, either. Actually, Jolene doesn’t like that many people. She does, however, have warm feelings for blacks, whom she treats as if she were the Missus of the Plantation: She imagines that blacks, before they were captured into slavery, lived harmoniously among themselves in Africa. Even though Jolene does not describe herself as a racist, she is convinced that the whiter a person is, the better looking he or she is. As a rule, “ethnic people” are not much to look at. Races do not mix well. It is the religious, ethical and moral values that determines the superiority of a people. And that race of people is dough-colored.

Strangely enough, she claims she is descended from the indigenous people of America, although she cannot name what First Nation she belongs to.

Jolene has a very limited horizon. She imagines that the Soviet Union existed as late as in 2002, that the Civil War had absolutely nothing to do with the abolition of slavery, that every participant in a “Womens’ Studies” is a “lesbo”, and that Hitler did not go after the Jews.

A sad fact

Does this make you smile? It should make you cry. These examples of astounding stupidity is, alas, not uncommon in the world today. It is unfortunately not rare to meet people with views like Jolene’s. That people endanger themselves is one thing. But if they endanger the lives of other people, that is a whole different ballgame.

Think about that, the next time a Woo Woo makes you smile. Mel Wacks, director of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame  , reports that Eisenhower is not in the Hall of Fame. Just another of Jolene’s misconceptions.