OK, a question – you are suffering a massive dose of the squits, do you; a) see a doctor or go to a pharmacy and buy some appropriate tablets, or; b) do you eat a quantity of your own shit (dissolved in water, of course) on the basis that a smaller dose of whatever is ailing you might provide a cure? Personally, I’d go for a) on the basis that modern medicine has a pretty good track record for curing this sort of thing and option b) just sounds unhygienic, if not downright dangerous. However, significant numbers of people in the UK are apparently taking option b) when it comes to health care, in the form of homeopathy and other ‘alternative’ medical treatments. Indeed, in addition to the medical equivalent of eating their own shit, people are also consenting to have needles stuck into them in the name of healing, having one bit of their body ‘manipulated’ in order to heal another bit and even sniffing perfumes in the hope that nice smells alone might cure their ailments. Add to these all the so-called ‘natural’ remedies (e.g. some untested plant extract whose efficacy as a medicine is based upon the anecdotal evidence of old crones, dubious ‘Olde Almanacs’ and heavily bearded old weirdos who live in sheds), which are being peddled left, right and centre to the gullible, and I feel that we have another clear-cut case of the triumph of modern idiocy. I just don’t understand it – here we are, living in age when medical science seems to be making giant advances on a daily basis, but people would instead rather turn to the dubious delights of mysticism when it comes to their health! Maybe that’s the problem – medicine seems too precise, too cold and too clinical (if you’ll excuse the pun), for the modern idiot, who undoubtedly craves that strange combination of moral certainty and spiritual mysticism that traditional religion represented. So, ‘alternative’ medicine joins conspiracy theories and paganism as another manifestation of this modern idiotic quest to build a new mystical foundation for a moronic society. In common with paganism and conspiracy theories, ‘alternative’ medicine challenges the orthodoxy with its constellation of ‘facts’, whilst simultaneously providing a reassuring basis of ‘tradition’ – radicalism and conservatism in one easy package for the deluded!
Perhaps the most depressing aspect of this whole ‘alternative’ medicine business is that when a group of senior British doctors have the temerity to issue a report questioning why, as these ‘treatments’ have no proven medical value, are we wasting tax payers money providing them on the NHS, when many hospitals are being forced to lay off staff as a result of financial restrictions, the reaction of a significant section of the media is to dismiss them as being a bunch of out of touch old fogeys. Of course, the supporters of ‘alternative’ medicine fail to mention that the reason these guys have got to be so old is thanks to advances conventional medical science, not through eating their own shit! Indeed, let’s look at the evidence shall we? For the entire period that what we now call ‘alternative’ medicine was effectively the mainstream of medical science, average life expectancy remained relatively low, infant mortality shockingly high, contagious diseases were rampant and even the most minor injury or infection could lead, very rapidly, to death. However, in the relatively short period that what we can consider ‘modern’ medicine has been in the primacy (the last hundred and twenty to hundred and fifty years, say), we have seen all of these trends reversed – the places where they continue to decline are primarily those areas too poor to implement proper medical care. So, on that basis, I think I’ll take my chances with modern medicine! Nevertheless, it is shocking how many otherwise apparently educated people still turn to these ‘alternative’ therapies – just look at that Mark Oaten! A Member of Parliament, no less, and he apparently really believed that having a young man urinate on his bald scalp would stimulate hair growth! I suppose he thought it had something to do with the hormones! Then there are all those celebrities and gurus who allegedly drink their own urine. Personally, beyond the fact that you at least know where it has been, I’ve never understood what the health benefits of doing this are – frankly, if my body is expelling something as a waste product, surely the last thing I should be doing is swallowing it back down? But let’s not forget that other champion of ‘alternative’ medicine – Prince Charles. With all due respect to the heir to the throne, he’s hardly the best advertisement for ‘alternative’ therapies: a bumbling in-bred buffoon who talks to plants and seems to want to hold the whole twenty first century at bay – it is anybody’s guess as to whether its all those ‘alternative’ treatments which have made him that way, or just the inbreeding.
The bottom line is that, unlike medical science, which is based on facts derived from experimental evidence, ‘alternative’ medicine is simply a matter of faith. People choose to believe it works, even when it patently doesn’t. The sort of people who go in for these dubious remedies aren’t interested in inconvenient things like ‘facts’ and ‘evidence’ (unless, of course, they are anecdotal: that Mrs Brown from the laundrette’s Granny’s experience of curing piles by rubbing them with sheep’s intestines is obviously more reliable than any number of scientific tests). Consequently, ‘alternative’ medicine has no place in the modern health service, it is on a par with faith-healing and the laying on of hands; superstitious mumbo jumbo. Actually, to digress somewhat, I have personal experience of how those so-called ‘healing hands’ are just a load of old bollocks. I once had an Aunt who claimed to be a ‘healer’ who could cure merely by touch – yet she always had a bad back herself. If her hands were so bloody effective, why didn’t she lay them on her own back, eh? I’ve always suspected that the whole business of ‘faith healing’ is just a cover for the sexual molestation of the vulnerable by people too stupid or poorly connected to get into medicine, where they can legitimately get women to undress and fondle their breasts. I’d like to see some statistics as to just how many of those supposedly healed by the laying on of hands are young girls with chest infections. Anyway, getting back to the point, you might as well just make up your own quack cures rather than spend extortionate amounts on ‘alternative’ therapies. In fact, I’m thinking of starting my own line of ‘cures’, maybe starting with aromatherapy – I could fart in a few jars and sell it as a headache cure or something. Trust me, if you dress it up with some bollocks about it being a traditional treatment dating back to some medieval alchemist, the gullible will buy it!
Regular readers will know that I seldom inflict my personal emotional traumas upon you here, but, before I wrap up this editorial, I do have to say that lately I’ve been feeling very weary. Weary of the constant scrabbling around for traffic, weary of banging out these bloody stories for no reason other than personal therapy. Just weary. I can’t help but feel that I need a change. Just over a year ago I was seriously thinking of putting everything on hold and going to Tibet. However, something happened to divert me and it never happened. My weariness, combined with the recent realisation that I had been deluding myself about a certain area of my private life (I’m the master of self-delusion when it comes to personal affairs), means I can’t help but feel that now might be the time to resurrect that plan. Perhaps I won’t actually go to Tibet, perhaps it will just be a metaphorical Tibet of the mind I visit, but don’t be too surprised if my name doesn’t appear on the editorials for a while. So, until the next time (whenever that might be), keep it sleazy!