If You Listen to Celebrities For Medical Advice, You're Probably Already Dead by Now

Slow news day alert! USA Today asks "Are celebrities crossing the line on medical advice?" and points to:

Tom Cruise in 2005 began a spat with Shields and drew criticism from mental health professionals when he railed against antidepressants and Ritalin on the Today show, dismissing psychiatry as a "pseudoscience."

• Actress Jenny McCarthy, who has an autistic son, has written several books linking autism with childhood vaccinations, even though a host of scientific studies show that vaccines are safe and not the cause of increasing autism rates.

• Actress Suzanne Somers— already well-known for her diet books and ThighMaster products — in October released her 18th book, Knockout, which experts describe as a catalogue of unproven or long-debunked alternative cancer "cures."

The examples above are, to my mind, a real mixed bag. As a scientologist, Tom Cruise has some super-wacko beliefs, though questioning the efficacy of psychiatry and large-scale dosing of kids via Ritalin and what have you is not probably one of them. The autism/vaccination connection made by Jenny McCarthy strikes me as extremely not credible, as do most alternative cancer cures (not to mention the ThighMaster itself). But we live in a world where truth is increasingly up for grabs, which is hardly ever a bad thing as long as truth-tellers have to lead by example (such as dying quickly from alternative cancer cures) rather than imposing their vision on the rest of us via law, taxes, or both.

Anyhoo, now that the government, which never steers us wrong, is taking over health care, this may be moot. Or it may be turning the entire country into one giant Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. Who knows? But my late parents, uneducated as they were and born in the 1920s and growing up when the stars really were stars, had it right when they came to taking advice from celebrities: Don't, unless they're talking about bad breath.

To wit, Mike Connors, TV's Mannix gets tough on halitosis:

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  • John Tagliaferro||

  • Gilbert Martin||

    If you listen to celebrities for advice on ANYTHING, you are mostly likely brain-dead to begin with.

  • Death Panelist||

    Nick, are you saying the science of medicine is settled?

  • The Gobbler||

    +1

  • John Tagliaferro||

    They give some good advice on The Actor's Studio.

  • ed||

    Actress Jenny McCarthy....has written several books

    This fact gives hope to those thousand monkeys still trying to type out MacBeth.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Their work would be easier if only they used ghost writers like the stars do.

  • Mr. Burns||

    It was the best of times, it was THE BLORST OF TIMES?! Stupid monkey.

  • ||

    To be or not to be, that is the gzornynplaht.

  • ||

    Actress Jenny McCarthy, who has an autistic son, has written read several books

    Doesn't that seem...well, not likely either?

  • ||

    I'm confused. Who wrote the book - Jenny or her son?

  • Poop Slinger||

    Is there a celebrity endorsed suppository? Call me French, but that's the only way that I'll take medicine.

  • ||

    Tom Cruise's hostility towards psychiatry is official scientology doctrine. Hubbard was a nutcase, and he always hated the psychiatric profession.

    -jcr

  • Kevin||

    I posted this elsewhere, but... just wait until Mr. Cruise is forced to pay for health insurance that covers psychiatry.

  • SIV||

    That doesn't mean he is wrong.Psychiatry is one long tradition of quackery, pseudoscience, and coercive practices.

  • ||

    That may or may not be the case, but I'm not going to take the word of a criminal nut-cult on it.

    -jcr

  • A Thousand Monkeys||

    Gillespie ghost-writes all my stories.

  • skeet||

    Is writing books about alternative cures for cancer "imposing"? No one's forcing you to buy them are they? Some, many of them might be bunk. You know, kind of like chemo, which just made people I liked sicker, although it might have extended their life a few months.

  • ||

    Conventional cancer treatment does not cure anyone; the person servives despite the treatment! Until the pharmacutical companies' hold on the medical profession is overturned and sanity is used in the treatment of illness, we as a race are going to get sicker and sicker. We were better off 150 years ago in many ways. Poisons in our food, drinks and air cause Cancer. It is not just a genetic flaw as they would lead you to beleive! Don't go to a doctor; you are signing your own death warrant.

  • Abdul||

    Nice try, Nick, but Tom Sellek told me not to listen to you.

  • Magnum||

    Abdul, did you see the sunrise this morning?

  • Higgins||

    What's this crust on my moustache? Forget it; anyone want to play Mastermind?

  • Ska||

    If You Listen to Celebrities For Medical Advice, You're Probably Already Dead by Now

    And if I took acting lessons from my doctor, I'd probably be an elemntary school level thespian. Who would have figured that?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Can I still listen to Hugh Laurie, though? He only cares about the medicine.

  • ||

    You gonna finish that sandwich, Wilson?

  • ||

    IT'S NOT LUPUS.

  • ||

    It's NEVER Lupus

  • ||

    Why can't it ONCE be lupus? JUST ONCE!

  • House||

    It was sarcoidosis. You're all fired.

  • S.G. Magnus||

    ...questioning the efficacy of psychiatry and large-scale dosing of kids via Ritalin and what have you is not probably one of them.

    Scientologists do not "question the efficiacy of psychiatry." They believe that alien souls attach themselves to human souls, and that attachment causes all mental disorders.

  • The World's Stupidest Human||

    Makes sense to me.

  • ||

    As someone raised on mix of Catholic and Morman theology (with a spicing of Navaho animism) that doesn't sound half crazy to me.

  • ||

    They believe that alien souls attach themselves to human souls, and that attachment causes all mental disorders.

    Well, you gotta admit it does explain congress.

  • The Art-P.O.G.||

    For the win.

  • ||

    And, in fact, their long-standing hatred of psychiatry coincides with actual scientists and actual doctors pointing out that Scientology was not really medicine, and shouldn't be allowed to call itself that.

    Don't ever confuse healthy skepticism about psychiatric care with what the Scientologists believe. It isn't skepticism that informs their beliefs; psychiatry occupies a Satan-like role in their juvenile cosmology. The bad guys in Battlefield Earth were called 'Psychlos' for a reason.

  • anonymous||

    So, basically, they believe in demonic possession with a sci-fi twist.

  • Rhywun||

    And they walk around in these weird sailor suits on their way to the "Sea Org" because Hubbard liked to sail.

  • creech||

    There have always been quakery that the ordinary person believed because some celebrity said it. Some more dangerous than others. Such as "Any Southerner can whip ten Yankees."

  • ||

    If a man, being ill of a pus appendix, resorts to a shaved and fumigated longshoreman to have it disposed of, and submits willingly to a treatment involving balancing him on McBurney's spot and playing on his vertebra as on a concertina, then I am willing, for one, to believe that he is badly wanted in Heaven.

    -guess who

  • ||

    Here's my favorite site regardingthe subject

    http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.com

  • ||

    and listening to journalists for advice on what to think is...?

  • ||

    I do, however, wish my female companions would take cooch trimming advice from Ms. McCarthy. She is well known to be an expert in that field.

  • ||

    So your horrible wife has a thicket down there, JW? Or are you talking about your mom?

  • ||

    That's be *your* mom, Epi. It''s like a some eye-talian briar patch on a hot summer day.

  • ||

    Yes. I've spoken to her about it but she claims it hides the crabs well.

  • ||

    :::scratch::: Yeah, it does. :::scratch:::

  • ||

    She is well known to be an expert in that field.

    [citation needed]

  • ||

    Citation NSFW, natch.

    And some extra shit for the spam filter....

  • Jeff P||

    Do you have any idea how many cars Mannix wrecked over the course of that show?

    I'd also like to state that watching Lee Majors hawk the Bionic Ear hearing aid is officially the most depressing thing ever. You can actually see his soul and dignity leave his body as reads his stilted script.

  • ¢||

    Is there a celebrity endorsed suppository?

    Derek Jeter.

  • ||

    I get all my medical advice from Bea Arthur, which is why I don't take Premarin.

  • VikingMoose||

    Stop Jenny

    but... but... but...
    What's the harm?

    and ORAC has a buncha stuff on "http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/medicine/antivaccination_lunacy/"

    (can't paste a third link) but that's the location.

  • ||

    If you believe any of the crap being given to you by pharmaceutical drug-pushers, that are supposed to cure ANYTHING, you are being duped. When Rockefeller's Great Grandfather started pushing coal tar as some sort of cure (the original snake oil salesman!), it started, and it has snow balled from there. Our economies are base on chemicals to poison our bodies and weapons to kill everyone else; we are a savage race indeed!

    Wake up people! Learn to think for yourself.

  • ||

    Someone please reassure me that this is a troll.

  • ||

    Observation is sufficient. Reassurance is unnecessary.

  • VikingMoose||

    just a reminder from upthread. Much more fun than the woo meister "Steve", whose mind is so open, it fell out!

  • Liberty Gal||

    Gee Nick,
    Sounds like you, the very Voice of Reason, are on the big government FDA approved, $200B/yr cancer drug-pushing pharmaceutical side, despite the fact that the standard of care chemotherapy not only kills healthy tissue, but has also failed for decades to produce a cure. Suzanne's book begins with a description of her cancer misdiagnosis by five doctors in a LA hospital, who all told her she was going to die if she didn't submit to the mainstream standard of care for cancer.

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