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A strange little article by New York Times Style columnist David Coleman on Shock Doctrine author Naomi Klein's love of Bach Rescue Remedy, a homeopathic treatment for stress. In a world gone mad, Klein says, she needs an expensive placebo to stay relaxed:

And it was while she was reporting on the elusive economics of Iraq reconstruction in spring 2004 that she learned an important life lesson: remain calm. "That was when everything went crazy," she recalled. "The four Blackwater guards were killed, Paul Bremer had closed down Moqtada al-Sadr's newspaper, and both Falluja and Najaf were under siege." Then the Abu Ghraib photographs leaked out.

I sympathize. Who didn't pull a Margot Kidder when discovering that Moqtada's paper wouldn't be on the stoop the following morning?

But the contents of the bottle (a blend of flower essences, according to a spokesman for Nelsons, the British company that makes the Bach line) are not its real charm. "I have no real sense that it works," Ms. Klein said. "I think of it like a kind of talisman. I like the old-fashioned country-doctor packaging."

You heard it right: Naomi Klein, author of No Logo, was lured by Bach's clever branding.

NEXT: White Flag Over Iraq

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  1. Naomi Klein is a self-serving, Marxist attention whore with no real principles and very little in the way of reasoning skill, film at 11.

  2. We are all slaves to the marketing industry, even Naomi. It just illustrates her point.

  3. The stuff works. Used it for my dog after an operation: Put a couple of drops in her water bowl, which she approached gingerly, still a bit sedated. She lapped a bit of water, then her tail went up in the air and she started prancing around the room. That’s not placebo effect. Revived some dying houseplants, too.

    This is in addition to satisfying personal experience with the Bach Flowers for self and friends over many years. Once squirted some into the mouth of an elderly relative who’d slipped and fallen on the ice, severely spraining her ankle, while she was in psychological shock as we waited for help to arrive. Immediately her face relaxed and she calmly asked for a cigarette. Did the same (before I learned about liability laws) for a very drunk pedestrian, who immediately became oriented and asked for directions home – though I don’t know how long he stayed focused.

    I won’t be debating the efficacy of homeopathy here, just wanted to give my testimony; take it or leave it.

  4. I don’t care if someone uses homeopathic remedies, but it bothers me when they recommend them and advertise that they work on television. Aren’t there laws against blatantly false advertising? At least the old fashioned patent remedies had goodly amounts of opium, cocaine, and alcohol. The homeopathic shit basically contains magic water that’s been in the same room as a chemical that is supposed to cause the OPPOSITE of what you want in your body. Crazy shit, there.

  5. Ah, homeopathic “remedies”.

    I’d say homeopathy is total bollocks, but it would be more accurate to say that homeopathy is total bollocks dilluted in water until there may or may not actually be any bollocks present in the dose.

  6. M-

    I have no doubts that you feel it works. But, if it does, then it should be easy enough to prove. Show me a double blind, placebo controlled study where homeopathy works, and I’ll change my tune.

  7. “I sympathize. Who didn’t pull a Margot Kidder when discovering that Moqtada’s paper wouldn’t be on the stoop the following morning?”

    I guess that’s sarcasm, but I imagine it was pretty scary being a young white female reporter in Iraq when that stuff went down.

  8. This just shows the power Klein’s thesis about our dominance by corporate advertising: even she, who is fully conscious of the problem, cannot overcome the allure.

  9. M,

    Are you sure you aren’t unwittingly carrying the Claw of the Conciliator in your pocket? Or your sabretache?

  10. “This just shows the power Klein’s thesis about our dominance by corporate advertising: even she, who is fully conscious of the problem, cannot overcome the allure.”

    Or maybe it’s just a really cool bottle.

  11. Good lord. Are we now condemned to be linked to every puff piece about Naomi Klein’s upper Manhattan lifestyle? Frankly, I wish you’d go back to waterboarding.

  12. Mixed it with scotch and I was calm all afternoon.

    It also works if you just use scotch.

  13. That stuff should be banned by the FDA. It has not been proven safe and effective.

  14. I heard it is very relaxing to use it to wash down a few valiums.

  15. Homeopathy is a label. There is much that is bollocks that is labeled as homeopathy but an individual idea should be judged qua that idea. One should not condemn all ideas that fall under the label homeopathy.

  16. Joe –

    I’m not for banning any product. I’m all for banning outright lies in advertising, though.

  17. PIRS: No way, man! Science and double-blind studies and stuff have, like, conclusively proven that everything labelled ‘homeopathic’ is certain not to work! I read it on the Internet!

  18. What is it with Ivy league women named Naomi? Naomi Wolf Naomi Klein. Is there something about giving that name to an over privileged white woman that eats their brain?

  19. Anyway, I haven’t read No Logo but looking at the reviews, it doesn’t appear that it says that logos or branding are bad, nor does it say that consumers shouldn’t pay attention to them. It does say that “brands attempt to have their names associated with everything from movie stars and athletes to grassroots social movements” and “brands use their size and clout to limit the number of choices available to the public” but I hardly see how either of these beliefs are inconsistent with finding the label on a nice yellow bottle to be soothing.

  20. I won’t be debating the efficacy of homeopathy here…

    Because you know you’ll get your newage-filled head handed to you by anyone who knows anything about the topic.

    …just wanted to give my testimony; take it or leave it.

    And since when is an anecdote considered scientific evidence?

  21. Nice Wolfe reference, mitch.

  22. Since when is someone acknowledging they’re providing an anecdote considered to be a claim to scientific evidence? Are there secret words I’m not seeing, Akira? Is this like the fnords?

  23. The only reason Akira reads blog comments is to find peer-reviewed scientific data.

    It’s a very disappointing endeavor.

  24. If you look at the ingredients on this website, Rescue Remedy is 27% alcohol. No wonder it has such a calming effect.

  25. Hey, I’m usually the last one to defend Akira, but I had the same knee-jerk reaction to that tripe posted by M. At first I thought it was satire, but then I realized the poor fool was actually serious.

  26. As a future Naturopathic Doctor I can think of a few people who would love to have enough money to do double-blind placebo controlled studies on homeopathy.

    And PIRS said it right. I would also add that anything you take at home without the guidance of a Homeopath is not homeopathy. It takes a well-trained and experienced practitioner to properly administer effective homeopathic remedies.

  27. Rescue Remedy is an inexpensive, all natural way to keep your pets happy and healthy everyday.

    Yeah, with that alcohol content, I’m sure it is!

    (Damn forgetting to close tags properly…)

  28. Rescue Remedy is 27% alcohol.

    Yeah, and that’s listed as an inactive ingredient.

    I don’t know about any of the other crap in it, but my bet is that alcohol is the only active ingredient.

  29. Try using a Placebo with the same alcohol content; you may feel just fine!!

  30. Just to amend something I said earlier. Double-blind placebo controlled studies would be next to impossible with homeopathy. We’re talking about a pill you take to make your headache, depression, whatever go away. Every patient presents differently and based on other representative symptoms, 100 people with headaches could need 100 different remedies.

    Calling rescue remedy homeopathy is dishonest.

  31. Do’eth. We’re NOT talking about pill you take….

  32. Isaac Bartram, beat me to it. Dang, shucks.

  33. Do you people seriously get drunk from 3 drops of schnapps? The whole bottle is only 10mL.

  34. Akira,

    Homeopathy works if you give your heart to God in prayer. The science behind homeopathy may be questionable.There is no science supporting your “fast cycling manic depression disorder” diagnosis. Who is really believing in fairy tales and unicorns here?

  35. Balloon Maker –

    One of my best friends is a naturopathic doctor, and he’s a very smart guy. I’ve taken some of his natural cures, and some of them have been effective on me. But, he also believes in homeopathy. He doesn’t think it’s scientific, he knows it’s a placebo. That’s what homeopathy is. It’s a placebo dressed up in psuedoscience. If you can’t make a scientific study on it, then it isn’t science, it’s faith. That’s just what homeopathy is…it’s faith. Not a bit of science. That’s not to say that it can’t help, but it won’t help any more than praying, or a placebo.

    If you still believe that it’s science, then you’ve passed the test. For only 99 dollars I will take down a description of your belly button lint, examine a printing of your scrotum made with construction paper and red dye #5, and send you a homeopathic remedy guaranteed to increase your IQ, your immune system, and your penis size. Act now while supplies last.

  36. Beautiful! That Ms. Klein uses homeopathic shit fits so well with her Marxist, anti-corporate persona. At least she’s a consistent idiot.

  37. Frank,
    Well, if you’re just going to be a dick about it then I’m sorry I said anything to begin with.

    We’ll agree to disagree.

  38. Homeopathy is a label. There is much that is bollocks that is labeled as homeopathy but an individual idea should be judged qua that idea. One should not condemn all ideas that fall under the label homeopathy.

    Actuallly, the unifying idea of homeopathy is that small, highly-dilluted doses of compounds that cause the same symptoms as the disease in question will cure it. Which is bollocks.

    There may be something to some alternative medicine modalities, but homeopathy is one of the clearly implausible ones. One of the things that pisses me off the most about NCCAM is that it functions as a publicly-funded advocate for even obvious bullshit like homeopathy rather than actually taking a critical look at what works and what doesn’t.

  39. WE’RE SORRY TOO.

    AND WE DISAGREE MORE.

  40. Some homeopathic treatment is covered by the national insurance coverage of several European countries, including France, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and Luxembourg.

    Jacques Benveniste was a French immunologist (March 12, 1935 – October 3, 2004). In 1979 he published in the French Compte rendus de l’Acad?mie des Sciences a well-known paper where he contributes to the description of the structure of the platelet-activating factor and its relationships with histamine. He was head of INSERM’s Unit 200 directed at “Immunology, allergy and inflammation”. He was at the center of a major international controversy in 1988 when he published a paper in the prestigious scientific journal Nature reporting on the action of very high dilutions of anti-immunoglobulin E on the degranulation of human basophils, a kind of white blood cell. Biologists were puzzled by these results as only molecules of water, and no molecules of the initial substance (anti-IgE) are expected to be found in these high dilutions. These results seem to indicate that the configuration of molecules in water may be biologically active. A journalist coined the term water memory for this hypothesis.

    Nature agreed to publish Benveniste’s article in June 1988 with two conditions: first, that, contrary to standard scientific practice, Benveniste obtain prior confirmation of his results from other laboratories; second, that a team selected by Nature be allowed to investigate his laboratory following publication. Benveniste accepted these conditions; the results were replicated by four laboratories, in Milan, Italy; in Toronto, Canada; in Tel-Aviv, Israel and in Marseille, France.

  41. Balloon Maker,

    Two things:

    1. If James Randi’s $1,000,000 award doesn’t apply to proving the effectiveness of homeopathy, I’ll bet he can at least direct you to some studies that have already been done. Check out Randi.org.

    2. Where do you live? TMBG have a question for you.

  42. Double-blind placebo controlled studies would be next to impossible with homeopathy.

    Get two volunteers. Give one of them a placebo. Give the other what ought to be a lethal dose of homeopathic sleeping pills. If no one dies, homeopathy is bunk.

  43. I like that Honor Code seal. Nice.

    But I worry when a website like Quackwatch tries to say that chiropractic therapy is bogus. You know that chiropractors are legit, right? They are licensed by the state. It’s been around for years. Heck, Mencken wrote extensively about it. It’s in the Chrestomathy. I forget which section.

  44. highnumber,

    Chiropractors messing with your back to ease back pain are legitimate. Chiropractors messing with your back to cure your diseases/conditions is not. The latter is where the quackiness comes from.

  45. Whispers to ProGLib: I actually do remember which section of the Chrestomathy the chapter on chiropractic is in. It’s called “Quackery.”

  46. If we had any doubts that Naomi Klein was incapable of rational thought, her demand for quackery should put them to rest.

    What a stupid bint.

    -jcr

  47. “As a future Naturopathic Doctor”

    You are a fraud and a quack. FUCK YOU.

    -jcr

  48. “Homeopathy is a label”

    Yeah, it’s a fancy name for “quack”.

    -jcr

  49. Wow, it took 20 minutes for the Bach Rescue Remedy people to spam the comment thread.

    Twenty minutes. Clever branding indeed.

  50. I mean, it took an entire 37 minutes for some douchebag to post as me!

  51. I have it on good authority that someone who posts quite a bit here, was on some sort of homeopathic “treatment” and forgot to take his “medicine” and almost died of an overdose.

  52. Overdose of what?

    Corn syrup?

  53. So, here we have the root cause for Naomi Klein’s belief in the hypnotic power of advertising and branding: She herself will believe anything.

  54. And since when is an anecdote considered scientific evidence?

    Espeically when its an anecdote that reads about 11 on the tongue-in-cheek-o-meter.

  55. This just shows the power Klein’s thesis about our dominance by corporate advertising: even she, who is fully conscious of the problem, cannot overcome the allure.

    Perhaps our corporate overlords are completely under the thrall of corporate advertising, too; unable to resist producing more and more of the stuff. Maybe we’ve all been invaded by some alien brain virus.

  56. Overdose of what?
    Didn’t get that one, huh? Well I quess I need to dilute it another 10x or some shit.

  57. “So, here we have the root cause for Naomi Klein’s belief in the hypnotic power of advertising and branding: She herself will believe anything.”

    Actually, out of a page of snark I think this post is actually on to something.

    To a rube, advertising would look like a tool of immense power and mesmerizing effectiveness.

  58. I won’t be debating the efficacy of homeopathy here, just wanted to give my testimony; take it or leave it.

    I really hope you are joking. If not, congrats on being a credulous idiot!

  59. Giving lethal doses of any homeopathic remedy is oxymoronic. The reason for using such small doses is that they do no harm.

    John C. Randolph,
    I’m sorry that you feel that way. If attending a 4-year doctoral program with the goal of someday helping people live their lives in a healthier way makes me a quack, then I suppose I am one. Live healthier and you’ll be healthier? Quackery, of course.

    I will agree that many people who present themselves as “naturopaths” are dangerous quacks. Many of them have received their degrees from internet “universities” and should be exposed or better yet ignored. It’s a big hurdle for the profession.

  60. “Dr.” Laing:

    First of all, my medical condition is none of your goddamn business. So unless your my doctor (which you most decidedly not) shut your fucking mouth.

    Secondly, medical science has a pretty good grasp of what causes bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses thanks to the scientific method (e.g. double blind studies, peer review, etc.) that you and other newage bullshiters posting here seem to despise. (Gee, I wonder why?) All you need to do is crack open an encyclopedia, so don’t insult my intelligence by claiming otherwise.

    Homeopathy works if you give your heart to God in prayer.

    Funny, you don’t hear anyone say that about penicillin.

    Who is really believing in fairy tales and unicorns here?

    Excuse me, but I’m not the one claiming that diluted sugar water or or that an invisible man in sky can cure diseases.

  61. Akira,
    I’m not going to speak for Dr. Laing (who I think was kidding anyway). I have no problem with modern medicine. Whatever gets you better is good by me.

    Homeopathy has nothing to do with prayer or faith in god (it may to some, but none of the practitioners I know take it into account). I for one think prayer is counterproductive, but that’s a discussion for another day.

  62. Homeopathy has nothing to do with prayer or faith in god…/I

    Your right, homeopathy has nothing to do with religion. Just like homeopathy has nothing to do with real medicine.

    Peddle your newage elsewhere, you fucking quack. I can only hope this civilization wakes up from it’s love affair with magical thinking and puts you and your kind where they belong: A prison cell.

  63. Homeopathy has nothing to do with prayer or faith in god…

    Your right, homeopathy has nothing to do with religion. Just like homeopathy has nothing to do with real medicine.

    Peddle your newage elsewhere, you fucking quack. I can only hope this civilization wakes up from its love affair with magical thinking and puts you and your kind where they belong: A prison cell.

  64. m 4:28

    brilliant! you may now hand mr mackenzie his leg back.

    😉

  65. Prison? But that’s where they pee in a cup and throw it at you.

  66. Akira,

    Excuse me, but I’m not the one claiming that diluted sugar water or or that an invisible man in sky can cure diseases.

    There is as much scientific evidence supporting the invisible man in the sky as there is behind “fast cycling manic depression”.The main difference being the relative age and acceptance of the concepts. Invisible man in the sky wins hands down.

    I have no problem with you taking faddish unproven therapy/pharms for your perceived problems. Why do you have a problem with believers in homeopathy doing the same?

  67. highnumber,
    I’ll give you $1,000,000 to prove Lipitor is safe and effective, but I have to agree to the terms of the study (oh, and you have to fund it).

    The bottom line is, if person A gives person B money to perform homeopathy on person A, and person B is honest about the safety and efficacy of what he is prescribing, then who gives a shit? We pretend that medicines our MDs or DOs give us are magic bullets because of a double blind placebo study, but homeopathy can’t work because it doesn’t fit into a traditional methodology. If you don’t want to use homeopathy, fine. No skin off my back.

  68. We’re cool, then. I’m sure you’ll understand when I tell people that homeopathy is a stinking pile of pig shit and only a fool would believe in it since no scientific proof (or even theory) has ever been shown to back it up, right?
    Like I said, we’re cool then.
    Oh, and if somebody can show that they were defrauded by a homeopath, they should be in their rights to sue, right?
    We’re totally cool.

  69. I like the old-fashioned country-doctor packaging

    ’nuff said.

    We are all slaves to the marketing industry, even Naomi. It just illustrates her point.

    I’m not.

  70. She lapped a bit of water, then her tail went up in the air and she started prancing around the room. That’s not placebo effect. Revived some dying houseplants, too.

    No, it was water.

    I won’t be debating the efficacy of homeopathy here, just wanted to give my testimony; take it or leave it.

    Personal testimonials. That’s the essence of homeopathy.

    I kill me.

    I’m here all week.

  71. homeopathic sleeping pills.

    So, would those be just highly diluted meth?

  72. As a scientist, I’m extremely skeptical that any sort of homeopathic “medicine” works as described. I think a lot of it really is a placebo effect.

    As a libertarian, I really don’t care if people use it. I really see no difference between recreational drug use and swilling natural essences of tree bark to make oneself feel better. Seems odd to me that folks who advocate doing away with the FDA are denouncing quackery, for surely the former will lead to much more of the latter. Caveat emptor as far as I’m concerned.

  73. Seems odd to me that folks who advocate doing away with the FDA are denouncing quackery, for surely the former will lead to much more of the latter.

    It isn’t odd. Yes, you can peddle whatever kind of silliness you wish (M’s parody was great). But it is entirely appropriate for others to point out that the cure is silly. If you make unfounded assertions that cause harm, you are liable for that harm. Especially if it has been repeatedly demonstrated that the assertions are false.

    Oh, and homeopathy is clearly silly magical thinking. Which says something about Klein, balloon maker, and “Dr.” Laing.

  74. highnumber,
    Absolutely cool. And of course, any patient who is defrauded by a homeopath or harmed by any treatment should have the right to sue.

    As I said before, there are a lot of people out there who represent themselves as Naturopathic Doctors who really aren’t. It’s because of the varying state licensing laws. I’d love to see those fake NDs (and ones who are using unsafe practices) put out of business. It would be good for all of us, the real NDs and the public.

  75. The irony…it burns me!

  76. Mathew,
    ZING. You sure got me. Why don’t you learn what it takes to become a real ND and then speak.

  77. Why don’t you learn what it takes to become a real ND and then speak.

    An understanding of science is definitely not required.

  78. Stuart,
    I’ll go into this with the assumption that you know more than me. But right now I’m taking such magical voodoo as Gross Anatomy, Cadaver Lab, Biochemistry, Embryology, and Histology. I’m 4 years, 2 rounds of board exams, 360 Quarter Credits and 700 patient contacts from being an ND.

    Check out the programs of study at Bastyr, National College of Naturopathic Medicine, or Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.

    Or just assume you’re right and end this conversation.

  79. Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper to waddle around and cover yourself with feathers and eat stale bread crumbs that Mrs. MacGruder feeds you at the pond every morning?

    ooh a Lipitor comment. ba zing. you are so clever!!!!! How about a Celebrex one? Or better yet. Baycol. I’ll give you a sec to look that up.

    Check out the Quackwatch links, while you’re at it. Check out Highnumber’s links.

    Then head back to the pond. A three year old wants to throw rocks at you. Good day.

  80. oh, Balloon. You’re just Daffy.

  81. Balloon,

    I checked out the Bastyr “College” web site. I now have an even lower opinion of Naturopathic quackery. I expected to just find silliness falling for the naturalistic fallacy.

    It appears that several years of homeopathy are required for the degree. Homeopathy has been repeatedly demonstrated to be garbage, I guess the good news is the dilutions are so high the stuff isn’t dangerous.

    You also get many courses in Qi Gong, based on such scientific principles as “third eye sight,” “vital energy,” and “spiritual channels.” And there are the courses on “Chinese organ systems,” which are no doubt different from western organ systems that can actually be found.

    Too bad there aren’t courses in things like the scientific method, statistics, and how to construct repeatable experiments.

  82. BALLOON:

    CAN YOU PLEASE WRITE ME A SCRIPT FOR ENZYTE. I RAN OUT.

  83. as an unrelated aside, my tai chi is pretty fucking awesome.

  84. Balloon,

    Would you post the syllabus for “Chinese Organ Systems; Cosmology & Symb III?” It may just be my foolish western way of thinking, but connecting organ systems and cosmology seems unusual.

  85. “Bastyr” the one in Seattle? In Wallingford? Damn, I just thought that was a front for taking money from gullible idiots. I didn’t know anyone actually went there.

  86. Hey Stuartl don’t snicker. It’s a “Member of the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges”. In other words, they’re accredited by other quacks.

    A fool and his money . . . etc.

  87. A fool and his money . . . etc.

    Sadly, balloon isn’t the only fool. He probably won’t lack for patients, hopefully they will seek real medical attention if they have anything serious.

  88. StuartL: sadly, they probably won’t. Quack “medicine” and suchlike are the ultimate magic potion “solution”. If they sought help from a real MD, they’d have a HUGE responsibility for their own wellness… with the “tongue of bat up the ass, that’ll clear up your fatigue”, they’re absolved from taking any responsibility and (potentially uncomfortable) action for their wellness.

    Becker, Gary – health as human capital goes into production of health.

  89. Hey, you guys all got stressed by this article maybe you should try Bach Rescue Remedy to get your emotions under control, wouldn’t that be a test to see if that stuff works 😉
    A bunch of dis-believers all stressed out because of a little bottle of Essences preserved in alcohol. If you use OCT07 at check out you will even get a discount at http://www.BachFlower.com
    I bet you that you will feel alot better

  90. hey tina would you like to buy this magic rock?

    do not be stressed it is a rock but it is made out of magic.

    hence the name magic rock.

    i can prove to you it is magic. in 1974 some guy touched this rock and said wow that’s amazing. he then invented dancing.

    that guy was named michael jackson.

    TRUE STORY

  91. We are all slaves to the marketing industry, even Naomi. It just illustrates her point.

    We “all” are??

    Last i checked i have not been buying a product to relive stress that have been proven not to relive stress.

    I guess I am not part of the “all”.

  92. THAT’S RIGHT, MR. CORNING. YOU HAVE BEEN DELIBERATELY EXCLUDED FROM THE ALL BY TINA. SHE ASSURES YOU THAT THE “ALL” IS HAVING A BLAST AT THE REALLY COOL PARTY.

    PARTY FAVORS FOR EVERYONE.

    AND A SPELL CHECK FOR TINA. IT’S “A LOT”.

    THAT IS A PET PEEVE OF THE MIGHTY, FEARED, BELOVED URKOBOLD.

    AND WHILE YOU’RE AT IT, GO TO QUACKWATCH AND SEE WHY YOU’RE SILLY.

  93. In addition to the awesome logo which compels me to seek out this magical elixer, sparing no expense of course.

    The bulb on the dropper looks similar to a nipple or a penis, I can’t decide which. Anyway, I’m sure that is another cunning marketing angle at work.

  94. If anyone wants reference to clinical research on homeopathy, there have been several hundred such studies (most but NOT all have shown efficacy) as well as several hundred basic science trials.

    I’ve provided some referencing at my website (www.homeopathic.com), some in my new book (www.HomeopathicRevolution.com), and MANY in my eBook (entitled “Homeopathic Family Medicine”).

    People who say that there is no research on homeopathy are simply people who don’t look or are inadequately informed.

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