Caution: Writers at play

On my next "Lost Coast Blues" show, I interview writer and anthropologist, Terrie Torgersen Peterson, who writes on Open Salon as "Anthropologist Underground." She has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Wyoming. She has done archeological field work in the following locations: Haluzta in Israel, the San Juan River cliff dwellings in the American Southwest and in Wyoming's Big Horn Canyon.

Terrie says she enjoys exploring in her writing "the intersection of science and culture and my own life as ethnography." On the show she'll discuss her recent experiences with what she describes as "the anti-vaccine subculture." As a mother of two children, she joined a parent group and found herself thrown in the middle of a serious dust-up that involved parents who were proponents of vaccine rejection. It was this controversy that spurred her to find her writing voice as she began to write posts for Open Salon and SheThought.com that helped her crystallize her thoughts on the subject.

Terrie says: "In thinking more about the anti-vaccine subculture, I was reminded that I think it also speaks to issues of feminism. I think one reason some parents reject vaccines for their children has to do with the low-status position of stay-home parents (moms in particular) in larger society which breeds a culture of intensely competitive parenting where vaccine rejection becomes a powerful marker of status. It's a climate which allows non-medically trained laypeople to self-ascribe social status greater than medical doctors and scientific researchers."

On the show, Terrie will also discuss some of the common arguments against vaccinating and how parents can sift through scientific literature to find reliable information on which to base their health care decisions. She'll read excerpts from her essays and we'll open up the phone lines so that our listeners can ask her questions and join the conversation.

 "Lost Coast Blues" show details:

Lost Coast Blues is an Internet radio talk show for writers, readers and enthusiasts of the written word. We interview and showcase writers who write everything from fiction, poetry, nonfiction, memoir, plays, humor and a whole lot more. We invite writers at all levels of accomplishment (from beginners to already published to those who write just for the sheer joy of it) to read their works and share their writing experiences. We open up the phone lines to our listeners to ask questions, give support and offer critiques. 

Date/Time: Saturday, November 10, 2012, 11 AM to Noon PACIFIC TIME

Author Interview: Terrie Torgersen Peterson, Writer and Anthropologist

Listen to live stream at: ivealwayswantedto.com

Call in to participate: 805/309-5910, at prompt enter conference ID: 948315#

Views: 475

Tags: Blues, Coast, Lost, Peterson, Terrie, Torgersen, anthropology, autism, show, talk, More…vaccination, writer, writing

Comment by koshersalaami on November 8, 2012 at 3:34pm

It's higher status for your kids to get sick?

Comment by Elizabeth Blessing on November 8, 2012 at 6:59pm

Hi koshersalaami: Thanks for your comment. I passed it along to Terrie and here is her response. She'll probably set up her own account on Our Salon soon, but in the meantime she has this to say:

"Koshersalaami, great point! Because the majority of the general population still vaccinates, it's statistically unlikely that their kiddos will get
sick. I've heard folks who don't vaccinate also say that with modern sanitation, organic foods, and the ability to stay home with a sick kiddo,
these diseases aren't very dangerous.

I do think that sometimes insular subcultures coalesce around the values of attachment parenting or natural family living or whatever, and rather than
the ideals being viewed in the context of personal choices, they evolve into the One True Dogma of parenting. Where parents who deviate are
marginalized and the tenants get used as a yardstick to judge each other. I think that vaccine rejection is one of these measures where in these
groups, higher-status moms are the ones who don't vaccinate."

Comment by koshersalaami on November 8, 2012 at 9:31pm

I kind of think the medical community, which has done a lot of research on this, doesn't exactly agree with the non-vaccinators.

Comment by The_Traveler on November 9, 2012 at 3:22am

So the non-vaccinators are like the people who believe in not wearing safety belts because it inhibits their freedom. Of course, its their freedom and their children not wearing safety belts.

"Because the majority of the general population still vaccinates, it's statistically unlikely that their kiddos will get
sick. I've heard folks who don't vaccinate also say that with modern sanitation, organic foods, and the ability to stay home with a sick kiddo,
these diseases aren't very dangerous."

"http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensalzberg/2012/07/23/anti-vaccine-movement-causes-the-worst-whooping-cough-epidemic-in-70-years/"

Comment by koshersalaami on November 9, 2012 at 5:50am
Trav,
I don't think the anti-vaccination movement is based on personal freedom, I think it's based on an unfounded fear that some vaccinations lead to autism. There are a lot of stories out there about how someone's child's behavior changed permanentlyl around the time of a vaccination, so the change was attributed to that vaccination.
Comment by The_Traveler on November 9, 2012 at 6:23am

Yes, I know that.

I was replying to this "I do think that sometimes insular subcultures coalesce around the values of attachment parenting or natural family living or whatever, and rather than the ideals being viewed in the context of personal choices, they evolve into the One True Dogma of parenting. Where parents who deviate are marginalized and the tenants get used as a yardstick to judge each other. I think that vaccine rejection is one of these measures where in these groups, higher-status moms are the ones who don't vaccinate."

Comment by koshersalaami on November 9, 2012 at 6:31am

OK.

Comment by Elizabeth Blessing on November 9, 2012 at 10:41am

The_Traveler and koshersalaami: Thanks for your comments. Some scientists are looking at the effect of multiple vaccines given to infants over a short period of time and how this vaccine schedule might contribute to autoimmune and neurological diseases in children. The idea seems to be that the concentrated number of vaccines given during the first two years when the brain and immune system are developing could be a trigger factor to the development of neurological conditions and disease. Donald W. Miller, MD, proposes a "user friendly vaccination schedule" in his essay of the same title:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/miller/miller15.html

Miller says the U.S. government has paid "$1.5 billion in its Vaccine Injury Compensation Program to families of children who have been injured or killed by vaccines." The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services runs the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program, which can be found at: http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/data.html

Obviously, parents have a lot to think about and information to review when making decisions regarding their children's health. I appreciate Terrie's perspective as she is a mom having to navigate these rough waters trying to find good information and make informed decisions. I'm looking forward to the show on Saturday when we can explore this in more detail!

Comment by The_Traveler on November 9, 2012 at 11:07am

Dr. Miller is also an advocate of the idea that dental amalgams produce autism and Alzheimer's Disease, an issue that has been exhaustively researched for the last 20 years. Linking  vaccinations and mercury from dental amalgams as causes of autism has been very well demolished by main stream medical research after huge numbers of reserach efforts. Before discussing and diseminating your guest's opinion as truth, you might consider reading data on both sides of the issue.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vaccines/CC00014/METHOD=print   from the Mayo Clinic -  

Comment by Rita Shibr on November 9, 2012 at 11:51am

Perhaps I am reading incorrectly but it appears the subject is not the vaccination itself directly but the offshoot that resulted in perceived superiority by the parents who choose not to vaccinate.  It's an interesting phenomenon and a dynamic seen in other areas where science and sociology intersect, looking forward to reading more.

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