Fake Drugs and Fake Religion: The Placebo Effect

One in Two Doctors Prescribe Placebos
Corky Nowell Wants a Monument to His 1975 Religion

Inebriated Press
November 21, 2008

081121placebo1The Wall Street Journal reported last week that one in two American doctors say they prescribe placebos to their patients, and more than two-thirds believe it permissible to do so. The Wall Street Journal also reported last week that the nine Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments over whether a city in Utah is obligated, under the U.S. Constitution, to erect a monument in its park celebrating the Seven Aphorisms, the tenets of a local religion founded in 1975 by a former supply-company manager named Corky Nowell. Pundits are debating the benefits of fake drugs and religion, while American voters wonder what reality will bring when president-elect Obama and the Congressional Democrats take absolute power next year.

“I like fake things and placebos because they’re malleable and arbitrary and I can do what I want with them — be that real or imagined. It’s that kind of flexibility that I enjoy better than hard facts and the idea of unchangeable truth,” said Olga Tvorak, a gymnast and philosopher adept at bending the physical and metaphysical, frequently at the same time. “Doctors give placebos because the mind is what’s making people sick, and if the mind thinks it’s taking med’s to get well, it will. And religions built on aphorisms and neat sayings like ‘we are the one’s we’ve been waiting for’ are helpful but you can still ignore them without fear of hell. Barack will do what he wants because he can. That’s nothing to worry about, because when he takes charge he’ll define reality and make things fit it. Everything is relative and arbitrary anyway, that’s the reality of existence. Anyone telling you otherwise is selling something.”

Not everyone agrees with Tvorak. “There are elements of truth in all things, and some people twist it into a lie or convince people it’s meaningless, but deep down, in our heart of hearts, we know better,” said John Doe-Deer, an avid hunter and lawnmower salesman. “Some of my customers think my bill for fixing their lawnmowers is relative and arbitrary and believe that 30 day terms are meaningless, but they’re not. Same goes for my wife’s birth control. The last time we pretended it was a relative thing we got twins. If a doctor thinks I’m only making up an illness she should tell me and not just give me pretend medication and send me home. I may want a second opinion. And if Obama takes my hard earned money and gives it to others because they didn’t work as hard as me; that’ll be real and it’ll hurt me. As far as the religion thing goes, god doesn’t talk in terms of mere suggestions or aphorism, and he especially didn’t send enlightened beings to talk to a guy named Corky in Utah back in 1975. The Ancient of Days doesn’t toy around that way. Anyone who says He does is selling something.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that one in two American doctors say they prescribe placebos to their patients, and more than two-thirds believe it permissible to do so, according to a new study from the National Institutes of Health. Surveys of physicians in other countries, including Israel, Denmark and the U.K., have found similar results. These revelations, published last month in the prestigious BMJ, formerly known as the British Medical Journal, seem disquieting, even unethical. After all, when doctors prescribe a medication, we trust them to dispense the real thing.

In their coverage of the new study, the media portrayed placebo use as commonplace — “For Many Doctors, Placebos Are an Answer” said the Washington Post — and even a guilty indulgence: “Many MDs Admit, Privately, Giving Patients Placebos,” as the Star-Ledger put it. It would be no surprise if most people concluded that arrogant, impatient doctors were cheating them or pushing their concerns aside. In this light, the placebo story was simply further evidence that the cherished doctor-patient relationship is becoming a relic of the past.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the nine Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments over whether a city in Utah is obligated, under the U.S. Constitution, to erect a monument in its park celebrating the Seven Aphorisms, the tenets of a local religion founded in 1975 by a former supply-company manager named Claude “Corky” Nowell, later known as Corky Ra, who said he was visited by “advanced living beings.” He called the religion that resulted Summum. Laughable though it looks, Pleasant Grove City v. Summum is a textbook example of tensions that have pulled our courts between noble readings of the Constitution — in this case, the First Amendment’s speech protections — and what the average person might call the common-sense requirements of running a civil society.

Some people say common sense went out of fashion during the last century and fakes and knock-offs are as important to the new era as trade with China.

081121beach“If you can’t afford the real thing, or if you just don’t want the baggage and side-effects that come with it, then the artificial or fake isn’t just as good, it’s better,” said Stacy Sunburn-Lipbalm, a beach-babe with bleached white hair, and silicon enhancements that stand proud in the setting California sun. “We all define our own reality and one is as good as another. I suppose there may be some slight variations between say, JFK and George Bush’s reality, compared to Adolf Hitler’s and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s. But I’m sure that whatever Obama does as president will be fine. All anyone really needs is sun and sand anyway. At least that’s how I see it. And deep down, that’s how 54% of American’s feel too. Otherwise they wouldn’t have elected a guy they know nothing about to be our leader.”

In related news, ten out of ten doctors prescribe drugs to their patients. And we wonder why the country has a drug problem. No word on precisely why that statement is considered relative or arbitrary.

(C) 2008 InebriatedPress.com

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