Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Quackery Then & Now: Thoughts on Dr. Kellogg, Al Gore and Other Snake Oil Salesmen

Jay Homnick has a very funny piece about the similarities between old school quackery (like Dr. John Kellogg) and the new (Al Gore and his global warming groupies). Check it out at the American Spectator here.

Watching Albert Arnold Gore Jr., Robert Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr., and their fellow juniors consistently duck the tough questions about the scientific shortcomings of their elaborate phantasm of global warming, carbon footprints, hybrid automobiles, fluorescent light bulbs, greenhouse gases, toxic emissions, shrinking icecaps, melting glaciers, homeless polar bears and boring documentaries, it suddenly hit me: if it ducks like a quack, it must be a quack.

The venerable American institution of quackery -- quack science, quack medicine, quack theories of anatomy and digestion -- seems to be revenant today. It is back in all its glory, now adorned with the sophisticated mantle of modern presentation. You may not realize it while reading Earth in the Balance or watching An Inconvenient Truth, but you are getting the updated flavor of the snake oil salesmen and castor oil prescribers and witch hazel appliers described in Huckleberry Finn...