“These days, politics seems to dictate that if one party says, “The sky is blue,” the other party is obligated to reply, “No, it’s not, and you’re a terrible human being for thinking that.” That leaves no room for science, in which the data speak for themselves, regardless of ideology, and only when they’re ready. Unfortunately, the visceral excitement of political conflict draws far more clicks and better ratings than the methodical world of science.” Josh Disbrow, CEO Aytu BioScience Inc, in this WSJ Op-Ed

Mr. Disbrow is disconcerted because social media has apparently censored his efforts to explain what his company does — what sort of medical research they are interested in conducting — because of politics, specifically because President Trump has (sort of, in his generally unintelligible way) mentioned it. He writes:

Technologies like Healight, which if borne out through clinical studies may represent a viable way to kill coronaviruses, aren’t provided the clear-headed consideration they deserve but are instead flushed into the political mosh-pit of “us vs. them.”

Twitter, YouTube and Vimeo are under enormous pressure from political activists. They also need to ensure that information on their platforms is safe and accurate. That’s exactly why Aytu decided to post videos and tweet about Healight.

We at Aytu BioScience are confident that treatments for Covid-19 will be found. We hope we can help. But above all we hope science will ultimately speak louder than politics.

…should the FDA approve this technology to treat Covid-19 or other infections, no physician will check a patient’s party affiliation before beginning treatment.

Well, let us hope. But Disbrow is very right to believe that America is reaching a dangerous point if possible medical treatments and therapies are being trashed or supported based on who is speaking about them. Which is precisely where the road leads us when our political obsessions are coupled with emotionalism, and it’s nowhere we really want to go. Not really.

Funnily enough, my hubby and I were just talking last week about the possibilities of UV light on patients. Seems almost like sci-fi to me, and you know sci-fi puts me to sleep, but I’d be interested in reading about testing on this idea. It would be a terrible thing if medical research in this area is undercut just because the wrong person mentioned it.

Trump has earned our gasping exasperation but because we are presumably grown ups, let’s NOT pretend — along with the out-of-its-mind press — that he actually wants people to inject bleach into their bodies. Because, however stupidly he talks, and however much we may want to caricature someone who is already fully caricaturing himself, we all know he doesn’t.

I’ve said since 2015 that if the press could simply manage polite indifference to Trump — the way you handle Auntie Myrtle at Thanksgiving when she falls into talking nonsense — they’d hurt him much more than they do by overplaying their hands every time he opens his mouth, or going full-on Yosemite Sam about him 24/7. They need to calm down, let him ramble, let his clumsy tongue speak for itself, and then report it with a shrug and an eyeroll, because by then everybody will have seen the Emperor naked, and the only ones who willfully do not will never be convinced, anyway.

This is how the press could watch him go down — and they give every impression that this is what they desire — without destroying their own credibility and going down with him.

They still don’t understand. They still think he’s a politician like the professional pols they’re either married to, or grew up with, and they therefore expect him to act like one. He’s NOT a politician. He’s a showman. He’s a full-on P.T. Barnum with a certificate of course completion from the freaking World Wrestling Federation; without an opponent, he has no role. So stop giving him his freaking opponent, yeah?

This is easy, not hard. This isn’t even maths.

Every journalist should remember this dictum: Emotionalism is cheap gas that doesn’t carry you far, makes your engine sputter and often leaves you walking yourself back from where you started.. Just because the zeitgeist is moving away from thinking, preferring to feel, feel, feel (and mostly to feel perpetually enraged about this team or that) doesn’t mean we have to do that. We can stop the rampant emotionalism and control our own selves. What a concept. Like Mr. Rogers sang:

It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song:

I can stop when I want to
Can stop when I wish
I can stop, stop, stop any time.
And what a good feeling to feel like this
And know that the feeling is really mine.

Whether one “loves” or “hates” a public figure, it cannot be healthy to let any president, any speaker of the house, any senator or mayor or “celebrity” live day and night in one’s head. If he or she is the thing you’re thinking about all the time, if ‘they’ are the source of your obsession… it’s time to turn off the laptop or the tv, and think about how idols are created in the mind, how they germinate in ideations and then become fleshed out in overfed ideologies until they become our godlings, our first and foremost concerns.

And remember too what Gregory of Nyssa said, “Ideals become idols. Only wonder leads to knowing…

I’d much, much rather wonder about whether or not this UV treatment — as Star Trekky as it sounds — has the potential to heal, and to and see some testing funded, than spend more time entertaining and feeding ideas from people, in both politics and the press, who care less about finding effective ways to stop this virus than about stopping political adversaries at all costs. I don’t want people to die because “well, this political asshat said something good about it, so we must now destroy the idea…”

By the way I’m not going to “fight” about this. This is my thought. You don’t have to like it; my well-being and sense of myself really doesn’t depend on whether you press the little ‘like’ button or not. You may completely disagree and think, “But, no! Orange Man Bad! (or Ice Cream Lady Bad!) Must resist all day and all night because my guts being in a knot is absolutely necessary for the continuance of the world! And you’re someone on the internet who is wrong!”

Shrug. Maybe I am. Maybe I’m wrong from start to finish. So what?

Really, so what? In the grand scheme of things I’m just an overweight lady sitting in her office with a thought and who knows she has her own little godlings to deal with all the time. I just hope my little godlings aren’t so fierce they end up preventing potentially useful therapies from being investigated.

John, Paul, George, Ringo, circa 1963-66, you don’t want to hurt nobody, do ya?

Nah.

Image: A frame from Aytu BioScience’s video about its potential Covid-19 treatment.
PHOTO: AYTU BIOSCIENCE

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