Don't Be Fooled by Modern Folklore

A caller to Straight Talk this morning expressed his sadness that another caller said during the program that he was going to get vaccinated. He claimed to have been disappointed that the listener had been cajoled, harassed, and embarrassed into getting the vaccine. Then he gave the web address of some (former) YouTube videos EVERYONE MUST WATCH RIGHT NOW!!!

Sorry, he didn’t actually say it like that. But that’s how nearly every email and Facebook message I’ve gotten from people demanding I watch a video that tells the “truth” about one thing or other is written. It’s almost as if the hysteria behind the caps and the multiple exclamation points is going to move you to forget your senses.

Many moons ago, I announced on the program that I would very much like for people to stop sending me links to videos that I MUST WATCH RIGHT NOW!!! I asked that for a couple of reasons. One: I was being sent a minimum of six videos a day that I MUST WATCH RIGHT NOW!!! None of the videos being sent was under twenty minutes long, which means people were asking I set aside a minimum of two hours each day to watch these videos. Or, as they’d say it, A MINIMUM of TWO HOURS each DAY!!!

At first, I tried to honor the requests, because, well, they came from listeners, and without listeners I’m just an idiot yelling into a useless microphone. But my nature gets the better of me. I’m a skeptic. I didn’t mean to be one—in fact, I didn’t start life as one. I earned it over time.

It all started to come together during my young adult years. When I was in college there was a magic shop right off campus. Whenever I could scrape a few bucks together I’d go to the shop. The employees would sit and do tricks all day long. Once one intrigued me enough to believe I could pull it off or I just HAD to know how it was done, I’d plunk down my money and buy the trick. I’d get some one-on-one training and I’d come to realize that the trick wasn’t that “tricky.” I just didn’t know how or where to look. Credit goes to the good magician who can make you look the wrong way. It's called "misdirection."

During my days working in the mall, I heard all kinds of horror stories about the things “they” were covering up. Why, there was a series of rapes happening after hours in the mall parking lot. “Everyone” knew about them, but “they” were keeping them quiet. And what about the ankle slasher? There was a guy who would go to the mall and hide under someone’s car. When the car owner returned to the car to leave, the slasher would swing a knife at the person’s ankles and then run away.

One day when I was talking to a co-worker about weird things happening around the mall, I mentioned the ankle slasher. She rolled her eyes and said, “You know that’s not real, right?” The hell it wasn’t. “Everybody” knew about it and “they” were covering it up. She pointed me to the works of folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand, whose primary field of study was the “urban legend,” or what can be called the FOAF story, the Friend of a Friend story. These are stories that don’t seem to have any genuine evidence behind them, but are believed absolutely because someone people trust told them it was true or maybe, in the old days, gave them a piece of paper full of capital letters and EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! Which, of course, proves the story is true. The ankle slasher was one of Brunvand's folk stories. I can’t even recall how many of Brunvand’s books I devoured over a very short period of time, but I can recall that I came away from the reading experience knowing the hallmarks of a sham story, and I began to view many of the tales told to me without corroborating evidence with a jaundiced eye.

And there’s where the YouTube videos come in. More often than not, these videos say exactly what people want to hear, so they immediately believe them, despite the lack of any form of actual credible evidence. As was the case when I was forced to sit through forty-seven minutes of Jovan Pulitzer testifying before the Georgia Senate (thanks, Senator Ligon), the only real evidence offered of the tale being told was that the speaker repeatedly said he HAD evidence. In the case of that video, many people—good people, listeners to the program—simply WANTED to believe his claims, but he never actually made any claims. He merely speculated on things that COULD happen. I was told over and over again it was iron-clad proof the election as stolen. In the case of that video I broke my self-imposed ban on listener-submitted videos and came to regret it. It bore the hallmarks of folklore: a story told emphatically, designed to “educate,” but with no verifiable sourcing. And that’s exactly what it was.

In today’s call the gentleman stated that there was a woman who had signed an affidavit that said that 45,000 people had died within three days of being vaccinated. I didn’t need to watch the entire hour long video to look into this claim, thank goodness. The deaths in question are mentioned in a lawsuit brought by the group America’s Frontline Doctors. You may remember them. They were the ones who made a dramatic video last year endorsing hydroxychloroquine to combat COVID—which I have no problem with—but they chose as one of their speakers Dr. Stella Immanuel.

When you’re about to say something highly controversial and prone to pushback, one of the things you MUST do is make sure the person spreading your message can’t have their character, capabilities, or qualifications questioned. Yet America’s Frontline Doctors chose Dr. Immanuel, who, we later found, had accused the government of being run by “reptilians.” All right, I’ll give her that one. She may be right. But according to the Washington Post, she has said that “many gynecological issues are the result of having sex with witches and demons…in dreams”. The BBC claims she said that doctors are creating vaccines “to prevent people from being religious.” These are just two of the scores of bizarre public statements she’s made, mostly in sermons on YouTube. If she’s your big gun, perhaps you shouldn’t be shooting.

This is the organization that, according to the video that was recommended to me, is now filing a lawsuit because a whistleblower has signed an affidavit claiming that 45,000 have died within three days of receiving the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Who is the whistleblower? A woman. What is her proof? An affidavit. Where is the evidence? Weren’t you listening? SHE HAS A SWORN AFFIDAVIT!!!

That’s the whole supposed lawsuit. An unsupported affidavit by an unknown woman, said to be a whistleblower. Problem there? Whistleblowers generally go public, so they can receive the protections that come with being, you know, a whistleblower.

The other major claim made by the caller was that there was evidence that the vaccine damages blood cells and causes cardiovascular damage. The damage to blood cells is not caused by the vaccine, but you know what does cause that type of damage? SARS-CoV-2. And the spike proteins in the vaccine do not behave the same way the spike protein in the virus does. The claim of “blood damage” seems to be based on the incorrect assumption that the vaccine does nothing but inject SARS-CoV-2 into the body. As for heart damage? There is no data to suggest this is a common occurrence.

In fact, in the UK, where over 40 million people have been vaccinated, there have been fewer than 1700 reported adverse reactions of any kind to any of the vaccines offered there. That’s 0.00425% of the people who’ve had any of the vaccines. And these aren’t necessarily deaths, these are just negative reactions. The current case fatality rate for COVID-19 in Georgia is 1.8%. In Glynn County, it’s 2.2%. Seems to me, just based on those statistics alone, you’re better off getting the vaccine.

I don’t believe in vaccine mandates. I’m a big fan of freedom, individual choices, and liberty. However, I know that in the Golden Isles we’re seeing a spike that really is threatening to overwhelm our hospital. So my suggestion to you is that you do what your conscience tells you to do regarding the vaccine. But please, make sure you’re making an informed decision. Learn to distinguish between the truth and lore. Be suspicious of anyone who tells you YOU MUST WATCH THIS NOW BEFORE THEY TAKE IT DOWN!!!

And make sure your facts really are facts.

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