Archive for December, 2009

Chiropraktischer Untergang – updated with added Sturm und Drang

December 7, 2009

There seems to be something of a fashion at the moment for making “mash-ups” by splicing ironic subtitles to clips from the brilliant, if harrowing, German movie Der Untergang (Downfall), which deals with the last days in the Berlin Führerbunker in late April 1945.

The first one of these I saw is here.  (There is also this which uses a different clip to make the same point)

More recently, this hilarious one featuring the vagaries and annoyances of the peer review process has been doing the global rounds of scientists.

There are plenty more, too, dealing with every irritation you can think of, if you have a poke around on Youtube. The phenomenon even has its own paragraph in the Wikipedia entry on Der Untergang. Note, though, that the language in many of these parodies is way past “industrial” to something more like “paint-stripping”. You have been warned.

Heute Chiropraktik – morgen die Welt

Today I see, via the Bad Science boys over on Twitter, that the set-up has been “re-cast” again to cover the evidence (!) for chiropractic for infant colic.  Definitely a must-view for all those who have been enjoying watching the UK chiropractors make a laughing stock of themselves over the BCA v Simon Singh libel case.  A must-view provided you’re not easily offended by four letter words, that is. Or a chiropractor.

Update:  chiropractic Sturm und Drang ?

Rather surprisingly, I have just discovered that the chiropractic-for-colic mash-up is not the only communication on chiropractic to emerge aus dem Führerbunker.

Nor, indeed, is it the only one in which Der Führer assumed the persona of a chiropractor. Stimmt.

There is, you see, another one.

However, this other one is a bit different. It is not sceptical in the sense of  “scientifically sceptical about chiropractic”. It is rather the opposite; a satirical attack on the chiropractic regulators, the General Chiropractic Council or GCC, presumably from other chiropractors.

While we don’t know who authored this one, I am guessing it is the creation of a disaffected chiropractor taking broadly what I will call the “Richard Lanigan view”. Lanigan is a blogging maverick ex-chiropractor, ex-member and sometime scourge of the GCC. From a reading of his blog, he – and a good few other chiropractors judging by the comments there – seem to be very angry with the GCC for having actively pursued, and presided over, statutory regulation. Among other reasons, this is seemingly because they see the move to statutory regulation as having opened chiropractors up to being “regulated via complaint case-law”.

After all, once you are a statutory regulator you have clear legal obligations, including investigating complaints about your members. So if people complain – say by alleging that statements on chiropractors’ websites are contrary to ASA or Trading Standards rules, or breach the GCC Code of Conduct – then the GCC is (at least you would think) obliged to investigate, and then obliged to rule. These rulings, and any resulting restrictions, are then effectively binding upon the practitioners who wish to remain registered.

The “radical” chiropractors appear to see this as the GCC “selling out” chiropractic. They seem to think it will lead to more and more restrictions on what chiropractors are allowed to do and say.

Of course, you might think that was actually a good idea.

Anyway, in the video Der Führer seems to be being cast as the chief GCC regulator. If you wonder who the “Pricey” is who is referred to at some stage, I think I have found the answer in this blog post of Lanigan’s.

It all makes for quite an interesting insight into the internecine warfare that seems to characterise so many of the Alt.Health “professions”.

And as for the chiropractors in particular, I am tempted to add to my collection of made-up German polysyllables with this one of my own devising:



An ode (well, limerick) to CAM – updated twice

December 1, 2009

Via Ben Goldacre’s Twitter feed, I have just seen this rather well remunerated Prize for Medical Poetry.

The eminent Dr G suggests on Twitter that this should be

“…worth a punt with a limerick at least”.

What an excellent idea.

So, in the spirit of late night juvenilia, I offer the following effort:

Says the acupuncturist to the sick,
I’ve a specially neat little trick:
Though I’m stoked about CAM.
All my needling is SHAM
…So you won’t even feel a small pr*ck



And today’s try:

Now the homeopath, don’t you see,
Finds himself in a fearful quandry;
Should he ever let on,
That the whole thing’s a con,
He’d say “goodbye” to all of his fee

This second one also works with the alternative first line

Now the homeopathic MD,”

– in tribute to the eminent members of the medical profession who manage to believe in homeopathy whilst, apparently, also believing in evidence-based medicine and in tests of efficacy.

The amount of  Orwellian Doublethink that this must require on a daily basis leaves me in awe.

Actually, perhaps a better limerick for these erudite ladies and gents would be the following:

Now the homeopathic MD
Finds himself in a fearful quandry;
Should he ever let on,
That the whole thing’s a con,
He’d relinquish much authority


*Update 2 – THURSDAY Dec 3rd*

There is a bit of a Haiku competition going on (and some further limericks) in the comments thread below.  A special hat-tip goes to reader Rob A who has formed the “don’t keep your mind so open your brain falls out” sentiment into a really nice Haiku:

There are side effects
to ‘being open minded’ :
your brain might fall out

This put me in a Haiku mood, so I tried one of my own:

there’s simply nothing to it;
literally so.

And today I was commenting over on a thread at Respectful Insolence about the Grand-daddy of New Age Quantum Woo Deepak Chopra, when I was inspired to post a Haiku about the great man. I have now adapted it slightly to cover Alternative Therapies in general:

Healer’s words conjure
hopes and visions of well-ness;
cash register rings.