On Right And Wrong »« Martin Gardner (1914-2010)

The Wakefield Case

Dastardly, Bastardly,
Andrew–unethical,
Lied to his legions and
Basked in their praise

Practiced his dangerous
Megalomania;
Playing with matches, he
Started a blaze

Yearningly, burningly,
Well-meaning innocents
Read about Wakefield, and
Swallowed it whole

Choose not to vaccinate,
Uncomprehendingly,
Fearful and tearful and
Not in control.

Recently, decently,
GMC councilors
Looked at the evidence,
Started to scoff;

Tales of misconduct were
Incontrovertible;
Guilty of charges,
They’ve stricken him off!

Mournfully, scornfully,
Cognitive dissonance
Keeps his supporters from
Seeing the light

Changing their minds would be
Counterintuitive–
Thinking him guilty is
Reason to fight.

Context: I was reading the (quite predictable) reactions here. By the way… if you have not yet voted there, please do so. The case itself is not terribly interesting to me–the man acted monstrously, and has been officially slapped down. Sadly, it probably will boost his income. No, the interesting part is the familiar pattern of responses–like the hybrid offspring of Festinger’s “When Prophecy Fails” and an Oliver Stone movie. Conspiracy belief is sustained, not weakened, by disproof.

Comments

  1. says

    Sweet. I started to be disappointed by "cognitive dissonance" at the location of the subject in the final verse. But then I realized that these stories are so totally about cognitive dissonance that it really is a character its own self. Kinda like how the ship was the 10th character on Firefly.So what at first bugged me turns out to be an insanely clever use of the form to make a point. More DDs from DC, please!

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