goop fights back!


I guess it was predictable: the quackery on display at Gwyneth Paltrow’s ridiculous goop site has been receiving a lot of well-deserved mockery, and you knew that they weren’t going to simply accept this threat to their credibility and profit by changing their approach and offering legitimate, evidence-based health claims — they’re doubling-down with an extra helping of indignation. So they’ve fished up some people with degrees (please, don’t dignify them by calling them doctors) to defend bullshit. So, for instance, they have a lengthy defense of homeopathy that is straight-up flagrant nonsense

In most countries outside the United States, homeopathics are the first line of defense against ailment, from the common cold to bruising to muscle pain. And since they offer such a gentle but effective path to healing, they’re a great starting point for anyone dipping their toes into alternative medicine—that, and the fact that they’re easy to find, safe to self-treat, and inexpensive. Dr. Ellen Kamhi, a long-time herbalist and holistic nurse (she also leads incredible trips that explore ancient healing arts in indigenous cultures), has been treating illnesses big and small with homeopathics for more than 40 years.

Homeopathic medicines are just water. Sure, they’re gentle, but they’re not effective at all.

But the real fun begins on their new page where they try to specifically address criticisms by deploying a series of statements from quacks. Oh, boy!

As goop has grown, so has the attention we receive. We consistently find ourselves to be of interest to many—and for that, we are grateful—but we also find that there are third parties who critique goop to leverage that interest and bring attention to themselves. Encouraging discussion of new ideas is certainly one of our goals, but indiscriminate attacks that question the motivation and integrity of the doctors who contribute to the site is not. This is the first in a series of posts revisiting these topics and offering our contributing M.D.’s a chance to articulate theirs, in a respectful and substantive manner.

They are very unhappy with Dr Jen Gunter, a real doctor who has made strong fact-based criticisms of the crap sold at goop. In particular, how dare she diss their magic jade eggs, nice porous stones which they recommend that women stuff up their vaginas.

Last January, we published a Q&A with Shiva Rose about her jade egg practice, which has helped her (and legions of other women who wrote to us in response) feel more in touch with her sexuality, and more empowered. A San Francisco-based OB-GYN/blogger posted a mocking response on her site, which has the tagline: “Wielding the Lasso of Truth.” (We also love Wonder Woman, though we’re pretty sure she’s into women taking ownership of female sexual pleasure.)

There was a tremendous amount of press pick-up on the doctor’s post, which was partially based on her own strangely confident assertion that putting a crystal in your vagina for pelvic-floor strengthening exercises would put you in danger of getting Toxic Shock Syndrome—even though there is no study/case/report which links the two—and also stating with 100 percent certainty that conventional tampons laden with glyphosate (classified by the WHO as probably carcinogenic) are no cause for concern. Since her first post, she has been taking advantage of the attention and issuing attacks to build her personal platform—ridiculing the women who might read our site in the process.

Oh, dear. Dr Gunter must hate women’s sexuality. How else to interpret someone who opposes stuffing random objects up one’s hoo-hah? Next thing you know, Dr Gunter will show how much she hates my masculinity by telling me I should stop eating 10 pounds of bacon a day, and that my practice of swinging a chainsaw from my penis doesn’t make me more manly.

Actually, if you read her post on the jade eggs, she isn’t complaining about women’s sexuality — quite the opposite — but is offering sensible advice, “jade is porous which could allow bacteria to get inside and so the egg could act like a fomite. This is not good, in case you were wondering. It could be a risk factor for bacterial vaginosis or even the potentially deadly toxic shock syndrome.”

That’s it.

She also does not endorse using glyphosate-soaked tampons up there. She does point out that the dubious report that tampons are full of glyphosate actually just shows that they have the same amount of glyphosate as the general background level, contrary to the absurd histrionics of goop.

But the best part is the tone trolling of Steven Gundry.

First, Dr. Gunter, I have been in academic medicine for forty years and up until your posting, have never seen a medical discussion start or end with the “F-bomb,” yet yours did. A very wise Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan once instructed me to never write anything that my mother or child wouldn’t be proud to read. I hope, for the sake of your mother and child, that a re-reading of your article fails his test, and following his sage advice, that you will remove it.

No! The F-bomb? Quick, someone get Gunter’s degree retracted. She said “fuck”!

What’s funny about this is that, naturally, they don’t bother to link to the disgraceful doctor’s post where she inflicts that horrific word on her gentle readers. Here it is.

It’s a response to St Gwyneth saying If you want to fuck with me, bring your A-game. Gwyneth! Wash your mouth out with herbal soap! Your entire site is discredited in the eyes of Steven Gundry because you used a naughty word!

Of course, right there on the same page, there is a direct link to let you buy a jade egg for your crotch for $66. They’re still missing an opportunity to sell chainsaws with a crotch strap.

I think I’ll favor medical advice from real doctors, even ones who might sometimes use a four letter word, over that of pompous cranks trying to grift their way to profit with dangerous pseudoscience, hawked by a college drop-out actress.


Jen Gunter has written a response to goop. It’s a corker. You should read it.

Comments

  1. Matt Cramp says

    No, no it’s true! See, there’s actually only a handful of homeopaths diluted across the world, which means the world retains a collective memory of homeopathy. And that’s what keeps everyone safe!

    it does too make sense

  2. cartomancer says

    I hope you’re using a proper, expensive, quack-approved groinal chainsaw PZ? You know, the one with hand-carved teeth made from blessed Andean obsidian and oiled with refined chrysm from exclusive Assyrian Orthodox spiritual experts. The ten thousand dollar one sold in the etched camphor-wood box.

  3. says

    “telling me … my practice of swinging a chainsaw from my penis doesn’t make me more manly.”
    I would have thought that the chances of making you a lot less manly, and in an extremely painful way, would be much, much greater!!!

  4. Siobhan says

    And since they offer such a gentle but effective path to healing,

    That’s a nice euphemism for “water and time.”

  5. markr1957 says

    So, basically anything that will heal without intervention is an ideal candidate for homeopathic treatment. My only question is – is it as effective as mommy kissing my booboo better?

  6. Ichthyic says

    my practice of swinging a chainsaw from my penis doesn’t make me more manly.

    I hope you plan to make that your next lower division course?

    it must have taken you years to master that!

  7. chigau (違う) says

    Speaking of chainsaws, is homeopathy better or worse than prayer at growing back amputated limbs?

  8. Artor says

    I recently learned that “Ozonated olive oil” is a thing in the alt-med circles now. Apparently, none of these people understand that ozone is a carcinogen, and infusing an oil with oxygen only gives you rancid oil. I have no idea what the stuff is supposed to do, but I’m pretty sure it fails.

  9. blf says

    is homeopathy better or worse than prayer at growing back amputated limbs?

    Both “earn” enormous profits for failure, so I suspect a combination — homeopreyer — would be even more profitably uneffective. Probably diluted holy water shaken by mysterious monks and applied with quantum vibrating nano† to the remaining limbs.

      † Nanowhat one might ask. Just nano, pure nano.

  10. Terska says

    Why do they fear Big Pharma but not Big Quack? I really don’t get why some remote company in China can fill a capsule with lawn clippings and monkey blood instead of what is on the label but it’s beneficial because it’s sold in a health food store.
    You can show people scientific proof that the label and the contents are unrelated but it doesn’t phase them. They want more.
    They just say “do your research” which is just reading ads and web sites selling the stuff with bogus studies.
    I say this as someone that is prescribed vitamin D. I wonder if I’m getting the amount I’m paying for. All I know is that my blood levels are now within normal range.

  11. whheydt says

    Hmmm…. Given what we know about homeopathic “remedies” (that they have less “active ingredient”–i.e. statistically none–than chance contaminants), one wonders what a homeopath would suggest for hydrophobia? How do you dilute out all the water? A jar full of air, perhaps? (And, yes, I know what hydrophobia really is.)

  12. microraptor says

    Terska @13:

    I really wish that some of those people would follow the labels on homeopathic junk: quite a bit of it is produced by Big Pharma because they realized that there’s a huge market for the crap and it doesn’t have any R&D costs.

  13. Pierce R. Butler says

    C’mon now, let’s keep this evidence-based.

    Got any reports from the gyno-literature of infections from porous stones in hoo-has?

    Have any labs extracted jade from vaginas and plopped it into a big petri dish to see what comes out?

  14. blf says

    Why do they fear Big Pharma but not Big Quack?

    By sheer coincidence I was just reading this article at Skepchick’s (“Health Ranger” Sells Remedy for Disease He Doesn’t Think Exists, June-2016):

    [… P]ast research has shown that the conspiracy theorists targeted by Adams are perfectly comfortable believing two conflicting (and equally bullshit) ideas at the same time, like how Princess Diana was both murdered by the British government and still secretly alive. This makes it incredibly easy for “Big Alt Med” to fleece its customers every which way it can.

    Some excerpts from the embedded link (Contradictions Don’t Deter Conspiracy Theorists, January-2012):

    […]
    It’s known that people who believe one conspiracy theory are inclined to endorse others as well. But new research shows that conspiracy theorists aren’t put off by contradictory theories and offers a reason why.

    “They’re explained by the overarching theory that there is some kind of cover-up, that authorities are withholding information from us,” said Karen Douglas, a study researcher and reader in the school of psychology sciences at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. “It’s not that people are gullible or silly by having those beliefs. … It all fits into the same picture.” […]

    In the first of two experiments, Douglas and colleagues asked 137 students to rate how much they agreed with five conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Princess Diana in a car crash in 1997.

    “The more people were likely to endorse the idea Princess Diana was murdered, the more they were likely to believe that Princess Diana is alive,” explained Douglas. People who thought it was unlikely she was murdered were also unlikely to think she did not die.

    [… similar experiment about the Osama bin Laden raid … P]eople who believed bin Laden was already dead before the raid were more likely to believe he is still alive. Using statistical analysis, the researchers determined that the link between the two was explained by a belief that the Obama administration was hiding something.

    The central idea — that authorities are engaged in massive deceptions intended to further their malevolent goals — supports any individual theory, to the point that theorists can endorse contradictory ones, according to the team.
    […]

  15. unclefrogy says

    some times as when I see stories like this I despair at the level of obstinate ignorance and gullibility of so many people.
    I think that the reaction of goop to the doctor’s critique about the danger of using a porous stone missed the point. it was not I think the validity of using a weight in pelvic floor exercises so much as a warning about the porosity of the stone harboring pathogens. As with anything one introduces into the body cleanliness is very very important, it would have been more effective to have instead agreed and recommended a simple procedure to sterilize the jade egg without harming in any way the magical properties of the jade it was made of. Instead they just went off in an ignorant irrational rant against a none existent prudish Victorian attack on sexuality and just highlighted their bull shit.
    uncle frogy

  16. busterggi says

    I just came in from being rained on. As that water has been recycled through the water cycle a few million times shouldn’t everything wrong with me be cured now? Cuz it ain’t.

  17. Mark Dowd says

    @ 18 unclefrogy

    Of course it missed the point. They have no chance of winning if they attack the criticism honestly and directly, so they can only survive by being evasive.

  18. microraptor says

    unclefroggy @18:

    As with anything one introduces into the body cleanliness is very very important, it would have been more effective to have instead agreed and recommended a simple procedure to sterilize the jade egg without harming in any way the magical properties of the jade it was made of. Instead they just went off in an ignorant irrational rant against a none existent prudish Victorian attack on sexuality and just highlighted their bull shit.

    If they were interested in peoples’ health they wouldn’t be selling that crap in the first place. The thing about something like jade is that it really can’t actually be effectively sterilized without access to an autoclave. Simply using soap or alcohol won’t be sufficient at getting into all the tiny pores.

  19. KG says

    said Karen Douglas, a study researcher and reader in the school of psychology sciences at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. “It’s not that people are gullible or silly by having those beliefs…” – blf@17

    Er, yes it is, Dr. Douglas, it really is.

  20. secondtofirstworld says

    Paltrow is wrong, the European Council is quite firmly opposed to pseudoscience, so here in Europe, homeopaths are required by law to direct a patient to a traditional doctor and have the examination and/or tests done before they can give a second opinion, since, I don’t know… homeopathy is not an acknowledged and accredited medical science.

  21. unclefrogy says

    @21
    well it is a fucking rock after all I would think it would not be damaged by boiling it for 20 min at least
    uncle frogy

  22. says

    “In most countries outside the United States, homeopathics are the first line of defense against ailment”
    Really? I would like to know which countries they are referring to. It’s not Norway, and I can’t imagine any European country where quackoptahy is considered a “first line of defence” outside the quackopathic circles.

  23. says

    I can’t imagine any European country where quackoptahy is considered a “first line of defence” outside the quackopathic circles.

    Go to any pharmacy in Germany or France and you get a ton of very expensive sugar. Even my GP constantly tries to convince me that I should take “healing earth” or that “non-celiac gluten insensitivity” was a thing.

  24. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    …he defends his work on lectins with an article published in the Journal of International Society of Microbiota (JISM)

    …tee hee. :3

  25. blf says

    Go to any pharmacy in Germany or France and you can get a ton of very expensive sugar.

    Suggested correction.

    Related, there are — or at least used to be (fairly recently) — a handful of pharmacies in France which don’t sell homoepathetic water. I used to patronize one, deliberately, for that very reason.† Where I now live I’m not aware of any, and have also mostly given-up on looking for any which sell but don’t advertise the garbage.

      † Admittedly, one possible reason is they were quite small — about the size of a cupboard (I’m not exaggerating much!) — and, as I now recall, also didn’t sell “beauty products” or much of the other rubbish larger pharmacies sell.

  26. blf says

    Some nice snarking by Hadley Freeman in the Grauniad, Welcome to Gwyneth’s Goop ‘mudroom’. But does it sell rose quartz vaginal eggs?:

    [… M]aking fun of Paltrow [“who is either a modern-day saviour or a satire on the modern day”] is so easy it’s not so much shooting fish in a barrel as taking an AK-47 to a goldfish in a tea cup […]

    […] Paltrow doubtless foresaw the need for a new store in some $350 rock she flogs on her reliably absurd website, Goop, because this summer she has opened a Goop store in the Hamptons, New York — but just for the summer, because pop-up stores are the new concept stores. Thrillingly, Architectural Digest has done an article on this new essential retail experience for those of us who are not blond and therefore banned from the ritzy preppy-haven.

    […]

    “My hometown in England only has one store, so it made sense for me. You get used to that vibe,” [the store’s designer Vicky] Charles says. Yes, because there is nothing more aspirational than the vibe of rural degeneration. […]

    “This particular space was inspired by a room in an English cottage where you can just kick off your wellies and store your gardening tools,” says Brittany Pattner, Goop’s creative director. Yes, Brittany, I believe that “space” is called a shed, although Paltrow seems to insist on calling it “the mudroom”. Do English people have rooms for just mud? Did Paltrow ever leave her own house and visit other people’s even once in the decade she lived in this country? […]

    […]

    I have just enough space left to tell you that Gwyneth is currently quarrelling with an obstetrician and gynaecologist called Dr Jennifer Gunter, who has queried the soundness of Goop’s frequent advice about what women should and shouldn’t stick up their vaginas. “When they go low, we go high,” Paltrow tweeted, and by “low” she means “argue against our nuttiness with inconvenient facts” and “high” she means “up the nuttiness with personal attacks”. I urge you to read Gunter’s blog about this, perhaps on the Hampton Jitney on your way to her store. It might save you some money and stop you buying a rose-quartz vaginal egg — or better yet, stop you buying anything at all. It’s the fashionable way, Gwyneth.

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