It’s not nice to make fun of Southern yokels


Actual portrait of Josh Axe

No, really, I know there are lots of smart people in the South, just as I know there are a lot of stupid people here in the Yankee states (oh boy, do I know). But you’d think the educational institutions in Southern states would know better than to set themselves up as the butt of a joke. Kentucky has a special problem, since they’re home to Answers in Genesis, the Creation “Museum”, and the Ark Park. So what the hell is Kentucky Educational Television doing?

I think I’ll just quote one of those smart Kentuckians, Dan Phelps, on this one.

If someone dies, what will KET say?

Back in August, during a fundraiser, Kentucky EDUCATIONAL Television aired an infomercial for “Dr. Josh Axe” a chiropractor. He touted his version of “ancient remedies.” Every ten seconds or so of his spiel, the camera did a close-up of the grinning/nodding zombies in the audience nodding their heads in total agreement. Some of the things he said concerning diet made sense, but why couldn’t the PBS station get someone reputable to say that? Most of the “ancient remedies” touted seem to based on symbolism. For example:

“Tomatoes have four chambers, just like your heart.”
“Mushrooms are the same shape as adrenal glands”
“Carrots in section look like the eyes iris”
“Walnuts look like brains”
“Celery looks like bones”
“Beets are the color of blood…”
“The color of the food will tell you what part of the body it will heal.”

More recently, the website “The Encyclopedia of American Loons” did a nice entry on Axe.

Today I was looking at KET’s schedule and found they are showing more of Axe’s infomercials in late November (see photo).

Why KET? Why? If someone dies, what will KET say?

Rational Wiki also has an entry on Axe. He also has an inordinately popular YouTube channel if you’d rather hear him say stupid things with his own mouth, but since he already has 2 million subscribers I won’t link to it.

By the way, Josh Axe is from Ohio.

Comments

  1. says

    I would also point out that “ancient” as a description of cancer remedies is not a good thing. Ancient people who got cancer would usual die screaming in agony after a prolonged period of crippling incapacitation.

  2. Chris Howick says

    It always makes me chuckle when people tout ancient “remedies”. I guess they don’t realize that even as recent 1776 the life expectancy was 38 years. This year it dropped for the first time in a long long time, but it’s STILL double. Modern medicine plays a HUGE part in that!!!

  3. says

    Not specific to the south. When Connecticut Public Television does its fundraisers,they run infomercials from snake oil salesmen and other con artists all weekend. Apparently this is the only way they can figure out to make money. It’s appalling.

  4. davidc1 says

    It also went by the name of Sympathetic medicine , the Toothwort flower looks like teeth ,so they used to use it for toothache .
    @2 And Hygiene .

  5. AstroLad says

    In Southern California on KCET we get Deepak Chopra. He’s the primary reason I refuse to give them a penny.

  6. maireaine46 says

    On the NY-NJ public stations, we get Deepak Chopra and a couple of other snake oil salesmen on a regular basis. I have often wondered why.

  7. Walter Solomon says

    Chris Howick @2

    That was life expectancy at birth I’m assuming. In many cases, if people were lucky enough to survive infancy and early childhood, they could expect to live to their 60s or more.

    This is true today in many developing countries where, unfortunately, many children and infants die which brings down the life expectancy. And as davidc1 @4 said, hygiene played a bring role in raising life expectancy.

  8. pilgham says

    “Tomatoes have four chambers, just like your heart.”
    The Aztecs knew this well. (“Wow! Just like a tomato! Except it’s still beating of course. Oh, it stopped. Well, on to the next one!”)

    My PBS station uses Yanni.

  9. NitricAcid says

    Ah, yes, the Doctrine of Signatures.

    When we run across it when discussing the history of science, we all laugh at the foolish Victorians. When we hear the same things from the local First Nations elders, we smile and nod politely, because to disagree with them would be unacceptably Eurocentric.

  10. davidc1 says

    @10 Well ,those natives in the South American Rain forests have had thousands of years to figure out if plant A is good for this malady ,or plant B will kill you stone dead ,just have to separate the woo from the science .

  11. NitricAcid says

    @12 While this is true, we’re not allowed to suggest that any of it is woo. It’s all Indigenous Science. Even the “red plants are good for purifying the blood” and “Europeans thought dandelions were useless weeds until Indigenous Science taught them that dandelions were edible and medicinal.”

  12. John Morales says

    NitricAcid:

    While this is true, we’re not allowed to suggest that any of it [Indigenous lore] is woo.

    You belie yourself, since you are indeed doing just that.

    (Are you aware that many traditional cultures encoded knowledge in the form of myths, stories and song, for intergenerational oral transmission?)

  13. NitricAcid says

    @14 Oh, yes, I can get away with doing it anonymously on a science forum. Just not at work, where we are expected to accept all Indigenous lore at face value, without question or argument,

    And, yes, I’m well aware that they kept and encoded knowledge. No shit, Sherlock. I’m not saying that they were or are completely ignorant. But I have a hard time entertaining claims that the First Nations understood quantum mechanics for thousands of years, or that “western science” must step down to superior Indigenous science.

  14. John Morales says

    NitricAcid:

    Oh, yes, I can get away with doing it anonymously on a science forum. Just not at work, where we are expected to accept all Indigenous lore at face value, without question or argument

    Huh. Your earlier claim was “we’re not allowed to suggest that any of it is woo“.

    But I have a hard time entertaining claims that the First Nations understood quantum mechanics for thousands of years, or that “western science” must step down to superior Indigenous science.

    But neither of those are First Nations claims, are they?

    I know you’re venting, probably with good cause, but get your target right.

  15. NitricAcid says

    “But neither of those are First Nations claims, are they?”

    Actually, yes, I have been at meetings where the local Elder has told us that point-blank, and everyone nodded in sagacious agreement. The same Elder told us that westerners thought that dandelions and nettles were useless weeds, and it was Indigenous science that discovered that these were edible and medicinal…even though everyone knows that dandelions were deliberately brought over from Europe as food plants, just like nettles were brought to England by the Romans for the same purpose.

    “We must accept it at face value without question” = “we’re not allowed to suggest any of it is woo”. Hmmm… I made the same statement in different words, so obviously I’m changing my claim and/or can’t get my story straight.

    You know you’re proving my point, right? We can laugh our heads off when the Victorians or Josh Axe claim that plant parts that look like body parts are obviously medicinal, but when another culture makes the same claim, it’s all “You do know that these traditional societies had thousands of years to figure out medicinal properties, right?” and “You do know that members traditional societies were able to teach other members of that society what they knew, right? They had language and song, and didn’t just grunt like you clearly think they did.”

  16. John Morales says

    Actually, yes, I have been at meetings where the local Elder has told us that point-blank, and everyone nodded in sagacious agreement.

    That’s not indigenous lore that’s woo, that’s just bullshit from a local Elder.
    Why didn’t you speak up, since you know better? Oh, right, because you think you aren’t “allowed” to do so.

    “We must accept [all of it] at face value without question” = “we’re not allowed to suggest any of it is woo”. Hmmm… I made the same statement in different words, so obviously I’m changing my claim and/or can’t get my story straight.

    Hm. I was gonna argue the semantics, but I’ll concede that one.

    You know you’re proving my point, right?

    How so?

    We can laugh our heads off when the Victorians or Josh Axe claim that plant parts that look like body parts are obviously medicinal, but when another culture makes the same claim […]

    Well, can you adduce such a claim? The example you gave about that Elder is certainly not that.

    (What body parts did dandelions and nettles look like that the inference was made?)

  17. NitricAcid says

    “That’s not Indigenous lore that’s woo, that’s just bullshit from a local Elder.”

    Oh, I see. Indigenous lore is all true; the stuff that isn’t true isn’t lore, it’s just bullshit from a local Elder. Thank you for clarifying.

    In a previous post I mentioned the Indigenous claim (or a local Elder’s claim, at least) that plants that are red are good for purifying the blood. When Axe says that about beets, it’s hilarious nonsense. When First Nations Elders say that about other plants, well, we have to respect that, and not criticize or contradict it.

  18. John Morales says

    Oh, I see. Indigenous lore is all true; the stuff that isn’t true isn’t lore, it’s just bullshit from a local Elder.

    What? No, lore is the stuff culturally passed down over the generations, not what someone says on the day. You’re trying to tell me that what that Elder said was actual lore?

    Thank you for clarifying.

    Well, I did clarify, but you clearly did not get it.
    So no point in thanking me.

    In a previous post I mentioned the Indigenous claim (or a local Elder’s claim, at least) that plants that are red are good for purifying the blood.

    Neither dandelions nor nettles are red. Was this the same Elder?

    When First Nations Elders say that about other plants, well, we have to respect that, and not criticize or contradict it.

    And so we circle back to the beginning. Clearly, you don’t have to respect that, and you can criticise it, since you’re doing just that.

    I know, I know… you imagine you can only do so anonymously on this blog. But that’s just your belief. But fine, you seriously, really think you were not allowed to point out that dandelions and nettles were used for centuries by Western cultures.

    Thing is, the vibe I’m getting from you is the same as that from people who say one is not allowed to not be PC.

  19. voidhawk says

    “Mushrooms are the same shape as adrenal glands”

    I know that this isn’t necessarily the biggest issue here but… all mushrooms? Add mycology to the list of things he doesn’t understand…

  20. NitricAcid says

    Well, the Elder claimed it was lore, and I’m not one to tell someone what is and isn’t lore in their culture. How would I decide if its lore or not- go around and poll all the Elders in a fifty mile radius? Check the local section of Lorepedia.com? I’m not about to immerse myself in their culture and attempt to become an Elder myself- I wouldn’t even manage to do that among the Mormons.

    Yes, I’m well aware that dandelions and nettles aren’t red. Perhaps if you put aside your umbrage at my criticisms of Indigenous lore, you might be able to read for comprehension, and see that these were two separate claims.

    Why do I feel like one can’t publicly argue with the statements made by the Elders? Obviously, because people like Juan Morales would declare me rude, ignorant, Eurocentric or bigoted for pointing out that their claims are factually wrong.

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