I've decided to try my hand at a weekly post, just to keep myself posting a bit more regularly. I wanted to choose a topic with a wealth of information and endless nominees, and so what better subject to post about weekly than one of my favorite/most despised flavor of asshole around - the snake oil salesman.
When I say 'snake oil salesman', I'm referring less to the specific peddlers of entirely worthless products - this is a specific kind of snake oil salesman, a sub-genre if you will. More generally, a snake oil salesman is anyone pushing a fallacious idea as fact for the express purpose of their own emotional or monetary gain. Religious figures, holocaust deniers, those who perpetuate the anti-vax misinformation, 1-800 psychics, weight loss supplement companies, holistic cure pushers for incurable diseases, these are all modern day snake oil salesman. The fact that so many different categories exist under this title is less a reflection of too general a definition and more a reflection of society. It kind of seems like we don't mind being lied to - we want to drink the kool aid because maybe, just maybe, chewing flax seeds and drinking goat urine WILL cure AIDS.*
For my first post, I've chosen Healing Cancer Naturally as my Snake Oil Salesman of the Week. Why? Well, if the name of the site isn't enough to keep you from asking that question in earnest, you're already in trouble.
Cancer is something that frightens just about everyone. It can strike without warning and completely changes a person's life and their perception of life, two occurrences which can lead to rough emotional and physical times for a lot of people. During my first marriage, my mother in law went through aggressive cancer treatments and yes, they were hard on her and it was hard on us to watch her go through it. You know what the upside to all of it was? She's still alive. Now, is there a slim chance that she could have skipped the chemo, radiation, and medications and still have gone into remission? Of course! Cancer is unpredictable and at times, people will go into remission randomly.
The thing is, unassisted remission is truly random. There are no magical affirmations, no secret mantras or exotic mixtures of holistic ingredients that are going to affect your cancer dramatically one way or the other. A positive attitude and improving the health content of what you eat and how you live certainly isn't going to hurt, but for treatment it's necessary to visit a reliable, well informed medical professional. If you happen to be drinking a lot of orange juice and then, at the same time, your ear begins to hurt it is NOT a logical conclusion to attribute your ear pain to drinking orange juice. The same is true in regard to holistic credos proposed as if they are proven healing methods, a term meant to imply cure without using the word 'cure', for cancer.
Luckily (actually, legally) The person who runs this website, Ulla, makes that known. In a disclaimer. After a ridiculously long block of bright pink text where she calls the validity of medical treatment into question AND heavily alludes to those evil, money grubbing soulless doctors who don't give a damn about you or your life. So what's the harm? Ulla herself claims that she's doing all this because she just wants to help people and to spread the word that she HAS DEFINITELY found the cure for cancer.
When, sadly, my best friend’s mother developed cancer, my particular focus turned to the healing of cancer, something I have long believed and meanwhile come to KNOW to be absolutely accomplishable, as proven for many years and on a daily basis by tens of thousands of courageous and determined men and women all over the globe.- Ulla, www.healingcancernaturally.comWow, Ulla. So, what is your secret? Surely it's something mindbogglingly awesome that we've never - oh, no wait. It's not.
Healing Cancer Naturally is based on three fundamental “credos” and commitments:
1 The human body is designed to be self-healing and will beautifully do its assigned task if we properly support and/or don’t hinder it in the performance of this basic function. This is why the overwhelming majority of Healing Cancer Naturally’s pages is devoted to diet, detoxification, and mental, energetic and spiritual factors in healing and health.
2 Information and help should be made available to anyone afflicted with cancer or other illness, regardless of the size of their pocketbook. This is why Healing Cancer Naturally provides all its potentially life-saving information for free rather than selling part of it in book form, and asks for donations and other support instead. That is also the reason why simple and inexpensive “DIY” ways people have used to heal from cancer get top priority while expensive “alternatives” to conventional treatment (and there are some very expensive ones indeed) will either be ignored or mentioned only on the side.
3. Healing Cancer Naturally believes that any challenge, be it in the area of health, relationships and/or finances, can (and optimally perhaps should) be used as a personal growth experience, allowing the person undergoing and eventually victoriously overcoming the challenge to arise from it not only healthier but also wiser and a better person than ever before. - Ulla, www.healingcancernaturally.com
Oh Ulla, Ulla Ulla...
So, in the first paragraph basically you're saying that your cure to cancer is diet, exercise, vitamins, and positive affirmations. Oh and don't forget those ridiculously vague and pointlessly obtuse "spiritual factors." One would think, Ulla, that you are somewhat crafting your own loophole for failure in this very credo statement. Of course, I'm just one of those 'blind science followers', I'm sure I don't, no - CAN'T understand. The second and third paragraph are just emotional pleas meant to make our new friend Ulla seem genuine and trustworthy - Ulla cares about poor people, Ulla just wants everyone to be the best they can be and learn from life! This is meant to distract us from the fact that Ulla's main concern seems to be pimping specific items for her woefully misunderstood following to purchase with the hope and sad expectation that their 25$ vitamin purchase will somehow be just as effective as legitimate medical treatment. The disclaimer of her website is the only bit of it I could actually stomach without some admission of disgust because it seemed to be the only bit of the site that was factually correct and not intended solely for the purpose of building a superficial repertoire with a desperate audience in order to suggestively guide their purchases toward specific products or people.
All material provided on www.healingcancernaturally.com is based upon the sole opinions of the maker of this website or those quoted by her and is for informational purposes only. Any information contained herein does not take the place of professional advice from your health care provider nor is intended as medical advice or to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. Information is a compiled report of existing data and/or research and intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of www.healingcancernaturally.com. Approaches described herein are not offered as cures, prescriptions, or diagnoses. The authors/webmaster assume no responsibility in the use of this information. I encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. Consult your doctor before using any presented information as a form of treatment. - Ulla, www.healingcancernaturally.com.
Finally, Ulla, you're making some sense! I suppose I'll just ignore the completely contradictory message this disclaimer provides when compared to everything written everywhere else on your site and just be thankful you legally have to be honest in a tiny section of text buried under walls of bright pink jibberish that seems to be pushing me to the cusp of both physical illness and epilepsy. I better take a vitamin and visualize my happy place right away!
Bonus features for this site:
Gratuitous/questionable/confusing use of quotations. (see: any random page of the site.)
"Unsolicited visitor's comment"
Cancer Healing & Spirituality
*Chewing flax seeds and drinking goat urine will NOT cure AIDS