Yes, that Joel Stein, Time columnist, blowjob expert, and sworn enemy of Doree Shafrirs near and far, has had a disagreement with his wife over how best to medicate their child. See, there are people out there that think vaccinations are bad. Like Joel's wife:
Unlike Cassandra, I feel it's important to overload our child with toxic levels of chemicals, risking permanent damage to his nervous system. At least that's how she saw it.
Note the past-tense saw. Because, of course, over the course of this after-school special, Joel convinced Cassandra otherwise. Before then, unfunny Jew joke regarding trayf:
And I know almost no one who is willing to get the swine-flu shot, and not because everyone here is Jewish.
Zing! And The New Yorker!
It's freaked people out for more than a century, often for religious reasons, causing riots in England in the 1850s, a huge uprising in Brazil in 1904 and a polio-vaccine boycott in Nigeria in 2001. Such rebellions against vaccination typically lead to disease outbreaks that put unimmunized kids at elevated risk, and, unless someone does something to stop it, endless New Yorker stories.
...and then, tossing all of Cassandra's new-age-y friends under the bus, too, when Joel, the pragmatic, straight-man in this story, goes to deal with this, uh, long-haired hippie bullshit face to face:
I went to a seminar about inoculation at Cassandra's yoga center. Along with about 50 other people, we paid $30 each to listen to Dr. Lauren Feder. I was doing a pretty good job of distracting myself until Feder told us that a good case of whooping cough can protect your child from asthma, that measles cure eczema and that only 1% of the mere 15% of prevaccine kids who got polio became paralyzed. Feder really sees the good side of life-threatening diseases. I bet she believes Ebola cures wrinkles.
But Joel does get to one wonderful thing:
I asked...whether putting off the vaccine for hepatitis B until puberty was completely safe, or if a child could get the disease from being bitten by another kid. "You go with what feels right," Feder told me.
Yes: there's a doctor in L.A. telling patients—or rather, customers—to go with "what feels right" when vaccinating their kids. Not being a medical expert, I'm not entirely sure how safe or unsafe vaccinations are. But I do know: I was born, and my parents had me needled until I was everything but sterile, and I'm pretty sure I turned out fine (and probably: sterile).
Stein managed to talk his wife out of not getting the kid his shots—as long as they're low on aluminum?—so I guess we can thank him for throwing his wife under the vaccination tank and helping the Public Cause one day further. But this mostly just reminds me of what all parents say when their kids take the car out: it's not you we're worried about, it's the other drivers. Now normal parents in L.A. have legitimate reasons to be scared of the parents of non-normal, bougie parents in L.A.: not only because their children are possibly disease-carrying/spreading germ vessels that are simply mechanisms of their parents' well-intentioned destructive impulses in the name of being progressive, but because the sequel to Outbreak's been waiting to be made forever, and if there's anything more frightening than a disease-carrying monkey that could destroy civilization, it's a brat sprung from the loins of West Hollywood.