(bones by kevinzim)
The British Chiropractic Association may or may not have an abundance of woo, but it has no shortage of sharp lawyers and last week in front of a sympathetic judge (in a still little reported case with far-reaching implications) they won the first round in a libel action against Simon Singh who described the BCA as happily promoting bogus treatments for childhood asthma and ear infections.
Wait a minute, you say, ear infections? are you telling me that chiropractors are in the habit of manipulating children's spines to treat their ear infections?2 Well, yes, that's (if you will) the rub - chiropractic actually treats everything, you see. It's to do with subluxation (at so at least slightly wooy, then).
The meeting was in the basement of Penderel's Oak, a confined, confusing and noisy space designed to intimidate autists, and it was packed with an intriguing mixture of besuited lawyers, TV personalities, journalists, MPs and angry rationalists. And me. I must be getting younger: last year I went to me very first demo, this year to my very first activist meeting.
"What can we do to help?", asked an earnest young woman, with a moleskine "Write about it on your blogs!", said Chris French3 , "Tweet about it! Join our Facebook group!" Yes, this was Activism-2.0.
"I have a blog", I said to my neighbour, an equally earnest young man who was surreptitiously sharing my pint. "Yeah", he said, "we've all got blogs." and he eyed me up disdainfully, "A fiver says you still use blogger", he said, suddenly. "Am I right?".
I eyed him up right back, and next moment we got out our technorati authorities out and slammed them down on the table... his blog was bigger than mine. "I've got my own domain name!", I said "and.."
But he was updating his Facebook status and he wasn't listening..
Nick Cohen raged amusingly against the injustices of the English libel system, Evan Harris talked calmly about the poor understanding of science in parliament, and Brian Cox bounced about and grinned a lot. I wondered if it was too late to give up banking and become a journalist, an MP or a theoretical physiscist (cum TV presenter). Or best of all: a libel plaintiff 4 ?
At the end we heard from Simon Singh himself, and when he was done we all cheered and clapped enthusisatically and felt very glad that it wasn't any of us, cornered into making a principled stand.
While I whooped I gazed around the crowd: The meeing had been quite well publicised and I had no doubt that the audience would contain an undercover chiropractor or two listening out for actionable statements. I wondered if they give themselves away, by not cheering as loudly as the rest.
Looking right round I cricked my neck.
2wouldn't any normal person use reflexology for that?
3Although a large proportion of the population believes in the paranormal, the evidence presented to support paranormal claims is generally not very convincing in scientific terms" Great Stuff
4 please make defamatory comments below, being sure to leave details of where a writ may be served.