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Monday, September 19, 2016

Acetaminophen

Drugs!
Now that Bayer bought Monsanto, I think the whole "Monsanto is the face of all that is evil" shtick is going to shift to Bayer.

Again, I don't like big corporations either, but I think a lot of the hate on them isn't from an economic perspective but from a science perspective and a lot of the hate on these corps isn't really deserved from a science perspective.

The conspiracy theories about Monsanto reached a level of beyond asinine, and I'm sure it's Bayer's turn to be the face of all that is evil.

Already a multitude of hit-pieces on acetaminophen which is found in most headache/migraine relief tablets is hitting the news pretty hard.

Personally, I don't really believe Tylenol is the silent killer waiting in the shadows to murder us all. I wrote an article a long time ago called "Sociological Horror Movies" or something like that:

Here: https://writtting-d.blogspot.ca/2014/10/a-new-genre-of-horror-movie-is-sweepin.html


I think the renewal of these headache-pill hit-pieces is part of that genre of Sociological Horror Movie. In that article, it was mainly about a Sugar Movie that came out that purported that sugar was the most dangerous substance known to humanity, and like that movie ... I think the headache pills scare-fest is a little over-blown.

It is true that people can die from tylenol or bayer migraine formula but everyone kind of already knows that, no? You're not supposed to take like 10 extra strength versions of these pills in a sitting ... you're supposed to follow the recommended dosage that's listed on the container and not go over that.

Almost 90% of cases of acetaminophen over-doses are non-accidental ... meaning the person was intending to kill themselves by swallowing like 2 cans of tylenols. The other 10% are accidental and mainly from people who drink too much or already have liver disease whilst taking tylenol.

Sales reports tend to show that about 60 million Americans buy tablets containing acetaminophen each week .... probably right now there's millions of people, at this very second, who have tylenols dissolving in their stomachs ... so ... honestly, I'm having trouble believing it's the Deadliest Silent Killer that it's being made out to be. Like anything else you're not supposed to abuse these things. Taking more than the recommended dose is dangerous ... and just about everyone knows that.

Everything on earth can be over done. Eat one hamburger ... not 50 per day. Take a tylenol or whatever if you have a headache ... don't swallow 10 of them just because you're bored. You know?

Personally, I take these pills very rarely ... very rarely. But I do feel when I have a bad headache that they help. Unless the headache is like insanely pounding ... I won't take them ... but there are times that I do. I'm not at all scared of headache pills.


Media

I've seen various hit pieces over the last number of years, they seem to be back in the news cycle full force lately ... I think it probably has to do with Bayer (mostly known for headache pills) buying Monsanto (a favorite go-to target for the conspiracy people).


The CBC in Canada had a story the other day where the headline was "It is the most common cause of liver injury. Period. Full stop" ... almost click-bait in nature as you were forced out of curiosity to find out what the answer to this scary question was.

I think I remember where this all started and why it's so blown out of proportion. It started with that Ira Glass character with the funny glasses.


He did a show once where ... it was click baity too .... where he interviewed this nurse .... and it's told like a fucking horror story that acetaminophen will kill you so hard until you're dead. It's an episode called "Use Only as Directed" on the American Life podcast back in 2013.

Glass claims to be a expert story-teller (also a semiotian ... whatever the fuck that is), and it's dangerous when you apply story telling methods to journalism. The "Use as Directed" podcast is set-up like a story with an intro, narration, and pacing .... and that's not the way to do journalism. Journalism is not story telling. Journalism is more of a science ... it's figuring out with the data available to us what the truth is in a situation.

He basically interviewed this nurse but in post-editing he re-structures the interview so it comes off like he's telling a story to you that is interjected by statements from his interviewee. I'm sure this is very compelling to listeners ... but to real science-oriented people or real journalists who hear this ... it's just nerve racking. In the text transcript on the podcast's website, he even has it segmented with headlines like "Act 1" and "Act 2" ... as if he's writing a play ... a play about acetaminophen. It's borderline ridiculous what this person does.


This is not the correct way to do respected journalism, it's not. It's not supposed to be Shakespeare in the Park. Science reporting is not supposed to be Allen Ginsburg shit ... It's not ... and all these acetaminophen hit-pieces in the news cycle lately are from young people who listen to this show. I'm sure of it. They all grew up listening to Ira Glass and think this is the correct way to do journalism ... and it's not. Not at all.

Caitie Kuric and that Sugar lady who made that dumb Sugar Movie are getting into trouble too lately with their new movie about Guns ... because someone found raw footage of people they interviewed for the new gun movie ... and the raw footage compared to the final cut is not even close to what these people said. You're trying to tell a story and it's backfiring .... when you do this you do a disservice to the topic you're covering when you go into full blown compelling story-telling mode.



Conclusion

A lot of the acetaminophen stuff that's coming back again is important but it should be presented more professionally.

The fact that 60 million people per week in the USA can safely use acetaminophen for minor pain relief suggests that it's not the most dangerous substance out there. Should people, and I'm pretty sure like 99% of people know you can take too much headache pills, be warned that you can take too many of these pills? Yes, and it's done very clearly on the container and is sold with a child-proof cover.

I think my main point is .... if you are an aspiring journalist ... maybe people like Ira Glass shouldn't be your inspiration or role model. If you wanna be a play-write or a Semiotitian (whatever the fuck that is) then he's a great role model for you ... he's a great story teller ... but when it comes to journalism, especially science journalism, it is not story-telling or play-writing. It's just not. They are not in the same vein.

That "Use as Directed" piece by Ira Glass should be taught in schools as what NOT TO DO in the field of science journalism.




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