Saturday, October 29, 2005

How to Succeed at Quackery (Without Even Trying): Part 3

Part 1:
Part 2:
Dealing with the Competition (the finale)


Eventually, if you are lucky, you will become successful enough to attract the attention of real doctors, so you need to have a plan for dealing with them. Fortunately, the real doctors are too busy saving lives and eradicating disease to expend too much effort stomping out quackery - they always leave the job half done.

Because of this inherent weakness, you are unlikely to encounter resistance from real doctors until you start to seriously impact their practice. Now, I don't mean that you will cut into their profitability - heck no! In that way, quackery is truly "complementary" to real medicine.

We delay people with real disease getting medical attention, resulting in more office visits or longer hospital stays and more expensive treatments. You'd think that the real doctors would appreciate us pushing up their profit margin, but some people can't see where their own self-interest lies. Clearly, they aren't as smart as those of us in the quack fields.

At any rate, when the real doctors start seeing patients coming to them with more advanced disease states because of our involvement, they are likely to try to shut us down. This is inevitably a wasted effort, since you can always shut your office and re-open it in another city or state. Or you could move it across the border to Mexico (or Canada - but the climate is much more pleasant in Mexico, both for sunbathing and quackery). But in order to avoid the inconvenience of having to start over in a new location, you need to follow a few simple rules.

Heads I win, tails you lose:

The best defense against this sort of business interference is a good offense. For starters, be sure that your patients clearly understand that any problems they may encounter are due to one of the following:

[1] Failure to follow the treatment plan (remember the chicken in Part 2?).

[2] Not treating long enough. Even if you told them it would take a week at first, you can always tell them, "It's working - you're just going through the healing crisis/Herxheimer reaction/die-off phase."

[3] Interference from real medical treatments. "Your cancer would be healed now if your immune system hadn't been damaged by that damned chemotherapy."

[4] Lack of faith. Quack medicine only works if you believe in it - unlike real medicines like insulin and antibiotics, which require no psychic input from the patient.

The key point to remember is that no matter what happens, it's not your fault. If anything bad happens, it's the mark's fault, since they should have gone to a real doctor in the first place if they were sick.

Obfuscation is a quack's best friend:

Never let yourself get trapped into making a definitive statement if you can avoid it. Your diagnoses should be vague and generalized - avoid using names of real diagnoses:

Good: intestinal dysbiosis, immune dysfunction, toxicosis, chronic viral infection

Bad: diabetes, hypertension, AIDS


Likewise, your treatments should be equally - if not more - vague and generalized. This is especially true if you are not in possession of a license that allows you to make diagnoses and prescribe treatments.

Not having a license is not an insurmountable obstacle - in fact, it can be a positive advantage. Not having a license also means that you don't have one of those pesky licensing boards. Clearly, a licensing board is not a bar to quackery - look at chiropractic and naturopathy, both of which have licensing boards - but it adds another level of complexity and expense.

If you don't have a license to diagnose and prescribe, you do have to watch your language. Be sure to make it clear to marks that you can't legally diagnose or prescribe (wink, wink, nudge nudge), but that you'd be happy to suggest what they might be suffering from and discuss what treatments might help. And your fee is for the pleasant conversation the two of you will be having.

"Complementary, my dear Watson":

One very effective way to keep the real doctors off your back is to bill your quackery as "complementary" - which means that it supports or complements real medicine. This requires a bit more of a tightrope walk in the office, since you don't want to tell the mark that real medicine is effective - since that would cut into your business - but you also don't want to cut away your camouflage.

Calling real medicine "allopathic" is an effective technique, since it gives the illusion that you and the real doctors are coming from different but equally valid disciplines. The following phrases may also be of some help - modify them as needed to suit your particular situation:

[1] Allopaths treat disease - I promote wellness.

[2] I treat the whole person rather than an organ or disorder.

[3] My therapies help the body to heal itself.

[4] My treatments remove obstructions to natural healing.

[5] Allopaths only treat symptoms - I remove the disease.

Introducing the jargon from quantum physics (read anything by Deepak Chopra to get ideas) is also a good strategy, since only a small percentage of the population knows enough about quantum theory to tell that you (and Chopra) are peddling moonbeams. For the rest, it makes you sound incredibly hip, slick and cool (or New Age, if you like).

Remember, if you elect to go the "complementary" route, you need to keep open antagonism with real medicine to a minimum. Go the passive-aggressive route. Damn with faint praise - "I suppose that going to an allopaths wouldn't be the worst thing you could do." or "Allopaths are good for emergencies, like car accidents or a ruptured appendix." You get the idea.

Professional Courtesy:

No matter how much you loathe your fellow quacks or think that they have the intellect of a peach pit (after the laetril has been extracted), never, never criticize or question their quackery. This is the classic situation of people living in glass houses. Throwing stones will do nobody any good.

If you want an example of how to behave, go to one of the many quack conventions. There you will see speakers get up and say things that are absolutely incompatible with what the previous speaker has said - but they won't make any mention of it. And if the two are in a panel discussion, they will say only nice things about the other's quackery.

This is in distinct contrast to real medical conferences, where voices are raised, snide comments made and embarassing questions are asked. This sort of unseemly and impolite behavior can only be tolerated when there is real data to support what people are saying. In the world of quackery, that sort of frank discussion and argument would tear apart the delicate fabric of our fortunes. Under no circumstances are you to ever, ever even vaguely suggest that the Emperor has no clothes.

Betrayers and Mutineers:

Occasionally, someone will leave the fold and turn on their brother and sister quacks. These people are to be shunned and ridiculed. Cast aspersion about their character. Question their mental stability and raise vague possibilities of drunkenness or substance abuse. Above all, emphasize the fact that they have changed their minds and are likely to do it again. That's certainly not behavior we want to encourage.

After all, the last thing we want people to do is approach quackery with an open mind or skepticism. We may say that we want people to have an open mind, but what we mean is that we want them to believe us and not the real doctors, scientists and skeptics. A real open mind is deadly to quackery. If one of those damned skeptics shows up in your office, get them out quick! That sort of thing can devastate a quack practice.

Now go out and make yourselves rich!


Prometheus.

15 Comments:

Anonymous María Luján Ferreira said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

30 October, 2005 05:49  
Blogger Prometheus said...

María Luján Ferreira posted a very long and rather irrelevant (to the topic of the post) comment that was deleted. This was the third (or fourth) such long off-topic comment by her to this blog.

I have no objection to people commenting on my blog - that's why the blog has a comment section. I even aloow people to post comments that are off-topic or long, as long as it doesn't become a habit. However, I don't feel the need to play recurring host to someone else's articles.

Ms. Luján Ferreira, if you want to put your views and ideas out for people to read, I suggest that you do as I have done and get your own blog.


Prometheus

30 October, 2005 15:53  
Anonymous María Luján Ferreira said...

Prometheus
I apologize. I had several pages open (reading from Kevin Leitch blogs, from Autism Diva blog and yours ) and I posted in the wrong place answering you from another place.
I took you suggestion. It was the second time I posted in your blog.
Sorry by the misplacement.
M. L. F

30 October, 2005 17:47  
Anonymous HCN said...

Bravo for the great description of how quackery works! I know this is satire... but time and time again we've seen this exact stuff get used over and over. Especially the part about making the patient/victim feel guilty for not getting well.

So true, so true.

30 October, 2005 17:58  
Anonymous HCN said...

Note to M.L.F. --- If you want an audience and dialog about your issues, and do not feel like getting your own blog (which is something I am not about to do), then join the Healfraud listserv:
http://www.quackwatch.org/00AboutQuackwatch/discuss.html

That way, you can state your opinions and get feedback (including from many who post on these blogs). You can review the posts made on the archive which is at the bottom of the webpage I listed above.

Also, to stay on topic --- many of the scenarios that Prometheus wrote about in the "How to Succeed in Quackery" are often discussed (and many times joked about).

30 October, 2005 18:04  
Blogger Autism Diva said...

Bravo.

)*( )*( )*(

( applause)

Speaking of the faithful and the fibbers:
http://cajuncowboy.com/Dr.Buttar.htm
"Cajun Cowboy" is a patient of Dr. Buttar's. Here's his most recent take on Dr. Buttar.
----
....
For more detailed information about the pills I take, Morning Bunch, Lunch Bunch and Evening Bunch just click here.

But you know the pills are not the worst of it, even though they are overwhelming.
What gets me is the Coffee enema ever night!

However Coffee enemas are suppose to be a great help, for more information just click here.

OK nearly a year and half later I am a little more healthy but My PSA is about the same! Here are the stats:
[he shows that his PSA level is 6.4, it started at 5.8 a year and a half ago, and was up to 8.9 in July 05]

My conclusions are that, Dr. Buttar is a good Doctor, but alas so far, my prostate cancer has just not been affected by this treatment. I have spent close to $200,000.00 dollars and had very little to show for it. One of the things Dr. Buttar and other natural cure Doctors assert is that surgery is so much more expensive, well I beg to differ. I have spent about $10,000 dollars of the above 2 hundred thousand just in having the mercury amalgams removed from my teeth, then a copula root canals and too much pain to even mention!

I could have had my prostate removed for less and... well there are no grantees that way either and even if insurance picked up the bill I may not have been in, as good a condition as I am today!

Bottom Line, I still feel that this is the right path for me, but it is a journey that is not over....

SO I WILL WRITE MORE LATER.

31 October, 2005 20:07  
Blogger Ken Wickiser said...

Autism Diva,

"Whoah." - Neo

I...can't...believe...
What.....the....
You....mean...
people....buy....
pay money...
believe in... the...cream....from this guy?!

*stares blankly into space and tries to think of his favorite Big Lebowski scene*

31 October, 2005 20:23  
Anonymous HCN said...

For a reason of what happens here are two related webpages.

First, the page where he describes all the alternative treatments he undergoes:
http://www.sumeria.net/health/rectcan.html

Second, his obituary:
http://obits.abqjournal.com//results?obit_id=56606

(obtained from a posting on Usenet by a Healthfraud listserv member)

31 October, 2005 21:30  
Blogger Autism Diva said...

Hi Ken,

Now... you know.... why Autism Diva gets so ANGRY sometimes... and seems like she's in a slow burn the rest of the time.

These quacks are really incredible, in both senses of the word.

01 November, 2005 10:39  
Blogger burntcherry said...

Totally incredible and totally not credible.

01 November, 2005 12:17  
Blogger Ken Wickiser said...

burntcherry are you sayin' that cajun cowboy is Onion material? Because I almost can't believe it's true. But there's no doubt he's talking about Buttar there and I can only imagine that about a zillion lawyers would love to represent Buttar if that site was indeed a slanderous joke. Since it has apparently been up for some time, I am inclined to believe it. But then, I thought this guy was real too:
http://www.theonion.com/content/files/images/onion_news438.article.jpg

Hi autism diva, a little anger can be good sometimes, especially when they give you black licorice and all you really want is a $!#!* kitkat bar - it's for the kids, really. Now trick-or-treat!

01 November, 2005 13:30  
Blogger Interverbal said...

Very well done!

The only thing you could add is that if a former quack drifts from the fold they "couldn't finish what they started".

01 November, 2005 13:47  
Blogger clone3g said...

That poor Cowboy. In both senses of the word.

I took it that Burntcherry was responding to Ken's comment about in-credible Quacks in both senses of the word....

Hey Burntcherry, I see you've been in touch with the Buttar churners. Wow! Ranier Flambé Olé! (Cajun Dish)

01 November, 2005 14:33  
Blogger burntcherry said...

Ken, no it was not in reference to the poor cowboy (of whose story I've been familiar with for some time); instead, it was more in reference to "churning", lol. Thanks for that clone3g ; ] Yep, someone sure got churned. Ken, if you click the burntcherry ID, you'll see more about the churning de la creme.

01 November, 2005 17:38  
Blogger Ken Wickiser said...

burntcherry wilco, I've never been the fastest one off the block

clone3g Re: "poor" - I'm feeling not so good for laughing so hard at that

02 November, 2005 04:56  

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