I have a very long commute. In the mornings, I spend about an hour and a half on trains and buses, offering lots of time for reading, completing puzzles, and just decompressing, so I donâ€™t really mind. This morning I picked up one free daily paper at my subway stop and did all three sudokus and then the crossword, and finally flipped through reading the articles. One was the requisite animal story, this time about a tiger cub being raised by pigs at a zoo in China. This set off skeptical alarms in my head, since it sounded so much like that false and slightly sad story about the piglets dressed in fur and left in the tiger cage at a zoo in Thailand. I decided to look into it when I got to work, and send a letter to the editor if it, too, proved to be fishy. I donâ€™t send many letters like that, but I decided that maybe I should start in case they reach readers who would otherwise be left with false information.
I changed trains and picked up another free daily paper, so I could finish the sudoku and crossword there. Afterwards, I again flipped through to immediately see an article about reflexology in the â€œlifestyleâ€ section. Oh, man, what a way to start the day. This article wasnâ€™t just leaning toward the credulous side â€“ it had already fallen off the cliff into Credulous Ravine. The â€œjournalistâ€ stated as fact that reflexology (basically foot massage plus acupressure plus $$$) has been proven effective for treating specific diseases. There were plenty of quotes from a reflexologist who was identified by name and business (a spa in New York City where one can not only pay for reflexology treatments but also naps â€“ I kid you not, you can pay $12 to take a 20-minute nap). The article was followed by the names and addresses of two other spas in Boston offering reflexology treatments. By the time I got to work my brain had exploded into gooey bits, probably because my new shoes were hurting my feet and interfering with the â€œenergy flowâ€ around my body.
So I wrote a letter. In accordance with the paperâ€™s suggestion, I kept it to (exactly) 100 words, but still got in the important bits, I think.
Despite what was written in Tuesdayâ€™s absurd article â€œHitting a Nerveâ€, reflexology does not â€œrelease toxins,â€ affect any â€œenergy sourcesâ€, or effectively treat depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, allergies, drug dependence, or impotence. As shown by Wienerâ€™s suggestion that healthy people get treated once a week for a month (at her spa, $260-$500/month), the entire article was a shameless plug for quacks whoâ€™ll never admit that reflexology is no more beneficial than a massage. The Metro failed in its responsibility to check the facts before printing drivel that could cause people to delay getting real medical treatment for serious problems.
Please note that the reflexologistâ€™s full last name is â€œCrean Wiener,â€ and I did not mock her name a single time. In the letter. Mostly because of the word count.
The Metro gives out free papers in cities all over the world, so if anyone else is in a Metro city Iâ€™d be interested to know if they print that same article, just with different, local spas at the end. Iâ€™ll let you all know if I hear anything back from them (holding breath starting . . . now).
Oh yeah, and I briefly had a moment to look into the pig and tiger cub story, and so far it looks like it may be legit. Anyone else come across this?