Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point.In the village (and later dazzling city of mirrors) Macondo, one can seemingly invent the world according to one's own perceptions. It's a dizzying history, fragmented and timeless. Ultimately, hubris and lack of self reflection lead to the downfall of the Buendia family and of Macondo.
This weekend, something terrible happened to Dr. Jack Kruse. No innocent person should be summarily escorted off a cruise ship and dumped at Galveston harbor by Carnival security and the FBI. I wouldn't wish such a thing on anyone. In fact, six months ago I myself was questioned by Homeland Security, and for a while it seemed certain my computer was going to be confiscated by the feds, though the computer and myself were about 2000 miles away when the actual crime took place. I was a bit shaken up; ultimately there was no way I could possibly end up in trouble, facing the accusation of the federal authorities was an awful experience.
Why am I writing about the Low Carb Cruise event? Well, less than 24 hours after it happened, in a series of tweets and emails and blog posts and facebook posts (some of which are noted on Evelyn's blog), I had learned that *my* name was being circulated as a possible "perpetrator," though Evelyn's has been featured far more prominently and a woman from NY (who could only be Evelyn) was mentioned in a local news story by Kruse himself. There was ugly finger-pointing. "Perpetrators" were being threatened with 15-20 years federal prison time, civil suits, and other nastiness.
I did follow the parody twitter feed (whose tweet about explosives and legionnaire's disease and an "epic bio-hack" was apparently and very unfortunately misinterpreted by Carnival security, though it was obviously a reference to Jack's use of dynamite at his Paleo-Fx talk and his alleged self-injection with MRSA). I even retweeted the feed several times. I thought it was funny, and sometimes the quotes referenced me, for example one about how dangerous bananas can be. I had guesses about who the owner of the feed might be, but did not know. Nor do I have any clue who called (or emailed? The reports differ...) Carnival and apparently pointed security in the direction of Jack Kruse. That person is truly malicious.
How could a relatively mild-tempered psychiatrist who was minding her own business on a Sunday without much of a thought about neurosurgeons, cruises, or microbiology suddenly have her friends email her with forwards of alarming and threatening messages?
I opened the door. I went to Free the Animal not too terribly long ago and engaged Richard Nikoley on his own turf. I made it clear in no uncertain terms that I felt that injecting oneself with MRSA prior to surgery was a stupid and unethical thing to do. Nor do I consider such a statement to be that far out on any limb, or to be that controversial. I'm guessing that if you lined up 10 (non-biohacking neurosurgeon) surgeons and asked them about the incident, 10 out of 10 would say they thought the incident was made up or that the perpetrator was off his rocker. Ultimately I felt that rendering my opinion on the subject was the right thing to do, as silence in the blogosphere is too often associated with approval or assent.
Thereafter things got uglier than usual over at Richard's blog. He publically thrashed Melissa McEwen, and I decided I was sick of the whole scene. I thought I would stick to science and forgo any ranting for a while, and I unfollowed FTA on twitter and on this blog, just as I had previously unfollowed Kruse's twitter and facebook feeds.
A rather peaceful few weeks ensued. But I opened the door. And as much as one can seal it and try to block out any cracks of light, sometimes the door will burst open. It's not the worst thing. A psychiatrist should not shy away from aggression. Aggression has to be met. Actions do have consequences, and when something bad or unpleasant happens, the first thing one should do is reflect upon how one might change the situation, or whether one could have done something differently. What a terrible situation, to be so polarizing and to have engaged in such behavior that someone would actively seek to have you removed from a cruise ship and searched and questioned by homeland security, for example. So angry about what happened, which was indeed a terrible thing, no question, that you bring news cameras to your home and proceed to threaten and bluster even random commenters on David Csonka's website (linked above) who vaguely criticize, and list the telephone number on a public blog of the FBI agent who is investigating the case! No thought of how other innocent people might be irresponsibly blamed or troubled, as it seems Jack was irresponsibly treated by the cruise ship security.
…in that flash of lucidity he became aware that he was unable to bear in his soul the crushing weight of so much past…he admired the persistence of the spiderwebs on the dead rose bushes, the perseverance of the rye grass, the patience of the air in the radiant February dawn. And then he saw the child. It was a dry and bloated bag of skin that all the ants in the world were dragging toward their holes along the stone path in the garden…The first of the line is tied to a tree and the last is being eaten by the ants.
Truth sometimes is strange and awful. Self-reflection can be painful, but helps us to grow. If we do not see it in time, the world we thought we had vanishes, a mirage. No matter how loud or threatening or how aggressive we are, ultimately we return to the earth, and we are only the measure of what people remember.
Dr. Kruse will always have his followers, his believers. They will jump with him off the shore and into the icy waters, and pay the fees for what I consider to be very dubious writings, and all the best of luck to them.
I prefer more solid and boring ground: eat healthy, exercise, sleep, relax, don't invite too much drama upon oneself... though my morbid curiousity is a definite failing. Another weakness to reflect upon, no doubt. There are many.