It Turns Out that Calling People Idiots is Ineffective


Comic by Emily Flake, The New Yorker

A friend of mine recently suggested that perhaps humor was a good way to do a little scientific education and outreach. Lecturing is too "professorial" (perhaps not unexpected from the likes of me, though); presenting quick nuggets of data appears ineffective. Making people laugh while educating? That could work. Jon Stewart's viewers routinely score best on random current events polls, so maybe there's something to it. I was thus excited to see that The New Yorker published a comic about the recent measles outbreak

I'm sure you could all guess my opinion of parents who eschew vaccines. However, I think it far more important that children do not get sick. This? This will not change the mind of anyone on the fence. This is why we Northeasterners are reputed as being rude. Did I do a spit-take laugh upon reading it? Maybe. But it doesn't help. Opportunity missed, guys: you could have cracked people up AND changed minds with a different approach. No ever changed anyone's mind by calling them an idiot. You would think The New Yorker would be aware of that. I mean, what are you guys? A bunch of... never mind.

#measles #vaccines #Antivaxxer #TheNewYorker #InternetScience