Healthy Skepticism by Scott Anthony
By Scott Anthony
Dr. Andrew Weil is a medical doctor who favors herbs and organic food products over pharmaceuticals and the food produced by the congloms.
To me, and I’m certain, to a lot of folks he looks a bit like Santa Claus, albeit without the red hat. His cherubic smile, holistic tendencies and professional standing make him popular with the back-to-earthers. Couple of months ago, Mrs. Anthony and I visited with her mother on the outskirts of town. ‘Ma’ is half Irish, half Russian and all beauty queen and I love visiting her. She gives me home-baked organic cookies and sews my torn up jeans. Ma is also what used to be called a ‘health nut’. She can be found at places like Marlene’s or Fred Meyer Nutrition center, stocking up on Stevia or Vitamin Q. At Ma’s house, I noticed a copy of a natural health magazine laying on a pile of newspaper. Dr. Weil’s Christmassy face was beaming from the cover. I said, “Hey Ma, what do you think of Doc Weil…pretty neat guy huh?” I expected her to agree with me, but instead, she wrinkled up her nose and nearly shouted, “OHHH..I can’t STAND his FACE!”
So surprised was I at her response I almost spit out my tea and cookies.
“Ma,” I had to ask after I stopped chuckling, “ what is it about him that you don’t like?” She quoted some of the doctor’s positions on somewhat controversial health practices like chelation and the use of flouride in our water and then finished by deftly flopping the poor doctors picture upside down on the newspaper pile. She never really said anything about his face, proper.
Now, if you own a TV you have quite likely seen pitchman extraordinaire Kevin Trudeau. He’s the handsome fellow who thrives on the infomercial market selling vitamin supplements by amazing us with revelations about little known, natural cure-alls. He has a new book out with the teaser title, ‘Natural Cures ‘They’ Don’t Want You To Know About.’ When I surf past him on the tube, I barely give him any purchase in my head, but to be fair, some of what he espouses to optimize our health is the same stuff Dr. Weil suggests. This week, we visited Ma again and as I raided her cookie stash I saw a copy of Trudeau’s book on the couch. I didn’t waste any time, “Ma, what’s with the book?”
She grinned and began ticking off the neat, natural solutions Trudeau offers for every little nagging health issue you can think of (save the malaise caused by ingesting too much snake oil). When she was finished I said, “But Ma, what makes this guy different from Dr. Weil?” She hemmed and hawed, not saying very much, but she didn’t really have to answer and I knew why: It’s because he’s not pretty enough.
We can deny it all day long, but when it comes down to the wire, sex sells.
This is the reason for beauty parlors, bikini contests, makeup people and facelifts. Forget the message, it’s the messenger and if Kevin Trudeau suddenly decided to run for president, it’s nearly certain that he would do better than someone like, say, the plug ugly Lyndon LaRouche. The sad part of this preoccupation is that the important stuff tends to get glossed over.
Dr. Weil works hard at providing useful information for people, and while he is also selling books, he has a great website that anyone can access for free where he offers help for nearly any health issue. Trudeau offers only recycled health studies and home cures that your Grandma knew about in the 1930’s. In addition, Weil has a medical degree, while Trudeau has a police record. I mentioned Trudeau’s scrape with the law to Ma, to which she replied, “Oh..but he was young then… he decided that he want’s to help people now and money isn’t that important.” I love Ma, but she doesn’t need that book . She already knows most of the health advice Trudeau offers anway. But I think his face is what she really wants: An attractive young person who, really, is selling youth and vitality. In the long run, I guess there’s nothing wrong with that. But there’s something about Trudeau that does not sit well with me. Call me a curmudgeon, but I guess I just can’t stand his face.