Angelina Jolie, Media and the Case for Integrative Medicine
Over the past few days the corporate, global, propaganda media have been glorifying the ‘self immolation’ of Angelina Jolie as brave and an answer to breast cancer for the women of the world. We consider that Jolie is being turned into a buffoon by the corporate media. Such a person should be receiving our well wishes and not be projected, for ratings etc, for some kind of perverted virtuousness. The simple truth, to this complex issue, is that merely cutting off body parts is not an answer for cancer. For the biochemistry of a human body does not build a fire wall between breast tissue and the rest of the body. The media promotion of double mastectomy as a viable solution is dangerous and has implication for all the women of the world, especially young girls, and sets a staggeringly new (low) standard in the pervasiveness of a new corporate culture - a culture that will be coming to a clinic near you, real soon.
The medical establishment has failed for decades to find their elusive cure to any cancer. In the interim that medical industrial complex continues to profit from the suffering of mankind. Sometimes their treatment modality is worse than the disease itself. We have a case, not in Barbados, where an 83 years old woman was being encouraged by a doctor to have a $500K operation to remove a clot from her brain. We can present hundreds of cases like this one. Where is this money going? Have conventional doctors everywhere loss their ability to care? Why is the patient not the most important person in the health care system? To what extent do medical practitioners answerable to pharmaceutical and other corporate interests? To what extent are we prepared to commodify medicine? Are we prepared to see old people die in the service of corporates? It is this same medical industrial complex that seeks to profit by inventing new diseases like AIDS, SARS, etc. The media supports conventional medicine as a Holy Grail. To them this is beyond question. Doctors are used to giving patients drugs without even a good understanding about their testing, trial and general efficacy. No wonder 120K people die every year in the USA from the effects of pharmaceutical drugs alone. Hundreds of thousands more die as a result of other medical errors. When the food industry is working hand and glove with the medical industry to manufacture an endless line of sick people by feeding them what Professor Pollen has called ‘edible substances’, like Purity Bakeries bread, which can stay ‘fresh’ for years without organic growths.
Our central argument is that all life systems have been so transformed by industrialization, scientific enquiry and capitalism more generally, that we are killing ourselves by things we do every day. Breast cancer is a symptom of this generalized sickness we have wrought on Pachamama. Establishment media, the medical industrial complex and the powers that be, have little interest in the promotion of or mass integration of alternative treatment modalities. In Barbados and the Caribbean, we will find only a few studies of local plants, herbs and shrubs like bush tea in the pharmacopeia offered to Caribbean patients. Even when we know that the current medical system is not sustainable we refuse to seriously consider a non-Eurocentric, a non-commercial, a non-industrial, a non-corporate health care system that is naturally based, scientific and affordable for the country. We are yet to learn how to prevent people from suffering in the hospitals in the Caribbean in circumstances where ordinary working people largely pay to educate ‘health care workers’. The media’s determination to promote Jolie’s double mastectomy as a solution is destructive of women, womanhood and the men who love them. This destruction happens on a corporate alter of greed and is a testimony to the wider disintegration of ‘Western Civilization’. A disintegration not unlike what happened at the fall of the Roman Empire.
Yes, integrative medicine draws on all models. Lifestyles could be transformed in ways to prevent and reverse illness and promote wellness. And yes, there are some quacks out there but in the main the alternative wellness movement has come a long way over decades. And yes, the outcomes for terminal patients are not always better than conventional practices but prevention is the key concept. Holistic living considers all the forces in our environment that make us well or unwell - whether these are political, social, technological, economic, legal, the physical environment. Preventive and integrative medicine deals with the state of the mind, the conformity of mind and body, the emotional self, respect for ALL living things, and so on. Conventional treatment methods have a lot to learn from these old aged and newer modalities. The media will be better placed, if it is to serve the people for a change, in breaking this unhealthy status quo.
That the mainstream corporate media, the medical industrial complex and their agents should seek, with the well worn attitude that all media is good, to promote double mastectomy as an answer to a real and pernicious ailment that has afflicted, mainly women but also a few men, suggests to this writer that we have reached a new low as a society, a human society. This ‘solution’ ignores the failures of the medical industry over decades; it ignores decades of pain and suffering of our mothers, sisters and daughters; it absolves the industry from the billions they have squandered looking for an elusive ‘cure’; it rationalizes an unacceptable normalcy; it refuses to go to the underlying causation/s of cancer. We contend that those answers are likely to be better found in a generalized holistic approach to life and living that sees no distinction between food and medicine and integrative medical care for the ill.