Saturday, May 3, 2008

WWWtW-Watch #12: Tuskegee Experiment Exposed--as Good

Dedicated to the proposition that it can happen here.

I’ve been very lax in tending this regular feature of Rodak Riffs of late. To tell truth, I’ve been impeded both by lack of stomach for reading the stuff, and by the evident lack of interest on the part of what I sardonically refer to as my ”readership.” But today, finding myself in a bit of a rut elsewhere in the blogosphere and in a bit of a funk emotionally, rather than resorting to cutting myself with a dull blade, I gave WWWtW a glimpse. I found that my old friend Maximos has been a busy lad. Maybe he’s off the decaf -- who knows? But it was a post by his colleague, Steve Burton, that prompted this latest installment of WWWtW-Watch. Mr. Burton’s revisionist justification of the notorious and shameful Tuskegee Experiment (yes, you read that correctly) I just couldn’t let slide without comment.

I’ll let interested parties read Burton's post for themselves. But briefly, it seems that the Tuskegee Experiment was actually a “progressive” operation (those damned liberals again!) staffed largely by African Americans, undertaken with the full approval of “black medical authorities,” and designed to provide compassionate help to blacks, since they were a group particularly plagued by syphilis.

Oh. Well that’s very different. Never mind.

If you will check out the comment section following this retroactive exoneration of those involved in this peculiar investigation, you will note that it has drawn more than the usual amount of dissent for a blog whose comment sections routinely consist of self-congratulatory circle jerks.

The most emphatic of these dissenting opinions was a long one posted by a reader signing as “Jean.” Here is an excerpt:

In the face of such evil, labels like "progressive", "conservative" and "liberal" would laughable if the tragedy weren't so dark. These are your brothers, and they were wronged. Did you hear yourself? You are disregarding evil (the experiments) because you say those who are ideologically opposed to you supported it back then (progressives), and it is pointed to by liberals today. So it doesn't matter. It doesn't count. Kings's X.

I urge you to read Jean’s entire comment, as it hits home hard. And, predictably, it was immediately followed by this lightly veiled threat from WWWtW’s resident Thought Patrolman, Paul J. Cella:

Jean, please confine your disagreements to the substance of Mr. Burton's argument, rather than imputing malice to his motives. Thank you.

Uh, excuse me, but I think Jean’s central point was that Mr. Burton’s intent is malicious on the face of it. I concur. One suspects that the rehabilitation of Dr. Mengele lags not far behind.