The editorial board of this blog has come together and decided that we are no longer going to cover the anti-vaccine writings of one Jacob Lawrence Crosby. The reasons for this are many, but they boil down to one main thing: We believe that he is unable to understand the context of things he reads. As such, there is nothing that we can communicate to him without him taking it personal. The evidence for this?
A few years ago, friend-of-the-blog Ren Najera wrote a “diss rap” about Jake Crosby based on the lyrics of “Fighting Trousers” by Professor Elemental. The song is about Prof. Elemental “dissing” Mr. B, another rapper. Mr. B raps about life in Victorian England, and so does Prof. Elemental. So the professor is telling Mr. B to stop copying him. Ren re-wrote those lyrics when Jake Crosby decided to be an epidemiologist (something he hasn’t achieved, by the way) and go get his master of public health degree at the George Washington University, where Ren got his MPH. Part of the lyrics read like this:
“Let’s settle this like gentlemen: armed with heavy sticks, On a rotating plate, with spikes like Flash Gordon, And you’re Peter Duncan; I gave you fair warning”
The movie “Flash Gordon” is a science fiction movie from 1980 where the title character is put to the test against a man. They both fight on a rotating platform with spikes. They fight with sticks. So Ren is using lyrics from a rapper who is poking fun at another rapper. How did Jake Crosby interpret this?
That’s right. Jake has been stating all this time that Ren physically threatened him, even writing this in a letter to different administrators at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. What was the threat? A diss rap. A spoof of a diss rap. You can read more about Ren’s interactions with Jake here.
There are other interactions with Jake by other people where his replies have made little sense, at least to us. There were his claims that Orac was being paid by Big Pharma when Orac was not being paid by Big Pharma. Orac happened to be working at a university which got research grants from pharmaceuticals, yes, but he never really got paid by said pharmaceuticals. If that were the case, that we get money from pharma because we work alongside or in an institution funded by pharma grants, then we’re all in cahoots with pharma.
Then there is the latest blog post by Jake Crosby. This one sealed the deal for us in deciding to just stop trying to refute him. In his blog post, Jake Crosby accuses a writer for The New Republic by the name of Elizabeth Bruenig as writing against anti-vaccine notions not because those notions are wrong. No, she writes them because, in Jake Crosby’s understanding, she doesn’t like Jake Crosby:
“Some “journalists” spread misinformation denying the dangers of vaccines because they are trained to by CDC, for which they deserve none of the protections intended for a free press and should be fully investigated by Congress. For The New Republic’s newly-hired Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig – who wrote hit-pieces against Rand Paul and Chris Christie while ignoring Obama contradicting himself on vaccines – the most likely reason is a lot pettier. It goes back to her years as a student at Brandeis University where she seemed to have developed a personal grudge against your humble blogger: me.”
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s all about Jake Crosby:
“Letting a grudge from four years ago shape your views on an important public health issue is about as self-interested as it gets. The New Republic is already declining, but it hit a new low with the hiring of Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig.”
In his world, Ms. Bruenig writes about the anti-vaccine lies because she has a grudge against Jake Crosby.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is only but a small sliver of what Jake Crobsy has written and put out into the big bad world. His anti-vaccine writings are, in our opinion, more than just misguided. They are screeds attempting to connect things that are very, very far away from each other on many dimensions. While that is the game plan for most anti-vaccine activists, to try and put together events and concepts that are completely unrelated to each other, we believe that Jake Crosby takes it one step further. He genuinely seems to believe that the world somehow revolves around him. He claimed credit for Seth Mnookin leaving PLoS blogs, after all. If tomorrow any of us gets pulled over for a traffic citation or get some form of cancer, we wouldn’t be surprised if he claimed credit for that. If the day after that we write something he misunderstands, as he has misunderstood other things, he might lash out in ways that would not be good.
As a result of realizing that we’re dealing with someone who is not playing by the rules, who seemingly attributes everything to his existence, we have decided to let him be. Jake Crosby will have to say or do something phenomenally stupid to get our attention. The odds are 3 to 1 that he will.