Matthew Reddin

Pete Evans, Belle Gibson and the addictive nature of snake oil

The courthouse schadenfreude of wellness blogger Belle Gibson shows how dangerous the platform of celebrity can be for the unqualified and irresponsible.

 

 

Part of me wants to see Pete Evans and Belle Gibson interact. But the vortex of stupid it’d create may very well rip the universe in half.

Picture this: Two people; one, a celebrity chef who thinks that it’s okay to eliminate processed food from your diet (fine) as a replacement for prescribed medications to actual, life-threatening ailments (hold on…what?). The other, a girl who pretended to have cancer, then got a book deal when some idiots believed her when she blogged about beetroot increasing her red blood cell count. Or something.

 

 

These two start chatting about the scams they’re running, until one of them accidentally eats part of a biscotti, and the other’s head explodes out of sheer fauxtrage. Nearby, an I Quit Sugar cultist Instagrams the scene and blames it all on “big pharma”, smugly insisting that none of this would have happened had they either not been vaccinated or had ingested his or her preferred homoeopathic remedy (the one designed to prevent someone’s head exploding because of complex carb intake).

Some 13,000 followers click “Like” and share it. The world slips closer to the abyss.

In this social media age, everyone has an opinion, they all think they’re entitled to broadcast it, and the rest of us have to listen to it, no matter how stupid or dangerous their baseless, fact-vacuums are. Feed your baby bone broth. Don’t vaccinate. Camel milk. Organic food that cures cancer.

Don’t ask any questions, or fact check, just trust the one with the most “Likes”. Just believe this shit and don’t, ask, any, questions.

Back to bed, you lot.

Perhaps it was just a short-attention-span-media, who latched onto a girl with an app and a nice story to tell, ignoring the fact that, no, you can’t cure cancer with a kale smoothie.

If you believe what Belle Gibson says, she felt ill, got diagnosed by a bloke working out of a kombi with an oscilloscope in the back (her actual story’s not that far removed), started eating organic food, and now feels better. She doesn’t seek a second opinion and doesn’t seek out an oncologist (I doubt she’d know what one was, what they do or how to pronounce it). She starts blogging and gets a book deal, and an app, appears on breakfast TV. She gets money, promises to donate it to charity but spends it on anything but. At no point does the media check her story. At no point does the media say, “How does eating a carrot sandwich have the same effect as chemotherapy?”

It doesn’t, you idiots. But we don’t want to ask, because we’re far too busy multi-screening for that.


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I only know about this woman, and the celebrity chef, because it seems to be news. Every time one of these mouth-breathing douchecanoes opens their yawps and some ill-informed horseshit spews out of it, it gets reported, for some reason. The media is as much to blame for this as the gullible folks who fork over actual, folding, money, for health advice from the hilariously unqualified.

However.

Pete Evans surely does look good. Following his diet would do me wonders. Not sure how actually “paleo” it is, considering I’ve not seen many butchers selling sabre tooth tiger steaks – and the Palaeolithic man lived to 35, tops – but the best recipe for porridge I ever had was by Evans; it was in a book he wrote before he went insane and decided seeds and grains will make your junk fall off, or something along those lines. He’s a dangerous man who shouldn’t be allowed near an open flame, much less a microphone, unless he’s telling me how to make vanilla slices. The girl? A halfwit scam artist in the court of public opinion who got more attention than she expected until the lie was too big to disown. If she goes to jail, it’d be doing the prison population a disservice; even car thieves and murderers don’t deserve to be inflicted with that intellectual deficit.

But here we are, publicising these people.

If I’m sick, I see a doctor, because they’re more qualified and smarter than I am – and about 14,000 times more so than a celebrity chef or one of these faux health food bloggers. If it takes me to tell you this, and it’s news to you…then I, potentially nobody for that matter, can help you.

 

Matthew Reddin

Matt Reddin has been writing nonsense about film, TV, books, music and live theatre for a touch over 20 years. He’s gone from the halcyon days of street press in Perth, to regional dailies, national magazines and major metropolitan newspapers. Now, in between bouts of sporadically yelling at clouds, he vents his creative spleen at www.lessercolumn.com.au

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2 Comments

  1. Sara said:

    “Palaeolithic man lived to 35, tops”

    Actually, paleo man lived well into his 70s and 80s, his AVERAGE lifespan was shorter due to high infant mortality. So, no, he didn’t live to 35, “tops”. Ugh.

    Add in putting Evans in the same group as Gibson, and the evidence that you really do spew “nonsense” as your bio states, comes through loud and clear.

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