Thank parents who don’t vaccinate their kids for the return of whooping cough and the measles outbreak at Disneyland
By Tony Peyser
The sixteenth, second and fifth letters of the alphabet have joined forces like tag-team wrestlers to enable parents across Southern California to play by their own rules. PBE, as in Personal Belief Exemption, is their get-out-of-vaccinations-for-their-kids card — and families are playing it in record numbers, especially at Westside schools.
Opt-out rates tend to be higher in wealthy, coastal communities than in other Los Angeles County neighborhoods, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis last year. School-by-school kindergarten vaccination rates published by The Hollywood Reporter, for example, show 6% PBE rates at two public elementary schools in Mar Vista versus a whopping 34% PBE rate at a northwest Santa Monica charter.
Diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis, come on down! We’ve missed you. All is forgiven.
But I think these anti-vaxxers are holding back. These are upscale-living, Prius-driving, expensive coffee-drinking, show biz-connected folks who — sorry, Tom Brokow — really are The Greatest Generation. As the newest discriminated-against minority, it’s time for anti-vaxxers to be not only unafraid but out and proud.
So your kids aren’t getting shots and other kids are getting sick. Let’s build on that premise, shall we?
When teens have to study really hard to do well on the SAT, they can get ill from the pressure. But why should yours suffer? Trot out a PBE, threaten going to court and avoid those college admission exams. Insist your little darlings write essays or, better still, submit videos, the latter which will of course be lavishly produced by you and your Hollywood pals. And if Harvard and Yale refuse to play ball, sue them too.
Because anti-vaxxers deserve exalted status, all existing highway laws need not be obeyed. Speed everywhere and scream at anyone who objects or just give them the finger. If you sideswipe a parked car, don’t leave a note, slow down or in any way acknowledge it. Arriving on time at your yoga session or your kids’ Mandarin class is far more important than any collateral vehicular damage.
In his famous poem “America,” Alan Ginsberg memorably asked, “Why can’t I buy what I want at the supermarket with my good looks?” The next time you’re at Whole Foods, mention this quote at the register and insist on being comped. Why should you have to pay like everyone else? You are a medical pioneer and deserve certain perks in your constitutionally guaranteed right to life, liberty and the pursuit of jalapeño hummus.
I know that most of you have homes where entertaining can be done with ease and style. However, if you ever have to venture out with your family to (you should excuse the expression) a public park, please don’t take this lying down. If you see any undesirable folks there, like renters, insist they leave at once. Socializing below your lifestyle means letting the terrorists win. If there is any resistance, slip a twenty to park staffers and let them give these bottom dwellers the heave-ho.
I’m also aware that you mover-and-shaker anti-vaxxers are supporters of the arts. The next time you’re seeing a new play at the Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City, push your way to the front of that refreshment line at intermission. If someone protests, don’t complain to theater management: that’s so last century. Call the cops instead and say you heard the people who confronted you talking about recently visiting West Africa and feeling like they were coming down with the flu. Problem solved.
Callously putting other people at risk (including perfectly innocent children) isn’t an easy thing to do. But if any anti-vaxxers wonder if they’re doing the right thing, they just have to remember that every social movement stumbled on its way to finding its footing. What kept them going through trying times were their leaders, a list which includes the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Harvey Milk. All you need to do is recite the hallowed and esteemed names of those passionately spreading the anti-vaxxer gospel and you’ll know you chose the right team: Jenny McCarthy, Jim Carrey and Rob Schneider.
About that outbreak of measles at Disneyland linked to people who hadn’t been vaccinated: Jenny, Jim and Rob, high five.