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We Mock Prudish Victorian Euphemisms, But Are We Really Any Better?

Doctors don't perform any favors when they beat around the bush about what risky behaviors cause Hepatitis C.

by
Theodore Dalrymple

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May 25, 2013 - 8:30 am
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Sometimes what is not said is more eloquent than what is. The implicit often has a more powerful effect on the imagination than the explicit; as Emily Dickinson put it, “Success in Circuit lies.” A recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine about Hepatitis C was eloquent in its omissions.

Hepatitis C is a virus infection which for many years causes no symptoms but which often goes on to produce chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, and cancer. About 85 percent of people infected with the virus develop chronic liver disease.

The article in the NEJM is titled “Hepatitis C in the United States.” The authors provide an estimate of the number of people infected with the virus: between 3.2 and 3.5 million.

The infection can now be treated so as to prevent its long-term consequences. Unfortunately, the treatment is expensive: about $70,000 per head for a full course, according to the authors. If every person who tested positive for the virus were treated, the cost would therefore be between $224,000,000,000 and $245,000,000,000. That is some stimulus to the economy!

The cost of treatment might come down (or, of course, go up, as new and costlier treatments are discovered). Not everyone who is infected needs treatment. Perhaps a vaccine will be developed and the problem in effect will go away. For the moment, though, we must deal with the silent epidemic – as the assistant secretary for health, Howard Koh, called it – with the tools now available to us.

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Top Rated Comments   
I truly don't understand why anyone would ever get a permanent tattoo, except perhaps to record vital information like blood type. (Apparently, some soldiers tattoo their blood type on various parts of their bodies in case they lose their dog tags and suffer an injury requiring a blood transfusion but are unable to speak due to the injury).

Given how quickly we can become bored with things, wouldn't it make a lot more sense to get temporary tattoos and replace them as the older ones become tedious? Or consider the girlfriend/boyfriend whose name we get etched on our bodies who then becomes persona non grata. Do you really want to carry your promises of devotion to them around until your dying day?
And women, do you REALLY want your tattoos to distract onlookers when you walk down the aisle in your wedding dress? Or are you planning to wear a burkha to the ceremony?

Apparently, the vast majority of tattoos that appeared in Oz, the HBO series that ran a decade ago, were temporary tattoos. They certainly looked authentic to these eyes yet could be removed when they were no longer needed. That seems far more sensible to me than permanently etching yourself with something you may grow to despise over time....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It wasn't so long ago that tattoos were a mark of the lower and criminal classes and anyone who had them was looked down on and not trusted, unless they proved otherwise. But since these days good is bad and bad is good, small wonder tats are all the rage.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't "mock" or "laugh at" Victorian euphemisms. I rather like them. It shows an elegant command of the language on the part of the speaker; and an ability to perform some mental gymnastics to read between the lines on the part of the listener. Both of these qualities are sadly lacking in today's society.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (22)
All Comments   (22)
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Apparently the good doctor (not joking) needs to understand better this Victorian issue.

The Victorian issue was created by Edwardians who attacked them. The Edwardians were the members of the Bloomsbury generation, a left wing cultural movement.

If you have trouble believing there is such a thing as a culture that is itself left, just go to any university and go to their family and psychology departments. Or look at the complex of radicalism.

The Victorians - painted as prudes by a generation of Edwardians that were establishing the cultural acceptance of left wing sexuality, were not prudes. They had too many children for that to be true. A lot more than the Edwardians who, actually, were lascivious prudes. That is, one does not establish a decliner is a prude if the sexual activity you are pushing for are the left's.

Victorians did not reject Edwardian sexuality because they, the Victorians, were prudes. They were perverted, that's all.

The Victorians were touchy feely types, big families, children raised at home, really large extended families - all of them interfering too - , lots of lace and design in clothing, knitting stores, notion stores, stores with rows and rows of buttons and fabric.

The Edwardian was a left revolt against Victorian ways. The Edwardians were minimalists. Small families, children should be seen and not heard, children should be sent away from the family for their schooling, the growth of professional educators, sexual smears against all the nannies, the growth of secular education.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I find heavily-tattooed people so repugnant I have to look away. I wonder what all these tattooed young people are going to look like when their skin ages and sags - probably even more repugnant, if that's possible.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There IS a vaccine for Hep C. I had to have a series of shots that took over a year and a half to complete before I was allowed to travel to Russia where getting Hep C was a real concern. After finishing the shots I was told I was protected from Hep. A, B & C for the rest of my life.

And it wasn't needles they were concerned with - we were forbidden from drinking the local water, so you must be able to get it from other than needles.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And you believed all of that?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It used to be that the only people who received tattoos were prisoners and sailors - two groups of people trapped in enclosed spaces with lots and lots of time on their hands. The tattoo craze of the past fifteen years tells me that young Americans have lots and lots and lots of free time on their hands to be able to so minutely focus on self.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Speaking of risky behavior and (eventual) malady, this is interesting.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/jun/02/michael-douglas-oral-sex-cancer

Signed,

No Victorian
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Easy way to stop Hep C-stop doing dope & getting tatoos. End of conversation...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Do you believe that pigs flying would also help?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
An in-law had to have a liver transplant due to Hepatitis C. He was living a rather wild life, but never figured out how or when he contracted the disease. This is a very expensive problem that never goes away.

It amazes me how the prevention of serious infectious disease is completely ignored by most of the media, while they write endless articles about the dangers of salt and jumbo sugary beverages.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have no problem with tattoos and it's irresponsible that they're not mentioned in the NEIM article. Kids are getting tattoos at a staggering rate and news reports like a study in the NEIM, which should become a front page at Yahoo or AOL (at least) would do a lot to inform these kids of the risks.

And who cares if they have tattoos when they walk down the aisle? I'm really not interested in judging appearances, but I would like to know that they're not being infected with a deadly disease that is 100% preventable.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hepatitis C is contracted in the same way that HIV is contracted. And that fact gets very close to offending a certain protected class, and the sexual proclivities thereof.
So, let's just put it out there, "that 90 percent of cases result from intravenous abuse of drugs.", and no one is going to dispute that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Correct, Patrick. Even the "good doctor" writing this article ignored the sexual component of Hep C.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here are two medical facts for you:

15% of heterosexual Americans have tried anal sex.

Lesbians have a lower rate of STDs than heterosexuals do. As long as they keep their dildos clean.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I truly don't understand why anyone would ever get a permanent tattoo, except perhaps to record vital information like blood type. (Apparently, some soldiers tattoo their blood type on various parts of their bodies in case they lose their dog tags and suffer an injury requiring a blood transfusion but are unable to speak due to the injury).

Given how quickly we can become bored with things, wouldn't it make a lot more sense to get temporary tattoos and replace them as the older ones become tedious? Or consider the girlfriend/boyfriend whose name we get etched on our bodies who then becomes persona non grata. Do you really want to carry your promises of devotion to them around until your dying day?
And women, do you REALLY want your tattoos to distract onlookers when you walk down the aisle in your wedding dress? Or are you planning to wear a burkha to the ceremony?

Apparently, the vast majority of tattoos that appeared in Oz, the HBO series that ran a decade ago, were temporary tattoos. They certainly looked authentic to these eyes yet could be removed when they were no longer needed. That seems far more sensible to me than permanently etching yourself with something you may grow to despise over time....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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