It happened, as these things often do, completely out of the blue!
There I was, at the hairdresser (where else do you expect a celebrity of my calibre to spend her Mondays?) when one of my best-friends-forever pinged me on Facebook.
“Have you heard? Have you heard? You’ve been nominated!”
Me? Little me? Nominated? Surely it was a joke!
But no, my BFF sent me a link and, there it was in black and white: my name listed among a veritable glitterati of co-nominees. It was all I could do not to pull out my iPad while I sat in the hairdresser’s chair so I could start drafting out my acceptance speech. (It was only after the excitement died down a little, I realised I don’t actually own an iPad!)
What would I wear, what would I wear???? I frantically planned a visit to the big girls’ section of Big W!
Would there be some kind of ceremony? I pictured myself looking humble but uber-gorgeous as I wafted up the stairs to collect my award. And then, while the hairdresser was snip snip snipping away, I snuck a look in the mirror and tried one of those supremely insincere, “Oh-I-lost-but-really-I-was-just-honoured-to-be-nominated” looks.
So, what a thrill!
Oh, you want to know what I was nominated for?
An Academy Award for looking uncannily like Magda Szubanski only taller?
The Nobel Prize for Prattling?
The Miles Franklin award for a book-not-yet-written?
A Logie for services to Q&A?
A Moe award for being even more annoying than Catherine Deveny?
None of the above! I was nominated by anti-vaccination, conspiracy theorist, Judy Wilyman as one of her top ten Big Pharma shills! Yes! Me! Little me! (Picture frantic girly hand-flapping in front of face, here.)
And what a star-studded line-up of nominees Ms Wilyman has assembled! Hang on to your seats, folks! (Insert Bugs Bunny theme music here!)
Big Pharma Shill of the Year Nominee No. 1: The Australian Skeptics
First there’s the Australian Skeptics – what a bunch of know-nothing thugs! Prominent patrons of this ‘so-called’ skeptical group are Australian broadcaster Phillip Adams AO and Living National Treasure and entrepreneur Dick Smith AO, former Australian of the Year, recipient of the US Lindbergh Award for his contribution towards balancing advances in technology and nature and a Consulting Professor in the Department of Biology, School of Humanities and Sciences of Stanford University.
And you thought Dick Smith earned his fortune by founding and selling Dick Smith Electronics? Clever Ms. Wilyman can see through it – that fortune has Big Pharma shill written all over it!
Big Pharma Shill of the Year Nominee No. 2 – Ken McLeod
The second nominee is Ken McLeod, a retired air-traffic controller and search and rescue coordinator.
Yes! I was shocked too! He looks so respectable!
McLeod is nominated for his role in defending the parents of a baby who died of whooping cough after they were harassed and maligned by Ms Wilyman’s little friend, Meryl Dorey of the Australian [Anti] Vaccination Network. The bastard!
I’ve met and cuddled Ken McLeod – he’s a pretty shifty character and a strong contender to take out the award as Big Pharma Shill of the Year.
Big Pharma Shill of the Year Nominee No. 3 – Dr Matthew Berryman
Next on the list of nominees is Matthew Berryman. Here’s some strong competition! Unlike Ms Wilyman (and me!), Dr Berryman actually managed to finish his PhD.
There is some concern about nepotism in Berryman’s nomination, given that both he and Ms Wilyman are at the University of Wollongong. But Dr Berryman actually works at the University as a Senior Research Fellow while Ms Wilyman is yet to actually produce anything of merit – so, bit of a difference there.
Dr Berryman is widely published. His 2007 PhD thesis completed through the University of Adelaide’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering was entitled: “A Complex Systems Approach to Important Biological Problems”. Another paper co-written by Berryman (and obviously the work of a two-bit no-talent academic hack) is “Mathematical principles underlying genetic structures”, From Stars to Brains: Pathways to consciousness in the natural world” published by the (very inconsequential) Australian Academy of Science, ANU, Canberra.
What more can I say? Berryman’s obviously a strong contender for Shill of the Year.
Big Pharma Shill of the Year Nominee No. 4 – Dr Rachael Dunlop
Next – oh be still my beating heart – is Dr Rachael Dunlop.
Oh. My. God. I used to watch her at the movies when I was just knee-high to a grass-hopper!
Oh, whoops! No! That was Audrey Hepburn. Easy to mix them up, though. In the science community Dr Dunlop is ‘da-bomb’.
I’ve hugged her too – one of the highlights of my skeptical career .
(Oops, did I say ‘career’ – that would imply I get ‘paid’ wouldn’t it? Shhhhh!).
If Wilyman is looking for Big Pharma shills she needn’t look much further than Dr Dunlop.
Dr Dunlop is another one of those damned people who, unlike Judy Wilyman (and me!) actually manged to complete her PhD.
Dr Dunlop’s thesis examined the mechanisms of impaired degradation of oxidised proteins with a focus on the consequences for heart disease. Her current project is unravelling a role for the incorporation of non-native amino acids into neuronal proteins and how this might contribute to cell death, specifically with respect to sporadic MND motor neuron disease) or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). In particular, Dr Dunlop is looking at the role of the cyanobacterial toxin BMAA and how it might contribute to ALS.
Clearly, this makes her eminently unqualified to speak authoritatively on matters pertaining to science – although she is very good at reading from a Big Pharma script with a large cheque printed on the back of it.
Big Pharma Shill of the Year Nominee No. 5 – Peter Bowditch
The fifth nominee is Peter Bowditch, and a more disreputable character you’re unlikely to meet anywhere. Oh wait! I’ve hugged him too! But I think I might have been a wee bit drunk at the time.
Bowditch is a management consultant, IT expert, TAFE teacher and former president of the Australian Skeptics. A bit of an under-achiever, really.
Bowditch has a BA from Macquarie University where he majored in Cognitive Psychology, with other work in the areas of statistics, experimental design, psychological testing, linguistics, philosophy of science and epistemology. Bowditch also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Technology Management.
An executive of the Australian Computer Society, and a member since 1978, Bowditch is a Certified Technologist. Obviously, none of this requires a great deal of brain power, so he spends his idle hours shilling for Big Pharma.
Big Pharma Shill of the Year Nominee No. 6 – Dr David Hawkes
Dr David Hawkes is one of the few nominees I don’t seem to have hugged. Come on Dr Hawkes – front up!
Dr Hawkes works at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in the Peptide Neurobiology Group. He undertook his PhD at the Burnet Institute in molecular virology, examining the role of viral membrane components on the early stages of HIV-1 replication. He has recently competed postdoctoral work within the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Melbourne using viral vectors to examine the contribution of free radicals to the cardiovascular and behavioural responses to emotional stress. His current research interests focus on driving the use of cutting edge viral and molecular (including pharmacogenetic) tools to examine the neurobiological nature of neuropeptide signalling in vivo.
You got it – just another Big Pharma shill.
Big Pharma Shill of the Year Nominee No. 7 – Paul Gallagher
I reckon I’m a shoe-in to beat Paul Gallagher, a fellow blogger whose skeptical blog, Losing in the Lucky Country, is obviously financed by Big Pharma – how else could he afford all that bling???? – well, to be honest, no bling, but there’s a photo of Parliament House. THAT couldn’t have been cheap!
Gallagher, one of Australia’s leading skeptics, has a Bachelor of Applied Science and works as an allied health professional. Phhht! You’re dead meat, Gallagher!
Big Pharma Shill of the Year Nominee No. 8 – Rick Morton
And then there’s Rick Morton. Rick is the dark horse of the competition, but I reckon if I could get him into a dark alley, I could take him down.
Oh, did I say that aloud? I mean, I’m just incredibly honoured to be nominated alongside Rick!
Morton was previously the news editor at mamamia.com.au, He is now a journalist at the Australian newspaper. He has a degree in journalism from Bond University and is no doubt using the buckets of money he receives from Big Pharma to repay the fees.
Big Pharma Shill of the Year Nominee No. 9 – Mia Freedman
Mia Freedman is one of Australia’s best known journalists. Following a stellar career in magazine publishing, during which she was named Editor of the Year by the Association of Magazine Publishers Australia, Freedman worked as creative director at the Nine Network before starting Mamamia – one of Australia’s most successful professional blogs.
It is rumoured that the recent $3 billion buy out of Channel 9 was largely financed by the money Freedman receives for her weekend job as a shill for Big Pharma.
Big Pharma Shill of the Year Nominee No. 10
Me! Chrys Stevenson! I just can’t believe I’m in such illustrious company! Me! Who, like Judy Wilyman, never actually managed to finish my PhD.
But, just like Ms Wilyman I did manage a poor second by winning the Griffith University Medal for Academic Excellence with a near perfect grade-point average for my undergraduate work and first-class honours thesis – or, was that just me? I get so confoozled some days, my poor little blonde head just hurts!
As Ms Wilyman points out,I have no background in science, vaccination policy, environmental health or health promotion and, unlike Ms Wilyman, I have never pretended to. Silly me, eh?
In fact, what I have done is look at what ‘actual’ experts say in ‘actual’ peer-reviewed science journals and report on that – not my opinions, their opinions.
But hey, let’s not nit-pick. The money is pouring in from Big Pharma and, like my illustrious co-nominees, I never have to think about what to say or write about vaccination. Once a month, a long black limousine pulls up at my door, a spook in a trench-coat and dark sunglasses emerges, tests me with the ‘secret phrase’ (“the birds fly south in winter”), then he presses a brown paper bag into my hands. Stuffed full of hundred dollar bills, the bag also contains the pro-vaccination script for the next month. Lickety split! All I have to do is transcribe it onto my blog.
Obviously, I am nowhere near as well-qualified as the other nominees, but I reckon I deserve points for the sheer brazen hussiness I’ve displayed in getting myself a guernsey in this little Wilyman conspiracy fantasy.
So, I’d like to thank the Academy and say to Ms Wilyman, “You LIKE me, you really LIKE me!”
Related ‘financed by Big Pharma’ posts:
Judy Wilyman PhD candidate, Wollongong University ‘false, dangerous, misleading and disrespectful’
Why Wollongong’s abdication of responsibility for Wilyman won’t wash
An achievement to be proud of Chrys … but why settle with being number 10 on the list – can you make it number 1?
Now that would be an achievement!!
I always wondered how you managed to amass such a large collection of $3 blingy things. I had just assumed you had shares in Diva. Outed!
I can’t help thinking that at least some of this post has some sarcasm in it.
Hey, I don’t know about this claim of brazen hussiness – there are still nominees you haven’t hugged yet.
YEA !!! I is related to someone famous !!!
Rich, not famous. Big Pharma shills function best below the radar. 😉
Brilliant! What an accomplished hugger you are on top of this other great achievement of making this list
What? I’m not there? :sob:
Three minor comments:
1. “Mathematical principles underlying genetic structures”, From Stars to Brains: Pathways to consciousness in the natural world” — just to be clear the “From Stars to Brains: Pathways to consciousness in the natural world” bit was the name of the conference (by which I mean a series of invited talks organised through the AAS to celebrate Paul Davies’ 60th birthday). Probably more relevant is that in my thesis (and as published in actual peer review papers, not ones in Medical Veritas like Judy) I did a little work on the spread of viruses through social networks.
2. I think if you order the entries by number of mentions, I come out number 1. The cheque will be in the mail, right?
3. I’ve yet to see any rebuttal of any of the actual scientific points I raise in rebutting her newsletters/fact sheets/etc. on my blog, yet she seems to have a lot of time for (false) ad hominem games. And I play pretty nicely on my blog, so she can’t claim it’s some evil skeptic out to get her.
Dr Berryman for the win! (Sorry Chris)
Oh, no need to be sorry. Quite astounded myself to be included in this illustrious group of public intellectuals. Judy may never know how she has honoured me.
Hahahahaha! I’m giving you a one woman standing ovation right now. Not for getting on Judy’s silly list, (although I do acknowledge that means you have now ‘made it’), but for this post! Love it!
I meant to ask if you had a party three weeks ago on the 30th anniversary of being turned into a Lizard Overlord, by the Duke of Edinburgh?
Oh yes, it looks like Judy is on to us…tricky…
No, but I spent my 54th birthday at a gay rights rally in Toowoomba wearing a tutu. Does that count?
Brilliantly written Chrys!
I have sent the following email to Judy Wilyman:
regarding your consistent track record of outright lying, I am working on a booklet with the working title of “Judy Wilyman’s Trouble With The Truth.” It will have the same format as my earlier productions “Meryl Dorey’s Trouble With The Truth.” I have almost enough material to go finish the project, but you could be of immense help and save me some time, if you simply emailed me with examples of your lies from your own records,
If Wollongong University give this woman a PhD they might just as well close up shop. All credibility will be lost and those who got their degrees from this institution should take out a class action as theirs will be deemed worthless.
May I suggest that Wollongong bring in someone of the calibre of, oh, let’s say, Professor Ian Frazer, to mark Ms Wilyman’s thesis? I’ve found him a very fair and unassuming man and I’m sure he’d give it due diligence.
Congratulations! I’m a little bit jelly actually…
Dam it, I have been trying so dam hard to get on that list with my own blog:
I plan on knocking you off, my next post … no make that next 3 posts will be all about Judy herself… if that doesn’t knock you off the list then I might as well shut up shop.
Congratulations Chrys, go girl. I worked for quite a few years as a Child & Family Health Nurse in the same home town as Ms. Dorey. She made life very difficult for us as Health Professionals, and the parents, with her fear & parental guilt tactics, not to mention outright lies -“how could you possibly stick a needle in your little baby?” I used to see her in Bangalow P.O. with a hug box full of propaganda being sent to all corners of Australia. Very dangerous woman.
I love Ken McLeod’s email to Judy Wilyman – well done
Congrats. I am so pleased and really enjoyed how you announced your nominations in this blog.
Well done and ‘ON YA’. You are amazing!
I’m late to the party, but LOVE this!!!! Congratulations!