Disinformed crowd, Kariko at the Book Festival

If you’re having trouble sleeping because of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, here’s some advice to help you relax. Imagine that everything that is happening is happening in Africa. Imagine that all this is happening in the Middle East. Imagine that Ukraine is Palestine. Imagine that Russia is the United States. All of this is obviously for the hypocritical people I have mentioned on several occasions. Who put the Ukrainian flag on their profiles – even from the other side of the world – because it has become fashionable to cry for the fate of Ukraine. Which, by the way, is not sincere, to say the least. Crying that consists of crocodile tears and does not contain any real compassion for the fate of all the peoples under attack. A cry that is uninformed and disinformative, a cry that is fed by the media. What does psychology have to say about information drawn from the media and its arrogant treatment as certain knowledge? I read about the signs of pseudoscience in a chemistry textbook for eighth-grade students in an old, yellowed-paper elementary school. According to this paper, pseudoscientific information reaches the average person mainly through advertisements, commercials and the sale of certain goods, who, lacking adequate scientific background knowledge, finds it difficult to defend himself against it. It is therefore important to identify some of the typical circumstances that may call into question the truthfulness and credibility of information.

The information does not appear in scientific journals, but in the media and is related to the sale of a product. The information is not backed up by clear experimental evidence, but instead tries to appeal to emotions. The information is to be believed because it is either said by a well-known person or agreed by many. The text uses an unnecessary amount of scientific terms instead of simple and plain words, which makes interpretation difficult. The discovery is a real sensation, promising an immediate scientific breakthrough, even though it contradicts the basic knowledge we have up to now.

Now, something very similar was the case with Katalin Kariko’s miracle method, the effectiveness of which simply could not be questioned, especially in scientific circles. All of a sudden she came up with rMNS, and it was shoved down people’s throats through the media, claiming that she was the expert, with decades of research behind her. She was forced on people, and suspicions were aroused when political pundits, who were so keen to tell people that they knew everything, started to build a cult of personality around Katalin Karikó, and to show off the results of her work and her statements. The tireless attempts to build a personal cult of Karikó are well illustrated by the particular wall in Budapest on which her voluminous portrait has been replaced as a mural. Yes indeed, except that this particular portrait of the former communist secret agent has since disappeared from the wall. It is likely that many people felt that a man whose prescription vaccines could have killed and maimed people close to him or far away had no place there, and that attempts to build a cult should be abandoned. Of course, all these events have taken place in silence, as failure is not usually met with a great deal of publicity, unless the media are complicit in it for certain interests.

Of course, Katalin Karikó has been popping up on the road ever since, and you never know when and where you might bump into her. I myself, for example, stumbled across a tweet of hers on Twitter, which was a picture of a few of her books on top of each other, with the following caption above the picture. You can buy it at Helikon Publishing’s stand 57 until Sunday with a 20% discount”. Besides, even though I didn’t know that the Budapest International Book Festival, which takes place in April every year, is taking place in the last week of September, I am a huge book fan and writer. Somehow, in the midst of renovating my flat and other bushy tasks, I completely overlooked this. In fact, the information about it has not even reached me. Ironically, it’s „uplifting” when such Kari-coros manage to win a place at community cultural events for youth. That the books of a researcher with a background as a communist agent, who otherwise lives in America, haunt this international cultural event even without her personal appearance, and that they wink back at us from one of the counters at a careless blink of an eye. It is precisely she herself, Mrs Kariko – as the Hungarian Prime Minister called her – because, if memory serves, her portrait is on the cover.

And the books of the scientists – such as Sucharat Bhakdi – who have revealed something called truth are hidden somewhere at the bottom of the bookshelves of bookshops. The beautiful and the noble are to be burned, thrown away and hidden away, while the vitriol-smeared mire belongs on the counter, at the top of the shelf. Of course, obviously, the researcher’s book is only one of many, but, as much damage as it has done to Hungarian society – and, in fact, to the whole of human society – such things are intolerable to me and to people of good sense in general. Not that I am under any illusions about the International Book Festival and similar large-scale book events. It’s all demagoguery, all the things that the superficial and superficial mass of readers, mostly brought up on a tarpaulin, want to hear, all sin and glamour. Just like this year’s book week at Vörösmarty Square, where a contemporary writer spent an hour talking about how funny it is that Jews are blamed for everything. To then acknowledge in a few words their biblical guilt, to then say a word or two at the end about how there may be some truth in the seemingly silly counterfeits, and how George Orwell may have been a genius writer rather than a counterfactual. He said a little of this, a little of that, so that we can all be satisfied that he has this new book that can satisfy our tastes, and so that we can face up to the fact once again that everything we laugh at and sweep under the carpet is something that we unconsciously take very seriously and that determines our view of the world.

tmz

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