Happy Anniversary to us! Me and The Nag. Actually, one and the same. Two short years ago today, I launched this baby sibling to my Heart Sisters blog.
My first post here was about how to read the extra-fine print at the bottom of scientific journal articles to see who’s paying for the positive results being reported in research studies. I’d already built up quite a head of steam over at Heart Sisters about what’s known as marketing-based medicine. I was on a roll, except the roll had almost nothing to do with my important focus of women and heart disease – our #1 killer. As a heart attack survivor who now takes a fistful of cardiac meds every day, I realized that I had no clue which of these drugs were being prescribed for me based on industry-influenced medical journal articles and tainted clinical research. And worse – neither did my doctors.
Best to separate the sibs, I decided, so I could easily divide the emerging cardiology updates there and the marketing rants over here. Here’s more about those early days.
Back then, I was churning out new Nags every couple days because I was so riled up by what I was learning, particularly about the pharmaceutical industry and its pervasive influence on this trend towards marketing-based medicine. It’s a decidedly disturbing trend that’s designed to influence how our doctors are making treatment decisions for all of us.
But since being riled up is definitely not good for us heart attack survivors, within a few months I had to take a nice big cleansing breath, s-l-o-w way down, and regroup. As much as one person can “regroup”, that is.
Besides Big Pharma marketing (still an endlessly fascinating subject to me), I slightly expanded my focus to include public relations for the ethically challenged, whistleblowing as a career choice, the tricks used by savvy marketers to get us to buy what they want to sell, and even vaguely philosophical observations on what I like to call our wry society.
As a PR veteran of three decades spent working in corporate, government and non-profit public relations, I can smell a spin a mile away. And to borrow a phrase from Bob Garfield over at Advertising Age: “Which is to say – I know my stupid!”
I’ve also had the odd occasion here to produce purely therapeutic rants, ranging from the catholic church‘s systemic cover-up of their sexual abuse scandals (from the perspective of a recovering catholic myself) to those moronic thugs at Vancouver’s Stanley Cup riots who actually posted their self-incriminating photo evidence to Facebook.
Of course, as all writers know, you can churn out the most beautifully deathless prose, but if nobody wants to stop and read it, you’re basically just writing a diary. For my first couple essays here back in September 2009, I was averaging about 14 readers per day, just ever-so-slightly above diary-status.
So I want to say Happy Anniversary to you, too, my dear readers, my little Nags-In-Training, and especially my gorgeous and loyal email subscribers and Twitter followers who have travelled this road with me for two years.
I humbly appreciate knowing you’re there with me on the other end of this computer screen every day, and I especially appreciate the time you’ve taken to add your thoughtful comments here. Well, except maybe for that threatening one that was FedExed from the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom of Boston last year. But that’s another story . . .
So here are some Nags to celebrate as we clink our glasses of chocolate almond milk together this month:
◊ Top-read post ever: Microwave Popcorn: (Still) Bad for You published in January 2010 (this was such a surprise to me: who knew microwave popcorn was this important?)
◊ Next most-read Nags so far (in order of popularity):
- Dannon Slammed With $35 Million for False Advertising Over Activia Probiotic Yogurt (October 2009);
- Why the Olympics Are Bad Business (February 2010 – the month our province hosted the !@)(#*!! Winter Games here);
- Why You Should Not Buy Girl Guide Cookies This Year (March 2010, when I almost lost my Mother Of The Year award after writing this!)
- “Pay for Delay” – How Off-Patent Brand Name Drugs Fight Off Generics (April 2010: the surprising reason you’re paying too much for your prescription drugs)
- Does the Medical Profession Need to Wean Itself From its “Pervasive Dependence” on Big Pharma Money? (a real sleeper from April 2010 that almost nobody read – until two months ago when the Arab English-language news agency Aljazeera ran an article about the explosive growth of U.S. antipsychotic drugs that linked to it)
◊ The post I most enjoyed writing: I have to admit it, I absolutely loved putting together New ‘Desire Drug’ Claims That Sex Really IS All in Her Head – which was not only about the serious (and clearly unethical) subject of Big Pharma disease-mongering, but tons o’ fun to write.
And throughout all our anniversary celebrations, and as I look forward to the year ahead in Nag Land, I recall for you this masthead motto I love:
“Doing things right is not the same as doing the right thing.”
Regards and many thanks to you all,