Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Curious Case of the Girl Against Fluoride and the Disappearing Christy Moore

Imagine for a moment that you're a qualified master angel healer. You've paid for a certificate in nutritioniology from a quack who claims to cure cancer with urine and castor oil. You claim to be able to treat autism in children by methods including the rectal administration of bone broth, you oppose fluoridation and vaccination, and your campaign's creative manager is convinced homosexuality is caused by plastics and contraception. You want to raise some cash for a campaign to change how Ireland provides drinking water. What do you do?

Some assume that an ability to commune with intergalactic angels and divert their healing rays into people's pets guarantees a steady source of income. And training from someone who claims to cure cancer using only urine and castor oil strikes me as a qualification that could easily be monetized. As for ensuring children on the autistic spectrum reach their full potential using an enema kit and some bone broth - well, the commercial applications are obvious, if we take on faith that the various sources of income open to Aisling FitzGibbon (aka The Girl Against Fluoride) are grounded in truth.

FitzGibbon is not taking this approach to gathering coin for her anti fluoridation campaign. Instead she's elected to host a fundraising gig. It's appealing: the venue, Whelan's, is excellent, and 20 Euro to see the rightly described 'legendary Christy Moore' is an offer that had me almost tempted to put hand in pocket. I also quite enjoy Kila. Here's one of the many announcements of the fundraiser:
But is Christy Moore aware of the engagement? The concert is not now and has never been on his future gigs page. You'll note that the screenshot above is of the edit history: this is in fact an old copy. After folks bought tickets to see Christy Moore, someone using FitzGibbon's account edited the post to remove all references to him. The current edition is below:

And here's another historical reference to Moore playing, this time from the 30th of July:
Unsurprisingly this has led to some complaints and a call for refunds. Interestingly in the same thread we see mention of a handling charge of 12 Euro, and an instruction to ignore it:
Below is a screenshot of the handling charge. You can see it for yourself by clicking 'buy now' via FitzGibbon's event page. Judging from the above, prospective attendees are being told via an intermediary that this additional cost will not be levied. I find this more than a little concerning: as a general rule of shopping, if you're authorising a payment of 24 Euro, you should expect to have 24 Euro debited from your account.
The size of the handling charge violates PayPal's terms and conditions - see section 3.4. And it raises other questions: will the handling charge be refunded if the gig does not go ahead, or if Christy Moore fans are recompensed? It's reasonable to assume the 12 Euro ticket cost is earmarked for furthering FitzGibbon's anti fluoridation agenda, but will the handling charge go elsewhere? Is the venue aware that FitzGibbon is charging considerably more online than ticket sales on the door? What sort of handling costs 12 Euros? Is Christy Moore aware his name has been used to promote this event?

And what of Kila? They're still listed as performers for the gig, but it's perhaps concerning that they haven't mentioned it on Facebook yet. And the gig itself isn't listed on the venue's website at time of writing. Informally I've heard they're aware of it but awaiting clarification before listing it as an official event. (I emphasise this is not an official statement.) This is hardly conclusive evidence they won't be there, of course, but given the Christy Moore cancellation it does give one pause for thought.

Ultimately angel healing, fake autism treatments, nutritioniology, homoeopathy and their ilk share a common thread - bluster and fluff aplenty but very limited demonstrable service of value. I opened this post by wondering why FitzGibbon doesn't use such a woo based approach to fundraise for her anti science agenda. But I'm starting to think she's done just that.


Gerry Byrne said...

Are we surprised?

Geoff said...

Nope :-)

LaughOutLoud said...

I would love to understand why you have animosity for GAF. Would you be willing to meet in person?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

Hi LaughOutLoud,

Sorry I missed your comment before now.

Sure, happy to meet if you're in Dublin and can do evenings. you can e-mail me on geoffsshorts at gmail.com to set something up if you like.


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