consider the source

One of my dear aunties once wisely reminded me to "consider the source."

When a sour person delivers a sour remark: consider the source. Attend an opera.... don't expect Country & Western.

And, when the Daily Mail publishes a piece on a dearly cherished project, expect a shocking title and photo. I did, and it did, and yet I am absolutely overjoyed.

This picture is awesome:

The other picture (online version only) is not. It's schtoopid, as Charlotte would say, and reflects the shallow pool of visual associations with anorexia nervosa.

My heart fell at the "born with" phrasing. It did. It is tragi-comedic in its misinterpretation of the science and may even perpetuate the very myths we hope to dispel with this research.

But here is the truth, my friends. The Daily Mail is doing more to bring in the necessary DNA samples to #AN25K, and donations, than any of us sitting around wishing and wanting. This article has more correct information about current eating disorder science than 95% of the digital ink spilled daily on the topic. It quotes the right people about the right topic and reaches countless people who wouldn't otherwise stumble onto Charlotte's Helix.

I can control what I type here. When I wrote for my local paper for a decade I had an editor, a copy-editor, an editorial policy, advertisers, and the context of the public's current thinking between me and the public. Those quoted don't get a say in the rest of the piece or the visuals. Headlines, in particular, are at the discretion of the editor. Photos come from banks of keyword-linked copyright-free folders. Science literacy, well, it is what it is. How much of the public is fully literate in the fine points of genetics, heritability, risk, and the actual meaning of "born with?"

For those needing an anthem today, this will be mine.


  1. I am all for anything that isn't preaching to the choir. Perfect is the enemy of good enough!

  2. For the Daily Mail, I was pleasantly surprised, and 'born with' is an improvement on 'caused by'. Onwards...


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