Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Why Movie Stars Should Shut Their Big Fat Yaps

The embryonic stem-cell lobby has no shortage of celebrity boosters, but something tells me it's wishing today that Scarlett Johansson were on the other side.

According to Moviehole.net, the actress, who plays a clone in the upcoming "The Island," is "very much pro-stem cell research"—apparently meaning the embryonic kind, since that's the only one that is, as the article notes, "a political hot potato."

"I think that there’s a lot of wonderful possibilities erupting," Johansson explains. "I mean, if they could eliminate diseases like Alzheimer’s and polio that would be incredible."

"Eliminate polio"! Bwa ha ha.

Someone ought to tell Ms. Johansson that while she's been in a "Ghost World," a vaccine that would "eliminate" polio—and has in most of the world—has been available for 50 years. It is incredible—and no embryonic stem cells were harmed in its making. The reason polio is resurging now in Africa and the Arab world is not due to a lack of available vaccine, but rather to the kind of anti-American conspiracy theories perpetuated by the actress's Hollywood colleagues.

The Johansson interview's from an Australian Web site—so the actress can't say her meaning was lost in translation.

UPDATED, 1:16 p.m., replacing "cure" with "vaccine that would eliminate," etc., at the behest of commenters who split hairs over whether polio had been "cured." Now tell me Scarlett paid attention in history class.