Truth in Humor

The Onion is a satirical publication that manages to produce pieces that are often indistinguishable from "real" articles. The latest issue contains an article on recent advances in stem cell medicine for hair regrowth entitled "Potential Baldness Cure Leads Man To Reverse Position On Stem-Cell Research." It nicely skewers all sides of the debate over stem cell medicine while almost passing for something you'd read in the Times. Some quotes:

"I've always said I don't believe in that Frankenstein-type research, but lately I've been thinking that there might be something to it," said Tell, a 43-year-old father of two and victim of male-pattern baldness. "If there are people out there who could truly benefit from that stem-cell stuff, who are we to deny them?"

The shift in thinking occurred just three days after Tell received a haircut that revealed a large, bare patch at the crown of his head. The bare patch accompanies the recently converted stem-cell-research advocate's receding hairline, of which he has long been aware.

"It's touching to see Chuck give so much thought to this very complicated issue," Farmer said. "Given his emotional honesty, I wish I could bring myself to tell him that the stem cells used in this study differ from the embryonic stem cells that sparked the political debate he originally engaged in."

It takes a little humor to show us the often ridiculous nature of the world we live in. It is saddening but true that the potential for curing baldness will likely do as much or more to advance the cause of regenerative medicine in the public eye as the potential to cure cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. Human nature is an interesting thing, especially when it comes to self interest and our convictions.


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