In The News: Jordan Van Toast Opens Community Clinic

In a surprising move that has bolstered the upstart community acupuncture movement, renowned Buddhist acupuncturist Jordan Van Toast has opened a community acupuncture clinic in Seattle, Washington. The grand opening of KommuniKi Kommunity Klinic (KKK) saw 100 residents of Seattle treated by the legendary Jordan himself, who was happy to announce the unveiling of a powerful new treatment.

“We at the KKK want to help as many people from Seattle as we can, and that is why I developed this new treatment strategy that works on all conditions and removes evil Qi. You may have heard of the internal dragons treatment and the external dragons treatment. Well if you come to KKK, you will get the Grand Dragon treatment!” Jordan said in his inimitable way. The Grand Dragon treatment consists of kyutoshin moxa on CV17, CV12, CV6 and bilateral ST18. In effect, the Grand Dragon treatment creates a burning cross like effect on the patient. “We burned 100 crosses at KKK with the Grand Dragon technique. It is very strong treatment.”

Jordan also commented that he believed that local boutique acupuncturists have initiated a negative publicity campaign in an attempt to weaken the community acupuncture movement. “I put out a press release that KKK was coming to town, thinking that people would be happy. Then, many people came screaming and yelling outside the clinic. ‘KKK, Go Away!’ people chanted. It was very strange.”

Regardless of the controversy, KKK has had a strong opening. Jordan commented that he is happy to have had so many men respond to the opening of the clinic “So many bald men have come. Scalp treatments have been very easy. I burned crosses on their heads. You can do the Grand Dragon Treatment on GV20, GV22, GV24 and both GB16’s. I knew that KKK would reach a more male audience. I am very happy.”

KommuniKi Kommunity Klinic is open 6 hours a day, 6 days a weeks until 6pm.

The Zang Fool
Author: The Zang Fool

<p> This is a satirical blog post by a practitioner that is serious in his attempts to both increase acupunctures accessibility to the public and challenge practitioners preconceived notions of what acupuncture is and how it functions in society. It may make you laugh, but that is just a means to an end. That end is thought and ultimately positive change. This is what all good satire does: prick, prod and provoke thought and positive change within a community. </p> <p> Satire has long been a part of muckraking and this profession is teeming with muck.  So, in the wake of the nonsense spewed from the foul anus of the Acupuncture-Industrial Complex come my musings on life, love and the proposed doctoral program. </p>

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Conference Keynote: Breaking the Ceiling

The theme for this conference is “Breaking Barriers”. You know, there are so many barriers to break in acupuncture that it was really hard to choose which ones to talk about for this speech. But since I’ve spent so much time talking about classism as a barrier, I thought it might be fun to shift gears a little and talk about numbers.

Responses

  1. Out of line

    Dear Zang Fool,

    I normally appreciate satire, and up until now, I’ve enjoyed your postings on the front-page blog.  Unfortunately, I feel compelled to point out that this posting crosses a line and is distateful.  There is no humor in singling out an individual practitioner and equating their name with the Ku Klux Klan.  Satirical or otherwise.

     

    -David

     

  2. In poor taste…

    While I appreciate the merits satire and sarcasm as much as the next person, I have to agree with David, this post is inappropriate. Esp. for the front page.  What is said and done on the front page of CAN reflects heavily on CA punks as a whole.  I feel that, like the total flameout between a pair of CAN members last month, the Zang Fool’s Blog is best relegated to the forums and members only access.

    Wade

    https://www.qi-well.com

  3. where is the line?

    I find myself honestly confused about the line between satire and over-the-line offensiveness, and I’d like to request that we have a discussion about it, for my edification at least. I’m writing this from Jersey City, where I’m visiting my sister, on the way to drop off Lucas at college. Last night, since we were all sort of jet lagged and tired, we decided that we would rather go see a movie at the closest mall than go into New York City to do something more culturally enriching. The selection was, um, limited, and we ended up watching “Tropic Thunder” — yes, the movie that the disability rights groups are boycotting and picketing for its treatment of intellectually disabled people. And, having seen it, I totally get why. Also, “tasteless” doesn’t begin to cover much of the film’s humor. I also found myself understanding the filmmaker’s response to the disability rights groups:  that the target of the satire was not disabled people but Hollywood’s exploitation of disabled people. It’s pretty clear that the target of the film is Hollywood in general, and the satire is savage. I agree that what the film is doing is taking something that happens all the time, a contemptuous and cynical use of people with intellectual disabilities in the entertainment industry, and exaggerating it to the point that it is grotesque. I’m also pretty sure that some of the people in the theater were laughing not at that, because they didn’t get it, but at the repeated use of the word “retard”, because they think THAT is inherently funny. There’s plenty of other stuff in the film that I think other groups of people would find just as offensive — and the same thing is true, the ultimate target is Hollywood itself. By the end of the movie I found myself admiring its demented, over-the-top inventiveness. When I read the Zang Fool’s latest entry, I thought the same thing: wow — that is just so creative and so ridiculous, how does he come up with this stuff? I interpreted the ultimate target of this piece to be, as usual with the ZF, the acupuncture profession itself, in this case our ridiculous use of acronyms and our obsession with clever new ‘treatment systems’ ( internal dragons plus external dragons, leads eventually to grand dragons, etc.). And yes, the post is making its point at the expense of an individual practitioner and is making humorous use of a secret society that is responsible for unspeakable stuff, fairly recently. At what point is satire not allowed to do what it does? What are the limits for an art form that is about challenging limits? I honestly don’t know. 

  4. re: where is the line with satire

    we are all so different here and that is one of the great things about CAN – so i am not sure we can draw the line collectively and it would be weird and perhaps a bit authoritarian if we tried. but i do agree with guest that the novelty of these mock news posts seems to be wearing off. i am also weary of insulting a specific person in this way without knowledge of their personal history. yes, this was a creative post, but i cannot see it sparking a thoughtful discussion about acupuncture profession (except perhaps this one about limits of satire / civility on the blog).

     thoughtful and funny are not mutually exclusive. rememebr that our patients can easily read these blogs.

    -tatyana

  5. The line

    Lisa,

    To be honest, I’m not sure where “the line” is.  Although I’m the one who first used the term, I don’t think there is a steadfast rule saying which topics are open to satire, and which just go too far.  Like everything else in life, it is relative.

     

    When I first read ZF’s posting, I had to read it twice.  My initial reaction was “wow, did he just go there?… yep, he just did…” However, it wasn’t until much later in the day that I decided to comment.  Your question above prompted me to question myself and to ask what it is I find so objectionable.

     

    When I was seven years old, I lived in rural North Carolina.  For halloween, my mother made me a ghost costume out of some old sheets and a pillowcase. Well, I got my ass kicked at school that  day for looking like a Klan member — in that part of the country, “ghost” was not the first image that came to mind when people saw my costume, and the humor of the mistake was not felt by all.  Particualrly me (ouch.)

     

    No, I don’t object to ZF’s article because of painfull childhood memories. I object because the subject matter under scrutiny does not warrant the level of satire.  In other words, the silliness of our profession is a topic that is definitely open to satire; however, singling out an individual practitioner and making Klan connections in their name is too much. Matsumoto would be very justified in being angry should she read this.  The Klan is an organizaion who has a very srong emotional impact on the psyche of our country — I cannot say the same about Matsumoto’s practice.

     

    I have a link to the CAN front page on my website.  I put it there so patients can find out more about commnity acupuncture.  Most of these patients are not LAcs, and most of them don’t give a shit about the silly baroque spectrum of our profession, they just want to find out how they can get healthcare for $15.  ZF’s article might have been more appropriate in the  “State of the Acupuncture Profession” forum, that is availble only to private subscribers.  While I would still find the article distasteful, at least the audience there would have demonstrated an interest in the topic by being a subscriber.

     

    I want to clarify that while I find the article to be in poor taste, I don’t support censoring it.  I just hope that ZF, in the future, will put more thought into the context of his peices before publishing them.  I also, hope that ZF will contribute to this thread of comments.

     

    Thank you,

    David Lesseps

    http://www.circleca.com

  6. Hmmmmm

    I am of the opinion that if this sort of satire were going to continue on the CAN sight, it should probably be moved to the “members only” section.  I too have directed many people to the site to learn more about CAN, and I’m not sure that this sort of inside “joke” would help promote the basic ideals of CAN.  Whether or not it is appropriate at all is another conversation entirely. 

  7. Yuck.

    I, too, can appreciate sarcastic humor.  What I don’t appreciate is a specific person being targeted.  Nor do I appreciate something as ugly as the KKK being used as part of the ‘joke’ or whatever it is one wants to call it.

    I’m picturing some of my patients, and how they would respond to reading this particular blog.  I’m guessing that many of them would, at the very least, be confused by it.  Some would be disgusted, some would wonder why I ever sent them to this website, and others would be personally offended.  

    What’s the point of this particular blog, anyway?  If it’s to use humor to help us open our minds and THINK and to have thought provoking DISCUSSION, then that’s a good thing.  I’m willing to bet that the blog writer is clever enough to use humor to get the point across, without being so negative.  If the point of the blog is humor only, then perhaps it should go to the members-only section in order to avoid confusing the general public. 

  8. Using a real person

    For me the line was crossed in using a real person whom I can only assume is unknowingly the target of this post.  It’s one thing to use a giant conglomerate like Walmart in a satirical post, but this is one real practitioner whom as far as I know has nothing to do with CAN.  It my have been a clever funny post, but once I read the name of somebody I am familiar with it lost all humor and just left me confused wondering what the Zang Fool is trying to accomplish with this. 

    A made up name which could even have been a play on the name of any “famous” acupuncturist would have been a better idea IMO.  

  9. raven speaks

    First, my disclaimer. I grew up in a 99% white community in Maine….and am myself white….so when I first read the post, I laughed alot, and the potential harm did not occur to me.

    Reading the concerns of some commenters, I find them somewhat compelling. But I also found much wisdom in Lisa’s and ZF’s replies.

    It seems obvious there is no intent to slander Kiiko or to link her with the KKK in any way. Prick, prod, and poke? Definitely yes. But seriously attack? Is anyone really thinking that? In fact, ZF very artfully takes swipes at the KKK itself.

    The acupuncture profession  as a whole – does take it self far too seriously. Americans in general take themselves far too seriously.

    Intention is most important. But this is just my opinion, and as usual, I take myself far too seriously. Please lambast me if you like, and I will use your comments to crucify the (metaphorical) demon within me – the self-grasping, self-cherishing I (which believes itself to exist truly, inherently but does not.)

    All true religions seek to gain access to that level of consciousness which is not ego-bound.</

  10. clarification

    About my subject title…I went for a walk in the woods yesterday and heard a raven squawking at me overhead….perhaps laughing, or calling me out of the mentally fabricated prison of my ego.

     

    All true religions seek to gain access to that level of consciousness which is not ego-bound.</

  11. I thought it was an

    I thought it was an interesting post, it was a good point and parts of it were quite funny.  The Zang Fool’s goal may not be about trying to be funny, but he/she knows it has to be funny to keep people reading.  Using a real practitioner just didn’t sit right with me. I’m not sure she qualifies as enough of a public person to be fair game for satire.  The biggest problem is by bringing Kiiko into it the whole point of the post was lost.

    A good satirist overshoots sometimes.  This will pass.  Overall I like having the Zang Fool around.

  12. I ‘got’ the message . . . just didn’t entirely like the delivery

    It’s likely impossible for us to come to a consensus regarding where ‘the line’ is.  That’s life. I believe that ZF didn’t purposefully try to malign Kiiko.  For me, the approach was overdone to the point of distraction.  But that’s just me.

  13. public person

    I never took a class from Kiiko, but I certainly heard about her and some of the magical treatments that seem to get associated with her…..lineage. I would say that it is difficult to use the argument that she is not fair game for some gentle poking and prodding because she is somehow a private person.

    By my understanding, she is a significant figure in the history of American acupuncture. She’s written some fairly widely read books (within the acu-community). Sort of like being a politician – whether left, right, or center – they are all fair game for political satire because they are in the public eye. Possibly ZF went too far…but I don’t think censorship is called for in this case. 

    All true religions seek to gain access to that level of consciousness which is not ego-bound.</

  14. It’s just my opinion that

    It’s just my opinion that using her real name just because it started with a K wasn’t a good idea.  I know some people hold her up as someone important in the field I just don’t know if that means it’s okay to use her for a public blog that she has nothing to do with.  It bothered a lot of people and the message was lost so the post wasn’t very usefull except as another censorship debate.   

  15. This is inappropriate

    Even though I abhor most things considered to be politically correct, I feel that this posting is inappropriate.  Using humor about violent racist acts does not in any way help to make acupuncture more accessible or constructively provoke the conscience of the acupuncture profession.  If acupuncturists, as a group, tended to be a racist bunch who needed to be reminded that racism is evil then satire along these lines might be appropriate.  Brilliant satirists such as Chris Rock appropriately use shocking racial material to attack racism but would find no point in using offensive racial material to attack, say, corporate greed.  There is potential here to offend and alienate many people who do not find cross burning humorous and rightfully fail to make the (satirical?) connection between violent racist actions and acupuncture.  Even when used appropriately, the potential for misunderstanding is huge as Lisa pointed out in her comment about the audience reaction at the Tropic Thunder screening she attended.  And of course the use and listing of acupuncture point nomenclature and locations will be lost on non-professionals and only increases the possibility of misunderstanding by those who don’t get the ‘joke’.  I hope none of my patients who have been positively moved by their CA experience and have been encouraged to check out this website to further their understanding of what we are trying to accomplish read Zang Fool’s post.    

  16. I never recommend this

    I never recommend this website to my patients.  I’ll print out the LOC if they need referrals, but I won’t send them here.  There are too many things I read that I’m not about and I don’t want them to have to question the me they know.

    Is this meant for patients?  I always took it as being for practitioners.  If we are sending a lot of patients here it should be moderated differently, and many blogs should be in the members section.

  17. Here’s the Line

    For those wondering where the line is and what the limits of satire are, I’ll give you my two cents as an active anti-racist and an English literature professor (who stumbled here looking for an acupuncturist).

    The line is when a crowd of non-Black people turn what is arguably the ugliest, most horrific racist violence in American history into a joke without–quite clearly–knowing much about that history in the first place.

    Satire requires a keen knowledge of the thing being satirized and an awareness of the nuances of the references one makes, good and bad. It also requires that the target audience know precisely where the writer stands on the issue, making the satire clear. This misses the mark in every way.

    What else might fall short of the mark? “Jokes” about white acupuncturists dropping a nuclear bomb on Japanese competitors? “Jokes” about rounding up Jewish acupuncturists and sending them to death camps?

    I must admit, this whole article makes me wonder if acupuncture is for me, or if it is just another privileged white thing. I am certainly not going to present my vulnerable body–let alone spirit–for healing to someone this ignorant.

  18. So sue me.

    Humor is a funny thing (pun intended).  It can be light and sweet, gentle and chiding, dark and biting, savage and out of control.  How it is intended and the audience that receives it strongly influences the outcome.  In this case, a good part of the audience was offended.

    I laughed when I read this, marveling at this guy’s genius.  And then immediately the guilt surfaced: Hey, lay off our teachers; that’s our Asian custom.  I’m not crazy about Kiiko, but she was one of my earlier teachers, and I think that all of our teachers, if they have helped us, deserve to be protected from this kind of stuff.  But humorists know no boundaries like this.  I get offended by viciousness and stupidity and bad taste.  I wasn’t offended by this. 

    In Hawaii we grew up cracking racist jokes all the time, I am not exaggerating.  We still do.  And there’s no rancor involved; just recognition of our differences and prejudices.  I’ve offended Jewish folk inadvertently by cracking a Jewish joke, forgetting my mainland manners momentarily.  I’ve been treated badly in the past because of my appearance as an Asian, which came as a huge shock to me when I left Hawaii.  My kids have been chased down by classmates pulling their eyes upward calling “Chinese!  Chinese!”  They’ve grown up vaguely uncomfortable of their racial differences, in California, which wouldn’t have happened had they grown up in Hawaii.  I’ll bet every one of you has some kind of story like this.  Lisa’s was being Working Class. I could point to several of you and describe your “story”, but I’m not sure I should. I can cite Lisa’s because I know she won’t be offended by being singled out like this.

    Humor is a very important tool that humans use to cope with darkness.  I think it brings issues into a kind of light where we can look at these feelings and thoughts without letting them depress us.  Life ain’t perfect, but we want it to be so.  Humor helps immensely in that our laughter allows these imperfections to be cast in a acceptable light: it’s nothing but a drama, entertainment, and then it’s gone.

    Zangie is CAN’s “monster child”, if you will, that perhaps needs to be whisked  back into the kitchen where visitors can’t see or hear him.  But he’s family, and I think he offers a valuable and unique contribution.  Maybe we can ask to put his blogs into Philosophy of the Profession.  I hope our discussion isn’t going to turn off the spigot that was opened on the front page.  He has a huge reservoir of talent, anger, insight and observations, and his offerings are appreciated by some of us, perhaps many of us.  I think it’s great that he’s able to inject into our forum this kind of interpretation of AOM’s woes.

  19. Hi guys, this is a funny

    Hi guys, this is a funny thing to chime in on as my first post, I’d rather be asking for advice re. treatment techniques, but have to say- my reaction to the Zang Fool blog was to remove the CAN link from my web page- What I hoped with that link was for patients and general public to find out more about the community acupuncture movement, but I feel uncomfortable with the blogs being the first thing patients see= this blog entry being the one that finally sealed it for me. Thanks otherwise everyone for everything, I do love coming to the community and website-

  20. Bit Uptight

    I found this blog extremely funny only because it is so far form the truth. My only question to the opposers is why they did not come to the aid of the Guantanamo prisoners in the Zang Fools other blog, and I wonder if anyone here ever watches “The Family Guy” Zang Fool- I think your humor is lost on this older generation.

  21. Too Serious

    I was reading Common Dreams website this morning…an interesting interview with Joan Baez speaks to this conversation we are having here…

    In 1963 Baez was given the job of driving King and Jesse Jackson from
    an airport to a march. “They laughed all the time and told racist jokes
    about themselves, and I realised that nobody could see that side of
    them. They had to be seen as serious, and I related to that. We got to
    a restaurant and I asked them: ‘Don’t you have a big march to
    organise?’ They said: ‘We just have.’ You get a public image that you
    have to live up to but your private reality is often very different.”

    All true religions seek to gain access to that level of consciousness which is not ego-bound.</

  22. How many of us are Black?

    It seems to me that the assessment of what is offensive to a particular group rests most directly with the group itself and that non-members of the group should weigh heavily on the side of caution.  I wonder how uptight and too serious my Black friends, colleagues, neighbors, patients, etc. might be were they to read this post.  I am too concerned about the impact that would have on their perceptions of the acupuncture profession, in general, and CA, in particular, to actually engage in a survey.  But for those of you who find nothing offensive about this post, I challenge you to show it to some of your Black friends and colleagues and see what they think.  I admit an assumption that most, if not all, of those commenting are non-Black.  If I am wrong, I welcome the correction.  And, I would genuinely like to hear more from any Black CAN members about their thoughts on the issue. 

    Speaking as a member of a different minority group that is often the focus of unwelcome and insensitive humor (and criticisms when offense is taken), I can say that there is a HUGE difference between someone giving voice to the humor and/or satire that is based on their own direct, personal experience of oppression and a person with no personal experience of the same oppression making jokes about it (and then telling those who are offended to lighten up).  Just because Chris Rock laughs at some piece of the Black experience doesn’t mean we all have the same license.  Being a member of a minority group and bearing the specific oppression that this status carries with it grants a certain moral authority and embodied exerpience to satirize the dark moments of that oppression.  This authority, in my mind, does not  transfer to the general population.

  23. How many of us are human

    I’m sorry, I disagree with your comment. I too am a minority, mexican and native american and I think that when we do not allow other races to discuss our past it further divides us. What the KKK did and does is an assault on humanity and injustice done to anyone belongs to all of us. It is not a matter of race but of humanity, and we need to talk about our collective history in order to erase the perceived differences between us. What you propose is embracing an innate sense of victimhood that will keep up more walls than it can ever bring down. I want to share my pain with all races. I think it is more productive to speak of our past, even if in jest.

    Thank you.

  24. not me

    I already identified my color – white, though I try not to identify too heavily with it….

    I have heard the premise that one is not entitled to make color jokes unless one is of that color. I guess I tend to balance looking at white privelege while simultaneously deemphasizing the superficial differences of humanity, and recognizing that it is good to laugh. 

     Anyways, email is a difficult forum for this sort of debate and as an earlier poster commented, it does circle back to intention – at least for me.

     Also, when I posted my last comment titled “too serious”, my first thought was that I was just quoting Joan Baez, but then the thought came, “I wonder if someone will interpret this as name calling”. Well, that wasn’t my intent….

    Lots of fine lines if we wish to draw them all….Laughing

     

    All true religions seek to gain access to that level of consciousness which is not ego-bound.</

  25. Thank you, nsutton..

    …for your comment. I wonder how many of the people writing supportive comments would also be supportive of a similarly satirical article that tried to make a joke out of organizations that have been as violently oppressive of working class people as the KKK has been of African-Americans. When I read “over-sensitive” or any of the other synonyms used to describe a negative reaction to this article it sounds very much to me like people who are fundamentally ignorant of the horrific history of racism in this country—and the ways that racism continues to play out today. Anyone who doubts that this is the case should read “Buried in the Bitter Waters: The Secret History of Racial Cleansing in the United States.” I agree with the person who asserted that we all have the right to have conversations about our collective and individual cultural histories. But I am personally acquainted with a Black man whose father was lynched and killed in Virginia in the ’50s because he held his hand out to a White woman who stumbled coming out of a store. Knowing that somehow takes the fun out of reading somebody’s jokes about the KKK. As a White person I’m also very aware of the temptation to reject “White guilt” and of the desire to move beyond the racial conflict that lurks beneath the surface of our society. Unfortunately I don’t think we do that through jokes that use such powerful symbols with such disregard for their context. As an acupuncture student and for the first few years after I graduated I volunteered at an inner-city drug detox clinic. 99.99% of the clients were African-American. A true wake-up for me was the morning of 9/11/01 when I came out of a treatment room to see people standing around a TV set watching reruns of the jets hitting the twin towers. Many of the people watching actually expressed satisfaction at the sight, which shocked me but didn’t surprise me. It didn’t surprise me because driving into inner-city Baltimore from the suburbs is like driving from a paradise into a war-zone of blasted and shuttered buildings and deeply oppressed and often desperate people. I guess I know a little bit what Lisa must feel like because I feel rage and disgust at the extent to which this is not acknowledged or the blame for this is put onto the people who suffer this oppression.

    Mark Montgomery

     

  26. The original post was not

    The original post was not using humor about racism to attack racism. It was using humor about racism to mock “the branding of treatment strategies.” What does race have to do with that? If you want to make fun of pretentious practitioners in the acupuncture world, go ahead, there is no shortage of ridiculousness. But racism goes to the part of the brain that is awash in fear and hatred, and if you use it you run the risk of offending and even hurting a lot of people. Zang fool took a rhetorical risk and in my opinion, failed. Notice how many people have discussed the original intent, branding strategies? None! CAN is supposed to be about inclusion, and maybe there are some people who are enlightened enough to overlook this, but you can bet this post would offend a LOT of people. Why take a chance like that? I agree, show this to your African American patients, post it on your clinic wall, put it on your website if you think it’s no big deal, see how many patients you turn off. If you think this is “gentle humor,” then take Kiiko’s name out and put YOUR clinic’s name in there. Still think it’s funny? By the way, Kiiko Matsumoto is NOT Wal-Mart, she is a fellow practitioner and this is what aggravates me the most. If you don’t like her or her work, fine, criticize it. But use some of that “Buddhist compassion” you’re always talking about and think how it would feel if you were her and read this post. (And this being the internet, it’s probably only a matter of time until she does read it). Would YOUR patients like to read an article like this about YOU? Think about what that would be like, think how hurt and angry they would be. Would you want to join CAN? Would you become an advocate for CAN, encourage your students to join it? Maybe, but to me it doesn’t seem likely. It is not worthy of our profession. It reflects poorly on all of us. Would you show this post to MD’s in your community? It is juvenile. It hurts and does not heal. This is not The Onion, as professionals we have responsibilities towards each other. We can criticize each other and argue but this is not fair criticism. There may be no legal remedy, but if anyone ever posted a comment like this about my clinic, I would file an ethics complaint with the NCCAOM instantly.

  27. Well said.  I’m sorry that

    Well said.  I’m sorry that you were not able/willing to identify yourself.  You seem committed to a tone of civility and respect and I would have like to know who you are.

     

    –Nancy 

  28. Dear Anonymous

    Dear Anonymous poster,

    Branding strategies. Branding strategies. Branding strategies. There, I verbalize what seems to me the intended target of the humor, even though it seems quite evident in the post. I am confident that those who did laugh, were laughing about that…not about a particular person. (And by the way, in case people have glossed over this, the name used in ZF’s original post, is in fact fictitious).

    Since you brought up Compassion, I would like to say that it appears in many forms. The CAN movement – to me – represents a form of engaged compassion. Compassion does not always come in a lolipop sweet flavor. And not surprisingly, this kind of compassion, which advocates for greater social justice in the acupuncture profession, is pushing a lot of buttons. Yours perhaps Ms./Mr. Anon? Please take responsibility for your buttons. 

    As one of my greatly compassionate teachers often tells her students – a teacher’s job is to push their student’s buttons so that they can see them more clearly and then disconnect them. Suffering sucks, but getting pissed off about it doesn’t help. Doing something about it is the only reasonable course of action. 

    There will always be people who get offended by language, however well intended. Does this mean that people advocating for positive social change should always sterilize their language?

    How would I react if the post were about me? Well, I am not a famous acupuncturist…but if I were, I’d like to think I could see the humor disregard the rest, and reflect on karma.

    To give an example here, the Chinese leaders are constantly calling His Holiness the Dalai Lama “a devil with horns on his head”, and all he ever does is laugh, and pray for the Chinese leaders. His Holiness laughs to these insults, in the face of an ongoing genocide every bit as heinous and brutal as anything that any oppressed people in the history of humanity has ever experienced. Of course, sometimes His Holiness cries too. So I’d hope I could be like that – if not in this lifetime, maybe in a future life. 

    If my patients ever were to read a piece about that hypothetical famous brander of magical treatments – Jordan Tan Toast – I’d hope they’d laugh too. And if they had questions about it, I’d hope they’d talk to me and I would explain…this isn’t about me, but about silly branding strategies and perhaps masquerading as grand wizards.

    Why take a chance on all this you ask? Because the furtherance of noble ideals such as justice and compassion sometimes demand it.

    All true religions seek to gain access to that level of consciousness which is not ego-bound.</

  29. Seriously, though…

    Hmmmm. What to say? I suppose that it would have been best for me to state my intention as a blogger on CAN before I started writing. I have updated my account info in order briefly state just what my intentions are in writing on the front-page blog. In addition, I hope this response will fill in the blanks of that short description. Also, I will be starting an independent blog page that I will post on more regularly and pick and choose what goes up here.
    It is not my purpose to be funny, though it may be incidental at times to my writing. Humor is a means, not an end, as I am a satirical writer. It is my intent to bring about positive change in the acupuncture profession by increasing its availability, not just by jabbing folks on the cheap, which helps, but also by jabbing acupunks in the brain, which is critical. CA is a great idea, but if there is no one around pushing it out to the world, well then how is it going to spread? CAN is a great way to push people and different people push in different ways. My vehicle for this push is the written word in the form of satire. And every piece I’ve written is an attempt to address an issue, while also prompting discussion.
    I feel awkward explaining the meaning of a piece to those who obviously didn’t get it. I am not sure that that is the role of any writer. But, here goes…
    This piece employed basic irony to critique the branding of treatment strategies, as well as the branding of ones practice. Hence the conflict between the name of our heroines practice and the treatment strategy she is using in her clinic. It is also ironic that in their attempts to heal a community and open a CA practice, a practitioner inadvertently inflames racial tensions due to the employ of an unfortunate branding catastrophe. This piece needed a famous practitioner with the first letter of the first name to be a ‘K’, to form the brand ‘KKK’. I only know of one. I hardly think that this will damage her reputation. It appears to only be damaging mine. Regardless, libel (slander refers to the spoken word) is “the communication of a statement that makes a false claim, expressly stated or implied to be factual, that may give an individual, business, product, group, government or nation a negative image.” (Wikipedia) Anyone who thought that this piece was meant to be factual seriously needs to have his or her head examined. I’ll go on record stating that Kiiko is not now nor never has been to my knowledge actually
    working at a clinic called ‘KKK’ or using a grand dragon technique.

    This piece also criticizes the comfort that those in the alternative medical field have with magical thinking, a lot of whom in our field are in favor of an entry-level doctorate. Of course I also find this ironic, how the Nei Jing represented a monumental leap in medicine in that it declared that it was not your angry ancestors that made you ill, but rather the weather and your emotions and now there is a desire to increase educational standards by some of those who believe that it is spirits or dragons that make us sick. I am not talking about the metaphorical use of dragons, but those who use the idea literally. The people who open the windows in their clinic when they do this treatment so that the dragons can escape. This is how I was taught. This is rational discourse for some in our profession. The same profession that whines about not being taken seriously by mainstream healthcare practitioners.

    Lastly, there is the tidbit about a foriegn born acupuncturist burning crosses on the heads of white supremicists. A dash of irony with a twist of poetic justice.

    I also recognize that these issues are not the most pressing issues in the world or in the acupuncture community. This was just one small piece with just a little bit to say and I am a little surprised at the backlash. I was hoping for a lot more actual discussion from the Wal-Mart piece, but I got nothing. So it goes.

    In the end, I wonder what the future holds for the CA movement when we have an issue with oversensitivity. What is “the line”? What is an “appropriate level of satire”? Who can possibly define such things? I think if the intent to harm is absent, one is on the right side of this elusive line. Satire is about the intent to bring about positive change. There is a difference.
    As for my place on this blog, it is not my decision to resign to the forums. The stated purpose of the front-page blog is to “prick, prod, and provoke both the imagination and the conscience of the acupuncture profession.” I hardly think that my presence on this blog will offend so many patients as to warrant such a hasty move as that. But again, that is not my decision.

    Excuse me while I change back into character…

  30. (Probably) My last comment

    Zang Fool Wrote:

    I feel awkward explaining the meaning of a piece to those who obviously didn’t get it.

     

    ZF, I “got” your intent.  From what other commenters wrote, I think they “got” it as well.  Just because someone didn’t agree with your method and choice of content, it does not mean they had any lack of understanding of your point. To be honest, I find your claim immature and lacking respect for your audience.

    Satire is as open to criticism as any other literary form. When I dig into my brain, and pull out some of the lessons I remember from art school (many years ago) one that stands out is the concept of the art making process not being complete until a work of art interacts with an audience. I would say that this holds just as true, if not more so, for satire.  You put your work out there, and I admire you for the bravery it took to do so.  Now, you need to be able to listen to your audience and take the criticism.  Otherwise, I might jump to the conclusion you just don’t get it.

    Thank you,

    David Lesseps

     

  31. Unbidden Irony

     In reading the many varied empassioned responses I was struck by the irony of using the Klan in this context (the original post).

    Not many people know the history and beginnings of the Klan and how appropriate it is as an example of a successful divide and distract campaign. 

    especially regarding Class conflict.

    In the time post Civil War when poor white sharecroppers and recently freed slaves were starting to unify and find common cause, Wealthy landowners began a vicious, anonymous campaign to prevent them from becoming a force for change. The Klan served to give poor whites a pride and identity (they may be desperately poor but at least they were white….) which created a “false” allegiance to the “white race” including the plantation owners over and above the fragile alliance being forged btw the poor white and poor black sharecroppers.

    In reality they had very little, culturally, economically and politically in common with the upper class. Certainly had more in common with the ex-slaves. To their shame, and all our loss, they fell for it and lost all possibility of challenging the oppression  and making real change. This is a painfully simplified abstract of history but poignant all the same. 

    The climate of using fear tactics, “there is not enough to go around” circling the wagon of the profession to keep CAN practitioners, or even NADA techs out is powerful and has worked too well in the past. 

    While using hot button subjects like the Klan clearly makes some of us see red, it is worth our while to take a deep breath and look deeper into the intention of the writer.

    Personally, as someone who grew up brown in a white town, and been beaten up on the schoolyard targeted by the color of my skin, I still laughed out loud at the post and remembered the time that the Klan tried to have a rally in my town in Maine and their protestors outnumbered them by over 300%! It felt great to have them so overshadowed as to appear ludicrous.

    so poking fun of the establishment, the tendency to puff up and claim some big, new, “patented” protocol to treat everything is for me about continueing to deconstruct the idea of what an acupuncturist is.

     

     

    “I’m trying to change the world, I don’t have time for a grudge match with every poser with a parka” Dr. Horrible

  32. You asked for a brown person’s opinion . . .

    So, I am one brown person, African American by birth and culture, born in the “Klan Country” of Indiana, as some in my family used to say. Just as a disclaimer, I read this website all the time because I am also Andy Wegman’s wife.

    I read this post and thought it was absolutely ridiculous and completely absurd and took a daring poke at the cluelessness of the elitists in YOUR world. I also found it very clever and just plain funny. It appealed to my particular sense of humor, which is pretty ripe, but maybe not too classy in general. So, this tickled me.

    I think (but I’m not sure) I understand the concerns expressed by people who worry about what people of color, or people with concern for the historical oppression of people of color, or people with concern for the sensitivities of people who’ve witnessed and/or fear they may witness the oppression of under-represented minorities (often including people of color), might think if they read this. And okay, that’s probably cool because who am I to tell you? I just want you to know that in 40 years of having lived and dealt with many real kinds of oppression and poor intentions, finding it in the Zang Fool’s humor would be quite a reach, and to me almost as if I was looking for it.

    So, once again, my gut reaction was that it was totally ridiculous, clever, and since I am fortunate enough to have a vivid imagination and could picture it, I just laughed my ass off.

  33. Who are the audience?

    I think it’s important to clarify that.  If this is for acupuncture practitioners than there is a lot more leeway in the blogs, it’s lets people know whether CAN is for them because many of us are a little, or a lot sassy.

    If this is meant for patients to be reading, some censorship might be in order.  Our patients come from all different walks of life, with different experiences and tolerance levels, and that deserves respect.  These are the people that make us, we can’t practice acupuncture without them.  As is, I don’t send patients here.  I still have a link, but I don’t think many of my patients really get into my links.  No one has ever mentioned CAN.  

    I want to add that as a practitioner I love this site, and appreciate ZF’s posts.  If the post had been in the member’s forums, few if any of us would have had a problem with it.  Patients shouldn’t be expected to try and understand where these posts are coming from.  They don’t need to know or care about the state of our profession. 

  34. Funny

    Well as a black American who grew up primarily with whites in the state of Iowa, I found the piece hillarious.  I didn’t pick up on the fact that it was supposed to be cracking on Matsumoto or even point prescriptions.  I’m so dense, I thought the article was “for real” and I thought the person who did this must have been black.  After all, the only people who are actually willing to acknowledge the active presence of racism in this country are the one’s who are affected by it.  And aren’t we just so tired of complaining Negroes?  It would take a really bold person to say hey, I’ll see your KKK and twist it in a way that you could hardly have imagined.  

    Let’s borrow a bit from the realm of the professional arm-chair quarterbacks of human behavior, anthropologists.  Somewhere along the line one of these observers explored the domain of the sacred and profane.  The sacred and profane being that which requires specific behavors and rituals.  Not referencing the KKK doesn’t make “KKK-thought” disappear. (can’t we all just get along?) 

    The Hawaii contributor had a great point in distinguishing between mainland “sensitivity” and the casual cracks that Hawaiians make on one another.  Race in the mainland resides in either the realm of the sacred or profane.  We’re just supposed to ignore who we are in the name of something that we’re not altogether certain about.  Hawaiians, I may add that our president is from Hawaii actually, openly acknowledge their differences, removing race from the taboo zone, making it a part of everyday reality.  That’s profanity and a half in the states, confined safely to the only place onTV where truth reigns, Comedy Central.  (I hate that stuff, but it’s authentic)

    I don’t know if the responders who took offense to this piece are not in someways trying to wish America’s great history away, if they feel referencing KKK gives power to it, or if their do-goodism has them overreaching.  Sure, I know folks who would find this in poor taste, precisely because they hold a reverence for the klan, but as for me it makes much more fun at klansters and their rituals than the targets of their terrorism.   

    This piece as far as I’m concerned is much more of a satire about the KKK than a racially insensitive joke.  I think it reframes their cruelty and gives it healing potential.  I was tempted to pick up the phone and congratulate the dude on his audacity.  Oh, and if you want clues on how to be racially offensive, just listen to Rush Limbaugh or any of the numerous airbags on a.m. radio.

    y.c.

     

     

    Yang-chu Higgins, Lic Ac, EFT-ADV
    vytalpathways.com