By Henry Ehrlich
I suppose we should view it as a sign of maturity for our website, but it is really just a nuisance. About once a week we get a flattering email, beseeching us for a chance to join the illustrious ranks of our guest editorialists. Usually they offer to write a piece on a subject of our choosing, and sometimes they go so far as to actually draft something. Of course, the real agenda leaps out as I drag the cursor across the hyperlinks. These editorials are nothing more than Trojan horses for product promotion. Last week there was a proposal for a piece on how to apply for social security benefits for an asthmatic child, from a social security benefits consultant. I didn’t turn him down flat but asked to outline what he might say. No reply. Tonight there was one on the connection between climate change and allergies. Good subject, but nothing new, or rather nothing newer than could be gleaned from about 10 minutes of research. I felt bad for the purported author, an “avid blogger” who goes to a university in New York City. I suppose my accepting her little piece would have netted her about the equivalent of an hour’s waitressing at a decent restaurant.
We are proud of the roster of guest editorialists we have published over the past three years. As purveyors of junk content browse our archives, they will see that all our contributors are distinguished by very special perspectives on the allergy epidemic, and that generic information just won’t do. No glorified spam here. We are also hard on junk when we find it elsewhere, as when Dr. Chiaramonte reacted to a piece purportedly written by Dr. Oz.
Still, as I looked over this young woman’s credits, I saw one that indicated one area of special knowledge. It was called “How to Give a Nebulizer Treatment to an Asthmatic Cat.” But when I went looking for a photograph on Google Images, I realized this was not as esoteric as I had thought. I only got as far as typing the letters “cat nebu” and dozens of images popped up of all kinds of animals being treated, including dogs, a horse, and even a turtle.