M*A*S*H actor and veteran movie star Alan Alda stopped by HuffPost Live on Tuesday and shared some strong opinions on Friday’s tragic killings in Isla Vista. When asked about his strong feminist history, and specifically mass shooter Elliot Rodger’s …
Alan Alda talking about misogyny and nailing it
This man — who is the most wonderful amazing human being on the planet, by the way — skirted very close to dropping some serious fucking knowledge in this video, and I don’t know why he didn’t do it, but I’m going to:
In 1943, when he was seven years old, Alan Alda contracted polio. At the time, the standard treatment for the disease was to immobilize one’s limbs by strapping them to planks, to prevent muscle contractions and deformity. The splints had the unfortunate side effect, however, of causing muscle atrophy due to lack of use. So Alan’s parents instead decided to subject him to a new (and admittedly painful) treatment that had been developed by a nurse named Sister Elizabeth Kenny: extremely hot woolen blankets applied to the limbs, accompanied by a regiment of muscle-stretching.
Sister Elizabeth’s treatment was basically the exact opposite of what the medical establishment (all men at the time, obvs) recommended. And that establishment — when they acknowledged her technique at all — referred to it as a “grievous error and fraught with grave danger.”
But those doctors who were skeptical of her technique had their minds changed when they actually deigned to observe the results in patients. Wow, that’s so odd: it’s almost as if they discounted Sister Kenny’s methods without knowing anything about them save that the person who developed them was a woman. Hmm.
Alan Alda attributes not only his full recovery from polio to her treatment, but also his being a feminist — because, as he mentioned in the video, a deadly disease that he contracted was successfully combated because men and women were working to fight it.