Most of the times I defied my parents when I was a teen were largely about things like, say, spending way more time on the computer than they would have liked (they were right, in retrospect). For 18-year-old Ethan Lindenberger from (presumably) gorgeous Norwalk, Ohio, his big rebellion was about something else entirely: getting himself the fuck vaccinated.
Lindenberger received huge news coverage thanks to a post he made on Reddit at /r/nostupidquestions, where he asked how he could go about finally getting some sweet, sweet vaccines into his body:
As the title explains, my parents think vaccines are some kind of government scheme. It’s stupid and I’ve had countless arguments over the topic. But, because of their beliefs I’ve never been vaccinated for anything, god knows how I’m still alive. But, i’m a senior in high school now with a car, a license, and money of my own. I’d assume that I can get them on my own but I’ve just never had a conversation with anyone about the subject. I’m also afraid I’d go somewhere that up charges vaccines way more than somewhere just down the street. Any advice would be awesome.
The story goes big, much to the dismay of his anti-vaxxer mother. And, as all celebrities do, Lindenberger does a Reddit AMA, providing a bit more perspective on the circumstances around the issue and how it has affected his relationship with his family.
Asked whether this has had an impact on what his siblings plan to do, Lindenberger says they are split on the issue:
I have discussed it with my siblings and they each have their own individual thoughts. My sister supports my moms views and my brother is more on my side. He’s expressed a desire to get vaccinated but he’s still doing his own research.
We all understand our mom loves us, but she is misinformed. I disagree with her on almost every level. That’s a weird place to be in but we’ve made it work[.]
He told another Reddit user that his mum was initially very upset when he first told her:
She was scared and thought I was going to harm myself by getting vaccinated. That thought process makes sense when you REALLY believe vaccines cause brain damage, cause autism, and are a corporate scheme. But the evidence isn’t there, the data supports vaccines on nearly every scientific and logical level. When I presented sources that WERE scientific and reliable like the CDC taking numerous studies and concluding vaccines don’t cause autism, those were dismissed as big pharma governmental schemes. So at that point I knew there was a strong likelihood my mom was deeply misinformed and I’d have to make this decision without her immediate support
Although he stresses in answer to another question that the concern definitely still comes from a good place, it’s just misinformed:
My mom loves me and my siblings, and that love was used as a tool by the antivaxx community to convince loving parents like her that she’s poisoning her kids and giving them autism. It’s the sources of that information I believe are entirely malicious and downright evil for doing that.
Asked if his moment in the spotlight could be used to convince anti-vax people that have so far been immune (lol) to arguments from, say, science, Lindenberger said it likely could:
I think this totally could be used to appeal to the antivaxx crowd. In a way it already has, because people have noticed that I’m not attempting to make people look stupid. There’s an Aspect of this where you can’t deny the overwhelming evidence in support of vaccines, but you don’t need to present that in a way that is super hostile. So I think I’ve done that[.]