Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#816: Donna Karan

A.k.a. Donna Ivy Faske

Honorable mention goes to Ted Kaptchuk for his ideas on placebo, but for real, unhinged woo you could do worse (or whatever you want to call it) than having a look at Donna Karan. Karan is a fashion designer, and the creator of the Donna Karan New York and DKNY clothing labels. Apparently her fashion design background and flashy celebrity life makes her, in her own eyes, an expert on self-help and spirituality, and she is not hesitant to offer you health or lifestyle advice based on “ancient oriental wisdom” or suchlike.

Thing is, Karan has the money to back it up. In 2008 the Beth Israel Medical Center, once a respectable institution but quickly becoming a nexus of pure quackery, was eager enough for her money that they gave her a cancer-treatment floor to combine “Eastern and Western healing methods”. As they put it “the Karan-Beth Israel project will have a celebrated donor turn a hospital into a testing ground for a trendy, medically controversial notion: that yoga, meditation and aromatherapy can enhance regimens of chemotherapy and radiation.” Karan’s intentions may have been honorable, but Karan is also in the grip of what she calls “Urban Zen”. Instead of using her money to pay for, you know, more oncologists, “fifteen yoga teachers will be sent to BethIsrael’s ninth-floor cancer ward starting in January to work with nonterminal patients, and nurses will be trained in relaxation techniques." The urban zen project also included a research part. Dr. Benjamin Kligler, the research director in integrative family medicine for the Beth Israel-affiliated Continuum Center for Health and Healing and the research project’s principal investigator, acknowledged that the experiment of yoga teachers and their interaction with patients did not lend itself to the random, double-blind placebo trials favored in the medical world. Solution? “It might be time for the medical establishment to consider a new research model for what he called ‘lifestyle interventions.’” Duh. The whole dismal affairs is pretty well dealt with here.

Apparently Karan is involved in or behind the Huffington-post-based health-care initiative, the Well-Being Forum, where people from Tony Robbins to Deepak Chopra give you health advice.

Diagnosis: The epitome of crazy celebrity fluffpot who is unable to grasp the central distinction between fashion design success and how to understand science. A bad case of Dunning-Kruger fed by wishful thinking. Since she has a lot of money to push into her campaign for quackery, Karan must be counted as quite dangerous.


  1. Now that we're in the K's, I have a few names I'd like to throw out there.

    Dwight Kehoe (Renew America writer and supporter of the fringe America's Party founded by Alan Keyes)
    Andrea Shea King (wingnut radio host and writer for David Horowtiz web-rag FrontPage News, thinks that Obama was sending Muslims "secret subtle messages" in some of his speeches)
    Andrew Klavan (Pajamas Media pundit, claimed that the movie The Dark Knight was a defense of the Bush Administration.)
    Adam Kokesh (9/11 truther, the whole "armed march on Washington" nuttiness)
    Jeffrey Kuhner (Washington Times columnist and epically unhinged nutball)
    Ben Kinchlow
    Paul Kengor (WND columnist and anti-gay conspiracy nut)
    Terroja Lee Kincaid (AKA The Amazing Atheist, for his views on rape and his MRA persecution complex)
    Phillip Kline (former Kansas AG, obsessed with shutting down abortion clinics)

    1. Why is it only people who do not believe like you are "Wing Nuts"? Where is the tolerance and diversity you so loudly proclaim when it comes to Christians and others who believe differently than you?