Join our Facebook group
For immediate release
April 21, 2006

Sandy Summers
410-323-1100 or 443-253-3738

Jack White Slams Nursing Group for "Metaphorical Ignorance"

Rock Star and Nurses Trade Mock "Awards"

Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2006 -- White Stripes leader Jack White has just given the leader of an international nursing group a "Metaphorical Ignorance Award," complete with a signed certificate.

The alternative rock icon issued the "Award" for "outstanding inability to recognize metaphor," after the Baltimore-based Center for Nursing Advocacy gave his band one of its annual Golden Lamp Awards, for creating one of the worst media portrayals of nursing in 2005. The "award-winning" song was "The Nurse," written by White, from the Grammy-winning album "Get Behind Me Satan."

Here is a reproduction of Mr. White's "Metaphorical Ignorance Award for 2005":

The Center's analysis of the song, available online since last year, argued that it "uses an unholy mix of nursing imagery, complete with maid and mother references, to make a seemingly banal complaint about betrayal that isn't worthy of White." Because the Center's review clearly recognized the song's use of metaphor, and the Center even included a copy of the analysis with its award, the group said it was mystified by White's reaction.

"We never suggested the song was about a real nurse rubbing salt in White's physical wounds," said Truth executive director Sandy Summers. "We said it reinforced stereotypes by comparing nursing to romantic love, mothering, and housekeeping--things that don't require years of college-level science training. Did we need to use the actual word 'METAPHOR,' maybe in capital letters, so it could be seen from space?"

White's Metaphorical Ignorance Award also cited the Center's "ridiculous sense of ownership of the word 'Nurse.'" In response, Summers noted: "That's like defending a misogynist song by telling female critics they don't own the word 'woman.' Mr. White has the right to talk about nurses, and even literary devices. But we have the right to explain why his lyrics 'offend in every way,' as he put it so presciently in an earlier song."

White signed his Ignorance Award as "president" of the "Center for Lyrical Advocacy," with the tag line "Increasing Public Understanding of Poetry." This is a mocking play on the Center for Nursing Advocacy's own tag line, "Increasing Public Understanding of Nursing." Summers was amused, but she said: "The media stereotypes in 'The Nurse' help to drive the deadly global nursing shortage. They're mental viruses. And Center staff are the white blood cells. Wait--was that a metaphor?"

Summers suggested that White may not even have looked at the Center's analysis. "We respect Mr. White as a musician. And we thank him for taking our views seriously enough to attack us.But before he started struggling with his computer graphics program, he might at least have found out why we disliked his song."

White's new band, the Raconteurs, will release its debut album "Broken Boy Soldiers" in May. When shown the album cover, on which White has a bloodied face (right), Summers quipped: "Mr. White really needs to get that looked at. If only he had more faith in nurses."

The Center had sent its Golden Lamp Award (right) to the White Stripes' agent at The Agency Group. White's counter-award came in an envelope with the return address of his managers, Monotone Management in Los Angeles. But the envelope was hand-addressed in writing that resembled White's signature on the award, and it was postmarked Nashville, where White has a new home. This suggests that the D.I.Y.-oriented rocker simply created the Metaphorical Ignorance Award on his home computer and stopped in at a nearby post office to mail it.

See our full analysis of this award and "The Nurse".

The Center for Nursing Advocacy, founded in 2001, is a Baltimore-based non-profit that seeks to increase public understanding of the central, front-line role nurses play in modern health care. The focus of the Center is to promote more accurate, balanced and frequent media portrayals of nurses and increase the media's use of nurses as expert sources.


For more information, please contact:

Sandy Summers, MSN, MPH, RN
Executive Director
The The Truth About Nursing
203 Churchwardens Rd.
Baltimore, MD, USA 21212-2937
office 1-410-323-1100
fax 1-410-510-1790
cell 1-443-253-3738


Press coverage

May 3, 2006 -- Today The Los Angeles Times covered the exchange of mock awards between the Center for Nursing Advocacy and Jack White, of the band White Stripes, with the piece "A Stripe nursing a grudge?" The Detroit Metro Times wrote about it in "Nursing a grudge," on May 3. And Salon covered it on April 26 with "Jack White in slap fight with nurses."


Truth About Nursing Blog logo

book cover, Saving lives

A Few Successes —
We Can Change the Media!

Educate the world that nurses save lives!

Save Lives. Be a Nurse. bumper sticker