This paper begins with the importance of the figure of the parrhesiastes—the political and therapeutic truth-teller—for Foucault’s understanding of the care of the self. It traces the origin of the conjunction of truth, health, and politics to the political configuration in Plato's 'Gorgias' of the analogy between philosophers and physicians on the one hand, and rhetors and disease on the other. The paper demonstrates how rhetoric, in the form of ventriloquism, infects the text itself, and then asks how we account for the effect of the “contaminated” philosophical dialogue on our readerly health. Is the text placebo, vaccine, or virus? All of these options, it is argued, complicate Foucault’s prescription for parrhesia, requiring us to think anew the political ramifications of the metaphor of care.