“There’s a sucker born every minute” – Someone that isn’t P. T. Barnum, although he was wrongfully credited for saying it.
For those unfamiliar with P. T. Barnum, he was a man who made a fortune scamming people. Not in the traditional sense, though; people willingly paid Barnum to see a monkey’s head sewn onto the tail of a fish (and presented as the Fiji mermaid), a fossil giant (which was actually just a stone sculpture), and a slave he had bought named Joice Heth who he claimed was 161 years old and was none other than George Washington’s nursemaid. He even sold 1,500 tickets to Joice’s autopsy to prove that she was indeed 161 years old. However, the surgeon who performed the autopsy revealed that she was probably around 80 years old at the time of her death. So, basically, if you sell it well enough, people will buy it. Kind of.
You can actual sell an idea that will sell your product. Barnum sold the idea that there are things out there in the world that are mystical, magical, outside our mundane normality.
Meanwhile, we have recently seen a health food industry explode. But what do P. T. Barnum and the health food industry have in common, you ask? Well, it’s unclear if the products they sell actually help keep people healthy like they claim they do, or if they’re just selling the idea and hoping that their products will keep you healthy.
See Also: 6 Mysteries That Were Complete Hoaxes
a superfood [echo: superfood, superfood, superfood]! PR firm My Young Auntie hocked the new (see: ancient) green to the hippest of hip New York eateries and even created a line of Kale-wear which donates a large amount of its profits to the Edible Schoolyard Project, a project that aims to bring local, organic food to public schoolchildren.
Now you have a superfood that actually helps the children. Then a small controversy brought even more attention to the brand (yes, we live in a period of history in which vegetables have brands). Finally, to cement kale’s healthy food cult status, Hollywood (the perpetual consumer of all things hype) adopted it as its favorite thing to eat. To the chagrin of wheatgrass. Although extremely beneficial health-wise, kale isn’t astoundingly healthier than other dark greens such as spinach, collard greens, and even mustard greens, which also happen to be a fraction of the price.
Yet another hip-afied ancient foodstuff, these grains actually relish in their ancientness; they don’t bashfully say they are 25 even when they’re pushing 45… thousand. If you’re unfamiliar with ancient grains, they’re grains our Paleolithic ancestors ate and are said to be healthier, higher in nutrients, and easier for us to digest, making the assumption that our peptic system hasn’t evolved in the last tens of thousands of years.
A few of these grains are farro, quinoa, chia, and sorghum. Of course, the ancient grain caboose was hitched to the Paleo diet hype train. Damn it, now I have to explain that: the Paleo diet postulates you should avoid all things post-farming and excludes dairy and processed food, because obviously the advent of farming has been horrible to the evolution of humanity. The Paleo diet instead consists of food ancient ancestors would have likely eaten like berries, meats and fish, and even allows for modern preparations. Wusses, I’d like to see how much weight you’d lose if you had to compete with a bear for a salmon and then take a honking bite out of it as it’s still flapping around in your hand.
Hey… I just might have invented the newest diet crazy, the No-Faux-Paleo diet. Nonetheless, the Paleo diet is heavily criticized because it completely excludes both grains and legumes (which are beans, doofus). The problem is that grains and legumes are really good for you, and completely cutting them out of your diet isn’t removing a great source of protein, nutrients, and carbs.
So are there are some famous products or food crazes that I missed on this list? Let me know in the comments section below… and if you haven’t pick up on it, this article basically calls all of you dumb for buying into some businessperson’s marketing pitch for the latest thing.