Tue 5 Feb 2013
Say what you will about the various social media, there is one thing at which they really excel: providing a brand new platform for the endless circulation of the kind of inane and poorly informed pop ‘wisdom’ that we love so much here on TCA. Just recently, for example, I’ve been sent the same exhortation about five times to sign an Avaaz petition against Bayer for being responsible (via their manufacture and marketing of insecticides called neonicotinoids) for bee Colony Collapse Disorder. Now, while I don’t particularly hold with the use of Bayer’s products, and don’t even particularly like Bayer as a company, this irks and frustrates me. What Avaaz is doing here is piggybacking an agenda on top of an emotionally-charged issue to give the impression that CCD is being caused by one simple mechanism, and that Bayer should be held responsible. As I’ve written before, it is far from being quite that simple.(i) Unfortunately, very few people who get the link to the Avaaz petition will know much, if anything, about bee Colony Collapse Disorder, and not bother to take the trouble to research the Avaaz claims. And so the ‘OMG! The Bees Are Dying Sign the Petition’ suggestion will no doubt circulate for another few weeks, etching into people’s minds the notion that Evil Bayer is Killing Bees (supplanting the previously-etched notion in most of those same people’s minds that the culprit was mobile phones).(ii)(iii)
Anyhoo, that’s all really just a way of introducing the real subject of today’s post, which is another wonderful social media ‘advice’ epidemic which also concerns honey. Honey and cinnamon, in fact. It’s very lengthy, so I’m not copying it here, but you should really go have a look at it so you can witness the true scale of its stupidity (you can find it linked just about everywhere across the net, so ubiquitous has it become).
Synopsizing, it begins with a warning that ‘Drug companies won’t like this one getting around!’ and goes on to list ways in which the combination of honey and cinnamon will cure EVERYTHING. Well, I’m exaggerating, but not by much.
Here are just some of the troubles that you will no longer have if you imbibe and/or smear yourself liberally with honey and cinnamon:
•Cancer (oh yes)
I’m totally sure the drug companies would be mightily pissed off if there was even a grain of truth in any of it, but there ain’t so they happily continue with their business of converting their piles of cash into cocaine and snorting it off stripper’s tits.(iv)
The long list of cures ends with the folksy signoff: ‘Remember when we were kids? We had toast with real butter and cinnamon sprinkled on it! Re-post!’
Because, you know, we never had any of those problems when we were kids, right? Except for the poor tykes with cancer who obviously didn’t eat their cinnamon toast.
The thing that really ticks me off is the completely undiscriminating way in which this stupid piece of internet diarrhoea is pooped all across the various social media platforms even by those who should know a LOT better. This is the internet, people. It should be the work of moments to find out the bona fides of this gob of banal hogwash.
And moments it takes. Less than thirty seconds of Searching™ turns up the original source of the Cinnamon and Honey gumpf:
That’s right, Space Cadets. The provenance of this piece of 21st Century wisdom is an article published in 1995 by that veritable shining bastion of scientific respectability, The Weekly World News. It’s travelled down almost two decades unscathed. What’s that you say? What other scientific discoveries has WWN delivered up? I’m so glad you asked.
I mean, for fuck’s sake. Who’s going to believe Dick Cheney is a robot? We all know perfectly well that he’s really a lizard!(v)
- As we have seen time and time again here on TCA, human beings just lurve to fall for the most simplistic solutions to complex problems. Our brains shy away from complexity. We are not made to cope with it, and we deal with it badly. [↩]
- What’s actually killing bees, my friends, is that voracious, deadly scourge of the planet Earth – human beings. Our demand for cheap honey (and for cheap fruit and flowers and grains and all the plants that the bees rely on to make that honey) is creating a population pressure on the bees that is just not something that they cope with well. We’ve made bees into something they are not, for our own purposes, and while that works to an extent, it is truly not surprising that it is not a sustainable prospect. [↩]
- One friend commented to me that surely the fact that Bayer was not necessarily responsible for CCD is irrelevant if they’re doing something environmentally irresponsible – an ‘end-justifies-the-means’ argument, if you will. That’s all well & good – maybe the petition will get one environmentally undesirable substance out of the way BUT the bees will still be dying. It deflects the view of the public away from addressing the actual problems, and so is, in my opinion, doing more harm than good. [↩]
- This is a colourful metaphor, intended to provide humour. It is not meant to imply that drug companies make huge swodges of profit at the expense of our health. Because we know that they are all doing it for the love of humankind. [↩]
- This QED really is SOOOO much better than I could ever have hoped for. I wish all rubbish of this kind was so easily slapped down. [↩]