Dear friends. This morning I’m angry. I’m also sad and a little depressed, but mostly angry.

Yesterday1, Cow reader Battman, in a comment on the post Shoo Us the Science (Project)!, pointed me to an article on CNBC headlined:

Energetic Solutions Corporation Donates $30,000 of shoo!TAG Product to Family Legacy’s Camp LIFE in Zambia, Africa. Donation will help to prevent mosquito bites among children, staff and volunteers at Camp LIFE.

Yes, you read that correctly. Right now, in the 21st Century, some little kids risk illness and death because badly-educated ignorant people believe that stupid plastic trinkets with magnetic strips are somehow going to help protect them from contracting a life-threatening disease.2 It’s bad enough that the peddlers of this ridiculous magical thinking are imposing their hocus-pocus on pets, but when it comes to the lives of kids, they have, in my book, crossed a line into criminality.

Before we go on, though, let’s get some perspective. $30,000 is an impressively generous amount if we’re talking about actual money, but what does Energetic Solutions’ donation mean in real terms? ‘People’ ShooTags are selling for something like $30 or so on Amazon at the moment. That means that $30k buys around a thousand of the things. Doing a quick search tells me that you can get blank swipe cards for about 5c apiece (probably less if you have bulk orders). Let’s be magnanimous and add another 5c per card for printing and packaging. The truth of the matter is, then, that the boastful ‘$30,000 worth of ShooTag product’ has a cost value of something like $100 to Energetic Solutions (in other words, the retail cost of 3 ShooTags). Wow, I bet they feel really good inside about that big sacrifice.3

From the CNBC report:

“When we saw Family Legacy’s dedication to the children of Zambia, we knew there was an opportunity for shoo!TAG to deliver a unique level of support,” said Carter McCrary, CEO of Energetic Solutions Corporation.

In the light of what we can assume about the true value of the tags, I think we can confidently re-interpret Mr McCrary’s statement to actually mean: “…we saw this as a unique opportunity to once again hoodwink people by deceiving them. By throwing around some big numbers we’ve made ourselves appear like really swell caring-and-sharing folks.”

He goes on:

“Our hope is that shoo!TAG will assist in providing relief from mosquitos and contribute to the prevention of disease among Camp LIFE participants this summer.”

No, Mr McCrary. Your hope is that publicity stunts like this one will help make you rich. Energetic Solutions doesn’t give a flying fuck about the children of Zambia, in the same way that you don’t give a flying fuck about people’s pets.

If you did – if you were really, sincerely concerned – you’d take the time to do some proper science on your product, instead of making unsubstantiated claims supported by nothing but lies and duplicitous sleight-of-hand. Because you seem completely determined not to make proper scientific investigations of your tags, any rational person must conclude that you are afraid of what such investigations would reveal.4 This, in turn, demonstrates your utter indifference to the wellbeing of African children.

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A big thanks to King Willy for the suggestion for this post’s image. Photography by Queen Willy.

  1. World Malaria Day, coincidentally. []
  2. Personally, I don’t give a rat’s ass about the staff and the volunteers at Camp LIFE themselves. Christian proselytizing also ranks high on my list of crimes against humanity. I figure that if God really wants people to be ruining the cultures and communities of poor third world countries, then the least He can do is protect his flag-wavers against mosquitoes. []
  3. It’s actually worse than that in fact – the tags being sent to Zambia are part ShooTag’s ‘shoocycle’ program, which entails ‘spent’ cards being ‘refurbished’ and sent off to charity. Thus, these cards probably cost them nothing at all, since they’ve already been paid for by some poor gullible sod. []
  4. Or, I guess, that you haven’t a clue what a proper scientific investigation is. []