This Week’s Cartoon: One Weird Trick



The “one weird trick discovered by a mom” meme has persisted for a while now in the illustrious world of web ads. And it’s not just moms — all sorts of ordinary folks are coming up with strange tips and tricks for our collective benefit. Just a few weeks ago, I spotted a rather paranoid ad that read: “47yo patriot discovers ‘weird’ trick to slash power bill & end Obama’s power monopoly.” (I’ve heard Obama accused of many things, but being an electricity cartel kingpin is a new one.)

I wonder how this trend came to be. Was there some marketing study on the clickability of different phrases, and “weird trick” came out on top? Especially if the weird trick came from moms, dads, patriots, and other salt-of-the-earth folks? The implicit rejection of professional expertise here frankly says a lot about our culture. Don’t need no fancypants scientist telling us how to lose our flab!

In 2011, the Washington Post reported on a Federal Trade Commission investigation of the “tiny belly” ads; they’re the front end of a highly profitable scheme involving a large number of dubious dietary supplement companies. The fact that anyone is seduced into giving their credit card numbers to these people boggles the mind.



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  • Anne S

    Best quote from the WaPo article: “The company hedged even further in the fine print of one of its newslike Web sites, which is cited in the FTC complaint, saying, ‘This website, and any page on the website, is based loosely off a true story, but has been modified in multiple ways including, but not limited to: the story, the photos, and the comments. Thus, this page, and any page on this website, are not be taken literally or as a non-fiction story.’”

  • Roger Bloyce

    The trend came to be as part of a general breakdown of all federal regulations, including those controlling finance, health, and commerce, that began shortly after President Reagan proudly asserted in his first inaugural address of January, 1981: “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” The obvious fact that the statement was treasonous has escaped the major media for 31 years and counting.

Jen Sorensen is a nationally-published political cartoonist. She is a 2017 Pulitzer Finalist and recipient of the 2014 Herblock Prize and a 2013 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award.

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