Product placement in entertainment media is nothing new. Here's how the classic fairytale of Cinderella can be improved by the addition of a Chevrolet.
Collecting novels of the fantastic as I do, I eventually and inevitably came across those of Dion Fortune
, and bought a few. To this day, they remain untracked by my eyes. Nonetheless, I was sensitized to her name, and could spot her non-fiction selection Psychic Self-Defence
readily on the shelf of a used-book store and snatch it up. A bargain at $5.00, I'm sure!
I haven't read it yet, but I'm much looking forward to learning how to protect myself against various types of intrusive mind assaults. Sample a few pages yourselves below.
And thanks to Google Books, you can read the whole thing online here
Here's another strange book I purchased but have not yet read. The real author is Joseph K. Heydon, using the pen-name of Hal Trevarthen. Time has swallowed up all details related to Heydon and his book, leaving us only with the text itself.
Here's the description from the amazingly ugly dustjacket.
Here's the title page, followed by a sample of the actual bafflegab inside.
Posted By: Paul - Thu Sep 11, 2008
, Science Fiction
, New Age
, Pop Culture
, Self-help Schemes
, Foreign Customs
, Yesterday's Tomorrows
Every election year, politicians seek to invoke a mythical Golden Age, when life was simpler and more wholesome. Take the Edwardian Era in America, for instance, when the moral fiber of the country was still unpolluted--
--and when a drag queen like Julian Eltinge
was a top attraction in high society and popular culture alike.
Face it: life was never any different.
They admit it's "decidedly unusual," but I think it would sure beat stuffing envelopes. "Simply drop into hot grease and they're ready to eat -- big, tasty, crispy, delicious!" Question: What makes them magic?
From the July, 1934 issue of Modern Mechanix
. (via J-Walk
If you haven't yet seen Super Size Me
, it's worth renting. In it, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock makes himself the subject of an experiment to find out what will happen to his body if he only eats McDonald's fast food for 30 days. Predictably, his health deteriorates, his cholesterol skyrockets, he grows lethargic, and his waistline expands dramatically.
However, the idea of conducting a fast-food diet experiment wasn't original to Spurlock. That honor goes to Jesse McClendon, a researcher at the University of Minnesota, who in 1930 fed a volunteer a diet of only White Castle hamburgers for 13 weeks. From the U of M Medical Bulletin
McClendon knew that earlier studies had shown that adult dogs fed for a month on only lean meat appeared to fare well, and that humans on temporary all-meat diets lost calcium and phosphorus but didn't develop deficiency diseases. He planned to feed a single experimental subject only White Castle hamburgers—including the bun, onions, and pickles—and water for 13 weeks.
A willing subject presented himself: Bernard Flesche, a U of M medical student working his way through school. Flesche kept a diary during the ordeal. "He started out very enthusiastic about eating 10 burgers at a sitting," notes his daughter, Deirdre Flesche, "but a couple of weeks into it, he was losing his enthusiasm." His sister frequently tried to tempt him with fresh vegetables, but Flesche allowed nothing but White Castle Slyders™ to pass his lips.
Flesche survived his ordeal without developing any significant health problems. The owner of White Castle interpreted this to mean that a hamburger diet is healthy and heavily promoted the experiment in advertisements. Flesche, however, who had once been a hamburger lover, developed a permanent aversion to them. He never willingly ate a hamburger again.
If you repeatedly flip a coin, the law of probability states that approximately half the time you should get heads and half the time tails. But does this law hold true in practice?
Pope R. Hill, a professor at the University of Georgia during the 1930s, wanted to find out. But he thought coin-flipping was too imprecise a measurement, since any one coin might be imbalanced, causing it to favor heads or tails.
Instead, he filled a can with 200 pennies. Half were dated 1919, half dated 1920. He shook up the can, withdrew a coin, and recorded its date. Then he returned the coin to the can. He repeated this procedure 100,000 times!
Of the 100,000 draws, 50,145 came out 1920. 49,855 came out 1919. Hill concluded that the law of half and half does work out in practice.
If you have absolutely nothing better to do, you can head over to Random.org, which hosts a virtual coin toss
, and try to outdo Hill by clicking the "flip coin" button 100,001 times. Make sure to record your results. Although I doubt a virtual coin toss would be considered truly random, even though random.org claims their randomness "comes from atmospheric noise, which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs."
[From Good Housekeeping
for October 1939.]
Here's a great example of Madison Avenue trying to a) make a problem that doesn't exist or is minimal into an overwhelming burden that only their
product can alleviate and b) bring the vaunted "miraculous" power of scientists and scientific imagery into the marketing mix.
Did women in 1939--or ever--really ask their friends for a hygienic crotch alert?