Condiments and Toppings

Dear Dr. Babooner,

Just yesterday I was summoned before a Congressional tribunal and humiliated when a powerful government employee called me a liar in front of a TV audience! And the only thing I did to deserve it was to sell weight loss products to people who didn’t have money to spare or the sense to resist.

I admit I peddled products that “didn’t have the scientific muster to present as fact”, but no one seemed to be impressed with my concession on this point. Scientific muster is overrated anyway. Just pass the Dijon!

Seriously, so much of success is about the condiments and toppings anyway! Something perfectly ordinary can become a sensation if you smother it in special sauce and put a cherry on top. Don’t believe me? Lady Gaga!

Anyway, the real product is potential … the remote possibility that something good could happen – that a little green bean might do what years of dieting and exercise have failed to accomplish.

The scientific term I use to describe this effect is “a miracle”, but I was taken to task for that, too.

This, in spite of the fact that so many others have become rich by marketing angel dust and fairy powder. What’s so wrong with selling hope?  What am I supposed to do, GIVE it to them?

Dr. Babooner, we’re constantly hearing that we should fight for our ideas, no matter how outlandish. “Never give up!” “Believe!” “Follow your dreams!” Well, my dream was to become a tycoon by using smooth talk to flood the space between science and wishes.

Now, apparently, the big fat government is going to squash my beautiful tomorrow. Some say my credibility is ruined, but I think I can get it back with one milligram of strained kidney bean extract and a spoonful of nut butter twice a day!

So many Americans are suffering from the same malady – from bankers to bank robbers they’ve been publicly scolded and they feel permanently shamed. And I admit that after being bullied by the U.S. Congress, even I’m feeling a bit gun shy. Should I share this miracle reputation cure with them, or keep it under my hat?

Chastened But Still Charming

I told CBSC he might as well double down and continue with his unsupported claims. Expanding your bogus product line is the right thing to do now, because being called a liar in front of Congress is not as damaging as one might think. Given the setting, some will simply not believe the allegations against you. Others will assume you are simply a minor league exaggerator being disciplined by fabrication experts for their own amusement. In either case, let the buyer beware!

But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?

31 thoughts on “Condiments and Toppings”

  1. Good morning. CBSC, I am not in favor of your approach which is basically using lies to sell your products. Dale is right. You don’t need to worry very much about what Congress has to say about you. Most of them are politicians who are not very careful about being truthful and the public is not generally very impressed by what they say. You should stop lying to people even if you can get away with doing it. However, I don’t know why you are asking us for advice because I am sure you have no plans to stop lying.

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    1. I also have a big problem with snake oil salesman. There are a lot of people who sell fertilizer programs to farmers that are not based on good research. I had very little success getting this problem addressed. It seems some very good farmers will believe what they are told by people who have somehow won their trust and will not listen any efforts to tell them they are being sold products they don’t need.

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  2. Actually I think being called a liar by Congress is the ultimate pot/kettle/black scenario. But I guess that wasn’t the question.

    I have said to Child/Teenager repeatedly through her growing up that “all ads are lies” and some of the weight loss stuff that you see in print and on the tube are beyond insulting. Do you really need to have advanced degrees in biology to know that if you don’t change your lifestyle and eat whatever you want whenever you want, you won’t be losing weight any time soon? Part of me thinks that people who don’t understand this deserve what they get, but that just feels mean.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rather than brand all ads as lies, I would rather say that all ads are opinions and you shouldn’t expect them to be strictly factual. As with opinions, you have to consider the source.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Frankly, I am surprised that you have retained your tenure at the ivy league institution that employs you. Puts them into question as well that they would allow a purveyor of miracle cures that “didn’t have the scientific muster to present as fact.” Shame on you. Shame on them. You may be a fine surgeon, but I wouldn’t go near you or your office – I wouldn’t trust anyone trying to sell me a potion that will magically melt away years of ice cream consumption with a side of genetic predisposition for a “solid build.”

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    1. That doesn’t surprise me at all, Anna. I think they know Dr. Oz to be a skilled surgeon who cares deeply about his patients. He not the first medical doctor who has been targeted because he has achieved a high profile and dares to question conventional medicine. That he’s also embraces alternative therapies makes him vulnerable to attacks by the “establishment.”

      For years and years the AMA has done everything they could to denigrate chiropractors, acupuncture, and other “alternative” medical modalities, and have only grudgingly accepted some of these practices due to pressure from their patients.

      I can guarantee you that if I needed a heart surgeon I can’t think of one I’d trust more than Dr. Oz. On the other hand, I wouldn’t let Dr. Najarian from the U of M get near me with a ten foot pole. And I bet I’m not the only one.

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      1. True enough – I don’t disagree at all that “alternative” or traditional medicines are too easily dismissed and conventional medicine given too much weight. But i would question a doc who knows he has a high profile not taking the time to more carefully vet what he promotes or talks about to ensure it really does do what it says it does (and that is more than “provide hope/inspiration”). A healthy skepticism about an easy cure seems in order – I doubt he would feel so cavalier about promoting something a treatment that didn’t have the patina of being “natural” or “homeopathic” if it weren’t effective. This is not to dismiss homeopathic options, but I think we too easily assume that they won’t be harmful, giving them a pass as “natural” so if they ultimately aren’t effective, people too often assume that at least won’t be bad for you, which is not the case. I think Dr Oz has probably done a lot of good, but with great power comes great responsibility (to paraphrase “Spider-Man” and Voltaire).

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        1. I see a much greater danger in trusting that the very powerful lobbies for the big drug companies and medical establishment have our best interests at heart.

          I agree that a healthy dose of skepticism is in order toward a lot of claims, and not just about supplements and “natural” cures. A little common sense wouldn’t hurt either.

          Somehow this hearing, and that Dr. Oz was called on the carpet as a witness, seems suspect to me. I’d love for someone to investigate what prompted it. I smell a rat.

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      2. Generally docs don’t like to hear patients talk about “alternative” medicine because, to them, “alternative” means “instead of”. Better to talk about “complementary” therapies, which implies “in addition to”.

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  4. Oh my. I somehow missed hearing about this hearing….

    Somebody, it seems, got greedy. Not content with having an entire shelf in the library filled with his books and a career at Columbia?

    I have a sort of grudging respect for failed vaudvillians of the past (come on, tell me you weren’t rooting for “Professor” Harold Hill and his society-saving boy’s band) – but when a private or corporate entity goes over the line to squeeze just that much more out of a public that already is do tapped out all they can manage is a quick fix…. time to watch the whole empire fall.

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  5. Let’s hear it for Senator McCaskill.
    “I don’t get why you need to say this stuff when you know it’s not true. … Why would you cheapen your show?” she asked Oz. “I know you feel that you’re a victim, but sometimes conduct invites being a victim. I think that if you would be more careful, maybe you wouldn’t be victimized quite as frequently.”

    Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/government-politics/article571577/Sen.-Claire-McCaskill-of-Missouri-scolds-TV’s-Dr.-Oz-about-diet-fads.html#storylink=cpy

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  6. What about the $, diet, life experts on public TV? Didn’t Suzie Orman lead folks right into the heart of the financial collapse? She is back telling us how she has it right now, according to her ads. (I should say promo for TPT, but these are ads.).
    A diet expert on TPT Life is touted with much eclat as a “board-certified physician.” Well, then I am a :”state-licensed pedagogue.”

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    1. At least Suze isn’t soliciting money for anything – she aggressively tells others how to manage their budgets and does so with an aggressive energy I rarely see. I actually enjoy watching her “tell it like it is” style.

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  7. Call me the contrarian. I view Dr. Oz in the same way I view Oprah Winfrey, his mentor. He’s a charming and well-meaning man and puts on a good show. I admit to having watched only a few episodes over the years, but he seems to genuinely care about people. I have often wished I had a doctor with his cheerleading attitude.

    Just as Oprah’s book club became a guarantee for an instant best seller – even though some of her selections were pretty awful – Dr. Oz’s diet pill recommendations probably did spur some people to spend money on worthless supplements. My suspicion is that the senate hearing on this issue is more driven by pressure from big pharma than concern for the consumer wasting money.

    I trust Dr. Oz when he says he didn’t profit from these recommendations, i.e. has no financial investment in the supplements he has touted. If taking green coffee supplements is not doing you any harm – except to your pocket book – and it gives you hope and incentive to make even small changes in your life style, I don’t think there’s any harm done. I’m not nearly as confident that when doctors pull out their prescription pads to order yet expensive drug for their patients that the damage is nearly that benign.

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    1. I’m not sure these weight loss schemes are really harmless. When people try the latest diet fad and it fails, they often end up gaining more weight. Sometimes the effect of the failed attempt is a slowed metabolism. Paradoxically, the people who are trying the hardest to lose the weight are the ones who are gaining the most.

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  8. A report came out yesterday that a new miracle drug to cure Hepatitis C will cost $1000 a pill. This pill must be taken once a day for three months. I’m aghast (so are insurance companies). The creators of this pill are justifying the cost on the basis that it’ll “save money down the road by preventing the need for liver transplants”.

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    1. Outrageous! And, I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that if the insurance companies can find any reason to justify not covering it, they will.

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      1. Yes – after a whole week, they discharged him on Sunday. He called and his voice is strange, but he was relieved to be home – especially because today he’s supposed to be hooked up to the internet! Look forward to him resuming participation on the Trail 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  9. dr oz is a criminal? what about the guy saying capitol 1 is a good credit card company, comcast is a good neighbor, century link is an alternative worth considering. i think anyone who speaks these words should be jailed. reverse mortgage, old folks life insurance, an quick refinance. criminal, tax shelters for a chosen few, banned to solitary existance where you can do no damage. sell your lies and intentional deceptions to the tree you are standing next to in the willderness.

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  10. Evening / Morning.

    In the last two days I’ve spent more time than I care to admit with a guy selling road repair products.
    Some of his products are good and he doesn’t need to ‘sell’ them so hard.
    However the winter was hard on roads and we had questions for him on why his product didn’t stand up to the winter.
    (and the answer is basically, ‘It was a tough winter on all the roads’.)

    He also sells this other product that we have tried but haven’t been sold on yet. But he sure does ‘sell’. And it gets tiring.
    Neither my dog nor my wife like this guy and that’s saying something.

    Liked by 2 people

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