Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Pseudoscience Rampant at the Puyallup Fair

As the three week insanity that is the Puyallup Fair winds down to a close, I am again amazed at the the level of crap that it pedaled at such an event.

Yes, the fair is a great place to shop for "As Seen on TV" gadgets, saunas, specialized rain gutters, as well as useful items (mmmm....garlic!!!), but apparently they let anyone willing to pay the fee sell whatever nonsense they choose. Walking through the main plaza, I was repeatedly assaulted by chiropractors (some legit, some still convinced that AIDS isn't caused by HIV, but a bad back alignment), saw iridologists (for those unaware, these people believe that can find illness and deep mysteries of the body and "soul" by examining the coloration of the iris), quick-fix aromatherapy and homeopathy, and the dreaded Republicans. All right, so republicans aren't as involved in quackery as the rest (well, most anyway), but their straw poll with Sen. Brownback easily in the lead was scary.

There was even a sales pitch for hypnotherapy. My friends, wife, and I took in a well-done hypnosis show, with the guests on the stage acting crazy as shit. It was a very nice stage show, with good laughs and good jokes. The problem came at the end, when the blow-off featured the hypnotist pedaling his "weight-loss" and "better sleep" and "Financial success" through hypnosis DVDs and CDs. What a disappointing end to a nice act. Yes, there are marks in the audience that will fall for this, and I guess I shouldn't blame the guy for trying to make a buck, but it is a bit shameful.

So the fair ends on Sunday. If you live in the area, check it out and support the local farmers and producers. It is generally a good time (there are even some half-way decent acts at night, like Weird Al and Howie Mandel), just beware of the quacks looking to take your money. Give it the good people of Garlic Gourmay. (free plug, it's really good!)

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