Megadoses of Geritol


People of a certain age will remember those Geritol commercials on television. An iron supplement, touted as a cure for “iron deficiency anemia,” Geritol, it was implied, was an infallible remedy for, um, lack of energy, if you take my drift. If you don’t take my drift, look carefully at the illustration, and I think you will get the point.

My Uncle Herbert evidently suffered from lack of, shall we say, vitality. Not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, Uncle Herbert reasoned that if taking the recommended dose of Geritol would do you a little good, then taking three or four times the recommended dose would be sure to do you a lot of good. The consequences were unfortunate.

I wish to draw an analogy between Uncle Herbert’s flawed reasoning, and that of Trump and his Trumplet politician imitators. In 2016 they discovered—indeed, all of us discovered—that slinging rampant bullshit was enough, in certain circumstances, to gain a majority of the Electoral College.

Having drawn the lesson that a high level of bullshit could lead to electoral success, like Uncle Herbert, they concluded that slinging unlimited quantities of bullshit would forever be the cure for all their problems.

This morning’s recommended reads address the failure of that reasoning as to immigration and foreign policy, respectively.

The Chinese have a nice idiom for mindless repetition of a tactic that once accidentally proved successful: 守株待兔, “guard tree await rabbits.”

Please enjoy this explanatory movie: