Isn’t it crazy to think about all of the myths floating around in society today? Propaganda machines pump them out, and Americans eat them up. Here are ten times the propaganda was so successful that the masses still believe the lies today. Do you?
1. Carrots Improve Your Eyesight
Have you heard the myth that carrots improve your vision, especially at night? The Smithsonian reports that it was a WWII propaganda campaign. During the war, the British developed the first practical radar system and successfully used it to detect Luftwaffe bombers.
To hide the technology from the Germans, the British government started a propaganda campaign spreading the falsehood that eating carrots helped their Royal Air Force (RAF) fighter pilots see better. Nonetheless, the secret radar was responsible for the improved interception capability. But the myth stuck.
2. KFC Christmas in Japan
Did you know it is customary to eat Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) for Christmas in Japan? Most of Japan celebrates Christmas as a secular holiday, with less than 1% of the population identifying as Christians.
The first KFC outlet in Nagoya, Japan, opened by Takeshi Okawara in 1970, is said to be how it all started. During his fourth year of operations, he launched a Kentucky for Christmas campaign encouraging families to grab “Party Barrels” of golden chicken to celebrate the holiday.
Some speculate he told people Americans eat chicken for Christmas to push the campaign, but it’s never been proven. Regardless, the ad campaign created the tradition still celebrated today.
Condé Nast Traveller shares: “In 2017, a KFC representative revealed that the concept was inspired by a customer who requested that his order of fried chicken be delivered by someone dressed as Santa Claus on Christmas.
A game of Chinese whispers has floated the possibility that a foreigner was overhead yearning for a turkey at one of the KFCs. The origin of this claim seems dubious, but there’s KFC on everyone’s plates now, so no one’s complaining.”
3. Christopher Columbus Proved the Earth Was Round
There are a couple of myths circulating about Christopher Columbus that are still believed today. First — that he successfully set out to prove the Earth was round.
That isn’t true. By 1492, any educated person knew the Earth was a sphere. History reports that the myth was invented in 1828 when Washington Irving published The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus.
“Irving couldn’t help from adding fictional flourishes to Columbus’ already fascinating life. Crucially, he claimed that when the explorer told Spanish geographers the Earth was not actually flat, they refused to believe him, even questioning his faith and endangering his life.”
4. Christopher Columbus Discovered the New World
The second misconception people still believe is that Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas (The New World). Millions of people already resided there. However, his journeys marked the beginning of centuries of exploration and colonization of the Americas.
5. The Food Pyramid
The Original USDA Food Pyramid was wrong, but numerous people are still influenced by that “education.” Can you imagine eating 11 servings of bread, rice, and pasta daily? It’s evolved a couple of times and is no longer a pyramid. Instead, it is — My Plate. I can’t help but wonder what it will become when they realize there are inaccuracies again.
6. Bulls Become Enraged by the Color Red
Did you know that bulls are colorblind and don’t see red? Yet, many people believe that the Muleta (red cloth) that the Matador (bullfighter) waves angers the bull because he is “seeing red.” It’s not true. The aggressive whipping of the Muleta aggravates the bull, and that is why they charge the Matador.
7. Reefer Madness
The 1936 American exploitation film Reefer Madness has influenced generations to believe that cannabis is a Schedule One drug. It shows a group of high school kids being lured into trying marijuana. They immediately become addicted, leading to them suffering hallucinations while they descend into insanity and an association with organized crime.
One of the students even takes their own life. The film resurfaced in the ’70s and has gained a cult following among the 420 community for its ludicrousness. Some people still refer to weed as “dope.”
8. The Lost Cause of the Confederacy (The Lost Cause)
The Lost Cause of the Confederacy (The Lost Cause) is an American pseudohistorical negationist myth claiming the Confederate States’ cause during the American Civil War was just, heroic, and not centered on slavery. It was
Wiki clarifies: “First enunciated in 1866, it has continued to influence racism, gender roles, and religious attitudes in the Southern United States to the present day.
Many facets of the Lost Cause’s false historiography — such as Robert E. Lee’s heroic status as the best general in the war — have also become accepted throughout much of the U.S. However, contemporary historians have made considerable progress in weakening the Lost Cause mythos.”
9. Eating Eggs Will Raise Your Cholesterol
Over the years, information about eggs has gone back and forth regarding health concerns. As a result, some people believe that eggs are bad for you because they raise cholesterol levels. That’s because the egg yolk, mainly, is high in cholesterol. Still, the cholesterol in eggs doesn’t elevate cholesterol levels like other foods, such as those high in trans and saturated fats.
10. The Customer Is Always Right
Did you know that American magnate Harry Selfridge is responsible for every food service and retail employee’s misery? To be fair, his actual quote was: “The customer is always right in matters of taste.”
Translation? If they want to buy an ugly shirt, let them —they’re still purchasing it. Nonetheless, like many sayings before and since, it’s been cut in half to placate the worst and rudest people.
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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and spirituality.