This blog started out with posts about my take on writing and storytelling (and how I came to write a novel), followed by my views about the ethics of assisted dying (which is what my novel is centred around). However, the ethics of death are not limited to the terminally ill. You can be young and full of life, free from illness and depression, yet you can still be brought close to death via the unethical actions of others, and all without even leaving your bedroom.
The following attained by vloggers who promote their ideas about diet and ‘wellness’ are a high profile example of the rise in the culture of fashionable ignorance that the internet has brought us, where being ‘cool’ and shouting loudly attracts more attention than being right. There is no shortage of photogenic girls offering their weird and wonderful notions about what constitutes the best diet to follow. A universal trait amongst these vloggers is that none of them has any recognised medical qualifications, and not one of them ever wants to talk to an accredited professional about food science.
This draws a parallel with the world of school and the cool girls found there. Although the world of food vloggers is not exclusively female, it is populated with far more girls than boys, and I use those gender terms in the pejorative sense, for this world is a long way from the maturity of adulthood. In this school, the accredited professional is the class teacher whose lesson is dull but factually correct, and no one wants to stay behind after the bell rings, for fear of being ridiculed by the cool girls who look down on bookwork and all those who value it. The cool girls can be found well away from the classroom, dispensing their opinions on what they think is right to eat, and expecting all the uncool girls to listen. No girl wants to be excluded from the coolest clique in school, so they listen attentively to the food vloggers in the hope of becoming perfect and beautiful and popular, and thus happy, because that is the only way to achieve happiness, as all the coolest girls know.
Thus the vain and ignorant spread their lack of knowledge and their love of vapidity to a wider audience, who all want to look like the unattainable models in magazines. Of these aspirants, the most savvy come to realise the amount of money circulating in the world of ‘wellness’ and decide to slice some off for themselves. So they too become vloggers and further perpetuate the cult of crazy consumption, where living on just bananas and maple syrup is considered the best way to be beautiful. All the sound advice on nutrition voiced by accredited professionals is ignored because although it contains all we need to eat healthily, it lacks the impact of a vlogger diet, where hype triumphs over science. We all lose in this world where the ignorant tell untruths to the gullible in order to make money, without any of the legal safeguards that restrict the advertising industry. It is the new wild west of wonderful recipes that will only make those who follow them feel worse while those who promote them make money. So, what can be done about it?
Education will not do the job, since many of these girls are either in school or college, yet are unwilling to listen to the advice on offer there about health and nutrition. As long as following attractively-packaged ignorance is seen as ‘cool’, how can the rapacious be prevented from making money from the gullible? I wish I had a straightforward answer to this, but if such a thing existed, it could have been used long ago on astrologers, psychic mediums, and faith healers. It looks like the food vloggers have joined that circle of charlatans, and of course, they will be the coolest girls in the club.