In all honesty, bacon has been the only thing keeping me sane these days.
So when news of the aporkalypse, a possible 2017 bacon shortage, broke out yesterday, I felt like I had a panic attack.
I dropped what I was doing, ran straight to my car and headed to the supermarket to pick up three packs of center-cut goodness in case it would be my last rendezvous with the one meat product that truly gets me.
As I waited in the checkout line, headlines flooded my twitter feed: “Bacon supply is lowest since 1957,” “Bacon prices soar due to pig shortage,” “The Looming Disaster of A US Bacon Shortage.”
My mind was boggled by the idea of my future children not being able to indulge in the delicious yolk-exploding masterpiece that is the bacon egg and cheese.
A breakfast buddy would simply be the pal you drown your soggy cereal sorrows next to at the kitchen table. What a sad image.
Thankfully, like most news these days, this was fake news. Regardless, the fact that the United States Department of Agriculture was willing to play with the hearts and minds of young bacon enthusiasts across the country really upsets me.
According to an interview in the New York Times, Rich Deaton of the Ohio Pork Council admitted his website, baconshortage.com, was simply a marketing opportunity.
I’m glad it was just a strategy to sling more bacon, but that’s also a pretty slimy way to sell more product.
The site, now taken down, was supposed to get the attention of bacon lovers. Once clicked, the information there should have quelled the fears of shortages.
“We can’t control how news is interpreted,” Mr. Deaton added. This is the very bottom-feeder logic that propels fake news — if you provide false information, even in the form of a misleading URL, it is in fact your fault no matter who’s interpreting it.
People post articles on their Facebook timelines that they’ve only read the headlines of.
Therefore, people who see “baconshortage.com” aren’t going to click on the actual webpage.
That would obviously take too much time and effort.
Instead, they’ll have a colossal meltdown in front of their entire astronomy lecture because no one cares about Cassiopeia when the pork industry is facing a 50-year low — unless you’re a vegetarian, and you should have stopped reading this column like 300 words ago.
Steve Meyer, the vice president of pork analytics for EMI Analytics — if only all job titles could sound this cool — told the New York Times, “There’s plenty of hogs coming.” Plenty — it’s music to my ears.
Although this panic was quickly debunked, I still don’t appreciate the convoluted marketing strategies employed by the Ohio Pork Council.
When Superbowl weekend is right around the corner, it’s insensitive to say the least.
Ron Swanson would not be pleased.
If only the shortage of sane political leaders were a hoax as well, I’d sleep better at night knowing that our president remembers who Frederick Douglass was.
This article was originally published as a column for the Indiana Daily Student on 02 February 2017.