Over the past week, following an article in the New York Times, the internet has been all over this new raw water fad. I myself steadfastly avoided knowing what it was even about for as long as I could possibly manage, because I’m very much trying my best to not lose all my faith in humanity.
For those of you who have also been avoiding the fad, let me break it down. A bunch of idiots in Silicon Valley and elsewhere are drinking “raw water” — which is unprocessed water straight from a spring, which they believe is healthier than water that comes out of your tap. ‘
It is not! In fact, it’s very bad for you. Also, it costs $36.99 for a 2.5 gallon jug, which is a stupid amount of money for any kind of liquid that isn’t going to at least get you drunk.
While those who are super into it, like Juicero bro Doug Evans, claim that “raw water” has special and natural properties, along with important probiotics that your body needs, what they forget to tell you is that it’s all total bullshit. Sure, you may get some “probiotics,” but you could also get diarrhea, hepatitis, giardia, meningitis, or cholera.
You could also be drinking the poop of some animal that decided to defecate in that beautiful, natural spring. (So… literal bullshit.)
While there’s no scientific evidence that probiotics are actually going to do anything for you, health-wise, there are safer ways to get them into your diet than drinking super-expensive poop juice. (That Jamie Lee Curtis yogurt probably won’t give you hepatitis. Try that, maybe!)
Think this is something new? It’s not. In fact, the whole thing is right out of Stanley Kubrick‘s 1964 black comedy Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. In the movie — which I firmly believe ought to be required viewing at every school in America — General Jack D. Ripper, played by Sterling Hayden, explains to Captain Lionel Mandrake that he drinks nothing but rainwater and grain alcohol. Why? Because he believes the Commies are putting fluoride and other chemicals in the water for the purpose of polluting our “precious bodily fluids.”
Have you ever seen a commie drink a glass of water?
I don’t know about you, but I happen to think a good rule of thumb is that if something was said by General Ripper in Dr. Strangelove, it’s probably a very stupid and bad idea — like detonating an atomic bomb on your own, or talking about how you deny women your “essence” in order to preserve your power. This should be the lowest possible bar we set for anyone and their pseudoscience. Unfortunately, too few people heed this advice, which is why we have so many geniuses going around insisting that fluoridation is a plot to control our minds. (To be fair, I suppose this is a lot more interesting than “cavity prevention.”)
Of course, the main reason things like this are appealing — the reason people will spend upwards of $40 on some water that will probably give them diarrhea and turn green in a few weeks — is because those people believe that “natural” is always safe and that the old ways of doing things were somehow better and purer. I doubt, though, they’d ask their barbers to cover them in leeches and amputate dead limbs or go around chewing on oleander. Sometimes things that are “natural” are bad for you. Sometimes things were done a certain way in the “old days” not because it was “better” but because it was the only option.
All those people who died of cholera years ago? I’m guessing they would have loved to have access to safe water.
I get it. *The future is scary.* That’s why conservatives always want to go back to the past, and why some on the left are always trying to get back to nature or whatever. But it’s a fallacy, and a dangerous one at that.
If something seems ridiculous, odds are it probably is. If something is inches from being a direct quote from a Peter Sellers movie, you should probably reconsider repeating it in a serious manner.
(Image via Shutterstock)