Back in the 18th century, a theatrical line that was delivered to shamelessly elicit or “trap” applause from the audience was referred to as “claptrap.” The line usually didn’t have much meaning and claptrap became synonymous with nonsense. Unfortunately, because of necessity, it has become a very popular word in my vocabulary. Rapper Nicki Minaj tweets about a cousin’s friend’s testicles swelling after a COVID vaccine. What can I say? Claptrap! Former osteopath turned Internet mogul Joe Mercola blogs about springs in mattresses acting as receivers for dangerous electromagnetic radiation. Claptrap! MIT computer scientist Stephanie Seneff links the weed killer glyphosate to autism. Claptrap!
So what’s the point? That total nonsense can be made to sound totally believable. I know, because I get questions all the time asking if I think this or that bit of poppycock is true. For example, I was forwarded an email that’s going around claiming that wi-fi is dangerous because “man-made wireless signals in the microwave range are unnatural and therefore incompatible with life.” How about golf gloves equipped with a wristband to “produce negative ions to help your body’s performance and recovery.” Bunk! Ditto for those “energy bracelets” that contain a hologram “embedded with frequencies that react positively with your body’s energy field to improve your balance, strength and flexibility.” You need a flexible mind to swallow that claptrap.
Energy bracelets are sort of benign nonsense. But matters become more serious when claims are made about some liquid preparation that cures cancer by "lowering the voltage of the cell structure by about 20%," causing cancer cells to "digest" and be replaced with normal cells. Might such poppycock not distract some desperate patients from proper treatment? How about the Quantum Xrroid Consciousness Interface Machine, “the most advanced medical assessment and therapy device in the world today?” What does it do? Well, it “loops all 200 trillion human cells within a 55 channel biofeedback system to gather bioenergetic data at nano-second speeds, creating optical wellness.” Are not some people bamboozled by such hogwash? Judging by the number of QXCI machines sold, they sure are.
And should you want to be in tune with some more nonsense, you can tap a “quartz crystal singing bowl” with a mallet which will then “transmit energy into the atmosphere, filling your aura with vibrational radiance which translates into seven main colours of the rainbow.” You should also know that “through pure tone one can repattern the energy field organization that ultimately affects the cellular expression of disease and wellness.”
And if that doesn’t work, there are always “garments powered with infra-red technology to enhance and improve athletic performance, recovery and general well being.” If you want infra-red technology, just wear clothes. Any clothes. Infrared rays are nothing more than radiated heat. But maybe you should make sure these infrared garments, some of which also emit health-enhancing “minus ions,” are not coloured with synthetic dyes. How about that for a rich dose of claptrap?