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How an Austrian convinced Americans to eat bacon

The+breakfast+we+consider+the+tradition+of+America+isn%E2%80%99t+as+traditional+as+it+seems.+We+ought+to+examine+our+long-held+traditions+to+see+why+they+exist%2C+such+as+the+emphasis+on+selling+leftover+bacon+as+an+American+staple.+++
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How an Austrian convinced Americans to eat bacon

The breakfast we consider the tradition of America isn’t as traditional as it seems. We ought to examine our long-held traditions to see why they exist, such as the emphasis on selling leftover bacon as an American staple.

The breakfast we consider the tradition of America isn’t as traditional as it seems. We ought to examine our long-held traditions to see why they exist, such as the emphasis on selling leftover bacon as an American staple.

The breakfast we consider the tradition of America isn’t as traditional as it seems. We ought to examine our long-held traditions to see why they exist, such as the emphasis on selling leftover bacon as an American staple.

The breakfast we consider the tradition of America isn’t as traditional as it seems. We ought to examine our long-held traditions to see why they exist, such as the emphasis on selling leftover bacon as an American staple.


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It’s an unremarkable autumn morning, you’ve got a long day ahead of you and sleep in your eyes. Nothing sounds better than some bacon and eggs with a cup of joe to start the day off right. Bacon and eggs, a farmer’s breakfast, an American tradition, and like all great American traditions it was started by a marketing campaign in the early 1900s.

Let me introduce you to the most prolific man you’ve never heard of, Edward Bernays. This guy makes AMC’s “Mad Men” look like Sesame Street. This man pioneered public relations. Let’s go over a few of his most influential undertakings. He worked with the U.S. government and Chiquita Bananas to overthrow the Guatemalan government by convincing the population that the Guatemalan president Jacobo Arbenz was a closet communist. He used the Women’s Rights Movement to market smoking cigarettes as an empowering action all women should partake in. He was a major factor in convincing the government to fluoridate water for public health (and provide a huge contract for Fluoride producers). I could go on for hours about this man’s life, but we’re here for bacon.

It’s the 1920s and America is enjoying its party before the Great Depression smacks it in the face with a two-by-four. Not all is peachy though: the Beech-Nut Packing Company has too much bacon lying around and no one to sell it to. They give our man Eddy a call, asking him to step in and convince America to buy their pork belly. Keep in mind that at this point American breakfasts were usually fairly light and contained little meat, usually consisting of cereals and grains. Well, Mr. Bernays comes in and decides the best course of action is to call bacon and eggs the true all-American breakfast. He effectively used nationalism to spin bacon of all things into a symbol of patriotism. Then it was as simple as getting this new sensationalized view of breakfast out to the masses and sitting back to watch the bacon fly off the shelves. The rest is history.

Bernays was more than a smart talker and manipulator. He was a textbook genius when it came to psychology. Did I mention his uncle was Sigmund Freud? His conquering of breakfast is a fun story, but it was a small job compared to all the accolades Edward gained throughout his life. Was he a good guy though? I’ll let you formulate that idea for yourself. Would you say helping the U.S. take over another country for the economic benefit was ethical? Or the routine manipulation of the masses to follow one intended path? Bernays is dead, but his marketing concepts are still alive and well. If I had one thing to say in parting, it would be that you should try to think for yourself since there are thousands of modern Bernays out there all wanting a piece of your attention.

Now, the coffee is brewed, and the only question left is do you prefer your bacon crispy or chewy?

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How an Austrian convinced Americans to eat bacon