A Benign Brainwashing

Dr. Elio Gagliano, MD

Like it or not, Christmas is celebrated in most countries around the world. Where for the profoundly religious people it means the birthdate of Jesus, for the business world it is synonymous with the biggest economic opportunity, particularly for the Americas and Europe. For the common people it means just holiday time, nativity scenes, Christmas trees, Santa Claus, luminous displays, feasting, buying/exchanging presents, decorations and, here is the point I want to make, poinsettias.

Poinsettia is a shrub spontaneously growing in Central America and Mexico, whence it was introduced into cultivation by an amateur botanist Joel Poinsett. Can anyone imagine Christmas without it? There is no orchid, rose, or any flower that can replace or compete with it at Christmas time.

I doubt that Dr. Poinsett foresaw the economic potentiality of this plant. He just loved it and planted it in his greenhouse in South Carolina. The cultivation was successful and he began sending the plants to friends and botanical gardens. Had he possessed the mind of an enterpriser he certainly wouldn't have sent his discovery to planter growers.

After only a few years the poinsettias were spread across the USA, then to Europe. It has become a must for the Christmas/New Year season. Was that a spontaneous widespread diffusion? Of course not. There were marketing expert minds who elaborated a worldwide commercialization campaign to make it a symbol inextricably connected with the image of Christmas. This is brain washing and if you have any doubt about it, keep on reading.

Looking at it, can anyone, imagine anything different than death?

Is there anybody who, looking at a poinsettia, does not think of Christmas?

I would not be surprised if Big Pharma started to box up a "Pharmacologic Nicotine Gift Package" decorated with a poinsettia. It would be neat if the Tobacco companies anticipated it, preparing, for next year, "Special Christmas Packages".

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