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I have been the chief cat herder for the theme writing project for the past few years. By way of exhorting and occasionally extorting participation, I have been known to threaten to fill white space with posts featuring bears, disco, or even disco bears. From time to time, I must make good on these threats, just to maintain a bit of credibility. Well folks, you’ve gone and done it. You’ve driven me to the bears. It being October, I am reposting a 2018 story with a haunting question. Quick! Go sign up to fill the rest of this month’s roster for “October Surprise.”
Advertising for products dealing with our bodily functions predates radio and television, as Kellogg’s built an eventual corporate empire on “healthy” food centered on bowel regularity. Indeed, Kellogg’s followed the success of Cascaret’s sweet-flavored lozenge, advertised as a palatable alternative to castor oil.
But around 1900, Americans didn’t just associate constipation with abdominal discomfort or gas or indigestion. Constipation for our great-grandparents was the root evil of just about every ailment and malaise you could think of. And for whatever was wrong with you, a laxative (or purgative or cathartic–the terms were used pretty interchangeably) would do the trick.