The Silliest Of Bands

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I’ve been seeing these commercials on late night TV for a while now touting rubber bracelets that “balance your core” and are “tuned to your body’s frequency” and “take your $30″ and “affirm that you shouldn’t be allowed to make your own purchasing decisions” and “call into question your ability to care for yourself without supervision.” I get so angry when I see these types of products that claim to be based on science then proceed to use nonsense, unrelated buzz words in rough juxtaposition to confound the consumer into believing all the answers to their problems lie in $0.40 worth of silicone.

I wasn’t really thinking about PowerBalance Bands as a possible comic topic until I saw a few tweets from Mythbuster Adam Savage on the subject. I guess his followers were asking why they didn’t debunk the bands on Mythbusters, to which he replied, “I can’t debunk the science of the stupid bracelets, because there IS NO SCIENCE TO THE STUPID BRACELETS.” It’s nice to see that such blatant snake oilery produces the same ire in Adam as it does in me.

He’s right. There IS NOTHING TO TEST. If you are at all curious as to how they pull off the balance tests on the commercials to seemingly awestruck passers by, it’s a simple bit of physics trickery. Slight of hand. An illusion [not a trick… tricks are something whores do for money, Michael].

Adam also points out how fascinating the Placebo effect is. When I was 17, I had a friend (he was around 40) who could play guitar in essentially every conceivable style with expert level prowess. He was really gifted. He also had carpal tunnel syndrome in his right hand that was preventing him from playing as often as he needed to (he made his living as a guitar teacher). The pain was awful. One day I brought him a magnetic bracelet I’d purchased at Wal-Mart. I was a stupid teenager and hey, magnets right? How the fuck to they work? Long story short he strapped that bracelet on, the pain (which was caused by a medically verifiable condition for which he required surgery) was gone and he continued to play full time with no problems. What I’m saying is the human brain is a stupid, stupid lump of crap and a dirty liar.

I’d also like to point you to this video (and 100’s more like it) where the individual lets you know how to tell the difference between a real Power Band and a fake one. Go ahead and try to wrap your mind parts around that one. I dare you. If you really need one of these things, may I suggest Placebo Bands? They work just as good (which is to say they also do nothing, but at least they come with a free layer of irony).

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27 Comments

  1. This is what you get watching late-night TV when you should just be streaming more Doctor Who.
    :-)

    Reply
    • Agreed. Infomercials cause nothing but rage. Streaming Doctor Who is automatic, guaranteed euphoria.

      Reply
  2. My Favorite new commercial is making fun of those types of things and its for a large wire basket you wear around your neck from a cord. It shows smiling happy people wearing this ridiculous product and just when you are about to say "WTF?" They chime in with.. "are you sick of seeing products like this that you have no use for and are completely a waste of money… then join our website where you can tell companies what you really need and what you think is crap!"

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  3. Great comic. God, I miss Captain Planet…

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  4. My favorite are those foot-pad things that are supposed to "detoxify" and "reinvisitron" your body, or whatever, as you sleep. The commercial claims that, just like a tree, impurities are flushed out of the body through the feet, or roots if you are a tree. Not only is this not true about humans, it's not even true about GORRAM FRACKING TREES! They then show Japanese people, because they are mysterious and know magic.

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  5. If I conbine the balance and strength of the power band, with the weight training I get on the shake weight, I could be unstopable!

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    • God help us all if you put a power balance on ON a shake weight. #globalkiller

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  6. Dear Joel,

    Please make Farten Stumble a recurring character.
    i would like to learn more about his villainous ways.

    Sincerely,
    Eric

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    • Much like the Captain Planet eco-villains, youve learned everything you need to from his name.

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      • So Farten Stumble is basically me after six gin and tonics?

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  7. It must be true I've "seen it on talk shows and heard the buzz on the internet." Every time I hear it I crack up, glad I'm no the only one staying up too late

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  8. I really want just like the last panel with him saying "stupid ass" on a shirt!!!

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  9. Already saw this debunked (or as best as it could possibly be debunked anyway) on an ESPN show a couple months ago (OTL: First Report for those curious). Now that shows you it IS full of crap when ESPN just debunked your crap.

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  10. THANK YOU for the Arrested Development

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  11. Actually Mythbusters summed this all up when the team took on Pyramid Power! It included rotten fruit and dull razor blades.

    Worth the watch just for the dull blades.

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  12. When I saw this title, I thought the comic was going to be about those preposterous cartoon-shaped rubber bands that apparently people are actually buying for their children. There are "news" reports of schools having to ban Silly Bands because kids were shooting them at each other. Duh… they're rubber bands! So I was actually expecting Captain Power Band to be made up of shaped, colored rubber bands. At least then he'd have 1 power… elasticity.

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    • *sigh* made the mistake of getting them for my nieces for Xmas…they immediately launched into what CCG players would've recognize as "let's count up our colored plastic things and start trading instantly to build (wrist bolters of absolute power!!!!)
      Best part was I found Xmas greeting cards with the things embedded in them like crispies in a candy bar…never saw greeting cards destroyed so fast to get out the gum-bandy goodness in my life.

      Reply
  13. "I get so angry when I see these types of products that claim to be based on science then proceed to use nonsense, unrelated buzz words in rough juxtaposition to confound the consumer into believing all the answers to their problems lie in $0.40 worth of silicone." – Josh

    Yeah, especially when everyone knows it takes a minimum of $5000 worth of silicone to change anything.
    http://tinyurl.com/2cjo4wb Link is NSFW-ish…

    Reply
  14. "I get so angry when I see these types of products that claim to be based on science then proceed to use nonsense, unrelated buzz words in rough juxtaposition to confound the consumer into believing all the answers to their problems lie in $0.40 worth of silicone." – Josh

    Yeah when everybody else knows it takes a minute of $5000 worth of silicone to get the job done right.

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    • Shit, minimum NOT minute.

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      • and my name isnt josh.

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  15. Oh man, this is hilarious!

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  16. Even people who told me they didn't work, wanted to buy another one for the other arm. For $30..One of my friends said they were Silly Bands for grownups. It makes the Swatch watch fad look smart, they were rubber bands, but at least they told you the time.

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  17. Brilliant takedown. However "it’s a simple bit of physics trickery. Slight of hand." should be "sleight of hand." Slight of hand is Captain Hook.

    /pedant

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  18. Your friend was probably just being nice. Whenever you left the room, I’m guessing that he would drop the guitar, scream, and stick his hand in a bucket of icewater.

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  19. Ho, and but a mere two months later THEM HUCKSTERS IS AT IT A'GIN. I've been seeing commecials regarding some similar product. Hell, it could be the same thing that hadn't quite trickled up this way yet.

    Reply

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