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Author is causing debate over theory that we've 'tricked' ourselves into loving lobster

"Lobsters are like diamonds. Bad product, great marketing."

lobster, scarcity, jason pargin

Jason K. Pargin shares his controversial theory on lobster.

Novelist Jason K. Pargin has inspired an online food fight after his video about lobster received over 500,000 views on Tiktok and nearly 6 million on Twitter. Pargin believes that we’ve all been tricked into liking lobster and that people only like it because it’s considered high class.

Pargin is the author of the “John Dies at the End” and “Zoey Ashe” series and the former editor of Cracked.com.

"I don't think anyone actually enjoys eating lobster. I think they've just been convinced that it's a high-class food for a really specific reason,” Pargin says in his controversial video. He then describes how just a few centuries ago lobster was once used as prisoners' food and ground into fertilizer.


But after the food developed a reputation for being hard to transport from the coastal areas inland and that it spoils quickly after being cooked, it began to be seen as a delicacy.

"So because it was difficult to mess with and because it had to be shipped live inside the country, away from the coast, it became known that lobster was difficult to obtain," Pargin says in his video. "And because it's difficult to obtain, it had to be expensive, and because it was expensive, we decided it was good.”

"You were eating lobster not because you enjoyed it but because you wanted it to be known to all who were watching you that you could afford lobster," Pargin continues.

His final point was a real blow to those who only eat lobster if it’s drowned in butter. "You know what also tastes good when you dump it into a bucket of butter? Anything," Pargin says.

The viral video sparked a hot debate on Twitter, where it appears that most people disagreed with Pargin—especially those who live in the northeast and enjoy lobster no matter how it’s prepared. Many had a problem with Pargin framing the argument from the limited American perspective.

Lobster is eaten worldwide and has been enjoyed by countless cultures since the prehistoric era. People enjoy lobster in places where it’s affordable and where it’s considered a delicacy. So that kills his argument that we’ve been duped into enjoying lobster simply because it’s expensive.

But Pargin is entirely correct when he claims that we value things more when they are scarce. In psychology, the concept is known as the scarcity effect.

"Scarcity is a pervasive condition of human existence," Shahram Heshmat, Ph.D., writes in Psychology Today. "Everyday circumstances of limited resources (money and time) can make individuals experience a sense of scarcity. Scarcity functions like an obstacle to goal pursuit, which intensify the value of goal."

Here’s what people are saying about Pargin’s videos on Twitter.

Sorry, Jason, history goes way past the 1800s.

Some swear they do not need to drown a lobster in butter to enjoy its flavor.

Many disagreed and shared why they love the cockroach of the seas.

Is lobster really just a butter-delivery system?

Some agree with Pargin that people only like lobster because it's expensive.

Pargin’s argument makes sense. We value things harder to get, and anything dunked in butter tastes fantastic. But that doesn't cover the fact that people enjoy lobster around the globe, regardless of its perceived scarcity. In the end, the real winners of this debate are those who don’t like lobster. Right now, a pound of Maine lobster goes for up to $80 a pound. That’s an expensive night out at the local fish joint.


This article originally appeared on 3.18.23

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Music’s biggest night took place Sunday, February 4 with the 66th Annual GRAMMY Awards. Now, fans have the opportunity to take home a piece of the famed event.

Longtime GRAMMY Awards partner Mastercard is using this year’s campaign to shine a light on the environment and the Priceless Planet Coalition (PPC), a forest restoration program with the goal of restoring 100 million trees. Music fans are 1.5 times more likely to take action to help the environment, making the GRAMMY Awards the perfect opportunity to raise awareness.

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While fashion is always a highlight of any GRAMMY Awards event, SZA’s outfit worn during her performance of Saturn was designed to make a statement; made of tree seeds to help spread awareness. Fans can even comment ‘🌱’ and tag a friend on Mastercard’s designated post of SZA’s GRAMMY House performance for a chance to win a tree seed from the performance outfit*.

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Maybe if you shower before bed and always wear clean pajamas you could get by with a two-week sheet swap cycle, but weekly sheet cleaning seems to be the general consensus among the experts. The New York Times consulted five books about laundry and cleaning habits, and once a week was what they all recommend.

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For blankets and comforters and duvet inserts, Sleep.com says every 3 months. And for decorative blankets and quilts that you don't really use, once a year washing will suffice.

What about pillows? Pillowcases should go in with the weekly sheet washing, but pillows themselves should be washed every 3 to 6 months. Washing pillows can be a pain, and if you don't do it right, you can end up with a lumpy pillow, but it's a good idea because between your sweat, saliva and skin cells, pillows can start harboring bacteria.

Finally, how about the mattress itself? Home influencers on TikTok can often be seen stripping their beds, sprinkling their mattress with baking soda, brushing it into the mattress fibers and then vacuuming it all out. Architectural Digest says the longer you leave baking soda on the mattress, the better—at least a few hours, but preferably overnight. Some people add a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda for some extra yummy smell.

If that all sounds like way too much work, maybe just start with the sheets. Pick a day of the week and make it your sheet washing day. You might find that climbing into a clean, fresh set of sheets more often is a nice way to feel pampered without a whole lot of effort.

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