P.T. Barnum is often credited with uttering the phrase “there’s a sucker born every minute”. Given Barnum’s stock and trade in circus sideshows, it might seem fitting. However, those closest to the situation, and to Barnum himself, disputed this claim. They admitted that he was part of the subject matter of the conversation, and the cause of the statement to be made, but not the one to say it. I would gather that the fact that Barnum was the famous one involved led people to believe this, word of mouth got it around and became taken as a truth. Would kind of figure, after all, there is a sucker born every minute…..



The more believable version of the story has David Hannum uttering the phrase in regard to the people lining up to see Barnum’s faked Cardiff Giant exhibition. While Hannum was a side show master himself with the original Cardiff Giant, Barnum was touring with a replica and making a pretty penny passing it off as the original. Funny thing being, the “original” Cardiff Giant was found to be a hoax to begin with….meaning that Barnum was touring with a fake of a fake. There really is a sucker born every minute, and slick ad men like Barnum knew how to take advantage of it, and still do. With the right buzzwords you can sell almost anything regardless of its actual functional value. Were P.T. alive today, you would have certainly seen an onslaught of iBarnum products, they just probably would have had a clown face, rather than a piece of fruit, for a logo. All you really need to start a trend these days is a little Kool Aid, and a couple of good buzzwords.


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