I started to write “who falls for these ludicrous stories” when it struck me, I know perfectly well who falls for them and why.
It goes like this: He was working as a janitor at Frito-Lay’s Rancho Cucamonga plant when he dreamed up a chile-covered Cheeto and believed in himself enough to call up the chief executive to pitch his spicy idea.Corporate backstabbers tried to sabotage Montañez for stepping out of line, but he out-hustled them, driven by a hunger to succeed. Flamin’ Hots became a runaway hit, and Montañez rose through the ranks and became an icon.Watching his many recorded speaking engagements, it’s easy to see why his story has taken off.Montañez is a charismatic speaker, and his tale of a Mexican American underdog whose ingenuity conquered the corporate world is a rags-to-riches fable baked into the origin of a wildly popular snack.With their spicy kick and neon-red flavor dust, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have inspired viral rap videos, Instagram-worthy menu items and streetwear designs. Schools have banned the snack altogether over concerns about its popularity with children. Clear revenue numbers are hard to come by, but nearly every major Frito-Lay line, from Smartfood popcorn to Funyuns, now has a Flamin’ Hot variety on the market.Montañez has built a lucrative second career out of telling and selling this story, appearing at events for Target, Walmart, Harvard and USC, among others, and commanding fees of $10,000 to $50,000 per appearance.
It’s no wonder the Richard Montañezs, the Ben Shapiros, the Candace Owens harbor such contempt for white conservatives. White conservatives will believe literally anything a minority tells them, because it makes them feel good about themselves.
If NASA ever finds itself in serious danger of being exposed, all they need to do is whip up a mission to send a black astronaut, a Hispanic astronaut, and a gay astronaut to the Moon. No white conservative would ever doubt anything NASA said ever again.
Here is the metric. If hearing about a story makes you not only feel good, but feel good about yourself for feeling good, be very skeptical.