In case you missed the news, this week is National Cupcake Week. That's right, apparently the UK has an entire week when we remember all the brave souls who have brought us cupcakes over the years and who fought to defend our right to eat cupcakes.
This whole week has been claimed by British Baker magazine to focus the minds of the British public and media on the cupcake and its role in society.
Over time more and more of these kinds of contrived days have crept into the diary, put there by the subtle and sometimes not so subtle hand of public relations.
Of course, very worthwhile causes have introduced days to raise awareness and provide a news hook for fundraising efforts. But over time, organisations have chanced their arm with a series of ever more self-serving national days in an attempt to get onto the editorial calendars of the media.
Among some of the most enthusiastic people to use this tactic over the years have been the farmers and food producers of the UK. Cue British Cheese Week, British Egg Week, National Chip Week, National Sausage Week, British Pie Week, National Bread Week, British Tomato Week and English Wine Week.
As Guardian journalist Nick Davies noted in his oft-quoted book Flat Earth News:
"...all kinds of groups now use PR to claim named days or weeks as their own. The first seven days of August 2007, for example, had at least forty-eight different PR causes attached to them in the United States, including National Watermelon Day, National Chocolate Chip Day, National Fresh Breath Day, National Icecream Sandwich Day... Having claimed the day, PR can use it as a peg for artificial news."
Media coverage of National Cupcake Week has been low, though what little coverage there has been has certainly taken the bait. The Liverpool Echo wrote: "As we approach National Cupcake Week..." as though it really is 'a thing'.
Establishing such as day is no more difficult than picking a date and sending out a press release. Starting a Facebook campaign or a petition calling for the day to be recognised often serves as a handy pre-story and makes it look like somebody might really care, but it's not essential. There is certainly nobody in the government or the Privy Council weighing up the merits of National Biscuit Day versus National Dried Fruit Awareness Week. There is no quota. Sadly.
As a result, this tactic, as Davies noted as early as 2007, is starting to asphyxiate itself under the sheer weight of national days and weeks. A tactic which once was quirky is now killing itself.
The calendar is now so full of national days, weeks and even months that even reasonably worthwhile causes get lost in the flood of people trying to hijack the news diary in this way. Nobody would claim puppy farms are a good thing, but any value Puppy Farm Awareness Day may ever have had has surely been lost.
The same could be said of Global Handwashing Day. Nobody doubts handwashing is important but does it really warrant a national day? And now it's got one, does anybody really care?
And what about National Pain Awareness Month? Pain is bad, we can probably all agree on that but it's something the vast majority of us are very aware of all year round as occasion dictates.
Then there is the real nonsense: Star Wars Day, World Goth Day and International Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Why are people celebrating talking like a pirate? I don't know, they just arrrrrrrr!
But at least these days are having some fun (with the possible exception of the goths) and are poking fun at the whole nonsense of such contrived days.
Perhaps I'll declare next week 'Read a Blog About The Media Week'.