Rebirth of Reason

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Friday, October 18, 2002 - 12:09amSanction this postReply
I know people who hate advertising because consumers often buy in a herd mentality. If Britney Spears drinks Pepsi, I should too! So in fact they hate the second-handedness that people often live by. They just assume that it's an immutable fact. So they end up hating advertisements because they cater to this.

It's this determinism argument that you mention that makes people think that advertisements are a means of controlling people, instead of a form of information.

Post 1

Friday, October 18, 2002 - 1:05amSanction this postReply
I know. But like I said, that's a psychological and epistemic question. Actually researching the answer instead of complaining would seem to me a better course of action.

Banning ads wouldn't change human character. Education would. Of course, that's another issue entirely.

Post 2

Monday, December 23, 2002 - 3:59amSanction this postReply
My argument with advertising on the internet, as opposed to other media, is that I bear most of the cost of having an advert sent to me. I pay with bandwidth, with time wasted both downloading and viewing the ad, and -- in the case of unsolicited commercial emal -- I waste disk space on the stuff. Since I pay most of the cost I consider myself justified in using tools to block ads and filter out UCE. Using tech to enforce my right to ignore ads does not, to my opinion, violate others' rights to send advertisements.

Post 3

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - 4:16amSanction this postReply

Coin World has a very bright line between Advertising and Editorial.  Numismatics is a hobby all about the buying and selling of money, so it is no surprise that many people are carried away by their own self-interest.  A couple of readers said to me what other editors had heard before: "You people think you're the New York Times."  And they did.  Only a few of us were not J-school graduates. One of the others who was not was the "Trends" (price sheet) editor, Stuart Segan.  A lifelong collector himself, his degree was in physics from Berkeley.  Whenever that bright line came up in a staff meeting, Stuart would reply, "Advertising is content."


Long ago, on the Merv Griffin show, Durk Pearson replied to FDA regulations by saying, "OK, let them say whatever they want on their half of the label and let the manufacturer say whatever they want on their half and let the consumer decide."


If we have "freedom of speech" how does that not apply to advertising?  I mean that people who would protect any political speech (writing, etc.) somehow find advertising unworthy.

Post 4

Friday, October 10, 2014 - 6:43amSanction this postReply



Advertising is, as I define politics, another form of politics:  the art and science of getting what we want from others using any means short of actual violence.


That includes, lies, deceit, fabrications, cajoles, and made up stories.


Advertising is short of actual violence.  And so are lies, deceit and fabrications.


But if making false offers were always actionable, then where would the Catholic Church be?   Then again, who has ever returned to lodge a complaint about that whole everlasting life payoff?   Especially with the escape clause in the small print:  "If you go to Hell, it was your fault, so no money back.   Read the contract next time."


100% moneyback guarantee.   That is some Catch, that Catch-22.


Let the government print whatever it wants on its half of the label that others pay for?   Including things like 'red meat is bad for you...coffee is bad for you...chocolate is bad for you....bagels are good for you....transfat is bad for you....CO2 is bad for you....warm body tear off credit is good for The Economy... Gini Coefficients should direct the guns aimed at people by the IRS...


That is, until they aren't.


Here's another idea:   let the manufacturers print what they want on the labels of the products they offer and let consumers decide.   Let the government print a list of opinions in a room in DC somewhere, and let any consumer interested in their opinions make the trek to DC and knock on the door and ask to read the list, maybe on their way to tour the Capitol building.    hardly requires an entire cabinet department.   A guy in an office could handle that.   Hell, get him an AOL account, he can post a blog.    He can sell ads to fund the effort.




Post 5

Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 3:46pmSanction this postReply

Fred, "let the government print whatever they want on their half of the label" must be understood in context.  Durk Pearson knows enough to explain freedom to you in terms that you understand but did not think of first.  So, he took on the FDA on the Merv Griffin Show.  He was Merv's most popular guest for several  years in the 1980s.  He had the ears of America in a way that Rush and Glenn never can because he spoke to people who were not pre-committed to agreeing with him.  So, in his time - as in ours - the FDA owns 100% of the label.  He just made a reasonable counter-offer, and millions of viewers agreed.


Whether that translated to political action is a different issue; but I submit that the general trend of the people of the nation has been in a direction and dimension different from the government of the nation.


As for advertising being lying and cheating, I go by an 80-20 rule that I picked up in criminology: 80% of your problems are caused by 20% of the people you know; a chief of police would cast that as 80% of the problems come from 20% of the addresses in every and any neighborhood.  The claim that advertising draws that 20% of business people to prey upon the other 80% rests on several assumptions.  It is not my responsibility to look out for your self-interest, even if I wanted to.  


I sell widgets.  I can give you lots of good reasons to buy one. I can warn you of the downside.  Ultimately, the choice is yours.  The package could even show an old guy surrounded by hot young women.  It is still a widget.  Buy it or not. But don't blame me if you are unhappy.  I am not responsible for your happiness.

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