old post #19, 7 jan 02

Posted on February 23rd, 2010 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Old Posts, Words.

If advertising were as insidiously, relentlessly effective as all that, we'd all be automatons. (Ah, but how do you know you're not?) We wouldn't be so much like our parents (but who made your parents?), we wouldn't, so many of us, have very much the values of the people who raised and taught us (but who programmed them?). If advertising is so effective, why do we resist it? (Don't make me laugh.) If advertising is so effective, why can't they make us buy anything they want, regardless of quality? (You think you have your own taste, desires, free will? Get real.)

I've read The Hidden Persuaders, and I probably have more interest in what makes advertising work than is healthy for me, just as I am interested in the rhetoric of persuasive (as opposed to truthful) argument. But, with all due respect, most anti-advertising rants I read (closely related to anti-television rants) strike me as a species of conspiracy theory. If someone wants to say there are strings attached to my limbs and those of my children, I can see for myself that it's not so; a persuasive voice is not a string, and the contentiousness, irascibility, and simple desire to please one's own self will continue to confound and frustrate sellers with nothing good to sell, no matter how sneaky they are.

And I've never met an adult where you couldn't guess a lot more about their parents, schooling, and religious upbringing than what television they watched and what advertising they were exposed to.


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