THE ADVERTISING CANCER!
Product, service and entertainment advertising has become a cancer eating away at the physical, mental and spiritual health of mankind—all in the name of profit.
The American advertising industry has long been looked upon as one of the bulwarks of both the democratic and the capitalistic systems that have defined the United States since the early 1800s. It goes without saying that both of these systems have made extraordinary contributions to the wealth and welfare of Americans, but there have always been elements in these systems that were destructive and harmful, and these insidious elements have grown with time.
In earlier times advertising was important in bringing the existence and benefits of products and services to the attention of as many people as possible so they would know where to buy them if they needed them. From around the 1950s and 60s the manufacturing and service industries became so competitive that the role of advertising gradually switched to beating out the competition, to inducing people to buy more than what they needed, and to buying things they didn’t need…in other words attempting to ensure that the companies not only survived but made a profit above and beyond what the market would normally provide them.
One of the most negative aspects of advertising today is that a great deal of it is aimed at children and teenagers, and is insidiously clever, subversive and harmful.
The advertising industry’s sophisticated selling of sugar-laden cereals and other foods to children sets them up for obesity and a variety of other health problems. Glamorizing alcoholic drinks to teens and adults and getting millions of people habituated to drugs they don’t need—some of which have serious side effects—costs Americans billions of dollars annually.
Advertising aimed at children and teens ignores commonsense and undercuts the little parental control remaining by inducing the young to eat and drink things that are bad for their health and will adversely affect the rest of their lives. It encourages other behavior that results in further degrading cultures that are already in the gutter.
The causes of this phenomenon are well known but they are so deeply entrenched in the profit-oriented culture that they cannot be eradicated without a mass rebellion by individual consumers that is not going to happen in the foreseeable future..
But if an effort to eliminate this disease is not made—by parents and teachers—the negative impact on the welfare of the young will continue to grow, further degrading the culture. There are equally harmful areas of advertising aimed at adults that are contributing to the degeneration of the culture in general—from the education problem to the degradation of the Earth’s environment.
The Excess-Consumption Disease
By the end of the 20th century aggressive profit-driven advertising had created an excess-consumption syndrome that prevailed throughout the American economy and had begun spreading throughout the economies of other industrialized nations. It has now reached the point that it has destroyed much of the rational thought process, and controls much of the mindset and behavior of a growing percentage of the Earth’s population.
There would appear to be no remedy for this insidious virus other than for parents, teachers and administrators who recognize the dangers inherent in this situation to slowly but steadily introduce into the basic education of children a new value system based on real, actual, rational needs that would eventually result in the excess-consumption syndrome disappearing in conjunction with a balanced economic system.
It is not going to disappear any time soon but by 2010 there was a glimmer of hope. The news media had begun reporting on the appearance of a small movement among the economically depressed population to downgrade their consumption habits and expectations—not as a deliberate choice, however, but because of the economic situation.
Some of these people were reported as saying that having and consuming less freed them from harmful habits and made them happier than they were before—both common sense and very old wisdom.
The Incredible Obesity Epidemic
Another cultural failure resulting from a combination of the power of food manufacturers, their advertising agencies, and the willful stupidity of parents in par-ticular and adults in general is the epidemic of obesity in the United States.
The sight of huge numbers of men and women who weigh from 300 to 500 pounds or more waddling around like giant over-inflated character balloons is grotesque to say the least.
The number of children and adults who are obese is a national disgrace and should be a national scandal. But there has been a conspiracy among food pro-ducers, food outlets, their advertizing agencies and the medical fraternity to both justify this incredible situation and to blame the individuals for overeating.
Some medical experts are on record as saying that obesity is not the fault of every obese person, claiming that it is genetic, which actually appears to be partly true, since fat mothers give birth to unusually large babies who appear to inherit a propensity to become obese.
This incredible malady has resulted from both the willful stupidity of parents and people in general and the business obsession with making profits no matter what the cost to the public. The only permanent cure is education over a period of a generation.
A New Universal Strategy
Of course, it goes without saying that a universal strategic plan is needed to address all of the economic needs of all countries on an equitable basis. However, this is a concept that brings into play all of the ancient and primitive characteristics of human beings—tribalism, territorialism, religious differences, races and colors, along with past history, the present situation, territorial size, population, location, and so on.
This means it will not be resolved in the foreseeable future by plan and by action because some or all of the larger more powerful nations will put their priorities high on the list if not first. This means the evolution from competition to cooperation with have to come about in slow incremental steps.
It might not come about at all if there is not a concerted effort among the large and powerful nations to incorporate the concept of a shared world into their education systems, to wean their populations off of the ancient prejudices, the old animosities and the selfish instincts.
I like your Christ.
I do not like your Christians.
Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
***This blog was excerpted from my book: THE PLAGUE OF MALE DOMINANCE – The Cause and Cure!, available in ebook and printed formats from Amazon.com.
Boyé Lafayette De Mente has been involved with Asia since the late 1940s as a member of a U.S. intelligence agency, journalist and editor. He is a graduate of Jōchi University in Tokyo, Japan and Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Arizona, USA. In addition to books on the business practices, social behavior and languages of China, Japan, Korea and Mexico he has written extensively about the moral collapse of the U.S. along with books on his home state of Arizona. To see a full list of his books go to: www.authorsonlinebookshop.com. Recent books include: CHINA Understanding & Dealing with the Chinese Way of Doing Business; JAPAN Understanding & Dealing with the NEW Japanese Way of Doing Business; AMERICA’S FAMOUS HOPI INDIANS; ARIZONA’S LORDS OF THE LAND [the Navajos] and SPEAK JAPANESE TODAY – A Little Language Goes a Long Way!