Thoughts on Advertising


A thought on advertising.

I have noticed some ads in magazines now come with a little label at the top saying "advertisement". In extreme cases, the ad is in a box covering almost all of the page (or faction there-of) with the label above it. Other adds are just included with the other stuff.

As examples, I will describe 2 ads, one with a box and label, and one with neither. Both appeared in the same edition of Scientific American (not the most recent one), and I think they are both about equally silly.
  1. A fake 1-page article explaining a little-know physical law that states that merely attempting morally incorrect actions will reliably incur karmic justice. There is a book to buy if you want more details. My in-depth grounding in science (a few high school classes, books written for non-experts, and Wikipedia) tells me this is absurd. Nature doesn't care about ethics, and its laws are just descriptions of what is and is not possible. If you try to break them, you will simply fail.
  2. A 1/2 (1/3?) page article explaining that the United States is in immediate danger of become a theocracy because certain religious groups (i.e. Catholic ones) want an exemption from the Obamacare law about giving out contraceptives. To me, this seems a real stretch: you can't create a theocracy by allowing people to keep doing (or not doing) what they were (not) doing before. You could protect an existing theocracy, but if the US was a theocracy from its founding until a few years ago, they need to do a better job of explaining why a US theocracy would be so bad. After all, it was never a problem before.
I don't really know what to think about ads like these. On one hand, there are kind of funny. On the other hand, they contain claims I think of a false, and are thus an affront to truth. On the other hand (I seem to have become one of Larry Niven's Moties here), freedom of speech is a good thing, and that has to include allowing people to say things I disagree with. I do like the boxes and labels, though. Maybe we could do that for all ads.

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