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  • First, I'm delighted to know that anyone reads my comments and even more so to see they provoke a response. I find helps me kill time effectively and it appears I'm not alone.

    Second, like some of my favorite essays on Suck [], gnat's entry sent me scurrying to the dictionary -- in this case to look up bolshy. Bolshy, for those in my boat, is British slang for obstreperous. Not being up my Jane Austin, I had to find the definition of obstreperous which turns out to be a synonym for "clamorous; noisy; vociferous." So far, gnat has improved my vocabulary by two words. Thank you. ;-)

    I then reread my comments and gnat's. Indeed, my comments were bombastic, pompous and bitter but I do stand the message: this life is a dangerous place. It's true that society has eliminated many of the daily plagues that haunted our forefathers -- vermin, wild beasts and marauders (for the most part) -- but new hazzards have appeared to worry our modern life. Avarice, apathy and weltschmerz are the enemies of our times. These new dangers are particularly pernicious because they come from our successes. I believe _Forbidden Planet_ called them "monsters from the id." Without the daily struggle for survival, we often find ourselves rudderless in a sea of personal desires, all of which are ultimately unfulfilling. We turn to consumerism to ease the gnawing emptiness of our trite and isolated lives. Naturally, this also fails to satisfy us. It is on a bewildered and harried population that the vultures of politics and advertizing engorge themselves. That we turn to the very institutions that afflict us for help would be high comedy if it weren't true.

    Against the many social forces that seek to harm the individual, we have only one weapon -- analytical thought. In the same way that gnat has challenged the validity of my rant, I want more people to challenge the messages they get from television and news outlets. The problem isn't that liquor or McDonald's or Audis are advertized on TV, but that too many folks uncritically accept ads at face value. Ads work because they implicitly or explicitly promise that a given product will make our lives happier. Madison Avenue has gotten particually adept at selling us the message that one more product will make us complete. I've personally seen friends fall victim to this lie, but certainly we all have similar stories.

    Gnat's family was certainly not the focus of my call for better parenting. Unfortunately, his family is more of the exception than the rule. Banning "offensive" advertisement isn't a good solution to the problems I've outlined above -- it merely shifts the responsibility upstream. Creating an awake and alert citizenry is the only way we can stop the raping of our planet and ourselves.

    I must admit I'm very amused that gnat construed my comments as a defense of liquor advertisements. That's Komedy.

    • Bolshy comes from the Bolsheviks, who presumably were obstreperous :-)

      I wholeheartedly second your call for critical evaluation of ads. I regularly clutch my head like a stunned monkey and mentally plan to launch an asteroid at Madison Ave. My favourite technique is to say one thing in the smooth voiceover and totally contradict it in the fine point at the bottom of the screen. Target audience: illiterates :-)

      In 5th form English we did a unit on the language of advertising. It was basically the rhet

      • No, there is no American curriculum, and for this I am mostly glad. However, there probably isn't much incidence of such discourse in the various American curricula, either.