Of “Legal” Drug Ads and Anti-Russia Messaging
Mobsters are known for breaking kneecaps to bend people to their will. Marketers break into heads with repetitive and manipulative advertising, images, and narratives. Mobsters of the mind, they are.
I thought of this after watching all those repetitive (and largely interchangeable) ads for “legal” prescription drugs. Rarely do they show the often serious conditions they allegedly treat. Instead it’s image after image of people enjoying life, whether at amusement parks, the beach, dancing, or what-have-you. It’s as if drug companies are selling happiness pills whose only side effect is experiencing the best day of your life. Meanwhile, as images spill into your head of eternal bliss, a narrator quietly intones about potential serious side effects, even possible death in the case of one drug I’ve seen advertised.
Drug ads are the worst. People wonder why Americans take so many illegal drugs and why we have so many drug addictions — well, just look at all the ads for legal drugs, and how they’re advertised as making people incandescently happy. It’s all about the messaging: the repetition of powerful feel-good imagery, with drugs as panaceas.
Speaking of repetition, something similar is true of political manipulation. To cite one example: Russia. Has there ever been a worse “drug” with more serious side effects than Russia? Russia keeps hacking our elections! Russia is led by war criminals! Russia is raping Ukraine! Over and over again, the mainstream media encourages us to hate Russia and Vladimir Putin. Is this truly all we need to know about Russia? As Sting sang, don’t the Russians love their children too? (Back in the 1980s, the media didn’t go easy on Sting for his alleged naïveté and pro-Russian sentiments.)
Whether it’s drug advertisers, the mainstream media, or the U.S. government for that matter, America is infested with various “ministries of truth” that are driven by a mobster-like mentality. They may not break your kneecaps, but they nevertheless find ways to break into your mind.
Now you’ll excuse me while I pop a few pills while denouncing Russia. And China too, perhaps?
8 thoughts on “Mobsters of the Mind”
Reading the latest by Ray McGovern last night I was wondering where it would fit in your Blog Bill, and this is it!
‘Did Putin Have ‘Other Options’ on Ukraine?’
The automatic response usually is, “Yes, he certainly had options other than invasion and he should have chosen one of them first”.
This assumption bespeaks the poverty of the discussion on Ukraine. The corporate media is, of course, largely to blame. But others, too, have not taken a hard look at whether the facts support that kind of facile answer. And so, not only has it become holey – yes, holey – dogma; it may get us all killed.
The facile response sits atop a fallacious syllogism that bodes high danger, particularly at this key juncture when misled citizens may acquiesce, yet again, to further escalation in Ukraine. The syllogism:
[…] Our attempt at understanding the Russian perspective on their war does not endorse the invasion and occupation, nor does it imply the Russians had no other option but this war. Yet, just as Russian had other options, so did the U.S. and NATO leading up to this moment…………………………
This reminds me of watching a Bellingham television station (being just across the border in Canada the Seattle area stations were a staple from my childhood on) and finding it almost surreal how I would see advertisements for drugs and various medical devices interspersed with advertisements inviting the viewer to join a class action suit against various drugs and medical devices.
A comic parody of drug advertisements I’m rather fond of:
‘Jeffrey Sachs: Bipartisan Support of War, from Iraq to Ukraine, Is Helping Fuel U.S. Debt Crisis’
Clip from Democracy Now interview of Dr. Sachs offering his Common Sense analysis of THE WAR!
Anybody who has any doubts whatsoever as to how screwed up ~ and screwed ~ this nation is [and only getting worse], needs to read the following:
STATE LAWMAKERS WANT CHILDREN TO FILL LABOR SHORTAGES, EVEN IN BARS AND ON SCHOOL NIGHTS at https://apnews.com/article/child-labor-laws-alabama-ohio-c1123a80970518676be44088619c6205 .
“There was even a word for it in Newspeak:” CorpFeud, “it was called.” (Corporate Feudalism)
” ‘Please, sir,’ replied Oliver, ‘I want some more.’ [thin-gruel porridge]
Oliver was ordered into instant confinement; and a bill was next morning pasted on the outside of the gate, offering a reward of five pounds to anybody who would take Oliver Twist off the hands of the parish. In other words, five pounds and Oliver Twist were offered to any man or woman who wanted an apprentice to any trade, business, or calling.” — Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist
Now, I can better understand why Spock gave a copy of this book to Admiral Kirk on his birthday:
A TALE OF TWO CITIES
by Charles Dickens
CHAPTER I. The Period
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes, that things in general were settled for ever.
It was the year of Our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. Spiritual revelations were conceded to England at that favoured period, as at this. Mrs. Southcott had recently attained her five-and-twentieth blessed birthday, of whom a prophetic private in the Life Guards had heralded the sublime appearance by announcing that arrangements were made for the swallowing up of London and Westminster. Even the Cock-lane ghost had been laid only a round dozen of years, after rapping out its messages, as the spirits of this very year last past (supernaturally deficient in originality) rapped out theirs. Mere messages in the earthly order of events had lately come to the English Crown and People, from a congress of British subjects in America: which, strange to relate, have proved more important to the human race than any communications yet received through any of the chickens of the Cock-lane brood.
France, less favoured on the whole as to matters spiritual than her sister of the shield and trident, rolled with exceeding smoothness down hill, making paper money and spending it. Under the guidance of her Christian pastors, she entertained herself, besides, with such humane achievements as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue torn out with pincers, and his body burned alive, because he had not kneeled down in the rain to do honour to a dirty procession of monks which passed within his view, at a distance of some fifty or sixty yards. It is likely enough that, rooted in the woods of France and Norway, there were growing trees, when that sufferer was put to death, already marked by the Woodman, Fate, to come down and be sawn into boards, to make a certain movable framework with a sack and a knife in it, terrible in history. It is likely enough that in the rough outhouses of some tillers of the heavy lands adjacent to Paris, there were sheltered from the weather that very day, rude carts, bespattered with rustic mire, snuffed about by pigs, and roosted in by poultry, which the Farmer, Death, had already set apart to be his tumbrils of the Revolution. But that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently, and no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread: the rather, forasmuch as to entertain any suspicion that they were awake, was to be atheistical and traitorous.
In England, there was scarcely an amount of order and protection to justify much national boasting. Daring burglaries by armed men, and highway robberies, took place in the capital itself every night; families were publicly cautioned not to go out of town without removing their furniture to upholsterers’ warehouses for security; the highwayman in the dark was a City tradesman in the light, and, being recognised and challenged by his fellow-tradesman whom he stopped in his character of “the Captain,” gallantly shot him through the head and rode away; the mail was waylaid by seven robbers, and the guard shot three dead, and then got shot dead himself by the other four, “in consequence of the failure of his ammunition:” after which the mail was robbed in peace; that magnificent potentate, the Lord Mayor of London, was made to stand and deliver on Turnham Green, by one highwayman, who despoiled the illustrious creature in sight of all his retinue; prisoners in London gaols fought battles with their turnkeys, and the majesty of the law fired blunderbusses in among them, loaded with rounds of shot and ball; thieves snipped off diamond crosses from the necks of noble lords at Court drawing-rooms; musketeers went into St. Giles’s, to search for contraband goods, and the mob fired on the musketeers, and the musketeers fired on the mob, and nobody thought any of these occurrences much out of the common way. In the midst of them, the hangman, ever busy and ever worse than useless, was in constant requisition; now, stringing up long rows of miscellaneous criminals; now, hanging a housebreaker on Saturday who had been taken on Tuesday; now, burning people in the hand at Newgate by the dozen, and now burning pamphlets at the door of Westminster Hall; to-day, taking the life of an atrocious murderer, and to-morrow of a wretched pilferer who had robbed a farmer’s boy of sixpence.
All these things, and a thousand like them, came to pass in and close upon the dear old year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five. Environed by them, while the Woodman and the Farmer worked unheeded, those two of the large jaws, and those other two of the plain and the fair faces, trod with stir enough, and carried their divine rights with a high hand. Thus did the year one thousand seven hundred and seventy-five conduct their Greatnesses, and myriads of small creatures—the creatures of this chronicle among the rest—along the roads that lay before them.