“This product is not designed to protect, prevent, cure….”
And so it goes. You can find this disclaimer following any number of non-FDA approved, but widely advertised products. While I was thinking about the gullibility, mostly political, of Americans, this phrase hit me like a piece of lumber. “Didn’t the announcer just tell me how wonderful these drops/bars/candies/capsules would be for my brain, my knees, my throat, my longevity? If I were to take them wouldn’t it stand to reason that I thought there was something wrong with me to cause a perceived need for them? Otherwise what would make me reach for them on the shelf? Seemingly a rational decision–So I do, somehow believing that they/it will, and not believing or hearing that part about it isn’t designed to make me better. Might. But luck plays more a factor, or hope, than medicine. So just like I think the next card from the croupier will give me black jack, I pay the cashier, open the package, ingest the product and hope for the best. The odds are about the same…
Then there are those disclaimers that are speedier than the old Speedy Alka-Seltzer. After the listener is told they will live longer, live better, stand taller, comes a soft, rapid disclaimer that tells you taking the product may just kill you, or destroy your liver, impair your brain, make your left arm fall off. And somewhere in there is the sagacious warning that if you’re allergic to the product or anything in the product not to take it. Huh? How do I know that until it’s too late? I have to give that one a bit more thought.
Now let’s turn to what we hear politically. It is estimated by “generally accepted as competent” news sources in America that the President of the United States has told a stupendous number of lies and made a stupendous number of incorrect statements in his slightly more than a year in office. Counting those made during the campaign, the number is as high as the new national debt–or seems so. And it seems to be catching. Almost every cabinet official or high ranking appointee seems to have caught this illness. They must be taking those pills that are not designed to prevent….
Just the other day the new-ish director of Homeland Security, someone tasked to know pretty much everything about every nation in the world, said she didn’t know if Norway was a mostly white country. Good grief. Then two days ago the old director of Homeland Security, also a once-upon-a-time four star Marine general, said a guy on his staff whose wife produced a picture of her with a black eye, courtesy of this staff aide, was a wonderful sort. Then he accepted his resignation, called a staff meeting, and told his staff that 40 minutes from the time he heard the real story the guy was gone. This leads us to wonder if he did not consider it “the real story” before the guy was appointed when the FBI in its background check pointed out he was a wife beater.
The very next day another schlemiel resigns. Also a wife beater. Also reported to the chief of staff in the FBI back ground check. Also about six months ago.
My bride keeps looking at me and asking, “how do these people get away with these lies? “What in the world is going on here (–or there, depending on where you are reading this?).” She should know better. A professional early childhood educator and former elementary school teacher, as well as an administrator, and someone who has lived longed enough to just to know–human beings lie, a lot. It is a truism known by every law enforcement agent and prosecutor. That’s why they endeavor to know and be able to prove the answers to questions before they answer them.
Once upon a time a time we blamed everything on the Bossa Nova. I’m now more prone to placing the blame more on the unquestioning faith in anything said by someone who one wants to believe. It comes, I believe, from our commercial culture or better said, our culture of commercials. Even though we know the answer to the question of “would they say it if it weren’t true?” or “Would it be on television if it weren’t true?” we want to believe it, so we do. We know magic is illusion but… Well much of what we are told is the truth is too–illusion, that is.
Stay tuned because in the next week or so we’ll take a deeper look at this going back to the seemingly immortal Betty White, the now known to be mortal Ronald Reagan, and the so many others who pulled the wool over our eyes with product pitches, made millions doing it, and got our thanks as well. They also set us up for believing people like the director of homeland security when she looks straight into the camera and tells us she doesn’t know if Norway is mostly white. C’mon!
Hang on tight. This is going to be a fun ride.