Archive for Monday, September 23, 2013

25 years ago: Consumer advocate urges KU audience to use critical thinking

September 23, 2013


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Sept. 23, 1988:

Don't abandon critical thinking. That was the kernel of the message from consumer advocate Ralph Nader as he spoke to a packed house this week at Kansas University. "The function of advertising is to get you to drop your critical capacity and trust the seller," Nader told the crowd of more than 700 listeners at the Kansas Union Ballroom. Trusting the seller of a product, whether it was a brand of food or a political candidate, allowed the seller, not the consumer, to set the standards of what is desirable in a product, which was not necessarily the same as the best thing for the consumer, Nader explained. Using food as an example, he said that the purpose of advertising was "to turn your tongue against your brain.... It wants to make you want to buy food that's easy to chew, so-called tasty until it gets past the base of your tongue." In the case of politicians, he said, their job was to feed the public a good-tasting, easily-digestible story while making you oblivious to the reality of current happenings.


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