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Madison Avenue

by Dr. David Fialk, Editor / Publisher

When I was a kid, Tide and Fab were locked in an advertising war. Not able to attribute any actual advantage to their brand of laundry detergent, none-the-less, there they were, interrupting my favorite television programming every 20 or 30 minutes with clips of smiling moms gazing admiringly at formerly grass-stained britches. Advertising works. We all tend to buy, or buy into, the loudest, most frequent message.

This is why the political candidate who spends the most money usually wins - "For [federal] House seats, more than 90 percent of candidates who spend the most win." - But in researching this phenomenon I came across a study from Yale that seemed to say the opposite. Its title was "Political ads have little persuasive power." However, reading past the headline, I discovered that this Yale study was about the power of one viewing of one single political ad to change someone's mind.

This, in itself, is an example of competing messages: political ads work and political ads don't work; yes and no; Tide and Fab. You pay your money and the choice is made for you, depending on which message you are most frequently, and recently, exposed to. That is, unless you do your due diligence, read up on things and become a better informed consumer or voter.

I had five people over for dinner last Friday night, two couples and an attractive woman, X., who is a relatively new addition to San Miguel, whom I met over dinner a year ago, and immediately lost track of despite giving her my card and offering her employment. Eight months later, four months ago, X. exuberantly greeted me at La Fabica's Art Walk, knowing from my expression that she needed to remind me who she was. There in the Fabrica I got her contact information. Since then, we've gotten together twice, both times for dinner, both times at my house, most recently last Friday night.

One couple brought a green salad. One couple brought an apple torte. While we were eating the salad, the maestro, the conductor of Pro Musica's Youth Orchestra, sitting on my right, asked me what the main course was. When I responded, "My famous chili," he quite logically inquired, "How can it be famous, if I've never heard of it?"

None-the-less, true to my word, there were oohs and ahs as the first forkfuls of chili entered the mouths of those assembled. X., among whose charms is not flattery, cooed her approval: "I love the ginger." Even el maestro acknowledged that the chili was, indeed, famous. The apple torte, in turn, was a great success, a recipe brought from Germany to my table by U., the "better half" of the other couple.

Throughout it all, the conversation was lively and delightful, flowing, yet substantial. Once or twice things threatened to spin out of control, but these spicy exchanges, blended in, made the whole evening more savory. Testimonies around the table and in text messages over the next couple of days, confirmed my strong impression that a good time was had by all who attended.

The salad couple was the first to leave, followed shortly thereafter by the tortistas. X. and I moved into my living room where we talked for another 40 minutes while she finished her bottle of wine. She's easy to talk to, and easy on the eyes, and there, the lights low, with her reclining (some short distance away) sideways across a wide armchair, I could have let the romance of the moment run away with me, but, only recently, I've become too wise for that.

We spoke of X.'s recent visit to the States, during which her father died of what she's sure were complications from the Covid vaccine. While I am unsure of the veracity of such news sources, many articles claim that there have been, and continue to be, a mountain of "excess," non-Covid deaths since the introduction of the vaccine. X. informs me that, boatloads of healthy, young, athletes are dying, some on the field, after receiving their vaccine. I have seen videos clips, but haven't done the research necessary to come to my own conclusion. I did listen to Eric Clapton speak about how the vaccine rendered him unable to play the guitar, his fingertips numbed, for an extended period.

These days, there are a lot of calls to censor disinformation. I, however, recommend applying Buckminster Fuller's famous advice, "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete," in the realm of Free Speech. If you don't like the information, or disinformation, that someone is purveying, then counter it with better facts of your own.

I'm not claiming any expertise when it comes to Covid, climate change, the war in Ukraine or much of anything else, but, call me old-fashioned, I think that points of view that depart from the official narrative ought not be officially suppressed. No legal scholar, I, yet, agree with a lawsuit against the Biden administration, now in the courts, claiming that government censorship is still unconstitutional even when done by proxy.

When the government, which produces a lot of its own disinformation, sets itself up as the censorious arbiter of truth, people lose trust in institutions, and are pushed into the arms of Trump.

Benjamin Franklin said:

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

I'd observe:

Those who give up freedom for safety, wind up both less free and less safe.

Like cheering for the local sports team, or attending a rock concert, Big Tech's algorithm, the artificial intelligence delivering your internet content, keeps those pleasant brain hormones coming your way by making you feel that you belong, reinforcing your opinions by only showing you more similar opinions. I confuse the algorithm by looking at both sides: Tide, then Fab, then Tide, again. Call me old-fashioned, but I don't need or want the artificial intelligence delivering me my hormones.

Last Friday night, when her wine and she were both exhausted I walked X. part of her way home. Towards the end of my accompaniment, just as we were approaching the Ancha, I commented that she seemed "less militant" in the way she expressed her anti-vaxx position. At that, she exploded, taking offense at my having thought her militant. It seemed a particularly awkward, unfair and ungrateful way to end the perfectly wonderful evening that I had produced. But there we were. We walked along silently for a dozen more strides. Then I halted, and we said goodnight, she laughing (at herself?) and drawing me in for a hug.

I've spent my life trying to have emotional relationships with women who were not available for emotional relationships, recapitulating my traumatic relationship with Mom. An embarrassingly short time ago, I would have drunk in X.'s hot and cold treatment like mother's milk. But, like banging my head against a wall (because it feels so good when I stop), I'm done with that emotional roller-coaster. I'll get my feel-good hormones somewhere else. Thank you and goodnight.


Dr. David presents Lokkal, the social network, the prettiest, most-efficient way to see San Miguel online.

Discover Lokkal:
Watch the two-minute video below.
Then, just below that, scroll down through SMA's Community Wall.
Click "Start" to register and post.
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