|Part 4||World of Things|
Because success is so overwhelmingly important, there is
always a tendency for the rule-abiding majority to be
pushed toward more and more questionable practices by the
ingenious or unscrupulous minority. There is little
sympathy, and less support, for a failure whose failure
is due to a self-righteous refusal to follow a prevailing
People have little use for a man who squeals because another has been smarter than he. Business competition is regulated by temporary rules, rather than by permanent ethical principles.
The public falls more into the category of things, of raw material, than
into that of human beings. Continuing the mineral analogy, the purchasing
power has to be extracted from the consuming public, as though it were
silver being extracted from the baser ore.|
To achieve this efficiently the public is assayed and
analyzed, using the increasingly refined techniques of
market research. Once the possible yield has been
determined, any device for flattering, cajoling, or
bamboozling the public into yielding up its purchasing
power is legitimate.
The devices of advertising demonstrate a consistent and profound contempt for the public on the part of the advertisers and their employers. In the distorting mirror of advertising copy and TV commercials the public is shown to itself as naïve and puerile, driven by lust and greed and fear, without judgment or intellectual curiosity.
|For the producer the consumer is never an equal or near equal; fooling the public, "pulling one over" on the consumer, is an act of which nobody need be ashamed; indeed it is a proper subject for boasting.|
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE,|
a study in national character, by Geoffrey Gorer,
W.W.Norton & Company, NY
Copyright © 1948 and 1964