When self-righteous people—in government and business—make self-righteous statements that have a total disregard for the truth, my teeth itch. These last two weeks have been a field day for folks who have what Hemingway called a “built-in, shockproof s**t detector.” An example is President Bush’s lecture and scold to the World Economic Forum on the Middle East at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, four days ago. He said: Too often in the Middle East, politics has consisted of one leader in power and the opposition in jail. America is deeply concerned about the plight of political prisoners in this region, as well as democratic activists
Being an advertising junkie, I am fascinated by very good ads for bad products and very bad ads for good products. The full-page, black-and-white ad on page 33 of the front section of The New York Times this past Thanksgiving morning stopped me cold—the publication announcement of what’s probably a very great, limited edition book. When you are spending $121,500 for a full-page ad in The New York Times to reach 1.09 million readers, it probably makes more sense to slavishly follow the rules of advertising than to break them all, and raise more questions in the reader’s mind than to provide answers.