The US Federal Trade Commission’s illegitimate but official mission statement is:
To prevent business practices that are anticompetitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers; to enhance informed consumer choice and public understanding of the competitive process; and to accomplish this without unduly burdening legitimate business activity.
In an updated view of this mandate, the FTC is ordering that all advertising images that “promote, proposition, induce, or inculcate a false, misleading, and harmful positive view of commerce, travel, and recreation” be affixed with a suitable warning label. Cigarettes and alcohol have received this “truth-in-advertisting” legal requirement, but with climate catastrophe a certain consequence of collective human activity, the FTC has recognized that the two large-scale vices were but a tip of the collapsing iceberg.
The FAQ section illustrates the new initiatives with selected examples .
1. Artful, high-gloss full color scenes of cobalt-blue seas in the ocean seas for ocean cruise lines must contain the warning label “The seas depicted in the photo do not show the islands of plastic deoxygneated dead zones that your carbon-intensive leisure travel will amplify, and may indeed pass through on your way to favored Caribbean isles that were victims of your elected government’s support of capitalist imperialism.”
2. Sweeping expanses of glorious milk-white powder, advertising heli-ski packages, will have to be accompanied by a label “Skiing on the rapidly warming mountains is only possible through intensive energy-wasting travel to, during, and from your precious helicopter ascents, and your embrace of these technologies of global warming exacerbation is going to kill untold amounts of wildlife both on and off these mountains, as well guaranteeing the deaths of millions of your fellow humans, leading to an unlivable world for the remnants of humanity in your children’s generation.”
3. Gorgeous nature photography advertising some wholly unconnected, nature-stealing consumer gewgaw will be mandated to warn, in black-and-white text : “Buying useless products made far away from the buyer leads to immediate degradation and immiseration of the host country’s poor peoples, and has been proven to only to depression, familial stress, and lost human potential in the buyer. The scenes of nature depicted in this advertisement are irredeemably false – nature has been killed, both in promise and actuality.”
A few industries do not need this kind of governmental intervention to “enhance consumer choice,” having already made the switch to a truth-based marketing strategy. Pop music once featured ditty-paeans to the glories of unspoiled, transcendent, “sacred” nature, swooning the strings with lyrics basking in the alleged purity of the “outside” world. This is over – there are no more hits with that kind of casuistry. Nature is being killed in breadth and detail, tooth, claw, and progeny. The foul air, the water crises, extinct and endangered animals, blasts of overtopping floods, frackquackes, noise pollution and vanishing resources have been absorbed in toto by today’s pop tunesmiths, none of whom have the slightest acquaintance with a sojourn into bountiful, peaceful nature, so they are writing about bling, unrequited cell phone conversations for overweight girls, and some other cell phone-related problems.
Litigation is currently being taken by the FTC against the US higher education complex. The industry has appealed the universal label now applied to all its brochures: “Believing that your life will be substantially improved from going into lifelong student debt to get a near useless degree has been shown to lead inner-directed feelings of shame, despair, and family strife.” The industry’s defense: who in their right mind believes anything any company or institution claims these days? Take one look outside: you think anyone believes a word of corporate swill-propaganda? One judge”s ruling: Caveat emptor – buy whatever you want, it’s all harmful.