David Mitchell: “I’m arguing for cynicism”

Ultimately I’m arguing for cynicism. We should at least try to withhold our emotions from the corporations we trade with. They don’t deserve our fondness, our hatred or, crucially, our trust. Let’s save all that for people. It would solve a lot of problems: we wouldn’t need to ban confectionery commercials, or repackage Harvey’s Bristol Cream with a big picture of cirrhosis on it, because we’d already suspect products’ claims. We’d stop assuming that everything was safe unless marked “dangerous”.


Excellent article by David Mitchell in today’s new-shape Observer, where the comedian argues that we wouldn’t need so much government intervention into advertising if we were all a bit more clued up as to the motives of corporations.

It’s a good, and not at all anti-capitalist, argument. The success of any market is predicated on the awareness of consumers to make informed choices.

Advertising should inform not deceive. A misinformed consumer will make ill-judged decisions and bad products will succeed.


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