Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Episode 26: Dear Jesse

Play now!

Sometimes you just have to move the schedule up a tick to take advantage of current events. In Episode 26: Dear Jesse, I've decided to turn twenty-plus minutes of Attack Ads! into an open letter to Canadaland creator and host Jesse Brown in an attempt to plead the Attack Ads! case for creating a zero-ads environment for those that feel the need to create one for themselves. It's perfect timing, given his crowd-funding drive and the decisions about the future of his podcast and all that.

A wonderful cartoon that accompanied
J. C. McQuiston's Radio News article in 1922.

The content with both Herbert Hoover's comments and J. C. McQuiston's article from 1922 came from Tim Wu's book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires (Random House, 2010, p. 74 for the Hoover quotes); I found Mr. McQuiston's article online. The later 1934 and 1935 quotes in connection with the Federal Communications Commission hearings also came from Mr. Wu's book, but can be found (in a poorly scanned OCR format, sadly) in a publication called "Education in Radio" from 1935.

Music over the '30s quotes comes from Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra doing "That's A'Plenty". Ga'an soon thereafter does "Living Tribunal."


  1. That was probably your best episode yet!

    It's kind of mind-boggling just how far the window on that issue has moved. The previous view was that commercial advertising in the home (at least the audible kind not contained to the pages of a newspaper or magazine) was obnoxious. Now, advertising directly targeted at children, the sort that explicitly tries to turn children against their parents ("pester power") and against one another (emphasizing any division based on age or gender, and really playing up the status competition of having the best toys) is considered a fair trade for a few hours of keeping the kids entertained. TV is such a draw to kids compared to playing outside. Of course, children nowadays often aren't given the freedom to do anything interesting outside. Parents are too afraid to let them, in part due to all the alarming stories promoted to pull the eyeballs to the 24-hour news. (Exactly how direct is that cycle of perverse incentives? I'm suddenly even more horrified than I was at the start of writing this comment.)

    1. My best yet?! Thanks once again, Kind Sir.

      And yes, those darned kids. I was one of them, of course, glued to the screen, and forced to go outside only on threat of consequences. In my youth, though, the neighbors would not call the police if they saw me unaccompanied by an adult one block from a play field which is ten blocks from the child's home.

      This is going to sound a bit "old man" like, but I walked the same distance to the end of our driveway every day just to get to the bus stop for school. Today? I pass school bus stops half filled with kids and half filled with escorting adults; and those are the lucky kids who get to interact with someone their own age, rather than be limosined to their schools by mom or dad personally.

      I believe you're right. A falling quality of news—driven into decline by many factors, chief among them right now the decline in their revenues from ads—forces a news agency to play up the "if it bleeds, it leads" news selection and to run especially egregious and disturbing stories until the 24 hour cycle ends, which it never does.

      Talk about perverse incentives, now I have to try to figure out how to top this episode. Thanks again, nonetheless!