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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Soapbox Rant



I did several things in high school that have stood me in good stead as an adult.  Law 11, was one.  Office Practices (where I learned how to do double entry bookkeeping) was another.  And interestingly, English 12 where I learned how to read for editorial slant.

Editorial slant doesn't just apply to editorials in newspapers and magazines (or verbally on talk shows), but also to advertising.

We were taught to identify emotional trigger words and meaningless claims such as 'more doctors recommend Camels'.  More doctors than what, plumbers?  :-/

As for emotional trigger words, how about that lovely advertising chestnut 'anti-microbial'?

North American media has focussed on our fears and amplified them by touting things like disinfectants and anti-microbial soaps.  (Don't get me started on scented products!)

We have been encouraged to buy (usually expensive) anti-microbial this and anti-microbial that with the end result that we are breeding super bugs.  We learn to deal with adversity by dealing with adversity and our immune systems are being so overly protected from bugs/germs that our immune systems don't know what to do when they encounter diseases.

So when the new bamboo rayon yarns first came on the market with claims of being anti-microbial, I dismissed that information as being irrelevant as to why I might choose to work with that particular yarn.  Industry does not include that feature in its standard testing for fibre characteristics, so I didn't include anything about it in A Good Yarn: Rayon.  So far as I can discover, rayon - from whatever source - is no more nor any less anti-microbial than any other cellulose fibre.

When shopping for any product, try to filter out the emotional trigger words and focus on what is proven and pertinent to your choice.

Stepping off my soapbox now...


9 comments:

Alice said...

A fascinating post. I think we must have had the same high school teacher.

charlotte said...

Very interesting post, I'll be looking for the emotional trigger words! I wishe I'd learned about double bookkeeping in school, I had to learn it the hard way when starting my own business.

digitalgardener said...

Good point about emotional trigger words - sometimes it feels like we're being guilted out when we just wanted to buy a bottle of dish soap. Can't remember where I first heard it, but I love the phrase "you'll eat a peck of dirt before you die". I'm well past the age when I worry about a few microbes in my dinner. The towel in your post is lovely!

Sue said...

I have long said that I believe in challenging my immune system on a regular basis. No anti-microbial soap here! Farm kids rarely get sick like city kids do, because they get exposed to real dirt on a daily basis.

Laura said...

We shepherds (and former shepherds, as I am) say that if every kid left the hospital with a chocolate covered sheep turd in their mouth, we would all be a whole lot better off, immunity-wise. I don't use the anti-microbial stuff, and regularly forget to wash my hands before eating after coming in from doing chores. I'm pretty healthy.

I'll share space with you on my soapbox anytime!!

Deanna said...

My son told me the main ingredient in hand sanitizer is paranoia.

Brenda said...

This is the sound of me applauding.

Willington Weaver said...

Well sad, Laura! This has been "bugging" me for a long time. None of the characteristics of growing bamboo can still be present in the yarn after its vigorous processing.

Nancy C said...

OMG! You know, ANY good soap will kill all the germs you need to kill! Advertisers like to convince us that we "need" something or other!
I have recently managed to convert my cooking and cleaning to mostly "organic" methods-for lack of a better word for banishing processed foods, knowing the sources of my meat, dairy and produce and getting as many chemicals out of my cleaning as poss. About the only thing I still allow in is bleach....(mostly for is disinfectant properties, as I have some careless doggies.) Guess I'm actually meaning that I am trying to get as many toxins out of here as possible...without obsessing, since I still chow down at Burger King, just not too frequently.