Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Rebel Sell-inspired Question

This Magazine Staff

Okay, actually this question was inspired by a review I read of The Rebel Sell, in Vancouver-based website The Tyee (I haven’t started reading the book… yet):
When I see those trucks whose sole purpose is to drive around city streets with massive billboards on the back, I want to scream. According to the Tyee summary of Potter and Heath’s position in The Rebel Sell, my best course of action to voice my disapproval would not be to phone or write the advertiser in question (I’ve seen Lifestyles condoms and Ft. Lauderdale Tourism advertised, among others) and lodge a complaint, but to lobby governments to find appropriate measures to clamp down on these ads. Is that an accurate interpretation?
If so, I don’t see how little ol’ me has any chance of swaying Big Government, unless I join a political party and go through the established channels to bring my cause onto the party’s platform. I’m just one citizen: surely my complaint will register more with the advertiser (who directly determines if Mr. Stinky Dirty Truck Driver can stay in business) than with the government (who might impose a tax on the ads and might use that tax money to fund clean-air initiatives… eventually — but won’t take the guy off the road). I’m especially discouraged that all my political lobbying would probably be undone by the deep pockets of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, or the tax would probably be struck down by the WTO, or some other massive, pro-business, fuck-the-environment special interest group would block such a lobby.
Dammit, this is complex stuff. So, Andrew Potter the author, what is my best course of action?

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