Wallowing in the past

We like to think that we are immune to propaganda. Yes, other feeble-minded individuals may allow their attitudes to be shaped by the media and their surroundings, but we’re sure that we are far too smart for that.

In 1975, John Cleese savagely satirized British attitudes to Germany, in the classic Fawlty Towers episode The Germans. After a blow to the head, hotel proprietor Basil Fawlty loses his ability to self-censor. While taking a dinner order from some German guests, he proceeds to blurt out the names of Nazis; eventually he descends into xenophobic ranting.

The sad thing is that after 30 more years, nothing much has changed.

Cigarette companies—is there anything they won’t do? (again)

According to the UK’s Sunday Times, tobacco companies are launching a new line of mint tobacco candies, each containing as much nicotine as a cigarette. The tobacco company says that they will be selling the candy in a “child-resistant” bubble pack, and that sale to people under 18 will be prohibited. Uh-huh.