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Posted January 2, 2006
Quick -- the paregoric! No, wait -- mercurochrome!
Just got this book as a Christmas gift and read it on a long flight. Flight attendant stopped by, looking concerned, as I was crying silently, my hand over my face, and shaking uncontrollably. Reassured her that I was fine, but I had to stop reading for a while. Having grown up in the '50's and '60's, I recognized many of the bizarre illustrations and earnest advice promulgated by the authentic ads and articles captured in this book. This ridiculous propaganda was sold to unsuspecting and impressionable young parents as hard truth, with shameful consequences sure to follow if the products were not purchased immediately and the rules adhered to religiously. James Lileks' commentary is dead-on and hysterically funny, exposing this claptrap for what it really was. I cannot wait to show it to my mother, who, as a young new parent, blindly bought into this stuff. She is still apologizing for using stuff like 'Thum' (with capsicum, no less!) to break her firstborn's thumb-sucking habit. I'm hoping that seeing this material presented in Lileks' masterful framework will help put her mind at ease. (You were brainwashed, Ma! Let it go!) This book will appeal to many audiences, but especially those from the Depression through the Boomers generations, as well as modern advertising professionals of all ages. Highly entertaining!
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Posted January 6, 2010
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