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    Odds and ends

    A friend who read the post below about licensing fortunetellers reminded me that the classic protectionist-licensing story remains that of African braiders. For those who haven’t seen it discussed on a news program or in Virginia Postrel’s The Future and Its Enemies, the Institute for Justice website has a rundown.

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    I’m still making my way through Brink Lindsey’s most recent book, but he’s revived his blog and has a bunch of terrific posts about advertisements. For me the standouts are the pre-PC Jello commercial, apparently narrated by Charlie Chan, and the compilation of TV cigarette commercials. I was born in ’72; I don’t remember cigarette advertising on television. But I do remember being a child when lots of people smoked–there were ashtrays everywhere to accommodate them, and it wasn’t regarded as a big deal. Lindsey says, “Also, isn’t there a powerful illicit thrill–in our current age when smoking is the new leprosy–in watching these folks happily taking in big lungfuls of carcinogens?” Yes, there is. From our perspective now, the ads practically feel pornographic.

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    Not surprisingly, Minister of Defense Fumio Kyuma has been brought sharply back into line by Prime Minister Abe:

    During a meeting of about ten minutes, the prime minister told Kyuma, “Japan is the only country to suffer a nuclear strike, and we must think of the feelings of the bombing victims in Nagasaki and Hiroshima, who suffered horribly. We mustn’t hurt their feelings.”

    Especially with an election coming up.

    2 Responses to “Odds and ends”

    1. I can just remember cigarette advertising on tv, as I was born in 1963. Then they made a big deal about banning it back in the 70s — so ambivalence about tobacco in the US isn’t a new thing. But the magazine adverts never went away. They still haven’t.

    2. Sean Kinsell says:

      I know you still see cigarette ads in magazines, but the recent ones tend to be of people doing fun things that are only tangentially related to smoking. They don’t show stills of people with their eyes half-closed in ecstasy while taking a long, luxurious drag. I mean, unless I’m missing some.

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