How to Become a Federal Criminal by Mike Chase

How to Become a Federal Criminal by Mike Chase

Author:Mike Chase
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: Atria Books

It Has Bubbles (if It Doesn’t)

Another statute, 26 U.S.C. § 5662, makes it a crime to represent “any still wine to be an effervescent wine or a substitute for an effervescent wine.” Unlike the much snootier labeling rules that prohibit calling wine “champagne” if it’s not actually from the Champagne district of France, this statute addresses what really matters: it makes it a federal crime for a wine seller to lie about whether their wine has bubbles.

Subliminally Advertise Alcohol

In 1976, the Senate Subcommittee on Alcoholism and Narcotics held two days of hearings on the effects of liquor advertising on public health. The goal was to figure out what, if anything, the government could do to prevent alcoholism by regulating liquor ads. The committee heard testimony from psychologists, federal officials, and even former L.A. Dodgers pitcher Don “Newk” Newcombe.

But then there was Wilson Bryan Key. Dr. Key had recently authored Subliminal Seduction, a book that sought to reveal how advertisers had been secretly manipulating consumers and polluting their minds with hidden images of sex acts, sex organs, and even the word “sex” itself. All of this, Key claimed, was to subconsciously seduce consumers into buying things like liquor and cigarettes by appealing to their sexual desires.

To prove it, Key put on a slide show for the senators. He explained to them how a photo of a bottle neck was actually a penis, a pair of fingers were really testicles, and if you looked close enough, you could see the word “S-E-X” hidden in ice cubes, even if you had to squint a little. But it wasn’t all sexual. Key also insisted that scenes of male castration and death were being hidden in ads, not to turn people on, but to subconsciously terrify them into purchasing liquor.

The problem with Key’s testimony was that even after an entire slideshow of death and genitalia, the senators still didn’t see the things he saw:

SENATOR WILLIAMS: Quite frankly, in the ice cube I consciously found no assault upon my conscious perception.

Undeterred, Dr. Key pleaded with Senator Williams:

DR. KEY: Did you see the first one? I would be delighted to run again for you the Johnny [sic] Walker Black Label ad that included the castrated penis and the skulls.

But Senator Williams had seen enough castrated penises for one day. He responded:

SENATOR WILLIAMS: Yes. I did see it, and I saw the other ads. I never, however, saw this content, but that again is something you are suggesting we do not consciously see.


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