Letter: Ancient Trickery

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Letter to the Editor

Marketers have long relied on emotional triggers to motivate would-be buyers to take action. For example, they claim that a car will make you look and feel successful or a skin cream will make you feel young again. The same holds true for political marketers when they claim, “it’s for the children,” “it’s for the poor people” or “it’s for the environment.” 

Expressions like these are designed to reach past our logical cerebral cortex and into the limbic, emotional part of our brain. Strong emotion can trump logic. These emotional triggers are also used to mask intentions or distract. For example, Greenland is a country that was named to evoke a positive emotional response in needed immigrants, as opposed to Iceland, which may have been originally named to keep visitors away and to keep its natural beauty a secret.

Those behind the naming of Greenland would be proud of the Whole Foods and the Park project for lacing emotional triggers throughout their campaign to build yet another shopping center (mini-mall?) in our small town of 13,000 right next to the last shopping center sold by the same applicant. Even the Webster Elementary School PTA bit the hook and has waded into the commercial shopping center endorsement because they have been promised a place for their kids to play in the dirt (It’s for the children!) in conjunction with an inner-city school (It’s for the poor people!) and a place to grow organic foods (It’s for the environment!). A shopping center is a steep price for our town to pay for modest objectives more appropriate for the Webster playground area. 

“Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts” is an ancient admonition from the story of the Trojan horse that brought down Troy by tricking the easily distracted into opening their gates to the enemy. During his Jedi training, Luke Skywalker asked Yoda, “Is the Dark Side stronger?” to which Yoda replied, “No. Just more seductive.”

From everything I have read, there is no Whole Foods commitment. It is a Trojan horse. Trickery and deception is as old as time. 

Man your post, Malibu residents. The enemy is at the gate.

Rick Mullen