DO WE THINK OF MOBILITY AND FLEXIBILITY AS PHYSICAL PHENOMENA? OR, ARE THEY MENTAL AND SPIRITUAL ENDOWMENTS?

TOWARD A CHANCE-FREE LIFE EXPECTANCY

ADVERTISING PLAYS A USEFUL ROLE in connecting customers with products and services. But if you were to do a "reverse TiVo" this evening—recording a program-free string of commercials, instead of vice versa—you might think that Americans, and especially the country's older generations, live in a very risky world. Thirty-second spots for auto insurance project the likelihood of accidents. Some investment service ads predict untimely death. Cosmetics advertising plays on chances for recapturing lost youth.

Prescription drug ads push even more fear-of-frailty buttons—mental images of weakening bones and painful joints, deficient hormones and balky bowels, and unsavory scenarios for just about every other organ and bodily system. All because—so goes the underlying theme—we grow more vulnerable as we grow older.

This is the end of the issue. Ready to explore further?
March 5, 2007
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