Welcome to Oversold

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April 16, 2013 by Tamara Piety

This is a blog that I decided to start to discuss issues of commercial speech, media, culture and law, as well as other miscellaneous issues related to law and legal education. I had some experience blogging as a guest for The Conglomerate and for The Faculty Lounge and it made me decide that I would like my own blog, one that allowed me to focus on those issues that were of interest to me (and I hope to others). I am calling it “oversold” because I think this term describes a number of concepts that we have been encouraged to accept in this culture which contribute to a multitude of ills – that advertising is mostly a benign or positive influence in society, that disposition and choice are the most powerful explanations for behavior, that human beings are fundamentally “in control” of these choices, that the market or that private actors invariably do a better job of allocating goods and services and distributing wealth, that every good can be reduced to an economic value or commodified – and perhaps a host of others. I want to question some of these assumptions. In particular, I want to contest the notion that marketing and advertising ought to receive full First Amendment protection. I wrote a whole book on this one. http://www.press.umich.edu/script/press/291038. While I think many of these propositions may be true to some extent, some of the time I think perhaps we have been “oversold” on their virtues. Hence the title of the blog. To be “oversold” is to “3. To present with excessive or unwarranted enthusiasm; overpraise.”


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