July 11, 2013 by Tamara Piety
Came across this the other day in the New York Times, “Generic Pain Relievers Work, So Why Do I Give My Kids Brand Names?”
Why indeed? Could it possibly be the influence of non-stop advertising intended to convey the vague impression that the brand is safer or better or different in some way?
Many of the comments are brutally dismissive of the author’s question, haughtily asserting their superiority in always buying generic, thereby reinforcing the well-known consumer tendency to believe that one is immune to advertising. (Don’t worry folks. You may not be “fooled” on brand name versus generic but you can rest assured that you’ve been “had” somewhere.) And it is not as silly a question as it might appear on its face because, as some of the comments reflect, there may well be counterfeiting and hence safety issues with generics that the FDA does not have the staff to monitor. And sometimes there is an issue over whether you can sue the maker of a generic as this article on Pharmalot discusses. So the question isn’t as silly as it sounded to some readers.
That said, this piece is interesting for another reason. This column is a regular blog entitled “The Motherlode: Adventures in Parenting.” The author of this particular piece, Hope Reeves, isn’t the lead blogger on the blog. That is someone named K.J. Dell’Antonia who lists as her background having been a corporate lawyer. I can’t believe that someone who was a corporate lawyer has given that up for the sort of inane material in this column. Well, okay. Maybe you’d give up the practice of corporate law to do a lot of things. That practice is not for everyone and it sure ain’t curing cancer.
But how does being a corporate lawyer qualify you to be an expert in parenting advice? The short answer is that it doesn’t particularly. That is not to say that this might not ordinarily be a good column. But it does seem to reflect the attitudes of a particular class of parent and universalize their concerns and how they perform parenting or what constitutes good parenting.
It might be useful to cross reference this with the article about how so many women don’t want “the corner office.” See my earlier post More push back on Sheryl Sandberg.
Apparently women are giving up the corner office to write columns like this. That is a little depressing.
NOTE: This is cross-posted on feministlawprofessors