22. April 2007 · Comments Off on Information management and belief structure · Categories: Issues

Yahoo! Smoking is a hobby

The importance of archiving seeming trivia like advertisements and entertainment materials and the perspective it can give you on how people were inculturated and why they hold the beliefs they do was driven home for me today as I researched the disease emphysema, which I just found out my dad has inflicted upon himself after years of smoking.

I quit two years ago, so am not judgemental — but the voices of young nieces and nephews saying how stupid smoking is and “everyone knows it kills you – why are you doing it?” were echoing in my head.

Then, I found a link to a section of an otherwise puerile satire site with a sampling of cigarette advertisements from my dad’s formative years (the 40s and 50s). I know there’s been a lot of good information about the dangers of cigarette smoking since then, but to my mind it’s really only been given full credence in the past 20 years. Joe Camel notwithstanding.

I’d send you off saying enjoy the trip down memory lane – except for the jaw dropping “scientific research results” presented in some of these ads — and the image of Santa Claus handing out Camels that are bound to make you naseous.

I finish this with an explanation of why I felt the screen shot from Yahoo! was so significant. Click on it and look at the breadcrumb trail to see where Yahoo! felt people were most likely to look for information on smoking. I’m going to assume that this is not a reflection of Yahoo!’s attitude towards the subject. I’m going to assume it is the information management team’s perception of where people would be most likely to look.

To paraphrase a Virginia Slims (the cigarette of feminists and women’s rights advocates) ad, we really haven’t come a long way baby in our attitude towards smoking have we?

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