Thursday, April 6


More ranting about ads: I opened my New Yorker to find an ad that I at first thought was a parody, it was so ridiculous: Warning readers against eating whales and then suggesting that's the only way you'd need to worry about getting too much mercury, the ad has no brand or affilliation attached to it - it only directs readers to a site that I thought was the joke's tipoff:

But no, the people behind this (who - surprise! - turn out to be Philip-Morris-funded Rick Berman and deadly-food-industry cohorts once again) think FISHSCAM is a good brand-name for their attempt to bat away the mountain of documentation showing the dangers of mercury in a wide variety of fatty fishes. Yes, that's "fishes," not, ahem, "whales."

The site's name and the fact that their entire campaign is built around a 'straw mammal' argument are funny enough. What's funnier still is their annotated enemies list. Usually Berman is content to simply trump up any flaws he can find in a given organization, but here they have to be tied to the reckless claims the organizations have made about fish-eating. And as you read down the page, eventually, despite Berman's attempts to rebut them, the sheer number and variety of attacks on the healthfulness of fish from divergent sources suggest not some fearmongering conspiracy but a panoply of reasons, some more compelling than others, why fish should not by any rational measure be considered a "health food."

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