Allowing Strangers Into Your Bedroom

You wouldn't allow strangers in your bedroom, and yet you do most every day of your adult life. The bedroom of your mind in which high-paid strangers calculate every wonder, wish and whim hiding there. Ever since Vance Packard's 1950's 'Hidden Persuaders' to this year's 'Mad Men,' we've been warned how those-who-want-to-sell-us first make sure they know-everything-about-us.

It's one of the games built into a free enterprise system, but a game played for deadly keeps. In every venue from the way your supermarkets lay out their ailes and shelves, to how political strategists calculate their candidate's ads and punchlines, to the way networks pick and package your next 'idol,' and certainly to how generals plan and execute their biggest campaigns. First you get inside your target's mind, then you play to their weaknesses.

Our biggest weakness is, of course, that we assume we have none!

It's the cock-sure quarterback who's sure his eyes never betray his moves... the teenie-bopper who could never imagine her latest young god and goddess was manufactured by fat old CEOs in New York...the gym's Adonises who are confident bulking up like this will mean the sexual fantasies spun in their workout magazines....oh, and it's also the punk in the hood who will never believe that someday even he will have to outgrow a gang in the adult world.

As we enter the last stages of the 2012 presidential campaign, we get a chance to see just how the bedrooms of more than a hundred million minds will prove once again what Will Rogers chuckled during the Great Depression: "Everybody wants the best man to win, only the best man never runs.,..!"

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