Recently, George W. Bush made a
humungous blunder. Not only does the man seem incapable of pronouncing
words like "subliminable" -- no, wait, "subliminable" --
now he's got me doing it! Subliminal! Not only is he seemingly
incapable of saying that word, but he is also making his campaign vulnerable
to accusations of...you guessed it...conspiracy.
A tape of George W. practicing for his
upcoming debate with Gore somehow ended up in the hands of a Democratic Party
campaign boss. It was a tape that should never have been anywhere near
the other side; it's like sending your enemy the plans for your next attack on
their forces. The campaign boss
supposedly sent it to his lawyer, who then arranged for sending the tape back
to Bush's camp.
That's just one wrinkle.
Earlier in the week, a writer with Vanity
Fair claimed that Bush had dyslexia. This seemed a perfectly reasonable
explanation for his mistake, though I personally don't buy it. Bush now
denies he ever "interviewed her," making another obvious mistake
that can't be explained by a reading disorder (most of the time, candidates
are the ones being interviewed).
That's the second wrinkle.
The third is a commercial that Bush's
people ran for only a short time. It was an attack ad that talked about
democrats and bureaucrats, and flashed the word RATS on the screen long
enough for the word to be subliminally implanted in the viewer's brain.
The result of this, according to experts, is that the viewer associates
bureaucrats and democrats with rats.
But the value of subliminal communication
is hotly debated. Like many things we write about on The Skeptic Report,
there is just no evidence that subliminal advertising has any effect at
To quote the Skeptic
Dictionary's entry on Subliminal
Unfortunately, "...years of research
has resulted in the demonstration of some very limited effects of subliminal
stimulation" and no support for its efficaciousness in behavior
modification (Hines, 312).
We'll let that be the last word on the
subliminal controversy. If Bush's camp was really trying that hard to
influence peoples' minds, you'd think they would be able to improve the