Flashbacks: June 23, 2006

The Boston Phoenix has been covering the trends and events that shape our times since 1966.
By EDITORIAL  |  June 21, 2006

Herbal essence | 5 years ago | June 22, 2001 | Tinker Ready looked at the medicinal practices of Cambodian immigrants.
“Don’t expect to find chamomile or kava root in the plastic bags and brown-paper packages on sale at the Oriental Culture Institute in Lowell. The herbs in the tiny Cambodian shop look more like sticks and bark than pretty yellow flowers. But if you’re looking for dried snakes or gecko skin, you’ll find those in the glass case by the door.

“Down the road at the Trairatanaram Temple in North Chelmsford, Sary Chhoeun sits on the floor behind an elderly Buddhist nun. Leaning into the older woman, Chhoeun repeatedly scrapes a copper coin along the nun’s bare back, creating long, red bruises along the lines of her ribs. Chhoeun explains that she’s ‘coining’ the nun to treat her upset stomach.

“Twenty years after fleeing their troubled homeland, Cambodian immigrants in Massachusetts still turn to traditional healing when they feel ill. Sometimes that means an herbal steam to clear up a head cold. Other times it means a trip to the temple, where Buddhist monks ward off bad karma. For these immigrants, traditional medicine represents more than healing; it is an enduring link to the lives they left behind.”

Bottle rocket | 10 years ago | June 21, 1996 | Harvey Silverglate discussed a proposed ban on booze ads.
“Representative Joseph Kennedy II just wants them to be quiet. For decades, liquor companies in this country have voluntarily refrained from advertising distilled spirits on television. A few weeks ago, though, the Seagram company announced plans to launch an ad campaign on a local station in Corpus Christi, Texas. 

“In the uproar that followed, Kennedy introduced legislation that would ban most alcohol ads on TV from 7 am until 10 pm, eliminate a tax deduction for alcohol advertising, and require health warnings in the ads. The major TV networks said they would not accept any ads for distilled spirits, but local affiliated stations are taking a different position and the ads for Seagram have already opened on the air. Others will, no doubt, follow soon …

“The options are stark: government will have to either ban the manufacture and sale of these products entirely — a move that failed in the 1920s with alcohol prohibition and is failing now with the prohibition of narcotic and hallucinogenic drugs — or fight advertising with more speech rather than less.

“The latter option is more promising than one might think. … From the 1960s until it was repealed during the Reagan Administration, broadcasters had to follow what was known as the Fairness Doctrine, a rule promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Under the Fairness Doctrine, a station was obliged to grant, without charge, equal time to an opposing point of view whenever the station broadcast a position on a controversial public issue.  In 1968, things took a strange turn: the Court of Appeals in Washington ruled that cigarette advertising was controversial speech on a public issue, according to the FCC’s rule.  Hence, broadcasters had to provide equal time, for free, to anti-smoking messages.  The anti-smoking messages, it turned out, were extraordinarily effective — more effective than the cigarette advertising itself.  The smoking rate among Americans began to plummet.

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Related: Pierre et Gilles: Double je, 1976–2007 by Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard, How it feels to be something (back) on, Fear itself, More more >
  Topics: Flashbacks , Robert F. Kennedy, Boston University, Health Care Issues,  More more >
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