Bad branding

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Bad branding

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During the 1960s, the U.S. army discovered a new way to store food longer in the field. After being exposed to weak gamma rays, the food could be stored for extended periods, its freshness maintained far longer than before. The newly developed method, called radiation exposure, was designed to sterilize food before it was packed. Unlike earlier chemical treatments, it left no dangerous substances. The World Health Organization classified the process as harmless to human health, and the Food and Drug Administration allowed for food so treated to be provided to school children.

But environmental organizations are still insisting that radiation exposure should be banned. Compulsory regulations have been devised to ensure that the food is labelled with a five-centimeter disclosure, “Food exposed to radiation,” on the package. Consumers recognize it as an indication that they should avoid the food. That is because radiation reminds us of the damage caused by World War II atomic bombs.

However, gamma rays are used far more frequently than generally known in hospitals. Disposable syringes and burn gauze are sterilized with gamma rays. There are many cases where a saline solution for cleansing contact lenses can be used to kill germs with radioactive rays. The gamma knife is gaining popularity as it can kill brain tumors and cancer cells by emitting gamma rays.

Vladimir Lenin was a Russian revolutionary who benefitted by branding others. He called his progressive minority group in the Russian social democrats Bolsheviks, which means the majority in Russian, while branding the majority conservatives as Mensheviks, or the minority.

Lenin called the German Eduard Bernstein a revisionist during the Second International with no hesitation. He fancied himself the only orthodox successor to Marxism. It is not easy to avoid wrong names. Misunderstanding and truth are often only revealed after a long period of time. The film “Goodbye Lenin” was released 80 years later.

In contrast, Bernstein’s unfairly branded revisionism has widely taken root in European politics.

The Lee Myung-bak administration is suffering from a strange rumor: Anything can be done, if Lee just consults with his elder brother. The rumor would not disappear, even though the lawmaker Lee Sang-deuk is sneaking away to Japan. There is a big possibility that the rumor will continue to give the Lee administration trouble. We can not wait until truth is proven. Certain measures should be devised to clear away such incorrect branding.

The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

By Lee Chul-ho [newsty@joongang.co.kr]

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