Merton on America and advertising:
Americans have always felt that they were protected against the advertising business by their own sophistication. If we only knew how naive our sophistication really is! It protects us against nothing. We love the things we pretend to laugh at…Sincerity becomes impossible in a world that is rules by a falsity that it thinks it is clever enough to detect. Propaganda is constantly held up to contempt, but in condemning it we come to love it after all. In the end we will not be able to get along without it.
-Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island, Ch.10 Sec.6