People complain that advertising tries to hoodwink them, but they’re often cheerfully complicit in ads’ fantasies. Here’s a case in point. If you’re theharried parent of a toddler, no gadget on earth is going to make you unharried. For that very reason, though, it’s nice to pretend you’re just one purchase away from bringing order to your chaotic life. Of course, the ad is more circumspect in what it explicitly states. “Life is hard. This is easy. For $99, you can own a device small enough to fit in your pocket and powerful enough to keep your calendars, appointments, addresses, and a lot more in a secure place.” In practical terms, this will probably reduce the stress a parent endures by 0.01 percent. But the reader will gladly play along with the implication that listing doctor’s appointments and cartoon-show times and the like on a Palm Zire will uncomplicate her life. With its expanse of pristine white space, the photo at left sustains this pleasant reverie. In real life, the odds of seeing so much uncluttered space in the environs of your toddler are just about nil.
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