Merriam-Webster’s word of the year 2023 is ‘authentic.’ Here’s how corporate America hacked the consumer cult of authenticity

“Mass advertising can help build brands,” longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz once prophesized, “but authenticity is what makes them last.” As corporate cheerleading goes, this is an enduring fable. Authenticity has become a central moral framework in society–the subtle yet pervasive value that animates and adjudicates our media, culture, and politics. Merriam-Webster recently announced that …

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