I don’t know about you, but I don’t have cable or Tivo, so I’m subjected to a stream – a flood – no, let’s be accurate – a tsunami of commercials whenever I watch what has been so lovingly and nostalgically called “antenna TV.” Believe me, I’m quick with the mute button and the on/off button, too, but I just can’t get over the sheer audacity that so much advertising is even allowed to enter my home, not to mention my psyche. My brother says, “Kill your TV.” I suppose he’s right. It’s my fault for even watching the thing, but still there are some shows that are a good source of pleasure and relaxation – until the thundering hooves of a thousand stampeding commercials take it all away.
I know full well that TV shows exist because of the revenue brought in by the commercials and all that, but shouldn’t there be some sort of regulation? If not governmental, then self-regulation? I guess certain commercials are no longer allowed for health reasons, like cigarette commercials. But then why in the world are drug commercials allowed, the ones that are 5 minutes long that promise to cure your specific ills, if the side effects don’t kill you in the process (and there’s always a stomach-churning long list of them, right?). It’s my understanding that these drug commercials came into being due to a law enacted during Bill Clinton’s term. Well, I guess this may be a case of “politics makes strange bedfellows” or something like that, but still here we are in the year 2014 and he has this as his legacy. Nice work, Mr. Clinton! I mean, we’re in the midst of a drug addiction epidemic, and we all know it’s not just illegal drugs. People are also abusing and killing themselves with perfectly legal drugs, and I don’t think these commercials are helping the matter any by their insidious claims and presence.
I think these drug commercials epitomize all that’s wrong with television advertising in the first place. They’re facile, they purport to have knowledge that often turns out to be untrue (note all the recalls and lawsuits when things go bad), and they make the assumption that we’re all dumb enough to believe that if we just buy, buy, buy our lives will be so much the better for it.
But do they have to say it so frickin’ obnoxiously? And so often? Like every 3 minutes into a show? Like with a non-stop barrage of 10 commercials in a row? Like when all is added up in time, as long as the evening news itself? Or the David Letterman show?
Anyway, you may not agree with me. You may say, throw that stupid old antenna out and stream shows on the web instead. Or get cable with a few choice channels. Or…
Or maybe I should kill my TV.