Seriously. I always get a bit shaky inside when I get ready to state a strong opinion that may offend others, but will I let that stop me? Oh, we wish. Okay, here it goes. Ahem. Commercials are bad. It is the truth.
When the financial world exploded during the latter half of 2008, I (like many others) got swept into the almost hobby of cost-cutting. We went pretty extreme, too. We're now a one car family, I have a good foot hold in the art of that which is the deep freezer, I cook mostly-ish from scratch, and we cut the cable.
Cutting the cable really scared me. We had the dvr, all the premium channels, and the fastest internet we could get our hands on. I was seriously addicted to some shows I thought I'd never be able to do without and was afraid I would completely lose touch with popular culture.
Some of my concerns were valid. I elicited a cocked eyebrow from my mother when I noted I wouldn't know Adele if I walked past her on the street. People occasionally have to explain who these Jersey Shore characters are. But I can order Dexter from Amazon and there's all kinds of fun stuff to watch on Hulu and Netflix. I can live with this.
Much more significant than my concerns, though, were the unexpected perks which have turned out to be more than I would have thought to ask for. We saved a TON of money switching exclusively to streaming services. First I missed the (I can't fit another cord in the wall so we don't even have an antenna) Sunday morning news shows, but then I didn't. When we would ask our daughter what she wanted for Christmas, she would answer with things like, "ice skates."
Only now, however, have I realized the sweetest gift of all from my somewhat commercial free lifestyle. The election. I kept reading articles about how polarized the country was feeling. I read about how negative and acidic the ads had been and how records were broken on both sides with funding this vitriolic campaign.
I was like, "really?" I have fairly strong public and government related opinions. I don't feel a deep divide between me and those who disagree. I'm not feeling furious or elated or anything so hot and heavy. It seemed like a particularly peaceful election cycle to me. So, when I see boastful mean-spirited yet victorious tweets or my distant neighbor's flag at half-staff with a hand written sign that says "God Help Us," I can't help but think that this could be mostly avoided.
I have recommendations. It's my blog so I'm allowed to be a bit preachy and high-handed. First off, watching television sans commercials is a very good thing. You don't get suckered into buying a bunch of nonsense like rainbow striped energy yogurt with candy sprinkles. In fact, I've read studies that indicate children are less likely to carry extra weight if they're watching noncommercial television (http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2008.155119).
Also, it's nice to read the news. I realize that not everyone likes to read (then watch commercial free news) but it's nice to hear calm & reasoned responses. Then I can think about what's been stated and how I feel and what I think about what they've said. It's nice. I like it. And hey. If the product or idea is really that good, it'll get to you without commercials on TV. After all, even I have discovered the coolness that is the Tide Pod.