Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Commercials are Bad



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.

2 comments:

  1. I have a thought or two on this subject. (Shocking.) First, you nailed it about commercials, and tv watching generally. I do watch regular tv w/ commercials. I watch tv during the day while I'm eating my bonbons. Apparently a lot of poor, old folks who fall and can't get up and can't wipe their own butts or digest beans like The Waltons as much as I do. It is pathetic how demeaning the AARP endorsed companies' commercials are.

    Next-- and I say this as someone with whom you have had spirited conversations-- please do not fault your upside down flag neighbor too much. Although I don't know her, I know many who share her sentiments. Sure, she's upset about the election. But there's a lot more to it than that, I'd bet. It's not that she feels 'her way of life' is slipping slowly away (as it has been for well over 60 years or more). It's that it's careening off a cliff. She doesn't recognize her fellow Americans any more, nor her own country. All you have to do is watch a rerun of The early Andy Griffiths Show and compare it to the vulgar stuff that's on network tv at 8pm to understand that (which you clearly do). There are people all along the ideological spectrum who are perfectly capable of having a rational discussion with those they don't agree. (Unfortunately, very very few run for office.) But that's not what this woman is seeing. She's seeing women dressed up as vaginas! And she's asking herself, "How in the world did we get from the civil discourse on the '60 Minutes' of my Mayberry youth to vaginas?!" And she wonders how much lower can we go? She's scared. In a country where the people are supposed to be in charge, and where the minority is supposed to be secure in 10 individual rights, she sees an awful lot of things she deems to be very very bad not just for today but for a long time-- maybe forever. So cut her some slack. It's not just the commercials that have her feeling down.

    Finally, Thank you so much for the opportunity to sit here and read your thoughtful post. And re-read it! and think about it. (I really really don't feel like finishing up the laundry.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice post Becca, I am just now getting around to reading my blogs from the past month/ :)
    BY the way, did I ever mention, we don't have a tv on our main living floor. no cable, etc.
    (we do have one upstairs in our room for "emergencies" but anywhoo ... see you tomorrow!!!
    M

    ReplyDelete