Thursday, November 27, 2008

struggling with the commercials

we may have a rather unusual household. 15 years ago, when we got married, my wife and i had a discussion about cable tv. we were making our budget, and she was fretting over whether we could afford it. i admitted how hard it was for me to have a conversation with a tv running in the background. i tend to watch tv when it's on, regardless of what it is. i'm not the type that can let it run in the background and ignore it. so we chose not to get it.

and then we decided, since nothing else was available, we just wouldn't bother with a tv. people found that horrifying, and kept offering us tv's. my brother in law even surreptitiously put one in our trunk one night while we were over for dinner. we ended up connecting that to a vcr for the occasional movie night for a while, but it didn't make the next move.

and over the years, we've really appreciated the effect it's had on our family. its hard for me to imagine being bored. there's not enough time to do half the worthwhile things we'd like to do, or to do together. i can't imagine how people find time to watch tv anyhow. i'm certain we wouldn't read together much, and i can't tell you how precious that time is. i'm reading the kids the two towers now, and they're loving it.

so at times like this, when we're on the road to celebrate the season and enjoy family, it's really quite shocking to take a dip in the commercial pool. we just saw a toys'r'us commercial where they didn't actually even show a toy. it was all logos and brand names. or walmart "save money, live better"... do i even need to point out how much more i save by not going at all? live better? how on earth? every single commercial i've seen this morning has fallen in the category of 'wow-- somebody made that and can keep a straight face?'

i guess its pretty cynical, but the bits filling in the space between the commercials aren't much to miss either. i suppose some of the news is worthwhile, but they basically give you a headline and then repeat it over and over. it is worthwhile for me to know that there was a terrorist attack, but beyond the fact that it occurred, they tell me little of worth.

it's hard for me to see much future for our country when we are subjecting ourselves to such a controlling force. the marketting class is the great 'pusher' and we are the junkies, and we do what we're told. we're so concerned about keeping our economy going, but ... surely there's something better than what we're doing now. the matrix image of the people being farmed, the life sucked from them to feed machines. there's more truth to it than we think. instead of a bug like robot, look at the other end of the hollywood-industrial complex.

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