Television and commercials

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Glad to be back. I took a month off because of the flu. Being an old fossil, it was rough and the recovery long. I even had gotten a flu shot back in October. Guess I got a different kind. If I get the Coronavirus, it will doubtless be the end of me.

Valar morghulis.

While laying around not doing much, I watched a lot of TV.

As a staunch supporter of the First Amendment, I was surprised at myself for wishing certain commercials should be banned. I guess I’ll just have to grin and bear it and use my mute button.

Most ads are OK. Mild, sometimes informative, sometimes humorous.

Some are not. Dumb, obnoxious, misleading. ridiculous scenarios and above all, annoying.

Here are my opinions of certain ads:

Lawyer ads. I don’t like lawyers in general because they charge huge fees and take advantage of people who are mostly desperate and are in a jam. The ones who advertise seem to me like a bunch of ambulance chasers who grab a large portion of what they can squeeze out of some big pockets. Sue, sue, sue. Money, money, money.

Prescription drugs: Many prescription drugs are incredibly expensive. The whole pharmaceutical industry makes me hope there is really a Hell. Again, they take advantage of folks who are really in need of help. I would think they could save millions and lower the price of their drugs by not spending so much on advertising.

Some of the listed side effects seem worse than the disease they are supposed to help. Stroke? Death? C’mon!

I personally have refused to take certain drugs because of the incredible cost or that the side effects made me feel so bad that they degraded my quality of life.

And why are these same drugs cheaper in other countries?

I have seen a pharmaceutical company ad promoting the use of a prescription drug followed directly by a lawyer ad encouraging suing about that very same drug.

Alcoholic beverages and smokeless tobacco: While I’m sure many of you drink responsibly, many cannot, as evidenced by the “Crime Waves” feature of this paper.

I think Tobacco is poison in any form. The manufacturers know it yet they keep pushing it. Why do we, as a society, allow this?

I see no reason to ballyhoo either of these products.

Insurance companies: A few of these ads are actually funny. Most are not. I think they’re dumb, insipid and idiotic.  Also Medicare Supplemental and Advantage insurance ads. Some seem to me to be misleading and the small print is impossible to read and digest in the short time it’s displayed. Even with a 4K UHD TV.

Sometimes it’s the character in the ad that irritates me. The guy with the big bird and the waitress-looking chick from insurance companies are both on my Mute Button list. So is the creepy member of royalty from the burger joint.

I like the AFLAC duck and sometimes the GEICO gecko and other GEICO characters.

Trivia: AFLAC stands for American Family Life Assurance Company and GEICO is Government Employees Insurance Company, (It was originally founded to target Government employees but will insure anyone who qualifies.

The use of retired football players and some old actors as spokespersons offends my intelligence. Are we to take these people as some kind of experts or demigods? They’re just football players. Actors, if good, demean themselves. (How the mighty have fallen!)

Similarly testimonials. “BAB-O is the best cleanser ever!” Do they think we don’t know these people are paid? Or actors? Or both? Do you think any ad would state “Our product is worthless and overpriced.” (Is BAB-O even made any more?)

Some ads are repeated within seconds or minutes of their first airing. What Einstein thinks this is a good idea? Likewise the ads at the bottom of your screen about upcoming shows or whatever. These are soooo annoying and a huge pain in the butt and I wish they would be banned. They often block portions of the picture of the show I’m watching. You can’t mute them. They’re just in the way.

Cartoons for children: Today’s cartoon shows are dismal. Artwork is crude, animation poor and characters are sometimes crude as well. Disrespectful, ill-mannered and smart-mouthed. I guess this is how you want to teach your children to behave as they’re so popular.

Disney, Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbera, among other oldies but goodies, would have never produced such poor shows.

The radio has lame ads of its own. When in Cortez I listened to the radio a lot. I found those too often repeated ads from a casino to be a reason to turn off my radio. Likewise those from an auto dealership in Farmington where the voice yelled loudly all the time. I’d never buy a car from them.

I often will deliberately NOT buy a product or service just because I dislike their ads.

The talk shows I listen to often have the personalities give commercials in their own voices for products I consider overpriced and not very special. They tout them as “Giving them the best sleep ever” or other such statements. Do they think we don’t know that they are being paid to say this and have probably been given free the products they’re touting? I think this practice hurts the credibility of the host for their entire show.

The internet is nothing but one huge rolling billboard. Ads are so numerous it’s often difficult to follow what you’re trying to read.  Thank God for popup blockers. Popups were some of the most annoying ads ever.

Worst of all, the internet browser tracks your information and dumps more ads on you for things you might be talked into wasting your money on.

In 1961, newly named by President Kennedy FCC Chairman Newton N. Minow called television a “Vast Wasteland” and urged networks to improve programming to be more in the Public Interest. This advice went largely ignored. Thus leaving us almost 60 years later with many times the number of channels and… a vast wasteland.

I urge you to look up Minow’s speech on the internet and read it in it’s entirety.

Like Eisenhower’s warning about the Military Industrial Complex in the 50s. This great advice failed to improve anything. We are still buried in violence, insipid shows and programs without much redeeming social value.

What are we teaching our children? People let their kids watch wrestling and martial arts competitions where they learn that violence is cool and perhaps a good way to solve problems.

Yes, there are some great movies and shows on these days but most are a morass of mediocrity and pap.

People, we should be able to do better than this.

Glad to be back. I took a month off because of the flu. Being an old fossil, it was rough and the recovery long. I even had gotten a flu shot back in October. Guess I got a different kind. If I get the Coronavirus, it will doubtless be the end of me.

Valar morghulis.

While laying around not doing much, I watched a lot of TV.

As a staunch supporter of the First Amendment, I was surprised at myself for wishing certain commercials should be banned. I guess I’ll just have to grin and bear it and use my mute button.

Most ads are OK. Mild, sometimes informative, sometimes humorous.

Some are not. Dumb, obnoxious, misleading. ridiculous scenarios and above all, annoying.

Here are my opinions of certain ads:

Lawyer ads. I don’t like lawyers in general because they charge huge fees and take advantage of people who are mostly desperate and are in a jam. The ones who advertise seem to me like a bunch of ambulance chasers who grab a large portion of what they can squeeze out of some big pockets. Sue, sue, sue. Money, money, money.

Prescription drugs: Many prescription drugs are incredibly expensive. The whole pharmaceutical industry makes me hope there is really a Hell. Again, they take advantage of folks who are really in need of help. I would think they could save millions and lower the price of their drugs by not spending so much on advertising.

Some of the listed side effects seem worse than the disease they are supposed to help. Stroke? Death? C’mon!

I personally have refused to take certain drugs because of the incredible cost or that the side effects made me feel so bad that they degraded my quality of life.

And why are these same drugs cheaper in other countries?

I have seen a pharmaceutical company ad promoting the use of a prescription drug followed directly by a lawyer ad encouraging suing about that very same drug.

Alcoholic beverages and smokeless tobacco: While I’m sure many of you drink responsibly, many cannot, as evidenced by the “Crime Waves” feature of this paper.

I think Tobacco is poison in any form. The manufacturers know it yet they keep pushing it. Why do we, as a society, allow this?

I see no reason to ballyhoo either of these products.

Insurance companies: A few of these ads are actually funny. Most are not. I think they’re dumb, insipid and idiotic.  Also Medicare Supplemental and Advantage insurance ads. Some seem to me to be misleading and the small print is impossible to read and digest in the short time it’s displayed. Even with a 4K UHD TV.

Sometimes it’s the character in the ad that irritates me. The guy with the big bird and the waitress-looking chick from insurance companies are both on my Mute Button list. So is the creepy member of royalty from the burger joint.

I like the AFLAC duck and sometimes the GEICO gecko and other GEICO characters.

Trivia: AFLAC stands for American Family Life Assurance Company and GEICO is Government Employees Insurance Company, (It was originally founded to target Government employees but will insure anyone who qualifies.

The use of retired football players and some old actors as spokespersons offends my intelligence. Are we to take these people as some kind of experts or demigods? They’re just football players. Actors, if good, demean themselves. (How the mighty have fallen!)

Similarly testimonials. “BAB-O is the best cleanser ever!” Do they think we don’t know these people are paid? Or actors? Or both? Do you think any ad would state “Our product is worthless and overpriced.” (Is BAB-O even made any more?)

Some ads are repeated within seconds or minutes of their first airing. What Einstein thinks this is a good idea? Likewise the ads at the bottom of your screen about upcoming shows or whatever. These are soooo annoying and a huge pain in the butt and I wish they would be banned. They often block portions of the picture of the show I’m watching. You can’t mute them. They’re just in the way.

Cartoons for children: Today’s cartoon shows are dismal. Artwork is crude, animation poor and characters are sometimes crude as well. Disrespectful, ill-mannered and smart-mouthed. I guess this is how you want to teach your children to behave as they’re so popular.

Disney, Warner Brothers and Hanna-Barbera, among other oldies but goodies, would have never produced such poor shows.

The radio has lame ads of its own. When in Cortez I listened to the radio a lot. I found those too often repeated ads from a casino to be a reason to turn off my radio. Likewise those from an auto dealership in Farmington where the voice yelled loudly all the time. I’d never buy a car from them.

I often will deliberately NOT buy a product or service just because I dislike their ads.

The talk shows I listen to often have the personalities give commercials in their own voices for products I consider overpriced and not very special. They tout them as “Giving them the best sleep ever” or other such statements. Do they think we don’t know that they are being paid to say this and have probably been given free the products they’re touting? I think this practice hurts the credibility of the host for their entire show.

The internet is nothing but one huge rolling billboard. Ads are so numerous it’s often difficult to follow what you’re trying to read.  Thank God for popup blockers. Popups were some of the most annoying ads ever.

Worst of all, the internet browser tracks your information and dumps more ads on you for things you might be talked into wasting your money on.

In 1961, newly named by President Kennedy FCC Chairman Newton N. Minow called television a “Vast Wasteland” and urged networks to improve programming to be more in the Public Interest. This advice went largely ignored. Thus leaving us almost 60 years later with many times the number of channels and… a vast wasteland.

I urge you to look up Minow’s speech on the internet and read it in it’s entirety.

Like Eisenhower’s warning about the Military Industrial Complex in the 50s. This great advice failed to improve anything. We are still buried in violence, insipid shows and programs without much redeeming social value.

What are we teaching our children? People let their kids watch wrestling and martial arts competitions where they learn that violence is cool and perhaps a good way to solve problems.

Yes, there are some great movies and shows on these days but most are a morass of mediocrity and pap.

People, we should be able to do better than this.

Print this article

From Doug Karhan.