Month: October 2013


Have you seen the one advertising a 1-800 number, touting itself as a great way to ‘make new friends?’ On the screen is a lovely young woman all dressed up with her perfect hair and make-up, sitting alone in her living room late at night, talking on the phone to a stranger looking happy as can be? Smiling into the camera lens she assures us that she can meet ‘lots of really great guys’ this way and we should all make a note of the number and start calling it! She fails to mention that the men are not interested in friendship but rather in shall we say ‘stimulating conversation!’ She also fails to mention that she has never actually met any of these ‘really great guys’ she’s talking to.  If she did she’d probably be too dead to be in this commercial in the first place!



Then there’s the ad for a negligence law firm that declares ‘if you or a loved one have been killed or injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, call….’ That makes me wonder how all the attorneys in this law firm managed to avoid Freshman English. Could no one figure out another way to say this? I’d like to think if I had been killed as a result of someone else’s negligence and was still able to call a lawyer, I would chose a firm whose ads were at least logical and grammatically correct!


Another Word on Commercials

And don’t you just love those pharmaceutical commercials? How about the one for Viagra? The warnings begin with the imperative to “Ask your Doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex.” Now can you imagine average Joe asking, “Doctor, can I have sex?” “Sure, just not with me,” might be the doctor’s first response! Then the warnings increase, “Don’t take Viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain because it can cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure.” (You might pass out) Now that sounds more than a bit scary, this poor guy’s really going to need a pill to get ready, because now he’s scared to death. Then in the interest of full disclosure the ad continues “side effects may include flushing, upset stomach or abnormal vision.” WOW that’ll put the happy couple in the mood while his stomach’s doing flip flops and he’s seeing double!  He better keep that doctor’s phone number handy in case he goes blind and deaf while he’s having sex and the least of his problems is that his erection may last for four hours! With all this to look forward to he might just as well just watch a football game!


A Word About Commercials

In the market for a potency drug? Take a look at Cialis! Here we have a happy couple reclining in two separate, mind you separate, beautiful footed bathtubs on a mountain top in the wilderness. Their hands interlock in the space between their separate tubs and they are staring blissfully into the distant sunset. Now of course you might ask, how exactly did this naked couple manage to drag their bathtubs up there into the mountains? Or you might ask how was it they managed to get all that hot water they are so obviously soaking in up there into the mountains without it getting too cold for a bath? Or you might even ask exactly why did this adventurous couple go to all the trouble of dragging those heavy tubs and scalding water up to this mountain top? By now even if they wanted to make good use of their precious Cialis, they’d be too tired to bother.
You might also ask exactly how any of this demonstrates the effectiveness of this potency drug they seem so delighted with? Now if the couple was soaking in the same bathtub that might make it a bit more convincing. The ad does not show one of the naked couple standing and dripping with now freezing water cross over to the other bathtub. And one might ask why they can’t just sit on a blanket like a normal couple? The creativity of the company’s marketing team is to be commended however they do lose points when it comes to rationality.


A Word or Two About Television

If you were a visitor from another country, say a third world country, say one that has a repressed social system in which gender roles are explicitly specified and delineated, where gender equality is unheard of and personal modesty is of utmost importance, where women hide their hair, faces, arms, legs and feet and certain issues say of a highly personal nature are never discussed, mentioned or described in mixed company under threat of punishment or death.  Say one such person has come to America for a visit or on a work visa and happens to turn on a TV? There in High definition brilliance half-dressed men and women prance across 50” flat screens openly displaying nearly every conceivable body part and talking brazenly, publicly about diarrhea, bad breath, body odor, rectal cleanliness, vaginal odor, douching, sex, orgasms, menstrual blood, herpes and impotence as they advertise products manufactured to address these problems. What would that individual think? How would they view the culture that created these sinful images?
And if said visitor from another culture managed to survive our commercials and watched a few of our favorite daytime soap operas they would see exquisitely dressed women doing ordinary things, obsessed with attracting, competing for and holding onto a mate, talking endlessly about sex, pregnancy, drugs, weight and money. What would that person think about us? How would they see the society that created these shows and displays them as if they actually reflect the everyday life of the average American?

And if that visitor were able to be revived from the shock of viewing our commercials and daytime TV and lived to see evening TV shows, what would that person think about our endless gun fights, gang violence, domestic violence, murder and our preoccupation with sexual abuse? Crime, police and detective shows are interspersed with reality TV wherein people are filmed competing and struggling to survive in jungles, deserts or islands perhaps environments that are similar to where the visitor lives. Then there are the irreverent late night talkers who mock and joke and smash every icon they can find in order to keep their laughing audience tuning in.

Of course, we try to soften all this bold nakedness by interspersing it with images of adorable puppies, kitties and babies, lizards selling insurance and bears selling toilet paper. The meta-message is, ‘Hey, we’re not so bad. Look we love our babies and our pets. We believe in cleanliness and being insured. How bad could we possibly be?

Perhaps we should try to see ourselves as others see us, to reverse roles long enough to gain some perspective on our own beliefs and values as we live and present them to others. Only then would we have a chance of understanding why certain other countries see the United States of America as a depraved society and we might from that point begin to discuss our differences.