I spent the night away from home recently and actually watched “normal” television. (I must say, I couldn’t get back to a “no cable” household quickly enough to suit me.) However… while I was there, I noticed something that I found simply shocking… something that may have “snuck up” on those who watch TV all the time…
I’d noticed (and I think even blogged) about the fact that so many commercials lately seem to be for medications. A few months ago when I was watching TV elsewhere, I was just floored by the number of commercials that were advertising drugs…in a non-specific way. I mean, you see people in fields of flowers with butterflies and happy families and the announcer says something like “Ask your doctor if DRUG X might be right for you!” Now, it never says what the ailment is, never says much other than giving you the visual impression that life will be much sweeter if you are on this particular chemical. It sounds just like heaven… up until the last seconds when a fast-talking, lower voiced announcer whispers about all the reactions, adversities and horrors you may encounter if you take said miracle drug.
To me, that whole concept is mortifying. Simply horrid!
But this visit… it got worse.
I’m sitting there, unable to sleep (because I’ve been skimping on sleep and when I do that, I hit this ‘second wind’ that means I CANNOT go to sleep until the wee hours). So I sit there and get the wise idea that I’m going to watch cable. I start watching cable. I won’t even go into the programming issues — what’s on isn’t really even palatable these days. I mean really… the court channel? (I try to avoid that place…I’ve had plenty with the whole divorced with children stint). And there was this whole channel devoted to some poker game. (Geeze and I thought golf was the dullest ‘spectator sport’ in the universe). So, past all that, I finally find a program I can stomach. Turns out it’s a movie that I own on DVD at the house. Go figure.
So I’m watching my movie when it’s rudely interrupted by a commercial. That always jars my senses and makes me happy that I don’t have cable all over again. But the commercial… not for cleaners or diapers or the local furniture store… nope, this one is for male enhancement drugs. And during the next three commercial breaks, I see three more male enhancement drugs… and on the fifth commercial break… I see not only a male enhancement drug commercial… but the one that follows is for “cosmetic gynecological services” — I kid you not.
I’m thinking… what has the world come to? We not only have men who think they are too small, we have women convinced that they are too large. And this is being made even more pronounced by the constant reminders on the TV. I’m not a prude. I probably think of sex more than I should… but I can’t imagine what this is doing to our adult population, much less our youth. Heck, the kids are already saddled with a bad case of “sex on the brain” — they can’t help it. It’s a hormonal thing and it’s something they have to learn to keep in check, just like we all did in our youth… but it must be even more difficult for them than it was for my generation. When I had that going on, there wasn’t this much sex on TV, in the movies, everywhere in marketing and advertising… and there CERTAINLY wasn’t a constant barrage of commercials that were designed to make me feel even more inadequate and paranoid than puberty already did. There weren’t sanctioned drug dealers on TV working that hard to make me worry about such things — and I’m sure it must be even… ahem… more difficult (notice I didn’t say ‘harder’?) — for boys than it is for girls.
You know, I don’t believe in blocking content. I believe in free speech. I think you choose what you watch and what your kids watch — and that to move that responsibility outside the home, outside the realm of the parents is wrong. But… GEE I’m glad I don’t have cable.