My wife and I do not watch television, except during football season. We both enjoy watching the games (she is probably a bigger fan of football than I am), but we find ourselves disappointed by the commercials. The commercials, either selling particular products or promoting other shows, are like little windows into the psyche of our society. It is our media reflecting that which we seem to believe should be the focus of our attention. It goes both ways; the media and marketers tell us what they think we want to hear, and we assume that we are supposed to think a certain way based on what they tell us. Some may try to manipulate this give-and-take, but I really think that often both sides are completely enthralled by the influence of the other. The media makes these shows because the people believe that is what they want because the media makes these shows...
Commercials are a kind of social-barometer, and I find it more and more painful to watch every season. Here is what I learned about our society based on the commercials that ran during the NFL kick-off game on Thursday evening, September 8th, 2011.
-McDonald's now makes a type of chicken sandwich that has a "bold flavor" which may cause a temporary suspension of good judgement and common sense, resulting in erratic and questionable behavior. I am surprised the FDA allowed such a product to go to market. They should at least not allow these sandwiches to be served to minors.
-Papa John's Pizza suggests that eating their pizza is akin to an erotic experience with NFL cheerleaders. This effect is apparently limited to men only, as the woman in the commercial did not have a similar fantasy... indeed, she seemed a bit disdainful about her partner's reaction. However, she was a 'butterface', so perhaps he is so dissatisfied with his romantic situation that any pleasurable experience becomes erotic.
-Coor's Light caters to men who have no interest in women, and seems to encourage this. The man in the commercial turned down a dinner-date with an attractive woman to drink a beer at a bar, alone. When a couple of other attractive women mistook him for a lawyer and began to have a conversation with him, he feigned ignorance and missed the opportunity to enjoy their company as well in favor of drinking his beer.
-Old Spice at least displayed some possibility of awareness of its own ridiculousness. It suggests that smelling like you have been at sea battling monsters all day will make women think that you also have access to ridiculous wealth.
-If you do not have the Dish Network, a Deon Sanders fairy will harass you and your dog.
-It seems that America has got talent, can dance, can sing 'a Capella', and is still looking for another idol. I find this odd, because from what I understand we have an unemployment rate that is at least triple that of Mexico. You would think with all these skills and free-time, we could turn that situation around.
-"Gangsta-Rapper" Ice Cube felt so intimidated by a bottle of beer in a bucket of ice that he arranged a private meeting with the beer-and-bucket in what appeared to be an executive office to debate their differences and issues.
My wife works in an office. Her co-workers often chat about what is going on in their lives. Most prominent among the "important issues" are things like who is doing well on some dancing show, who some bachelorette is being auctioned-off to by some network, and "what that hot-guy is doing to get away from that bitch he is dating on that show". They encourage her to join the conversation, but when she discusses what interests her; what her district representative is doing to improve traffic issues in our neighborhood, how the local police chief is handling accusations regarding racial profiling, and if our Governor would do well as President of the United States, they look at her either like they are completely lost or they are offended. They cannot understand why she doesn't see the importance of who is doing well on "Idol", or why she has interests which underscore just how frivolous the focus of their attentions are.
Ever seen the movie, Idiocracy?
We all should take time to relax, and we should all engage in occasional excursions into fantasy and be entertained. When a society is more concerned with the latest distractions offered by our cycloptic-god to keep us pacified than even the things that are sometimes going on in their own families, well, I find myself questioning our general sanity. I don't think the Media is making us stupid. I think that we choose to be stupid, and the Media is in the business of giving us what we want.