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Some folks threw an “Amen” or two at me after I mentioned the spam the media throws at us in last week’s rant. So this week, I thought I would discuss a few of the more onerous advertisements that continuously spill out of the telly to the point where one wants to upchuck. Oh I know, I know — a bunch of you TiVo and DVR aficionados can rig it so you don’t have to suffer the slings and arrows of these invasive and repetitive harangues that we non-techie unwashed heathens have to endure. Consider this rant a reminder of how lucky you are, Mr. Techno-phobe.
First on my list of advertising irritants are the ambulance-chasing lawyers who want you to sue everybody and everything. How about the guy who screams, “My client got hit by a big old truck! He broke his fibula, tibia, patella, scapula, clavicle, sternum, several vertebrae, and he experienced the heartbreak of psoriasis! I mean this old boy was messed up! I hammered and clawed and snarled like a junk-yard dog and managed to get him Ninety-five Thousand, Two Hundred and Sixteen Dollars, and Sixty-One Cents in his pocket!” What a sweetheart this guy is. I wonder how much he put in his pocket.
Next on my list are the snake-oil new and used car sales guys. They always seem to have a once-a-year sale going on — almost like furniture stores. It is also mandatory to have an annoying jingle — almost like the plumbers and electricians. And a gimmick hook line is a must for all. I can live with, “Shop me first, shop me last, either way, come see Clay.” He is basically saying he just wants a chance to compete. However, I can’t abide the clown who keeps jumping up a half dozen times in a one-hour program saying, “Why, if I can’t beat any new car deal here in North Texas, I’m just gonna give it to ya.” Hey, if you believe that then you probably think those shots Rocket Roger took in the butt were for the flu!
Some of the spam seems to be very intimate in nature to the point where it seems a little invasive. Do we really need to listen in while “doctors” (“I’m not a real doctor but I played one on television”) are explaining the intricacies of female hormonal replacement and male enhancement therapy? Did you ever wonder why, in the male-oriented ads, the couples always end up out in the middle of nowhere, in separate old-timey bath tubs, with no visible means of water supply for the tubs?
Continuing this theme, we now have a well-known, but aging actress, who, when going on the stage, resents the age-old show business saying, “Break a leg.” Come to find out, she no longer appreciates this sentiment because her “doctor” told her she has “...Post-menopausal osteoporosis with a high risk for fracture.” After seeing this ad a half-dozen times in one day, I almost wish she would step up on the stage, get blinded by the spotlight, and tumble down into the orchestra pit. Oh, come on, Grouch, that was just plain mean.
How about the famous ex-jock who is now a sports broadcaster/announcer who had trouble calling games because of his prostate problems. It seems he had to tinkle every little while day and night. As a result, he was losing sleep and he required a special port-o-potty at the stadium broadcast booth. Finally, the “doctor” put him on “Super-Phi-Beta-Kappa Prostate” and now he can do away with the port-o-potties and the “Depends.” Joe, this is just too much information!
A really annoying commercial — just for its stupidity — is the one by DirecTV which purports to show all the bad things that can befall you if you have cable TV. My friend, Jim Burgess, manages Northland Cable and this commercial really chaps his jaws. Although he is a novelist of some repute, he took the time to rewrite this commercial the way he would like to see it, and it goes like this:
“When a rain storm knocks out your satellite reception during the final six holes of the Masters Golf Tournament, you experience extreme disappointment; when you experience extreme disappointment, you become depressed; when you become depressed, you attend seminars on positive thinking; when you attend seminars on positive thinking, you feel empowered and invincible; when you feel empowered and invincible, you become a dare-devil; when you become a dare-devil, you start to race motorcycles; when you race motorcycles, you start to race express trains to the railroad crossings; when you race express trains to the railroad crossings, you and your bike get splattered all over the landscape! Don’t get splattered all over the landscape! Change your TV service back to cable!”
Well, maybe Jim didn’t really write that — maybe I just made it up to illustrate the rank idiocy of that commercial. I could go on and on about the advertising spam that casts an exasperating pall upon an otherwise scintillating medium but it would serve no purpose other than make me out more of a grouch than I already am. So I’ll just leave you with this depressing thought — you have never experienced annoying TV spam like you will be forced to live with between now and election day! Just keep in mind through the coming months that politicians are a lot like babies — they both need changing often and for the same reasons.
Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org