TELEVISION

I watch it, but the commercials are stupid, lame, offensive or not applicable – thus irrelevant, boring and odd. Imagine the condition of bad bowels made into a viewable commercial. Buy this product for the remainder of your life (it never cures), or until your body tires of it, or a side effect kicks in – toes fall off. Think about bowel ads with Warren Buffett’s Gecko commercials. An alimentary canal seems the perfect place for a Gecko.

Watching sporting events is now driven by commercials. Don’t play any game too fast because too much commercial time is wasted. Fit in that 15 second spot for a car part while the team lines up and signals are called. A flash trademark covers the screen and fades just as the ball is snapped. Viewers get the play, penalty but never the replay. The broadcasters flounder, flubbing names and plays, losing the ball and wondering about the next ad – beer, insurance or tires while also wondering which sideline-babe-announcer should get equal air time. I rarely watch and never a full game because commercials interrupt the game and the pace of play. It is no longer football, basketball or base ball. Waits for commercials must be very frustrating for the paid audience, persons in attendance at the event. 

More ridiculous are American viewers who pay to get sports packages on cable. Getting that service does not let anyone avoid watching every commercial from here to eternity. So rooted are commercials in the American mind, that the following anecdote is instructive: In the late Sixties a wife soon to become a widow was at her husband’s death bed. She also learned why the romance was gone from the marriage. She leaned in, touched his cheek, pressed his hand and kissed him saying, “I love you.” His response: “You have bad breath.” Now you know why hippies hit that decade. Ronald Reagan described hippies best: “Dress like Tarzan, have long hair like Jane and smell like Cheetah.”

Americans are stuck with commercials dictating program-TV. It was once that commercial time was limited, I believe six minutes per hour. But today commercial breaks last three or four minutes. I know this because I DRV all commercial TV shows to watch without commercials. There’s three minutes at the end; there’s possibly four minutes at minute 44 of each hour, to gear up for the big finale. The commercial break at the beginning of the show can be 2 minutes, but the next near minute 18 is 3 minutes.

I suppose commercials have some instructional value. Somebody else living here decided time to buy salted sunflower seeds. There are no commercials showing how to consume and enjoy sunflower seeds – it’s better just to put a little salt on the tongue. Sunflower seeds are still the pain in the neck they always were, spitting out husks and seeds and getting debris between my teeth. 

So I don’t watch TV shows when broadcast. Too many commercials advertising sleeping potions and pills: Get hooked on our drugs and pay a fortune. It’s American life – the American way.

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