Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Falsity of False Falseness

So, there it is. For the past five or so months I had been living with no television reception-I cancelled
DirecTV and had no antenna hooked up. Life was quieter, and not bad,  though I did miss Baseball.
For Christmas I decided to buy a digital antenna and hook up my big TV; now I get four or five channels, and just finished with the last day of the NFL reg season.
As an American Human Being I have grown up watching TV; my first TV memory was the coverage of
John Kennedy's funeral, which made an impression because that entire episode was broadcast for days.
After my five month respite from TV, what struck my eyes was the proliferation of happy people in commercials, most of them gorgeous/handsome, interacting in some sort of blissful reality that seems to occur
every six minutes. You know what I mean-Football plays until a time out, and then the happy people come on, drinking beer (RESPONSIBLY!) or having emotional epiphanies because they are driving a sleek new car or powerful new truck.
Shiny happy people may make for a crummy '90's song, or exist in an altered reality ala "The Matrix" on TV commercials, but the facade`can be dangerous to your equilibrium, chum.
Of course, we know that the shiny happy people are merely shilling for products. We KNOW that we are being targeted for commerce. It's always been that way-tobacco companies in the far distant past encouraged Hollywood filmmakers to include smoking in their productions-a film critic recently remarked that 'no one smoked a cigarette like Aldo Ray'.
But many of the young people who took up smoking in an attempt to look as cool as the moviestars now have succumbed to lung cancer. Oooops!
The beer commercials which highlight happy drinking don't ever include 50 year old alcoholics whose lives have been ruined by drink. There's no old guy in the corner of the bar of beautiful/handsome young partiers who has just thrown his paycheck into the barkeep's coffers.
Likewise, the car/truck commercials, especially those shouting the news of a special 'sales event' never show the happy people making do with a ten year old van, like those of us in the real world drive. They also don't seem to have any room in the commercials for repossessed cars and truck sold to chumps who bought into last year's sales promotion only to find that, amazingly, their paychecks don't stretch far enough.
Someone made a lovely movie with the concept of the happy shiny people in commercials existing in our 'real' world. It was called, "The Jones" and the concept was quite interesting-to boost sales, fake family units were placed in high retail markets by ad marketeers to show the upscale chumps (consumers) all the happiness that could be theirs...if they had the same stuff that the fake families enjoyed.
Believe it or not, it isn't a comedy (I think). One of the upscale chumps who has tried to keep up with "The Jones" gets so far in the red that he decides to kill himself. How he does it fits the movie perfectly, and I wouldn't want to spoil it for you.
I know there is quite a bit of yammering about 'going over a financial cliff'. I think it will be more akin to a financial dust bowl, where no one has much of anything. Whatever happens, the happy shiny people of TV adverts will always be there with their fake happy lives. To cheer us up?

1 comment:

Doug said...

What started me on this adventure of a post? Faith Hill. Sort of-she sings the opening theme for "Sunday Night Football" on NBC and looks dazzlingly bright and beautiful.
She's 45. She could be a grandmother, and possibly is one-my point is that she has been refitted as a shiny happy person looking all of 30 years old at the most. She can sing, but there's no doubt that her beauty is also part of her appeal. If she looked like (please forgive the dated references) Joan Rivers or Betty White she wouldn't be opening Sunday Night Football.
Here in the real world (Alan Jackson reference)we don't have an amazing shiny happy existence. Many of the most horrible vices to which we can become addicted are marketed at us by beautiful images/people.
And if you think that possibly I am simply some 'superior Christian prigg' railing against vice...each of the things I mentioned-alcoholism, tobacco/cancer, being in debt trying to keep up with 'the Jonses'...has touched my life through those I care about.
The second picture in the post shows my grandfather (center) in the great depression/dust bowl era
when he worked as a stone mason.
I probably make more money in a year than he did in his entire life.
As evidenced by the last two elections, I am a very poor prognosticator, but I foresee the return of hard times like they knew back then. They got through it, and so will we.
But I am not a cynic-I trust that even in the worst of times, there will be pockets of blessing/joys which help us to keep going.
May you have a very good 2013.