The question for today, class is this. When as a nation, and when as individuals, did we become so enured to lying? Certainly it wasn’t from my mother to whom a lie was a sin punishable by well…being punished. It isn’t that we don’t know the lie when we hear it. It isn’t even that we say, “Oh, that’s so and so being so and so.” We just take it in and keep on going assuming nothing will be hurt by it. Has everyone forgotten that when water drips on stone or marble for long enough, even the hardest object’s shape changes? It does.
I have an answer to my own question. It will surprise you, but hear me out. It’s commercials.
According to the Holy Grail of TV watching, Neilsen, Americans watch five-plus hours of TV a day, actually five hours and four minutes. If one adds eight hours of sleep, 8 hours of work that leaves three hours daily life left. According to Peter Kai of Telecom Cable TV, who answered this question for Quora there are eight commercials per half-hour of TV and that half-hour is actually 22 minutes. So what are we watching commercials with some content thrown in, or content with commercials thrown in?
Because, again Neilsen, cord-cutting, DVR’s, streaming we are beginning to get more commercials that are shorter as Madison Avenue fights back. Some sports fans may have noticed that during a time out or injury break we’ve begun to see split-screen showings of the event on the field and a commercial. That makes it all the harder to fast forward if you’re interested in what’s happening down below.
The content of these commercials more and more are filled with what seems to be less and less credible commentary. “Don’t take this product if you are allergic to it.” Duh! The automobile company that touts luxury as its car is star-driven through a cloud of colored smog or something while we are told you, “You can have steel and hardware performance or you can have this (paraphrase).” What exactly this is we’re not told.
Then there are the commercials that end with a guy chattering a disclaimer so fast that it sounds like someone both loosened his jaw and put a cloth over his mouth. I remember one of these pitchmen becoming so popular for the speed with which he could talk that he began doing appearances on TV shows as an entertainer. That should tell us something, but it doesn’t. Neither does this, “This product is not FDA approved nor does it claim to cure any illness.” So what is it? Candy? Compare that to a car-wash commercial where the car goes in dirty and comes out clean or the old refrigerator commercial where the pretty lady (then usually Betty White) said, “It’s spacious inside” and then opened the door and you saw what spacious did or didn’t mean.
The bottom line is this. We accept this avalanche of lies, half-truths, and nonsense. Many of us don’t listen, leave the room, fast-forward. ‘not the issue. The issue is we allow it. We take it lying down when we should be throwing open the windows and yelling to the neighborhood, “I”m sick and tired and won’t take it anymore!” Having then added blind acceptance to our TV watching we are but a mini-step to adding blind acceptance to what comes from the mouths of our politicians. And as my mom used to say, “Believe you me, that ain’t good!”–at least from my perspective.
Sorry, like the political system Bill Gralnick has been sick. That’s why he missed posting last week’s missive. He hopes the ire contained in this one makes up for it.
His writings can be found on his website williamgralnickauthor.com along with a link to his newest book, a coming of age story called, “The War of the Itchy Balls and Other Tales from Brooklyn.” It’s available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com in softcover and e-book.
And as Bill says,” Read! It’s good for both of us.”