Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ridiculous commercials, lack of propriety and loss of manners

As I was watching TV last night, I was struck by two things regarding the commercials: the ridiculousness of some of the legal requirements for prescription drugs and the complete lack of decorum or propriety for some items.

Between ads for erectile dysfunction (a term that just about every child has heard) and post-menopausal symptoms, I couldn't help but wonder why an advertiser needs to provide disclaimer information for people already taking a drug they are advertising.

Most of the e.d. drugs include some statement about contacting your doctor if you experience certain symptoms when taking the drug. The one I saw last night for osteoporosis geared toward post-menopausal women included a disclaimer that you shouldn't take the drug if you're pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant. Huh??

If you're advertising to try and get people to consider taking a particular prescription, aren't such disclaimers relevant only to those already consuming the drug? And wouldn't it be reasonable to presume that your doctor has already told you about possible side effects relevant to you before actually prescribing any medicine?

Normally, I tune out when such ads come on, but last night they seemed constant, intermixed with ads for feminine, sexual and incontinence products. When I was younger, I could never imagine ads on TV for tampons, condoms, sexual lubricants or adult diapers.

It wasn't that I didn't know about those things - it was just that there were some things you 'didn't discuss in polite company' as my grandmother and mother used to say. There were times and places to discuss such things, but it wasn't through an advertisement on television that invades an otherwise enjoyable evening of favorite shows.

To be quite honest, I still believe some things should remain personal or private. I would like to maintain some sense of propriety - when it is or isn't appropriate to discuss certain topics, issues or products - and I don't want to forgo the limited number of TV shows I like or be forced to invest in a Tivo in order to do so.

Sadly, I see these ads as an indicator of a bigger problem: the loss of manners in society. The proliferation of cell phones results in me knowing more about other peoples' issues, schedules and work than I would prefer. And it makes me extremely uncomfortable to be in a public restroom when someone in the next stall is on the phone carrying on, of all things, a work discussion while toilets flush around them.

At the grocery store the other day, I was standing in front of the milk refrigerators. A child - perhaps six or seven years old - squeezed between my cart and the door, opened it, and got out a milk. Seeing him, I moved my cart to make it easier, but he never said 'excuse me' or any other such comment - nor did he even acknowledge that I was in his way, except to push my cart. If he was being taught manners at home, he wasn't practicing them. And if he wasn't being taught such things, his parents are contributing to the decline of civil society.

Today, many substitute political correctness for manners. But if people were using manners, I don't think we'd have a need for 'politically correct' language or behavior.

Sadly, I appear to be in the minority when it comes to such perspectives, and I think our society is in decline as a result.


Tami N. said...


It wasn't until my 9-year old started singing "Viva Viagra" that I realized how low we had really sunk.

navyvet said...

Hi Maggie,

My a word.."Ditto."

The most inane commercial is the actor doctor talking across his desk to an actor patient about all the possible negatives of his apparent drug of choice to help his patient. Huh?

Certainly, the attorneys would be satisfied with "full disclosure" to avoid/sidestep litigation; however, after hearing his diatribe, I would ask my doctor..why are you recommending this drug?

Pathetic stuff....

Carol said...

Maggie - I couldn't agree more. It's insulting to have to listen to stories about other people's personal lives all the time. I don't need to know what goes on in their bedrooms. It's none of my business.

But ... we have become such a loose society with such invisible boundaries that we are teaching our children all the wrong things at all the wrong times.

Robin said...

Children who are around 6 or 7 years old usually won't say "excuse me", even if they are taught manners at home. The kid was probably so focused on the task of getting the gallon of milk, he probably didn't even notice you.

Jeffrey said...

Spot on!!

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