I think this says more about the media's infatuation with the latest news story and the intense competition for viewers. Think about it - when was the last time we had bad weather or news of a relatively minor concern that didn't become the 'big' story with doom and gloom scenarios? The creepy part is that so many viewers buy in to the hype without any objectivity.
* Since we're on the subject of TV, I have to wonder about the mental state and perspective of some of the people who make commercials these days - and also of the ones who approve them. I'll be the first to admit that the Burger King 'king' just plain gives me the creeps. Perhaps it was the first ad this character was in where he stands outside a bedroom window and stares inside - or shows up in the bed in the morning with a man just waking up. It's just plain creepy to portray a stranger in such a way.
But their latest advertisement for the Sponge Bob kids meal is beyond any realm of good taste. They do a take off of the 'I like big butts' (Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back") song, which certainly has adult content, and change it to 'square butts' to tie in with the cartoon character Sponge Bob Square Pants. The 'king' leers at young women who are 'dancing' in sexually suggestive manners and 'measures' them. To find such adult content being used to market a kids meal is even more disturbing than having the 'king' staring into your bedroom window.
I'm not a prude, and while I might think the commercial was in poor taste if were targeting adults, I am gravely concerned that it targets children.
I cannot conceive that any adult thinks this sexually suggestive content is the proper way to sell meals to kids under 10. But I'm obviously wrong as both the advertising firm and Burger King have done so.
* When it comes to commercials, I've long been a fan of the MasterCard 'priceless' series of ads. Until now.
Their most recent 'Helping your dad become a better man' focus on environmentalism really hit me the wrong way. I couldn't find a video of it, but it's a boy shadowing his father in three different scenes.
When Dad leaves the water running as he brushes his teeth, the boy is on hand. “Water glass,” says the (child’s) voice over, “five dollars.”
Then on to a hardware store where Dad is looking for light bulbs. How fortunate that his son is smart enough to hand him the 'acceptable' ones. “Energy saving bulb: four dollars.”
At the grocery store checkout, the child saves Dad from the horror of using plastic bags. “Reusable bag: two dollars.”
And then comes the tag line: “Helping your dad become a better man: priceless.”
There is no mention of the qualities that really define a better man - like honesty, generosity, kindness, courage, providing for your family, etc...
Yes, I know it's just a commercial, but I find something inherently wrong in expecting children to educate their parents after their indoctrination in 'right-think' from whatever school or program is supposed to be educating them. And it's not just the kids. They are indoctrinated, certainly, but then they are encouraged to indoctrinate others and badger their parents into 'proper' behavior. That's creepy as well.
So where is the discussion of how breaking one of those 'energy saving' bulbs might require the father to evacuate his son from the area to prevent inhalation of the chemicals used in the bulb? Or how those 'evil' plastic bags are made from recycled material and can be recycled again and again?
That the father just accepts the 'wisdom' of a child isn't even questioned. But it is implied that regardless of anything else the father does for his son, if he isn't adhering to the environmental dogma, he is not as good a man as he should be. As the Culture and Media Institute says:
It’s been widely noted that environmentalism is religion for our secular age. And since one of the main functions of a religion is to instruct it adherents in right and wrong, it follows that a man’s goodness can now be judged according to his carbon footprint.
What’s wrong with this? Nothing, if you think that six-year-olds – or Al Gore – should be the ultimate arbiters of morality.
And when this focus in injected, in such a non-subtle manner, into commercials, it's creepy - and it concerns me.