tatjna (tatjna) wrote,

In which I stare unblinkingly at the screen for 20 minutes in abject horror

So last night I was watching television.

*cue gasps from the gallery*

Yes. The little box with moving pictures sucked me in.. it was.. mesmerising. Anyway, I was with a couple of friends and we watched the news. Man gets bitten by pitbull when rescuing people from crashed car, politicians behaving like children, new clues to find the murderer of two prisoners, people *gasp* are not sorting their recycling properly, Angelina Jolie is apparently in hospital 'resting' before the birth of her next child. Usual stuff.

I found myself utterly gobsmackedby the ads. It's not that they are any different from the ads that used to be on back in the 90s last time I watched TV habitually. It's just that, not having been near a television for over 6 months, I'm not used to them.

Bloody hell, what companies won't stoop to, to get people to notice their product!

Where do they find those women? You know, the ones who talk like Play School announcers on speed? "ComedowntoBRIScoesandyou'llfindALLtheTHINGSyouknowyouWANTbutdon'treallyNEEDatGREATPRICES!YOUTOOcanHAVEthisWONDERFULbutuselessGADGETfortheTINYPRICEofONLY SEVEN! NINE! NINE!"

Yes, that's right folks, we are no longer able to understand when someone says "Seven hundred and ninety nine dollars" - it has to be SEVEN! NINE! NINE!

(i suspect this is to do with trying to make it seem like less than it is by taking the 'hundred' out, but jeez it sounds moronic)

I have noticed that the Briscoes lady is no longer visible in the ads - she's been at it one hell of a long time, and is probably considered too old for their 'young couple starting out' demographic - but they've yet to find someone else with the rollercoaster annoyingly enthusiastic VOICE that GETS in your HEAD and makes you REMEMBER! - So, she's doing voiceovers now.

And I'm sorry, but just because you put an actor in a white coat or a pilot's hat on the TV waving the product at me, I'm not about to assume this person knows more than I do about whether the price of a flight or a painkiller is a good one. Put Dr Science up there, talking some facts, saying "I don't give a crap if you buy this stuff or not, you decide what works best for you." and I might listen.

And the jingles! Jesus. I still have that one for Lighting Plus in my head. You know, the one that goes "Liiiighting PLUS! MORE than just great prices! Liiiiiighting PLUS!"

Yep, it's inane. It tells me nothing. But it's in my head, and I plan to NEVER go to Lighting PLUS ever, because fuckem, they will not be rewarded for messing with my head like that.

But, the thing that I find scariest, is when I start to think about how many people DO watch TV habitually, and are getting this stuff (the shows as well as the ads) pumped at them in a constant stream for several hours a day. I suspect that maybe half the population of NZ are habitual TV watchers (I'm sure someone on here knows the figure more exactly) - that's 2 million people staring at the box, being fed the same 'information' as each other.

And it dawned on me (nothing new, I know) just how easy it would be to use television to indoctrinate people, to feed the majority of the population stuff that causes them all to have similar opinions, buy similar stuff, think similar ways. I know there's a choice of channel, but really, what's the difference? Same ads, same sitcoms, same pseudo-informative shows about brave little kids who want the whole world to boycott palm oil because deforestation is killing the orangutans, never mind that the Malaysian economy relies on it and how about offering an alternative, spending money on better tech so they don't need to deforest to grow the stuff? No, let's just get everyone agreeing with the cute little girl cos orangutans are fuzzy, throw out those Tim Tams and tut tut about Australia turning away the starving boat people that turn up because their livelihood just got yoinked, we're safe over here in our haven where some guy getting bitten by a dog makes the news, we shop at Lighting PLUS and tolerate John Campbell even though he's a wanker because he tells us we have it better than Those People Over There.


Yep. Those people are out there. catsnstuff posted yesterday about some of the crazy, uninformed and bigoted opinions people put in the Herald comments. Those are the people I'm talking about. The ones who get their 'information' in soundbytes from some coiffed 'personality' on TV, have listened to the cute girl talk about palm oil and the sections about Zimbabwe on the news, and now think they know the answers. It's simple! Because the info they have is simple! And doesn't go into any of the details of how complex it really is, because that would make people think about things, and people who think about things make life uncomfortable!

And we'd much rather have a nation of docile, comfortable people who more or less agree with each other and don't think too deeply about the issues, who go to work to get the money to buy the trinkets, who sort their recycling and don't like pitbulls, who buy the painkillers to fix their headaches so they can carry on working, consuming and watching the telly. It's a way of making people think they're educated without effort, and without risking what might happen if that 2 million people actually had informed opinions.

And it scares the crap out of me. All those people, getting fed the same information.

It's not new, I know. Television is the opiate of the masses, the plug-in drug, all that jazz.

Please, people, turn off your telly. It is possible to entertain yourself without one, and your brain might come back to life if you do, instead of dying in stages while the Lighting PLUS jingle runs round in your head over and over.

Oops. I think I ranted. Oh well, it's been a while since I ranted...

This evening, there will be a haircut. Ooh! This cut should dispose of all the leftover damaged bits from the nasty double-bleaching I had to do for Kiwiburn this year, and leave my hair Soft, Bouncy and Shiny! Like some TV ad! *shakes hair provocatively and stares into the camera*

And then, at around 6, I'm heading to Fidels, since tomorrow I won't be there. And there will be conversation! About relevant issues! Hopefully not with the salt shaker! Please come.
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