Friday, January 28, 2005

On chewing - essay

Watch 'n Wait: I truly enjoy your comments. Please keep them coming. Best wishes.

My poor mother, God bless her. If she were alive today she'd be turning over in her grave. Having spent much of her life teaching me to chew with my mouth shut and to not speak with my mouth full, she mercifully passed away before the advent of television advertising.
Nowadays it is virtually impossible to watch any television program for any length of time without having to watch people in commercials vulgarly gulping down something-or-other, making as much noise as possible, presumably to demonstrate how really good it is. And not only must you watch them cramming cereal or chips or whatever into their gaping mouths, you must also listen to them telling you with their mouths crammed full how tasty and healthy it is.
Cereals seem to be the worst offenders although, as below, other foods can be just as bad. It seems to be necessary to prove that not only does such-and-such a cereal taste good but it also doesn't become soggy before you get the last delicious spoonful shoveled in. I have little doubt that we now have generations of young people who believe that it is entirely proper to both eat with your mouth wide open and to talk about it at the same time. Shades of adenoids!
Chips probably run a close second in terms of the sheer offensiveness of television advertising. Apparently the louder the crunch the better the flavor. The most recent example of this shows a group of beautiful and generously endowed young ladies literally cramming handfuls of this particular brand of chips into their mouths as fast as possible, the message being, I gather, that as the chips have no fat or cholesterol (and quite likely no nutritional value whatsoever) women can therefore eat them like men (men, presumably, always eat like pigs). Not only do they engage in this form of gluttony, but after consuming handfuls of these noisy tidbits they tip the bag up and pour in all of the remaining contents. They then proceed to lick their fingers and smack their lips in a most revolting manner. I suspect this is meant to imply that sexual gratification is to be experienced by indulging in this ostentatious orality.
Of course it is not only cereals and chips that engage in this form of oral advertising. Pizza and burgers are also right up there in this form of slobbery. One is inspired daily by watching, usually famous athletes or movie stars, opening wide to shovel in crust first or double patties. They are paid big bucks to provide these lessons in good manners and etiquette for our hero-worshipping youngsters. How do you teach your ten-year-old to eat silently and keep his mouth shut when everyday he observes his (girls do not seem to be targeted quite as much) heroes gulping and slurping while verbally extolling the virtues of this or that junk food? Indeed, how do you get them to eat decent food at all?
Do you suppose the individuals who take money for these disgraceful ads were actually raised to eat like hogs? Or does the money simply seduce them into this particular form of prostitution? While I agree we need to be concerned with too much sex and violence on television, I submit we should not overlook the influence of too much blatant slobbery.

1 comment:

Watch 'n Wait said...

Thank you for those kind words. Since I no longer wish to watch television, it having reached its current state, I'm unfamiliar with the "food" ads showing disgraceful manners. PR people do their best to satisfy the corporate marketing people who are their employers. Nothing goes on air without their okay. Both the PR people and the marketing people must then believe that their audience responds best to those ads, and since their sales go up and down and numbers are closely tracked, they feel they know exactly what viewers of a certain age respond to as a result of this or that ad featuring their "food" and this or that "hero" so hungry for their "food" that they take no time to be mannerly. Decent manners never, ever would enter into their concerns. It's all about money. You may feel better to know that I eat out daily, and the majority of the many young people I've seen dining are very mannerly. Chances are that they will grow up behaving well, happily enough.