Wednesday, October 31, 2012

No, No, No!

I may regret this, and I may end up looking foolish indeed, but I do not believe this election is as close as the polls and the pundits are claiming. With President Obama looking extremely Presidential and Romney exposed as the outrageous liar he is, and Obama most probably winning in Ohio, it looks to me like it is about over. I hope I am right. In any case, I am turning my attention to the question of regulations.

I basically like regulations, especially those designed to protect the population from unscrupulous Republicans out to steal them blind, and I like regulations even more when they are designed protect the environment . I’m pretty sure we need more regulations rather than less. Of course if there are cases where regulations are not truly needed, or honestly cause honest people trouble, they should be abolished.

There are some cases where regulations should be created if for no other reason than to help us preserve our sanity, as well as our connection with reality. Advertising comes to mind, particularly television ads, that have now become so frequent, idiotic, repetitive, and long lasting as to make you wonder when television will surrender completely to the ads and give up any pretense at programming.

I am not certain this is so, but I am pretty sure that we have more ads per hour now than ever before, they are often so frequent you are left to wonder when or even if the program is ever going to begin. There definitely should be regulations limiting the number of ads per hour with fines for those who violate the rules. Similarly, there should be rules that govern how often any given ad can be repeated in a certain amount of time. Certainly the same ad should not be repeated immediately after it was first shown, which sometimes occurs. Along the same lines there should be regulations about how long any particular ad can be used. I realize that some ads are probably more productive than others, but even so, no ad, no matter how successful it is, should be allowed to run for months or even years. Nor should ads be permitted to be aired more than perhaps once or twice per day. I should think that any more than that would not be productive but clearly some do not seem to think so. I personally find it maddening when the same ad plays over and over throughout the course of a program or evening.

More importantly, there should be some form of control over the relative idiocy of any particular ad. Those that are idiotic almost beyond belief, as many are, should simply not be allowed to see the light of day. Those that might well fall into this category are ads featuring talking automobiles, cookies, insects, cows and horses, and so on. And if someone has to make an ad featuring a talking bee they should certainly make it speak without a foreign accent. Ads that feature old people acting and talking cute like children, or conversely, children acting and talking cute like adults, should be completely banned. To insure quality control of television ads I would suggest a permanent panel of, say, fourth graders, both girls and boys, that would have the authority to authorize or ban ads, depending upon how idiotic they are. I am sure such a panel would improve immeasurably the quality of televisions advertising fairly quickly.

I wonder if this is not a more serious matter than we might think. When you consider how much time both children and adults spend in front of the idiot box, where they are constantly exposed to talking animals, cars, insects, and even inanimate objects, they must over time lose touch more and more with reality. In real life animals and cars and cookies and bananas, and cats and dogs just don’t talk, and they certainly don’t sell products. I wonder what the long term affects of television ads really might be. I don’t know where this all started but I bet Walt Disney had much to do with it. There are good reasons why television has come to be regarded as a wasteland, advertising has probably as much to do with it as the programs themselves as they, too, deal mostly with fantasy worlds.

Advertising may be described as the science of arresting human intelligence long enough to get money from it.

Stephen Leacock

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