Saturday, November 18, 2017

So many words, so little truth


It's an educated guess, but this has probably happened to you by now. You're sitting at the kitchen counter enjoying a lovely cocktail when the television screen is filled for the bazillionth time with images of Barack Obama in a Mao jacket attempting to turn the nation into a Potemkin Village.

But wait, there is Mitt Romney in spats cleaning his teeth with poor people.

You begin to drool as your eyes roll back into your head. You are not alone.

If one guy gets elected your wealth will be redistributed to levels resembling the Zhivago family's postrevolution digs. If the other guy prevails next week, old people will receive cat food vouchers.

If there is one thing both sides of the political divide can probably agree on it is that as of Nov. 7, our long national nightmare of endless political commercials will end.

It is estimated by experts who actually count this stuff that more than 900,000 commercials will have aired during this presidential election cycle — and that's just along the I-4 corridor. Just kidding, but not by much. In all, the Obama campaign and its surrogates account for slightly more than half of that number, with the Romney campaign and its supporters picking up the balance — virtually all the spots portraying the other chap as a lying, conniving, evil agent of doom. And those are the more uplifting ads.

Each camp is expected to spend about $1 billion on advertising. Oh for a Popeil's pocket grape peeler infomercial. Just one.

You are not mistaken in feeling this election season has become one massive advertising equivalent of water-boarding. According to the Wesleyan Media Project, there has been a 44.5 increase in presidential campaign commercials over 2008.

Who cares why those couples are always in two separate bathtubs in the Cialis commercials? Can we just have them back, please?

Insane amounts of money have been wasted to create messages at least 50 percent of the public believes are sheer, unadulterated phooey with less credibility than Lance Armstrong insisting he won all those trophies through extra pushups.

A big chunk of the mud has been generated by a handful of deep-pocketed sugar daddies who have channeled their inner Machiavelli to underwrite all the gibberish. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case, which found corporations are people, too, free to drown the political marketplace with unaccounted for cash to influence their agendas, also hasn't helped.

So you have folks like the Koch Brothers and Las Vegas mogul Sheldon Adelson, the Blofelds of the hustings, attempting to bring the public around to the idea that the care and feeding of captains of commerce is in their middle class interests.

To these folks, truth — crazy stuff like science, or how a woman's reproductive system works — is to be avoided at all costs, which in this case stretches into nine figures.

Oh, to see once more the spots featuring those three nuts who laugh and guffaw at the end of their commercial. I don't even remember what product they are hyping. I still want them back.

In 1984, Apple aired one of the most famous commercials in television history, a play on George Orwell's 1984. Most people remember the stark visuals — a beautiful woman being pursued by security guards as she swings a sledgehammer at a screen where an overlord is lecturing to a massive hall filled with pliant lemmings.

Less well known is the speech the dictator is delivering in which he says: "Today we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created for the first time in all history a garden of pure ideology, where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests of any contradictory true thoughts.

"Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on Earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause.

"Our enemies shall talk themselves to death and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail."

Who knew director Ridley Scott was filming the first tea party advertisement?


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