Saturday, May 26, 2018
Opinion

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?

Comments
Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still canít stop bad judgment

Editorial: Welcome Bayshore changes still canít stop bad judgment

Itís human nature in following any tragedy to imagine: How could this have been prevented? On that score, the city of Tampa responded appropriately to the deaths this week of a mother and her toddler whom police say were hit by a teenage driver racin...
Published: 05/25/18
Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

Editorial: Filling Rocky Point lagoon to build townhomes is an empty-headed idea

One of the worst ideas in a long time in the field of urban planning received a blessing this month when the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission approved a land-use change for a project that calls for filling three acres of water insi...
Published: 05/25/18
Editorial: Searching for the real Adam Putnam

Editorial: Searching for the real Adam Putnam

Send out an Amber Alert for Adam Putnam. The red-haired, affable fellow who has served capably as a state legislator, member of Congress and agriculture commissioner is missing. In his place is a far-right caricature who has branded himself as a prou...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Editorial: A strong economic case for restoring voting rights for felons

Editorial: A strong economic case for restoring voting rights for felons

Floridians are paying a steep price for a system that makes it as difficult as possible for people who leave prison to reintegrate into civic life. Gov. Rick Scottís clemency process isnít just archaic and cruel ó it also wastes enormous public resou...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Editorial: Trump right to cancel North Korea talks on nuclear weapons

Regardless of the reason, the cancellation of the U.S.-North Korea summit to address Pyonyangís nuclear program is hardly the worst possible outcome of this high-stakes diplomatic gamble. President Donald Trump was unprepared, North Koreaís Kim Jong ...
Published: 05/24/18
Updated: 05/25/18

NFL kneels before the altar of profits

The owners of the 32 National Football League teams sent a wrongheaded and, frankly, un-American message to their players Wednesday: Expressing your opinion during the national anthem is no longer permitted."A club will be fined by the League if its ...
Published: 05/24/18

Editorial: A positive first step in ensuring student access at USFSP

As a task force sorts out countless details involved in folding the University of South Florida St. Petersburg back into the major research university based in Tampa, ensuring access for good Pinellas students remains a concern. An enhanced cooperati...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/25/18
Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Editorial: Banks still need watching after easing Dodd-Frank rules

Legislation that waters down the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and was sent to President Donald Trump this week is a mixed bag at best. Some provisions recognize that Congress may have gone too far in some areas in the wake of the Great Recession to place new ...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18
Editorial: Honoring our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

Editorial: Honoring our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day

The rising tensions with Iran, the resurgence of violence in the Mideast and the uncertainty over a nuclear disarmament deal with North Korea combine to create an unsettling time this Memorial Day. These grave threats to peace are another reminder of...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/25/18

Another voice: The chutzpah of these men

A new phase of the #MeToo movement may be upon us. Call it the "not so fast" era: Powerful men who plotted career comebacks mere months after being taken down by accusations of sexual misconduct now face even more alarming claims.Mario Batali, the ce...
Published: 05/22/18
Updated: 05/23/18