Saturday, December 29, 2007

I've been thinking about life, TV, the Internet and I have a question: When, exactly, did I agree to be bombarded with advertising?

There are billboards along the highways. But they have become so much a part of the background that we ignore them. So advertisers have developed video billboards. Oh, that'll make driving more interesting. Everyone can watch a video while they are screaming down the freeway. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

There are commercials in our newspapers. When I studied journalism, the goal was to keep ads off the front page, so that no one could assume the paper was biased. Now, not only are there ads on the front page on many papers, they are often above the fold, and the news is below.

There are commercials on TV. With the popularity of video, we could watch TV shows on video without commercials. Except the forty minutes of previews at the beginning. And the commercials on DVDs are the worst. Sometimes, you can't even fast forward through the ad for the movie you didn't want to see in theaters and you certainly don't want to watch at home! Tivo promised that we could fast forward through the ads. Until advertisers put ads on the bottom of the screen we see when we fast forward through the ads.

There are ads in my mail. People I have never met send me letters to sell me shit I don't want. And the Post Office charges them less per piece than they charge me to send in my credit card payment. The same credit card I ran up buying the shit that was advertised. Wanna make me happy, Mr. Postmaster? Charge me bulk mail rates when I pay my bills!

There are ads in my email. In my email! I get ads for penis enlargement, breast reduction, and the latest toy I have never heard of. Spam filters catch a lot of it, but Spammers are devious.

There are ads in my doctor's office. And not for her services. No, pharmaceutical companies slap their logos on calendars, pens, clipboards, and even specimen cups. And my doctor still charges me $100 a visit. But I get free pens.

And there are ads on the Internet. There are ads on this page, in fact. I use AdBlocker in Firefox to block the ads when I surf, but I don't mind letting you people see them. If you are smart enough to block them, good for you. If not, click a few of the ads on the page and send me some money.

The networks argued for years that ads on TV made the programming free. Why do I pay for cable and get ads on cable TV? Why do I pay for Internet and get ads on the Internet? Why do I pay $60 for a video game to see ads in the background? You want to send me ads on the Internet? Fine. Pay for my Internet connection. You want to send me ads on cable TV? Fine. Pay for my cable connection. If you want to send me ads in video games? Fine. Make them cheaper. If ads make things cheaper for me, I'll watch them. But I will not pay to see and ad.

And if you could click one of the ads that rhyme with "noodle". . .

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