BY EDWIN E. VINEYARD
A topic like “Irritating TV Commercials” certainly conjures up a lot of images in our heads. We think of those advertisements for remedies for hemorrhoid ailments, feminine hygiene, and erectile dysfunction to which we are repeatedly and unwillingly exposed, sometimes indelicately. But there are others that are irritating, yet bring a smile almost daily.
Those that may provoke a smile are some of those informative health information spots, and especially the scintillating lady doctor who enthusiastically and graphically describes symptoms and cures for various intimate and private diseases. These are placed during the noon newscast, of course. The incongruity of having lunch while watching and listening to these graphic descriptions and frank advice overwhelms one’s wry sense of humor.
There are many others, not so funny, which we might cite. Those repetitive and crazy car commercials are irritating. Some dramatizations become old rather quickly. The medicine ads with their required listings of side effects are bad, but become worse when we realize that sick people are paying for them. And, this brings us toward the point of this presentation. We are paying for most of those commercials that irritate us.
Somehow it is especially irritating to listen to commercials for which we are paying by taxes, fees, and charges.
Have you looked at your telephone bill lately? There are fees and charges there for all kinds of things. Some of these have to do with underserved population groups, emergency calling, rural services, poverty groups, and the like. We see television commercials time after time with companies advertising their offerings of telephone service, long distance, and all the works for something like $2. These are openly targeted for people who are on food stamps, school lunch aid, or other similar programs.
When we ask ourselves who is paying for those cheap services, we realize that we are. Not only are we paying for those cheap services, but for thousands of dollars in advertising to sell the cheapie package to poor people. Don’t forget company profits to manage and operate them. Perhaps we don’t mind assisting with just plain vanilla, basic services for the poor, but we do mind the silver-plating and all of the paid advertising to sell a give-away program.
As a Medicare premium payer and concerned citizen, one tends to be bothered with all the advertising of motorized wheel chairs for the elderly “at little or no expense to you.” OK, most of us are in favor of enabling the elderly poor and the disabled with personal mobility problems, but this selling of our charity with expensive advertising and for profit by these companies is more than we can be expected to like.
All those advertisements inviting us to sue somebody are aggravating. Especially so, are those which appear to sell the idea of being aggrieved at some party or industry, such as nursing homes or pharmaceuticals. While one may believe in legitimate lawsuits for tort damages, it seems that many of these are selling the notion of being a victim. Some of these are class action lawsuits looking for people who will say that they have used a product five or 10 years earlier. These just go too far.
Now, we come to a point about which there may be differences among us. But it is also bothering to some of us to see the paid TV advertising from our state insurance department advertising a give-away of state dollars to small businesses to help them to provide health insurance to employees at cheapo rates. This saves businesses bunches of money at our expense. Of course, the same people who voted this plan into law, and those who participate in it, are the very same ones who fight tooth and toe-nail against any national program for group health care.
Advertising the state tax give-away on electric golf carts was irritating. Fortunately, the courts set that straight, but only after a lot of people bought these with the idea they would be practically free at the expense of deeper state budget cuts.
There are a lot of individuals, businesses, and industries out here in the state enjoying huge tax breaks by taking away school books out of the hands of kids, medicine away from a mentally ill, homeless man, or food from the tables of elderly poor. This is terribly irritating, but at least they are not advertising those tax give-away gimmicks on TV with our money.
– Dr. Edwin E. Vineyard, AKA The Militant Moderate, lives in Enid, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer