Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The News Hour

It would be great if someone could explain why in the Bay Area we have no less than five television stations that broadcast two or three one-hour newscasts daily, all providing basically the same content, the same advertisements, and the same mix of newscasters representing all the major ethnic groups found locally, whose eyebrows furrow in unison as they demonstrate their profound concern for the daily quantum of car-bombings in Kabul or catastrophic volcanic eruptions in Indonesia.
How we have come to miss the car advertisements, which showed shining, powerful US-built vehicles fording across a tributary of the Amazon, or climbing up a vertical cliff on the side of Mt Rainier, or zipping along empty roads on the Sonoma coast. These commercials were pleasant to watch, even if they were so phantastical that you could almost forget the daily destiny of your average car owner, suffocatingly stuck on some polluted California freeway for hours on end.
Instead we must now sit through the absurd and humorless commercials prescribed by the big pharma-companies, the only firms left apparently who can still afford the cost of tv advertising. Their display of geriatric pharmaceutical candy in the course of a single newshour will likely include at least two ads for erectile dysfunction (why don't they show a limp dick before and hard dick after), a pill for women who are always running to the bathroom (probably $20 a pill), and a couple brands of statin drugs for elderly gentlemen who are too dumb not to have found out about them yet.

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