We don’t have a TV. At least not in the capacity that most do. We have a physical TV but no TV licence (It’s NOT a legal requirement) We use our TV to stream/download shows or watch DVDs. One of the downsides to this is missing shows as they’re being broadcast, a slight upset if you wanted to watch the world cup or any other sporting event. However this is nothing compared to one of the benefits.
Adverts. When we watch TV we don’t have any adverts. Or at least not in the capacity that you would if you were watching scheduled programming. Youtube has adverts but most can be skipped after 5 seconds. It’s television bliss not to have a show interrupted by nonsensical garbage. And we would NEVER go back.
However this all changes when we visit my parents house on the coast. Especially on a rainy Sunday like today. We somehow gravitate towards the idiot box like a bug to an electric bug zapper, completely unaware of our impending doom. Kids cartoons are usually the first port of call, especially if our 2yr old has anything to say on the subject. Every 10/15 minutes we interrupted with a barrage of kids toys, shoes, theme parks and other TV shows. 30 second sound and visual clips with loud and enticing music. A loud announcer demanding that we ‘Just get it’ or ‘Buy now’ or even being as bold as to say ‘You’ll go crazy for……’
When it boils down to it today’s adverts are nothing more than orders. Orders that must be carried out, whatever the cost. Fortunately the cost is usually discounted or there’s nothing to pay for 18months with zero down. Where it is all the more apparent is the TV licensing adverts. Back in the 80’s the ads were persuasive. Encouraging you to buy a licence so as you don’t miss out on some of the quality (sic) programming. But today the tactics are far more Orwellian. ‘We know where you are and we’re coming to get you and we’re going to fine you £1000’ As I said it’s not a legal requirement to own a TV licence if you own a TV. It’s not a criminal offence which means it’s only enforceable by the BBC, a private company. Further more it is written into our constitution (UK) that no man shall be fined without first being found guilty. If you don’t let them in (BBC) they can’t gather evidence to find you guilty. It requires your cooperation. But I digress…
We are bombarded with adverts everyday. Whether it’s on TV, radio, magazine or even on the streets. BUY! CONSUME! SPEND!
We are being convinced that all of this consumption will make us happier, sexier and well adjusted. I can only talk about myself but I’ve never been happier and more adjusted since ditching the TV… I can’t say it’s done much for my sex appeal though. When we’re down on south coast of England gathered around the TV I can literally feel the depression and anxiety creep into me when those poxy adverts kick in.
I don’t mean to badmouth TV. There is a world information and enjoyment located inside the black box. From history to science and from comedy to drama. It’s just those adverts. Too many fucking adverts. I’m thankful I don’t live in the USA. Roughly four advert breaks per 30mins. It’s too much. But America is the capitol of consumerism.
We need to do more to escape from these invasive arse holes, I’ll let you decide on what you need to do.
I’ll leave you with a few words of one of the 21st century’s great artists, until next time….
“People are taking the piss out of you everyday. They butt into your life, take a cheap shot at you and then disappear. They leer at you from tall buildings and make you feel small. They make flippant comments from buses that imply you’re not sexy enough and that all the fun is happening somewhere else. They are on TV making your girlfriend feel inadequate. They have access to the most sophisticated technology the world has ever seen and they bully you with it. They are The Advertisers and they are laughing at you.
You, however, are forbidden to touch them. Trademarks, intellectual property rights and copyright law mean advertisers can say what they like wherever they like with total impunity.
Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.
You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs”