I do not watch television (except by accident, like, say, in the hotel breakfast area), and I don't listen to commercial radio, except when I'm on a long drive. I like stations that play hits from the 80s, which I sing extremely loudly. That's my way of fighting the evil influence of my husband on the children - he's trying to convince them the 1970s were better than the 1980s, which is total and complete heresy. So yeah, when I get them to myself (I took the two older ones to London; one to compete and the other to cheer and hang out), I blast their pretty ears full of the good stuff. They giggle and dance and sing loudly and it's a great deal of fun.
Except of course for the ads. They hate ads with a passion. I'm more used to them, of course, having grown up with them. But the kids are almost never exposed to them in our home.
What particularly struck me this weekend is how so many ads are for big purchases. Cars, furniture, vacation deals, homes, fancy BBQs, mortgages, you know, big expensive stuff. Very rarely do you get ads for small things like, I don't know, flower shops. There are also awful Ontario government ads reminding you to check that your contractor employs people who have been trained to work on ladders safely, which is both insulting and inane. What morons our government thinks we are. (Mind you, the feeling is mutual so I guess we're even.)
There was even an ad that said to mark Mother's Day you ought to get her a money transfer. As in, send your mother money to show how much you love her. This must win some kind of crass prize, yes?
Anyhow, after a few hours of commercial radio I was slightly depressed about the state of the culture as reflected by this particular medium. It's all about buying stuff, more stuff, and then some stuff on the side to go with the new stuff. They really do seem to think that buying things ought to bring about a state of generalized happiness, and that's too bad.
I know commercial radio needs ads - the ads are what allows me to listen for free. I don't mind ads, up to a point. But I do mind this constant pressure to go out and spend ever more money buying ever more stuff I don't actually need.