Friday, August 8, 2008

Bowing to the Corporate Masters

In was a nice quiet Saturday Morning. Bella was playing on the floor with her books, the baby was asleep in the pack and play thing and Audge was food shopping. But then I got bored. I remembered when I was a kid Saturday had the best cartoons. Maybe I’ll check it out.

I asked Bella if she wanted to watch some television. She said yes. She never asks to “watch television” She’ll request something specific like Lady and the Tramp or Blade Runner, but never to just "Watch TV". We limit TV use so I like the fact that our TV isn’t on that often in our house. So I turned it on and looked at the channel guide.

Oooo a new Spiderman cartoon. Cool! Bella wanted to watch it too but asked for the theme song. I play it for her on CD, the old one from the 60’s cartoon. Sadly, no cool theme song on this one. Just dull character design and average exported overseas animation.

Bella and I started watching it. Her eyes glazed over and she was mesmerized. Suddenly gentle Doc Connors turned into the Lizard! One of my favorite Spiderman Villains because he’s a scientist who is missing an arm and injects himself with reptile DNA to regrow it. Instead he turns into a giant lizard. BUT HE STILL WEARS THE LAB COAT. Awesome. Although it was a little scary. Bella seems to like scary things, so she said it was OK and wanted to keep watching. As expected Spiderman saved the day and helped the lizard who “wanted to be a man” again.

Then the really scary part came. The commercials. The commercials showed upcoming shows from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (in the future?) Huh? Do Eastman and Laird know about this? Then a new Batman show. Bella said she wanted to see all of them. Then there was a Fruit loops commercial. She then wanted that “new cheerios cereal.”

I realized what I had done in that few minutes. I had opened the floodgates to corporate assholes who want our money. In just 30 minutes time she wanted everything she had seen, from Fruit Loops to seeing more shows, which creates an endless loop of mindless viewing and consuming. And it was so EASY. The television was saying “Just turn me on and hand them over.” It scared me a bit, I have to be honest.

So I turned the television OFF. These are my children, and frankly, soulless marketing suits, you can’t have them. Thankfully, Bella forgot about the ten other animated shows and the fruit loops in another 12 minutes. So out of sight, out of mind-- which can be a really good thing sometimes. But now I can’t get that old theme song out of my head. Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can… Where is that CD?


Neil said...

So much for the "Magic Friend Box". Friend, my ass.

~ Neil

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