Sunday, November 30, 2008

The War Against Advertising

Well, there's one good thing about the current "recession" that I definitely did not see coming. It is making it easier to spot morons and softheads around the holiday shopping season. How can a recession provide such a needed public service, you ask? Well, unfortunately, finding out who the morons are can only occur when they act in a way that only morons can. That is to say, moronic, as it were. And once you know who the idiots are, you'd think you'd feel pretty good about knowing who to avoid having a conversation with and/or who to avoid just in general. But it's really kind of a depressing feeling as you attempt to grapple with being the only non-moron with some common sense who is surrounded by a sea of idiots.

Because of the "recession", parents are finding themselves needing to cut back on the amount of money that they spend on holiday gifts this year. (I use quotes because if I can't find a parking space at the mall, I question the presence of a "recession". Aren't people supposed to be saving their money during a "recession"? If so, then how come I can't find a place to park because everyone else is at the mall spending their money? So until I can find a place to park in under 5 minutes, the quotes stay.) Using the basic principles of economics (and basic math) you'll realize that when you spend less money on gifts, you tend to end up buying not as many gifts as you would if you had spent more money. That is when using the basic principle of "Because I said so" or its sister principle "Just because" should be applied to any discussion a parent feels the need to have with their child about why they may not be getting as many Christmas presents this year as they have in previous years. But those two principles have been inexplicably lost somehow, somewhere. And parents are looking for a new way to cope with this "tragic" situation.

At least 1,400 members of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood have come up with this method of dealing with not having as much money to spend on Christmas gifts for their children: According to those over there at the AP "They have have contacted 24 leading toy companies and retailers to express concern about ads aimed at kids." Wait. What?

Correct. These softheads are asking toy companies to please stop directing their television commercials at their children because then their children want all of the toys that they see advertised and these weak, weak parents won't be able to buy them everything that they want. Uh-huh. And? Oh, wait. Is that a problem? I'm sorry, I misunderstood, being as how I grew up not getting everything I wanted, Christmas time or not, and not being entitled to an explanation as to why. It's just how it was. You never got everything you wanted. Ever. Yeah, instead I was taught how to be appreciative and thankful for any gift that someone was taking the time and effort to give me. How misguided was my childhood, eh?

Are these people out of their freaking minds?! They're actually SO worried that they won't be able to afford every single toy that their child sees an ad for that they're willing to write letters to the toy companies and ask them to stop running all of their toy advertisements? What Utopian planet did these folks beam down from? They better get a head start on their letter writing campaign to all forms of media for when their young children become teenagers, as that's when they're really going to start wanting everything that they see AND, from how this seems to be going, expecting to get it.

Let's take a gander at one letter that one softheaded parents wrote, shall we? A one Todd Helmkamp, a resident of Hudson, IN, penned this charming request: "Unfortunately, I will not be able to purchase many of the toys that my sons have asked for; we simply don't have the money. By bombarding them with advertisements ... you are placing parents like me in the unenviable position of having to tell our children that we can't afford the toys you promote." Um, WTF is that?

The "unenviable position of having to tell our children that we can't afford the toys you promote"? You mean "being a parent and having to tell your kid NO on occasion"? The horror that a parent should be placed in a position of not giving their child everything that they want. I cannot believe this actually happens in this day and age and right here in the United States, too! (Please try not to get any of the sarcasm that was oozing off of that last sentence on you. It's hard to get off.)

Apparently, this attitude is fostered in part by other softheads who enable the moronic and greatly misguided. Take one Amanda Almodovar who is a social worker in Alamance County, NC. She says that "...she encounters such families in her work as an elementary school social worker where homelessness and unemployment are rising." OK, so where does the enabling come in? Right about when she says "I had one parent who said she'd prostitute herself to get what her child wants. It's heartbreaking. They feel inadequate as parents." Um, am I supposed to feel sorry for you that you because you're willing to whore yourself out so that you don't have to tell your kid no? Look, if you want to be a hooker for whatever reason you can come up with, knock yourself out. Aim high! Become a paid whore! That will be a great story to tell your child someday, won't it? ("And remember the Christmas of 2008? I had to turn tricks on a cot in the garage just so that we could afford that Nintendo Wii for you that year. I wasn't thrilled about being a whore-Mom, but it was better than telling you 'no.' " Aahh...just like the tales of childhood that I remember!)

She continued along those same lines with "I try to tell them, worry about your home, your heating bill — but they're the ones who have to look into children's faces, the children saying 'I want this, I want that.' " Um, yes, yes they are the ones who have to look into their children's faces. That's because they're their children! And children, regardless as to whose they are, tend to want everything that looks cool. But these people are so against telling their children 'no' or not giving their children everything that they want that they are willing to whore themselves out like a cheap hooker out turning tricks for crack money. Don't portray that as "heartbreaking". Portray it for what it is. Misguided. Enabling. Entitlement. And really effing stupid.

Meanwhile, over in Columbus, OH, a one Erin Beth Dower Charron (seriously?) In Columbus, Ohio, Erin Beth Dower Charron "...has been trying to brace her 4-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter for more subdued gift-getting this year as the family begins financial belt-tightening. 'My 8-year-old is still holding out hope that Santa will get her that one special gift, but understanding this year may be different. My son doesn't understand. Everything he sees, he wants. Toy ads on kids' TV shows make the process harder. The onslaught seems to be more intense this year.' "

You're trying to "brace your children" for what exactly? Getting anything instead of nothing? No, it doesn't sound like that. It sounds like you're trying to "brace them" that they will not be getting everything that they want and that it's perfectly fine that they're not happy that they won't get their way. But see, that interpretation is coming from someone who wouldn't be having a conversation like that with a 4-year old because, well, how do I put this? Oh, yeah. Because they're FOUR!

But here's the kicker! The director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and one Susan Linn who is a psychologist who would seem to have a rather idealistic and Utopian view of these sorts of "dilemmas." She has said that she doesn't "...expect toy companies to stop advertising." (Well, that's good, because they're not going to. Finally! Some realistic and rational thinking!) "...rather, she want the ads directed at parents." (Never mind. I take it back. Realistic and rational just left the building. We're back to moronic again.) She claims that "It's cruel to dangle irresistible ads for toys and electronics in front of kids — encouraging them to nag for gifts that their parents can't afford. It's just not fair." I think my head just exploded.

It's not fair?? The person who uttered that statement is a psychologist?! Did she study at the College of "Am Not! and Are So!"? Did she major in "I know you are, but what am I?" What was the topic of her thesis? "Takes one to know one?" FAIR?! It's called advertising. If you really want to teach those kids who think that they should have everything about "fair", what say you take them someplace where the kids aren't worried about not getting everything, but are instead worried about not getting anything? How "fair" is that? Not very.

So just the very act of a child watching an ad for a toy that they may or may not want is now considered to be "encouragement" to "nag" their parents for something that the parents can obviously not afford? First of all, children don't "nag", they whine. (Are we sure she's a psychologist? You think she would know that.) Second, how is the mere act of a commercial a form of the encouragement of anything other than to purchase the product? That's kind of the basis of the commercial in and of itself. You know, to encourage consumers to buy a product. (It sounds crazy, I know! But I've come to accept it and you'll have to also! Commercials want you to buy something! And I'm still a little surprised whenever I hear that. You know, because it's so shocking.)

But really, I want to know how exactly the toy companies are supposed to gear their toy ads toward the parents instead of the children. How would that work? It's not like the kid won't SEE the toy on the screen. It's not like the kid won't HEAR the words spoken in the ad. Would each commercial have a warning before it aired? "Parents! We're about to show you a really cool T-O-Y, but we can't talk about it in front of the K-I-D-S. Please clear the room so we can tell you, the adult, about our great T-O-Y now!" What do they want?! I don't get it. And neither do they, obviously.

What have we learned? More than we wanted to. Here are the basics: There are people out there who want to give their children everything that the child wants. Those same people apparently want to make sure that those same children never experience disappointment and thus, never learn how to deal with it. Those same people do not seem to place value upon the concept of the bigger meaning behind the giving and receiving gifts. Those people are also known as morons. You can tell because they're also committed to writing letters to toy companies and asking them to stop being unfair to their precious little snowflakes by running ads for toys directed at the children.

We also learned that some people are willing to whore themselves out and become a hooker so that they will not have to find themselves in the "unenviable position" of having to tell their child "no" on occasion (and that's not just the position that they'll be in if they become a whore in the first place, which will definitely be an "unenviable" one that is also going to be "uncomfortable" at times as well). That is a phenomenon otherwise known as "being a parent", something that most of these people seem to be unfamiliar with.

When I read articles like the one cited here, I always wonder why someone didn't ask these people (you know, like the lady who is willing to become 'hooker-ific') what they thought about teaching their children about the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of gift giving? Why weren't they asked why they are raising their children to focus on the materialistic aspect of things? (Don't get me wrong, getting gifts is awesome, but giving gifts is more awesome in a lot of ways. ) And why no one was asked what makes them think that giving a kid everything that they want is a good thing. It's not. And it has nothing to do with being "fair".

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La Belle Canadienne said...

Yup the malls are full and the cash registers r ringing here up north as well. I can't seem to find any major signs of "Recession". It's almost like the powers that be want to force the economy into a recession but the masses are unwilling. Didn't all of the jobs already move to India and China? I sold my Dell so I wouldn't have 2 call India ever support my a$$. They only ever made matters worse.

That idiot Dr. PHil did once say something somewhat reasonable. He said the biggest form of child abuse is committed by parents who give their kids everything.

I guess kids like u and I who grew up and didn't get every little toy or freaking outfit we ever wanted ( I used to spend hours staring at that canopy bed in the Sears catalogue--go figure) ended up figuring their kids shouldn't be "deprived" of every trendy toy out there.

Kind of stupid because when these kids grow up they will learn that "You can't always get what you want". But then that is what credit cards and lines of credit and financing are for. Hmmmm...How did the USA get into the mess it's in again...

Mare said...

Dr. Phil said something reasonable?! No wonder none of this is making sense this year! Up is down! Black is white! And now Dr. Phil! Madness, I tell you. Sheer madness.

I definitely don't get those who "figure their kids shouldn't be deprived". I was deprived and, dammit, all children who follow me should be deprived as well! If we had to suffer, so do they!

What's the worst that can happen? The precious little snowflakes will toughen up a bit and build some character? I have yet to meet one person who was given everything they ever wanted growing up who wasn't a complete ass.

And of course, all of this isn't a reflection of the current attitudes that were major factors in the emergence of the current economic debacle. No, not at all. Get it all now, worry about repercussions later. Sure, that'll work just fine. That's why I'm sure those kids will turn out just fine, too.

Ahhhh, wisdom from America's Hat. Gotta love it!