Mon, Nov 2nd, 1998 04:00 by Lord Lansdowne ARTICLE

Since the advent of the Internet, way before the dawn of browsers and Windows compatible programs, I stopped watching television. Why? The reason is simple: Commercials. I hate them with the passion.

Now, Television on it's own offers very little. Like "Weird" Al Yankovic says in one of his songs "I hooked up 80 channels, and each one stunk", you can't help it but agree. So between bad shows and the advertising that interrupts it, I tend to keep the TV off all the time.

In my house the TV is used for two things: watching the news if I didn't have th chance to buy a newspaper, and using it as a mean to view the videos I rent from the video store. At least, you can fast-forward with those annoying 15 minutes presentations on movies you'll never care to watch, and know that you can sit down and watch something without having to know how many doctors recommend Preparation H.

Which brings me to an interesting point. I have four doctors, and none of them has ever told me to use Preparation H. Well, I don't need it just yet, but they haven't even told me to use Tylenol or anything like that. Even my dentist doesn't say "Use Colgate, so you'll have to come here less". He says "Make sure you brush the way I told you, and here's my bill". That last part, is usually where I pass out with no need of anaesthetics.

Unfortunately, it happens that sooner or later I'll watch TV. Usually this happens at someone else's house, and because, well, for once the program is somewhat interesting.

Now, some commercials are cool. They make you laugh, they entertain you and you actually don't mind watching them, because even-though they are delivering a commercial message, they are so well done, you just have to watch them. Sure, they interrupted your movie for the fucken' Nth fucking time, but you know, it's the funny one, who cares? Unfortunately these are rare. The rest seem to lack any edge of imagination, other than being a breakthrough in apathy.

Take the top 5 commercials that appear on TV these days:

Beer: now beer is a weird one. I mean, I enjoy my nice pint of Guinness with the boys at my favourite pub, but beside getting light headed on my second one, I don't feel cooler. There are no skimpy dressed women running around me. I mean, this is not like the juice from the cup of the Holy Grail. It's malt gone bad with alcohol.

Diapers: oh gawd. It seems that I was the only baby in the world that was unlucky to get my ass wet when I was little. Okay, so you buy this brand which absorbs more than the others, and it keeps your butt smooth. That's great, but I mean, beside me, when I am wiping myself, and my girlfriend, who else is going to care that my butt is smooth? Other than the paedophiles...

Detergents: being a guy, you are probably thinking, I shouldn't be speaking. Guys tend to buy the same brand, without looking at name or price. If it says the words "Detergent" on it, and you are looking for detergent, we have a winner. But I work in a Grocery Store, I know all the brands and prices. I buy the "no name" brand now, because, if you look carefully at who makes it, it's the exact same people that make the ultra-expensive one that supposedly washes better. Put in clothes, put in detergent, run washing machine and usually my clothes come out clean. Or of a different colour than before, or maybe smaller, but at least they are clean. (Yes, I know how to use a computer, but I have yet to learn how to use the washing machine).

Shampoo: the most frightening thing for people in North America is to have dandruff. It's like, a mortal sin. Shame on you if you have dandruff, people will look at you in disgust and shame. That's why there are a ton of shampoos out there designed especially for removing dandruff. Now let me break a myth about anti-dandruff shampoos: they don't work. Sure, the dandruff might disappear after you wash them, but if you use that type of shampoo too many times, they will irritate your skin and give you dandruff. Air conditioning gives you dandruff. Bad life style gives you dandruff. So instead of wasting your time with a miracle product, change the way you live. Lastly Cars: what's with car commercials? This seems to be the most popular one ever. Shouldn't they ban them off the air? I mean, this is what's causing the holes in the ozone layer: too many cars. Too many cigarettes will kill you, so will too many cars.

But to the point: there are too many commercials. The news are brought to you by so and so. The weather is brought to you by these other guys. The fucking clothes the guy is wearing while he tells you the news were kindly supplied by someone else. What was he wearing anyway, that was so special?

And beside those stations that run no advertising, but bore you to death with their telethon sessions, where they want you to donate money so they can continue to provide commercial free programs, the other TV stations flood you with them. First they lure you in with the nice program, or some movie you really want to see. The first thing that gets to me is that the movie "has been edited for television". What exactly does that mean? It means that although you are spending two hours in front of the TV, the movie is actually one hour and 45 mins long. The editing was necessary to fit the ton of commercials that interrupt the movie for a good 15 minutes. The ads are usually spread out unevenly through the movie. They start with rare interruptions in the beginning which make the first hour of the movie watchable. The last half hour of the movie is a constant bombardment of ads, at times with the same one repeated a zillion times, where you even forget what exactly you were watching (I guess this explains why they say "The Simpsons will be right back" in between the 5th and 6th commercial, just in case your brain went to mush and you were trying to figure out why you were sitting in front of the telly).

Sometimes it's so bad that you can switch channels and watch two movies at the same time, while avoiding the advertising.

So that's why I don't watch TV anymore. I prefer to get my daily dosage of radioactivity from my monitor, which at least allows me to ignore the ads and read what I want, when I want it.



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