Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's for you...

Hi. I'm Natalie Wood. And this is, apparently, only a prop phone.One wouldn't know it by merely having the hansom driver slow so that one might inspect the architectonics of stately Goon Manor, but the old grey manse is no longer cable-convivial. Oh sure, the cable itself still leaps from its perch on the telegraph pole and strikes our commorancy precisely where it had been embedded by that nice fellow from Comcast (or whatever media conglomerate was whoring that week). But those counterfeit fiberoptics will no longer be thrusting the inanities of Twenty-First Century formulaic forensic farces and slap-happy news'n'infotainment into our ambience.
So it was with great pleasure that I read -- READ!!1! -- that, as predicted, online advertising revenues overtook the recession-eroded and utterly avoidable teevee advertising. In the United Kingdom, anyway. According to the Beeb: "Outlay grew 4.6% to £1.752bn between January and July, according to the study by the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers."
It is a wonderful thing, watching evolution -- or whatever -- take place all around one. But these days, it's like being Rod Taylor in George Pal's The Time Machine -- as he watches the city crumble around him while eons pass. I listened as an aspiring radio dramatist when CBS broadcast its last CBS RadioMystery Theater. This is Candice Bergen. You mean that you kept your teevee even after 'Murphy Brown?'. Uh, hello? Hello?I watched as a jobseeker while the other fifteen or so Sit'n'ShopAtHome teevee networks disappeared within weeks of me leaving Home Shopping. I was wearing jackets and bowties when T-shirts became fashionable attire at galas. I was at the board while radio nose-dived into a vulgar morass it has no ambition to cleanse or police. And I was here as H.M.S. Impossible sank at the dock.
(The latter is a personal thing. Unlike the Home Shopping thing. People still cry over the JCPenney Network going belly up.) As someone who has worked in and around teevee for at least an eighth of his life, I was hesitant at first to cut the electrical sabbatical umbilical but in this decision, I relied on the very thing that made me leave the employ of teevee in the first place: my dignity and common sense.
A bundled deal -- telephone, cable and Internet, under one bill for one lowlowprice for a limited time -- like every other "deal," does not represent much of a "deal" after the three month special "$29.99" rate period is over.
Like every other thing in this New Age, the bundle appeals to our laziest nature. Like industrial monoculture farming or a telephone that plays movies. How did we ever get on without it?
You're not going to cancel after three months. I remember last century when I was explaining this to telephone Customer Service Operatives.Dee. D-E-E. Like the letter. With 2 extra letters. Well, ONE extra letter twice, but... Where are You calling from? And in those days, all we bundled was 'local" and "long distance." Just one bill. For many customers, it was like finding a twenty in a pants pocket. The convenience alone actuated their indolent nerve. Although "get-one-bill" was the sell, I always held that it was the "pay-one-bill" that sold them. And every few months, a new "fee" or "charge" or "network apportionment" or rate increase was just a briefly incommodious lump in the cushiony upholstery of the potato's couch.
So here I am, going over expenses with My Beloved, after a wearying rainy afternoon giving it one last go at the 512 channels poured into our lifestyle by ConCast. I know that we most certainly must own one of those stations by now given what we've been dishing out over the years. I would have been perfectly happy to watch old Stanley Cup games, but the advertising was noxious, uninspired, and reverberated for inordinately impolite periods.
Although I have great friends who work in the infomercial industry, I have little interest in or need for "windshield-cleaning systems" or "memory foam slippers." I am glad for my friends, however, that infomercials seem to be the only thing that's on. Even the Weather Channel -- rather than provide the local update every ten minutes as it had in the past "on the eights" --was brandishing some re-created melodrama about hayseeds who had built their home under water and were "absolooootly shawked" when "a massive rainstorm" of "spleen-blasting" proportions wiped out their entire collection of used tires and busted appliances. A quick break for several more obnoxious promos for Al Roker's stupefying morning show and then...
The phone rang. The mobile, which has become the de facto primary number. Not the house phone -- which rarely ever rings, except for begging calls from "volunteers" soliciting donations for the Retired Telephone Solicitors Fund. Bette Davis has 3 things you don't see nowadays: payphone, smoking, ugly costume jewelry. Oh wait... 2 things.
So, after these few years of paying three times the amount for which we had originally contracted when we got suckered into it, we've decided to unwrap two-thirds of the bundle. Specifically the two immobile dinosaurs chained stuck to the wall: phone and cableTV. Anything that I might desire to "watch" is available online. I haven't watched news on teevee since giggling and chortling by adolescents became "broadcast journalism." My phone is in my pocket.
Am I any less "connected?" No.
But I might use that extra money each month to buy some newspaper advertising, just to keep the kids at work.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're kidding! More money spent on ads for "Secret to a flat stomach OBEY!" than on Shamwow ?