Last Sunday, Sweetheart and I went to the local sports bar and grill for dinner. I’m not crazy about sports, but the bar and grill part got my attention.
So, we were ushered to a table and became about 1 percent of the 25 percent maximum occupancy allowed. After we had perused the menu and given our order, I began to look about the room. My eyes couldn’t help but fall on the five television screens located along the walls.
Four of the screens showed a feature story about backpacking. The fifth one must have been some kind of reality show. Several men and women were sitting cross legged on the ground under a huge tree. They seemed to be taking turns standing in front of the others, screaming at them and making some of them cry. Fortunately, the shows were all muted, so I didn’t have to hear the screaming.
Then, I saw some commercials. I didn’t see anything I wanted to buy, but I did wonder about some of the techniques used in advertising. Especially, there were these commercials where they flash images on the screen for a millisecond before flashing another one.
For instance, there were these people. Some of them were alone and some in small groups. I scarcely had time to determine their gender and other distinguishing characteristics before the image flashed to another scene and different people. I was mildly curious as to who the people were. What were they doing? How did they fit into the product being sold?
Also, if the person’s image was only flashed on the screen for a millisecond, did he/she get paid a living wage? Did an up-and-coming actor tell Mom and Dad and the kids to look for her/him, only to see the person disappear before anyone could get a good look?
I wonder what the ad writer was thinking by using such a method of display. I wonder why she/he thought this would be a good way to sell a product to customers. I find that watching this kind of display is mind boggling. My poor brain can’t process things that fast and, after all, why would it want to? I think it’s better to put an idea or picture out there for my mind to dwell on slowly and to absorb. I don’t like to make decisions in a flash.
What worries me is how the flashing images affect small children. Do they think this is how life is? Does all life take place in milliseconds? Are their little minds boggled? Does it make it hard for them to concentrate? Hopefully, children aren’t watching commercials on television and the cartoons they watch are light and fluffy and have no long-reaching effects.
As for me, when I’m at home, a commercial in the middle of one of my favorite programs is the signal for me to get a snack, go to the bathroom or brush my teeth. No flashing images are going to change my mind — or boggle it.
(Dorothy Burchett is the author of the book “Miles and Miracles,” available at Pokeberry Exchange in New Castle. Contact her at email@example.com)