What sort of world are we living in these days? As an example, whenever I laugh or guffaw, I make an attempt to stifle the outburst in case the reason for it offends someone or something.
I do this because the results can be catastrophic, both socially and criminally, under our hurriedly thrown-together constitution. For an instance, recently a friend of mine who is also a mem at the club announced at a party that his nephew played midget hockey and then slipped in the idea of possible height restrictions as an amusing aside. That evening, 700 “small people” were standing on his lawn demanding retractions and a sizable donation for their association.
When I was a boy, the jokes seemed to be mostly of the “Hitler and Göring” sort, then “there was an American, a Canadian and a rabbi” variety, with the rabbi usually bringing the laugh.
They were replaced by Polish and Newfie jokes until they, too, fell out of favour, with only the ubiquitous “blond” jokes extant, as I don’t think blonds have their own association to rigorously defend them.
There does seem to be an association for everyone else, though, even prisoners. No doubt that group will now send me a blistering email in two languages. But we will have reached the height of insanity when they create an association for all the other associations, possibly called the Big One. I once enjoyed being told a joke. Now I am terrified and for good reason; it is Big Brother writ large.
On another subject, for years it has been a habit of mine to watch the American news channels near suppertime, as I have always thought that no one makes the day’s events as interesting as the Yanks do.
Whether it is CBS, NBC or ABC, the newscast usually kicks off with the aftermath of a bomb in some benighted country with the correspondent’s shirt still smoking from the event, telling us in breathless phrases what it means to the U.S.
He ends by cocking ruefully what is left of his eyebrow before sending us back to HQ in New York. We then descend into the chaos of inner-city massacres, guns and corruption followed by appalling Washington blowhards.
The half-hour newscast normally ends with a human-interest story, which last week consisted of a small boy accurately throwing a fully cooked hot dog with garnish to a woman sitting on her car hood as it sailed down the Mississippi after a flood. The newscaster intimated that perhaps a future quarterback was in the making.
However, I think that I can no longer watch these programs, and it has nothing to do with their content or professionalism. It is the commercial portion that has put me off.
For some reason, most of the ads concern one’s well-being. No problem there, but I find the side-effects horrendous. Perhaps it’s nervous leg syndrome or some such; the announcer tells us to hound our doctor for this particular prescription and not to take no for an answer. Then it has a two-minute low-volume muttered warning of what could happen if the doc does give it to you.
Last night I squirmed as a handsome grandfather gambolled with his impossibly cute grandchildren while a voiceover said that contented testicles could become dead raisins and/or one could have dark thoughts about the family dog and/or one might throw wooden coathangers at passing cars for no reason other than having swallowed one of these horse pills. Who would not run from such a testament?
Another commercial featured a woman’s product of some kind. While we watched girls grinning at horses, we were advised that one might give birth to something furry with large ears and/or possibly have ankles like a Clydesdale. Yikes!
Maybe I will return to the calmer and more humdrum Canadian news, where prescription advertising is outlawed.
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