Messaging

I don’t normally get angry at specific advertisements, because the whole point of all television is deception—for the sake of the total control of a handful of corporations—and even the actual shows are just long advertisements anyway, mostly for illusory lifestyles that destroy ecosystems. But recently I’ve been annoyed by one ad in particular, which I find downright sad.

It’s an ad for Time Warner Cable, and the spot features a presumed wife walking happily into her living room, ready to watch TV, but (gasp!) her TV is covered with sheets, because her presumed husband has built a fort and is playing with her presumed children, denying her some quality entertainment!

She sighs, heavily, while one of the kids, hidden under the sheet-fort, says “buuusted,” and the presumed father sheepishly freezes. She grabs her ipad or whatever, and, after giving him a condescending stare, retreats with her “device,” thankfully stocked with shows and advertisements and shows that are advertisements by the good people at Time Warner Cable, because playing with your kids?—that’s what immature oafs do. Staring at screens is for sophisticated adults.

It’s not enough that she’s annoyed by the presumable father doing exactly what fathers should do—playing with their kids, via a game that does not involve glowing screens—but the look on her face is of such disgust, such disdain (her eye-roll is piercing, truly), that it’s as if she hates any deviation from a panopticon-house (blankets? in the… living room?!) so deeply that the thought of people enjoying themselves while pretending to be bears or monsters or aliens is simply unthinkable.

Without even mentioning all the gender-role stereotypes this ad employs, the effort to make non-screen, non-device play look optional, let alone pejorative—downright annoying, even—is truly sinister. Mammals learn by playing with each other, not by sitting alone in front of metal rectangles.

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