Child Abuse in Advertising

I’ve noticed a shocking trend in advertising which I think is horribly abusive towards children and parents everywhere.

Some of you may disagree and think that my using the word “abuse” is hyperbole but hear me out.

For the past couple of weeks there’s been this radio spot for the back to school specials of a major office supply retailer.

A petulant child keeps sending his mother back to this store as he apparently has neglected to be complete and clear in his instructions to his chipper and submissive mother.  And by petulant I mean whiny.  “I meant the red binder!”.

When I was a child such a tone wouldn’t be met with a chipper “yes dear” accompanied by squealing tires as my mother rushed off to do my bidding.  My mom would hit me with the “wait until your father gets home…” line (and it wouldn’t be “so he can run out to get your supplies dear”).   She would then make me squirm through a slow, leisurely dinner before getting to the part where she told my dad what a little d-bag I’d been. (my words, not hers).

A few years ago there was a tv spot for a video game system where kids were so enamored with the offerings their poor mother had to carry the heavy television into the dining room so they would eat.

When I was a kid…if we had video game systems and that would’ve been necessary our gaming systems would meet an untimely demise and we would be grounded, after waiting for our father to get home…and a long, leisurely dinner.

So why do I think such advertising is abusive.

If these ads reflected real-life,  which they might considering some of the behaviour of today’s youth that I see we as a society are setting up today’s children for a life time of hearing things like:

“You’re fired you stuck-up, lazy, entitled p.o.s”

“You’re under arrest you stuck-up, lazy, entitled p.o.s”

“Oh hey dude, that guy really beat the crap out of you, do you need me to call 911?”

The problem that ads like this portray is a sense of entitlement.   When someone feels entitled they often lose perspective and with it an accurate sense of right and wrong.   After all,  in his short lifetime little Johnny stays home, and sends his mother to the store to get school supplies.   He doesn’t get his instructions right.  But instead of apologizing, and politely asking her to return (or better yet, going himself),   he gets this snotty tone to which his mother responds as if its his natural right.

As he gets older he takes this attitude with everyone.  After all if his mom bent to his will why shouldn’t his girlfriend,  or teachers,  or complete strangers?

In order for something to be satire it has to be base in reality.   I think some advertisers lose complete perspective in their attempt to present relationships in a satirical way, if that’s their intent.  Regardless,  they’re setting some pretty high expectations in some young minds as to how they should be treated.

post-script:  I’m not saying the majority of today’s youth are spoiled and entitled young hooligans.  Most kids I encounter are polite and do not portray the sense of entitlement portrayed in some of these ads.   I’m proud to say that my niece and nephew are both glowing examples of decorum and have shown every sign that they will grow into exceptional adults.

I wonder if that blurb will suffice as a Christmas present…oh wait, did I type that outloud?…ah crud, I think I did!


10 thing to never wear to a business meeting

I’ve decided to provide this handy list to help people avoid fashion disaster at the workplace.  This list presumes you work in a regular office environment with some sort of dress code and not someplace hedonistic, like Google (or so I’ve heard).

10.   An “I’m with Stupid T-Shirt”  (especially if the only person you’re with is your boss)

9.  A “Bee-Beard” (or anything else made solely of bees…or mostly of bees)

8.  A ball gag (or a gag of any sort…even if all your coworkers encourage this)

7.  A leather jerkin (I’m not sure what a jerkin is, so don’t wear one)

6.  A tie (unless you happen to be wearing a dress shirt)

5.  A polyester leisure suit  (even if your mom thinks it makes you look sexy)

4.  Anything with a plunging neckline (this only applies to men)

3.  A beer cup holder baseball cap (the jury is out on beer cup holder fedoras)

2.  A toga made from a paisley bed sheet  (unless you’re a Roman Senator and want the other senators to make fun of you)

1.  A tutu (especially a white one after labour day)

Why Geolocation and Other Content Controls Contribute to Piracy

I’m an artist.  When I decided it was time to expand on that I took a hard look at my collection of music and deleted 90% of it.

Why?   I’m sad to admit that most of it was pirated.    I’ve since gone out and repurchased most of what I deleted and more.   I have a strict policy of purchasing any music I download now,  even though it sometimes means sending money to Apple…a company I despise.

I no longer subscribe to cable preferring to get all my television content online. Its hard staying on the side of the angels when it comes to online content.

Netflix Canada is notoriously short on content when you compare it to the US version.   I’ve recently discovered that when connecting to Netflix Canada through my Boxee Box (a device which I use to watch television) that the content available there isn’t close to what’s available if I connect through my computer (same account,  same Netflix).

I’m told that this is because of the inability to reach deals with Canadian copyright holders.

Similar issues revolve around the availability of streaming music services like Pandora.   If I recall correctly Canadian copyright holders wanted too much money for Pandora to operate in Canada.

I’m going to be blunt here and tell you that this is a clear indication that, if  these reasons are indeed true, that the aforementioned Canadian Copyright Holders are either extremely shortsighted or complete blithering idiots (or perhaps both).

There are several reasons for this.

For the first,  let me use Pandora as an example.   Someone I’m very close to uses a US VPN service (so that websites he connects to thinks he’s an American connecting from the US) to listen to Pandora.  With Pandora you plug in an artists name, or a type of music and it plays not only that artist,  but similar ones.

Several times my friend has gone, “EUREKA!!!!  WHO THE HECK IS THAT?!”  and been so enamored that he ran off to Puretracks. ca to buy music from an artist he’s never heard of.

So,  by not coming to an agreement with music streaming services,   Canadian Copyright Holders are actually losing money.    Services like Pandora are like advertising.

Reason #2.

Even people who are willing to pay for content get extremely frustrated by the lack of availability in Canada.

Most networks in Canada give you the ability to go to their websites and watch first run shows for free (albeit you have to suffer through ads (often the same one, over and over and over again).

There’s a catch though.   If you miss  show or two,  well you’ve missed it for good because shows are only available for a couple-3 weeks.

But wait!  There are these things called Torrents…which allow you to download ENTIRE SEASONS of shows!   If the show is popular and you’ve a decent internet connection you can pull down an entire season of a show in less than an hour (not that I would know anything about that….but I’ve heard its true).

Piracy isn’t going away.   Anyone who thinks you can regulate it,  or police it effectively is dreaming.

There are many people who would prefer to access their entertainment legally,  but are stymied at every turn by those seeking to protect their bottom-line.   Or maybe its the bottom line of the cable companies?     Many of these people do not just throw up their hands and say, “Oh my, I will never get to see that show!”.    They load up their Torrent client and download it…for free.

Cable companies,  for many of us,  are just plain unpalatable.  When I cut the cord with Rogers I was paying over $100 a month for their VIP package.   I watched maybe 5 stations (including the movie network,  which is what cost me so much money……I had to take a bunch of channels I wasn’t interested in to get it).   Unfortunately  there are no other cable companies servicing my area…so I do without cable.

I would propose that copyright holders learn to embrace the new technology and set up a system where users can access first run television,  legally,  online at a fair price without having to be held hostage by cable companies.
I would further propose that copyright holders get their collective heads out of their asses when it comes to a service like Pandora.   Make nice,  come up with a palatable and serviceable agreement  with the understanding that people like me will listen,  will discover new acts and go out and PURCHASE music,  and concert tickets.

Everyone knows I’m a rabid Florence and the Machine fan.   My friend who turned me onto her discovered her through (/drumroll)   Pandora… so not only has she (my friend) run out and purchased everything Flo,  but so have I,  and have a couple of people I’ve turned onto her music.

While there will always be people unwilling to pay a single penny for someone else’s work,  I still believe the answer to piracy is not increasingly intrusive and draconian legislation,  but rather broader access at fair and reasonable prices.

5 Essential Tip for Online Dating Success!***

5.   Have access to a computer and the internet (preferably at the same time)

4.   Have the ability to type complete sentences (unless you’re hot…then complete sentences aren’t necessary)

3.   Have a picture of yourself* that makes you look half decent.

2.   Have an active profile on at least one dating site

1.   Be single,  or smart enough not to get caught on a dating site by your significant other


*:  the picture doesn’t really have to be of you

***:  success subject to definition

Public Servants are EVIL!!!!

You wouldn’t know it to look at them,  as they seem quite normal,  but yes public servants are evil and a menace to society.

I draw this conclusion based on the fact that when times are bad every politician declares that they will “freeze public sector wages and slash jobs”.   They do this with the same vigor as a war time leader rallying his,  or her  people to fight for their beliefs.   Like they are squashing evil.

Of course there are many many people out there who think that we public servants are lazy,  overpaid, stupid and only here in our “jobs for life” because of the cushy perks.

Oh hey, wait a minute!  Did I just type “WE public servants”?!

That’s correct,  I did.  I work for a hospital,  which in Canada are mostly public institutions.

In Ontario  Tim Hudak,  the leader of the PC leader has been spouting off about bringing the public and private sector wages in line.  That “public sector employees should not enjoy salary and benefits greater than those who pay them.”.     There seems to be this thinking amongst some politicians and members of the public that by sheer virtue of the fact that someone works for the government,  that they should be paid less.

I fully confess that I make more than the average salary paid in Ontario.  Why is that?  Because I’m a greedy pig, intent on ripping off the Ontario tax-payer?  Or could it be that at at one point my salary and benefits were competitive  with the private sector for someone with my experience and skills?   I say ‘at one point’ because I am non-unionized.   The sector of provincial workers who have successfully had our pay frozen for a few years (and legislation is being passed to increase that for another 2 years).     There was a 2 year pay freeze imposed,  however unions and labour organizations successfully fought this,  gaining raises for their members.    Another 2 year freeze is being contemplated,  ostensibly because sufficient savings were not realized the first time round.

In the real world,  employees are by and large a valuable asset.   If times are tough,  wise senior management won’t run around and talk about how good it is that they are freezing or cutting your compensation package whilst implying that you didn’t really deserve them in the first place.   They won’t run to the media and complain about what poopy-heads you are for wanting to be paid fairly.  There are some notable exceptions to this,  but generally its not done.

When times are tough and belt-tightening must be done,  a good employer would at the very least,  take the time to thank the workers toiling in the trenches.

With the cost of living outstripping our salaries I can’t say its not about the money,  but a great deal of this is about the sheer lack of respect.

Are you listening Mr’s McGuinty and Hudak?    Instead of vilifying us,  how about saying thank you?