With the fate of Wall Street, not to mention the
corporate imperium free world, hanging in the balance on this Monday morning (22 September 2008), the last thing I was expecting to hear on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition was an account of the previous night’s Emmy awards.
Not least because I had no clue what they were talking about. Apparently, I wasn’t alone, for, according to the NPR story, the 2008 Emmy awardees collectively have a fan base that’s about the size of the judging panel on American Idol. But I couldn’t have told you who any of these shows or people were if my 401K depended on it.
Yes, we do have a television. It would make an acceptable paperweight if it weren’t for those damfool cords hanging out the back. It’s a tossup which comes around more often, a program viewed on that television, or leap year. Because, as Quilly told the neighbors the other day, I get frustrated, trying to watch anything on that TV. I settle down to enjoy all those wonderful commercials, and, lo and behold, a ballgame breaks out.
Little did I know just how bad things have gotten. For, as the NPR commentators wondered aloud how Emmy-award winning TV shows get to survive without viewers, they entered into the world, not of advertising, nor even that of “product placement”, where disembodied cola cans drift conspicuously, and pointlessly, across viewing screens.
No. The world, it seems, now consists of product integration. Where the advertiser pays to have the company’s product written conspicuously into the story line of whatever show is being sponsored.
Asked by NPR to comment on their story, Robert Weissman of Commercial Alert, one of those so-called “watchdog” groups that appears to have been about as alert on their job of scrutinizing the media as the Securities and Exchange Commission was in keeping tabs on Lehman Brothers, was moved to say, “… it’s not … clear what the distinction is between ads and regular programming.”
Mr. Weissman obviously hasn’t traveled to Honolulu, where half of television programming is already infomercials. With rampant product integration, it will soon all be infomercials. And (happy day), they will all be able to drop the label.
Well, every cloud, they say, has its silver lining. Once upon a time, when men were men and products (more or less) knew their place, there was a British (Welsh, really) rock band called the Kinks, who penned a gay little ditty entitled “Lola”. The first two lines:
Well, I met her in a club down in old SoHo
Where they drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry cola
The earliest lyrics to this tune, I read, spoke not of “cherry cola” but of “Coca Cola”. Rules against product placement forced the change.
Ray and Dave Davies are still with us, and I can’t help wondering if they’re wondering:
Is it too late to change it back? There’s a whole new LGBT generation to be captured for the Empire of the Red Death …
– O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2008 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.