Early evening newscasts are painful to watch anymore, unless you enjoy holding out the remote and flipping channel-to-channel for 90 minutes, trying to glean morsels of information between the incessant ads. If you try turning the thing off when all stations are blaring ads at once, you'll find those ads still blaring, right where you left them, when you turn the thing back on five minutes later. You just missed your 60-second sound bite of News.
On to the computer, then...
But now...before lobbing any grenades at the TV, let's just look at those ads for a second. They're saying something, simply by their content. For instance, all of the dinnertime ads shout, "You are OLD, bucko. PANIC!!"
If it isn't Dr. Robert Jarvik with his d---d Lipitor (he even turned up full-page in The New Yorker last week...guy's loaded and annoying as the dickens), then it's Plavix, Vytorin or Centrum Cardio for that messed up cardiovascular system of yours. Then we've got the run of relief for bones that are disintegrating by the minute: Actonel, Boniva, even ThermaCare; and when in doubt just remember, while you crumble into rubble, that Bristol Myers-Squibb is there battling to save you 24/7.
We have AmbienCR for guilt and sleeplessness, Byetta and a host of others for the diabetes plague (if you don't have it, you'd better check to be SURE, because you probably DO have it), and Chantix for smokers who might enjoy hallucinating and shooting neighbors while they quit.
Amitiza's at your service for jammed plumbing, and PreparationH now includes cleansing wipes to be used before application, so relax, plug your nose, and enjoy. Nasal sprays and allergy meds come back-to-back in 30-second slots, so you'll never get bored with the same old sniff.
Most of all, if you've had only a routine breast exam...GET SCARED RIGHT NOW! There's a new, state-of-the-art screening that you have to have, pronto. Just look at all of those reallyreallysmart, sophisticated women in organic white flowing things, terrified not to have known! I mean, they usually know everything!
I'm old, sure...old enough to remember when drugs were taken seriously, not as fodder for The Market or even as Consumer Commodities. Your doctor didn't generally tell you something was wrong with you, unless it was. Now he's got a lot more at stake in your ill health than he once did, and the picture's changed a whole lot. So has TV, unfortunately.
Think I'll stick to Jim Lehrer and the BBC for healing, thanks anyway.