Monday, October 14, 2013

Everyday Absurdity

A woman is walking through her living room. She picks up a discarded T-shirt, rumples her kid's hair and steps into the kitchen to sit next to her husband who is reading the paper and drinking coffee in the morning sunshine. All the while, she is talking to us, through the TV screen, about her health insurance. We have just followed her through her house, even though we were never really there.

A commercial, of course.

Is this not one of the most ridiculous premises in the history of mankind? -- this common format for television commercials? This woman makes no reaction, whatsoever, to...what? The fact that there is a TV crew in her house, in the middle of the morning routine? Or, is there some sci-fi concept at work -- a portal for talking to the world's population; a population she just happens to know is interested in hearing about her health insurance issues and triumphs?

Completely comfortable, the husband grins wryly at his wife and goes back to his newspaper. He is unperturbed. Nothing strange about universal communication portals and/or film crews in his kitchen and/or following his wife around.

Bear in mind that we accept this day-after-day as we watch TV. We don't shake out heads and say: "Man, that's weird. Why is that lady walking through her house and talking to us and not even reacting to the oddity of the whole scenario?" We accept this.

Why do we accept this? Very simple: we are used to it. One can get used to the profoundly absurd, it would seem.

It all leads me (at least) to a terrifying question: By what other absurdities have we been "worn down" into a state of unconscious acceptance?


  1. "Oh look, there's Donna the senior citizen in assisted living here to recommend a better-than-all-else life insurance plan and offer an infinite amount of discounts because she's just nice and informed like that."

    I have the same reactions as you do to these kinds of commercials.

    But then again, I also make fun of "Oh hi, I didn't see you there!"

    1. That's good -- at least you see through the ruse. Haha.

  2. No, see - it 's supposed to be that you are her friend, actually visiting her in her home. And she 's chatting with you as if you just arrived. She's not speaking to a crew and camera. The director is bringing you into the house and making you a part of the family.

    Or so they think...

    1. Come to think of it, I do feel oddly close to her...