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When Will It End?

Dave Randall

Posted on October 29, 2018 22:48

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A refrain from a '60's song asks a 21st Century question: When will it end?

Flipping around the premium cable channels, out of boredom and the need to be distracted, I ran across something forgettable called Observe and Report. The movie was of little note, other than a scene that included an old Yardbirds hit, Over Under Sideways Down. It was a guitar-driven, hard-driving rocker from the summer of 1966, with Jeff Beck just owning the hypnotic lead and rhythm tracks, and the late singer Keith Relf, as if in a trance, floating the lyric over Beck's searing, string-bending chord, "When will it end?" over and over again as the bridge. Like the strife of the 60's themselves, the song and the question are relevant today.

A would-be bomber, a mass murderer, apparently taking cues from our bitter political discourse, have tragically kept that question on the tips of our tongues. We have no answer. As the country recoils and mourns once more, we only know a pause of some kind will occur on November 6. It can't get here fast enough. The moratorium from the rhetoric will be short-lived, but the glut of political commercials will cease until the next election cycle. 

The lion's share of campaign funds particularly in huge markets like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco, monstrous amounts are spent on radio and television. And broadcasters love it because it's a biannual license to print money.

What are we seeing ads for? Ballot initiatives, fought over desperately, for or against, by those who benefit most from its passage or denial. Candidates for state offices you may or may not know. Seats in the Senate and the House. All on the air -- marketed like any products. Attacks and denials, facts countered by a mass of outright lies and manipulations. Actors as doctors, students, everyday people.

The average voter is not as informed as we'd think. Too often, what little they know is driven by these commercials. In a sense, after being pummeled with messages, words tested to have dramatic and lasting effects, visuals that stimulate, a type of conditioning -- in the worst case, brainwashing -- occurs with each impression. 

Think of the economics surrounding campaigns. Candidates raise millions to pay for office space, staff and consultants, and those all-important ad buys. Donors get the candidates' ear, media outlets get the money, and don't care about the content of the spots, as long as the few broadcast regulations are followed. Many of the most objectionable messages are from political action groups that the candidates distance themselves from.

It's a "right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing" situation; a wink, a nod, another ad that has a clear-thinking viewer reaching for that remote, premium cable, and an accidental meeting with The Yardbirds. When will it end? When will it end?

Dave Randall

Posted on October 29, 2018 22:48

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Source: BBC
3

An executive was responding to a tweet asking about ads which seem to be linked to real-life conversations.

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