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Turning It Around:
Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social
Problems is available by ordering from
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Typical social (community and
personal) problems addressed by TIA:
violence, drug abuse, alcoholism, other addictions,
road rage, office rage, bullying, homelessness,
teenage rebellion, thrill-seeking and depression,
major crime, even illiteracy, high divorce rates and
personal problems that lead to neuroses, bankruptcy or
Copyright 2003-2012 BillAllin.com,
TV Commercials Can Ruin Your Life and Health
The question for me was, could TV actually teach? I knew it could, because I knew 3-year-olds who sang beer commercials!
- Joan Ganz Cooney, American television producer, one of the founders of Sesame Workshop, home of Sesame Street (b. 1929)
The purpose for this article is to make readers aware of the effects of
following life and health advice offered by TV commercials. These are
science based facts, not opinions. The science part is left out to make
it easier to read.]
Children, adolescents, even adults learn
about life and life skills by watching television. As odd as that may
sound, they have few other convenient sources for information they
need. Today's parent literally know almost nothing about parenting and
the needs of children other than food, clothing and shelter.
most of human history children learned about life from their parents
and neighbours as they worked and played alongside their parents in
fields and workshops. Today children are separated from their parents
for almost all of their waking day, leaving surrogates to do the job of
teaching them about life.
TV fills that role magnificently as
it seeks to mold the minds of children to become devoted consumers of
particular products as they get old enough to spend money. The prime
objective of programming is to entertain people long enough that they
will stay around for the next set of commercials.
But what are
television commercials teaching? Is it worthwhile life advice? No. Do
parents realize that they have turned the job of teaching almost
everything their children learn over to pathological commercial
interests who want people to follow what they teach with the same
devotion as people give to their religions or their preferred political
party? Again, no.
First, I want you to think about all the TV
programs you know. Which among them has role models you believe
children should follow? Of course we need buffoons to laugh at and
actors to play conflicted characters for drama. Would you change lives
with any of them?
As you think about the TV programs you know,
one that would interest kids, adolescents or poorly educated adults,
can you think of any you would like to represent life in your home or
workplace? Even one? I can't.
TV news is filled with violence
and perversion. Shows that emphasize personalities tend to have them
conflicting among themselves. Comedies show people with personality
problems, social problems, even mental illnesses (never identified as
such). Dramas (mostly soaps) show people with lives that no one would
want to emulate.
Commercials are where real life teaching takes
place. Commercials pay the freight for programming. And they are often
better produced. Their messages are meant to be taken literally, also
to create a long term following. That's why you see the same
commercials repeated over and over. And over. And over. As a hypnotist
would do when putting a volunteer into a trance. The rule of thumb in
TV advertising is feed the same message to people ten times or more and
they will believe it. Anything.
Let's set aside anything to do
with political or religious advertising as it is filled with so much
brain twisting propaganda and distortions of truth that networks and
stations should be required to flash warning signs before and after
them. Networks don't bother big advertisers because there is too much
income at risk.
Let's begin our look at commercials for personal
care at the top. Hair care companies may have done the most and best
research about hair care than any commercial product manufacturer. But
their products only heal what other products have broken. In fact, most
hair would be best treated with a simple soap wash every few days. The
hair of a person who eats a healthy diet will look good so long as the
natural elements of hair are not stripped away by chemicals. Wash,
rinse with clear water, then leave the hair alone for a few days, other
Any commercials to do with mouth care are
deceptive, if not outright harmful. I have not seen one teeth brushing
commercial in decades that shows a person brushing their teeth in a way
that would avoid cavities. On the contrary, the ones I have seen would
promote cavities and sensitive teeth. Neither is necessary, but both
keep other industries like dentistry and teeth cleaners alive and
The mouth (along with the skin) is a secondary part
of the body's immune system. After the major immune system component in
the gut, the mouth is the first line of defense against attack by
diseases. Kill all microbes in your mouth and you destroy one component
of your immune system. Wash your body with soap thoroughly in a daily
shower and you will decimate another part. Take doctor-prescribed
antibiotics and you will destroy the major component of your immune
system. That's what these products you see advertised do. The
advertisers make fortunes on your devotion to their somewhat or totally
harmful products. Your doctor will come to know you intimately from
your frequent visits.
Skin care products are a travesty against
good skin health. To begin, cosmetics for women produce a look that
studies have shown men do not prefer over the look of no cosmetics. Men
know that cosmetics mean "fake" and act accordingly. Women who claim
that they make themselves up to make themselves feel better have self
esteem issues. Are they trying to compete for attention with other
women or attract them?
Clothing fashions are another issue of
brainwashing. A man or woman who believes that he or she performs
better at work because they look better is a victim of effective
advertising and self deception. Most bosses look at job performance
before apparel. Should you be known for your good looks or your job
Teeth whitening was originally used by movie actors to
make them stand out from other actors on set. Teeth whitening, like
fashion and cosmetics, was an industry founded by people who wanted to
sell something that people did not need, except to impress others.
Generally speaking, those with real talent and skill do not subscribe
to that kind of fake.
People who whiten their teeth to look
better in real life do indeed stand out. They stand out as being needy,
prepared to do anything to get attention. Anyone who chooses a life
mate based on white teeth, fashionable clothing, beautiful makeup, type
of footwear or kind of car driven is bound for breakup when the fake
wears off. Yet that is what TV commercials teach in North America,
where the divorce rate is now well over 50% and a majority of kids in
school classrooms live in single parent households.
speaking, if you depend on TV commercials or programs to tell you how
to live your life you will live a troubled life. And probably in debt.
may think that what you have just read is opinion by one person. It's
not. I don't care what you do or wear or how you live your life. That
is your business not mine. I don't have time or interest in meddling in
I do take an interest in helping people to think
about choices they make, what effects those choices have on themselves
and on others. If you "dress for success" to impress others, you will
have bought into the model that industry leaders want. You will be a
follower, not a leader. A consumer, not an independent innovator.
Bill Allin is the author of Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,
a book about inexpensive solutions to major social problems. If you
have hear the word "sheeple" you understand that what you have read
above is indeed a social issue.
It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's
Epidemic Social Problems