Which means television sweeps starts tomorrow. Sweeps, if you don’t know, is when television stations try to pump up their audience numbers so that they can charge more for advertising. How do they do that? Quite simple. Sensationalism. Try to find the cheesiest, most lurid, and outlandish stories and hype the crap out of them. You’ll see promos that promise sex and drugs and sex and danger and sex and did I mention sex? I even wrote a series of sketches once for an improvjacksonville “Laugh for Life” show that culminated with the tag line “If you don’t watch OUR news … YOUR FAMILY WILL DIE!!!
And that’s sometimes how it seems. The sensationalizing has gotten so bad even during non-sweeps periods that the local Sheriff’s office has taken to using red and white striped crime scene tape rather than yellow so that if you see yellow crime tape on a promo, it’s not from around here.
What brought all this to mind? Well, driving into work about 8:30 this morning, I saw one of the Channel 4 microwave trucks parked at an Adam & Eve store. Right out front. Now, there is a gas station right next door, and they COULD have been doing a story about gasoline prices and that was where they could get a shot to the microwave tower. But I’m betting somebody was getting something ready for sweeps. “SEX SHOPS NEXT DOOR TO WHERE SCHOOL BUSES BUY GAS … ARE YOUR CHILDREN SAFE?!?!?!?
I seriously doubt they were “dropping by 4 a visit” at Adam & Eve. It’s one of their morning show features … like the “Wheel ‘o’ Justice”.
So it’s a month of sensational, lurid, teasingly sexy stories. For me, it has the opposite of the desired effect.
Meanwhile, listening to NPR this morning, as I do every morning, I heard an interesting statistic. There are some 350 (m) million smokers in China. The thought that went through my mind is “There are more smokers in China than there are Americans”. As a nation, we just passed the 300 million population mark a year or so ago. I remember hearing that on NPR as well. So it’s no wonder the tobacco companies are willing to do all the anti-smoking PSA’s and awareness campaigns. They could lose every smoker in the US and still have an incredibly lucrative export market. More smokers in China than people in the United States. And I’ve heard that “everyone in Europe smokes”. For the life of me, I can’t imagine why anyone starts any more, but we’ve discussed that before. I guess if if they choose to kill themselves off using tobacco, that’s their business … though the loss of that much of their workforce would probably have a detrimental effect on the U.S. economy. And God knows we don’t need any more detrimental effects on our economy. Still, I think they deserve an Albie for their fealty to tobacco. Here’s to you, Chinese smokers … A few of you might actually be geniuses. But how will we ever tell with a cigarette dangling out of your mouth.
I thought I had more, but apparently not so much. So I’ll leave you with a random photograph from my Flickr photostream. I like the juxtaposition between bird, shadow, and reflection in this shot.
Mom is in town starting tomorrow to pick out her stuff for the house in Fleet Landing. I really want her to like it here in Florida. I think once she gets over the initial shock of actually being here, she’ll thrive. But it’s going to take a lot of love and understanding … because I expect it’s going to be a bit rough at first.
Time to post so that I make it before midnight … and another month not missing a day. Not bad.