What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life? -Mary Oliver

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Trampled

Blogger keeps asking me to put ads on my site. Gmail encroaches on the right hand side of the screen with their eerie fingering. Facebook now takes up a third of the page with advertising. Players on the football field stand idly by for the TV time-out. Stadiums are renamed for the highest bidder. The banner ads on the front pages of the newspaper creep up and up. Content is influenced by advertisers instead of by the newsworthiness of the story. Investigative reporting is going the way of the land line.

We time our arrival at the theatre to miss the yelling and screaming of the selling. The glossy magazines shout at you from newsstands, fat with advertising. If you took out every ad from the glossies, you would end up with a slim magazine fit for your back pocket, like The Sun, an advertisement- free magazine of stories, poems and essays. You pay for your subscription and you get what you pay for. They don’t try to sell you anything else. If I could get something published in The Sun it would feel better than a front page blurb in the Atlantic. Well…..almost.

I would no sooner put ads on my blog than cut off my right hand. I wish they would just leave me alone and cut out the crap. The amped-up scheming of the advertiser during the holiday season strips my spirit like turpentine. Thanksgiving is a time for contemplation and fortification, community and church, parades and musicals, nourishment for the creative soul and the inquisitive mind. Why did we let the frenzied retailer hijack Thanksgiving? Forget the family gatherings and the euchre games and the gathering of cousins into the wee hours to catch up. We all have to go to bed early so we can get up at three in the morning to shop.

Thanksgiving is no time for manic shopping in the predawn hours, yanked from store to store like puppets on a string by the geek of the advertiser. One Day Only! Limited Availability! First 100 shoppers! Free shipping! Bullshit.

Do they think us simpletons? They raise the price and then offer free shipping. They double the price, then offer you two for one. Why is it my patriotic duty to put myself in the red to put them in the black? This marketing of Thanksgiving to the highest bidder makes Clockwork Orange look like the Ed Sullivan Show.

I really meant to talk about food. Are you a foodie? If you're still reading, let’s sit down and talk about what's for dinner.

On our Thanksgiving menu: organic turkey, stuffing, butternut squash braised in maple syrup, garlic mashed potatoes and gravy, salad greens dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and apple pie for dessert. All served up at my daughter's house (first time!). She doesn't have a dining room table but she's going to pull in her patio table and put a tablecloth on it.

We’ve opted for traditional, but we have our own turkeys so it’s hard not to go down that road. What about your road? Is anyone doing something extravagantly different, like roasted duck or pheasant? Oysters on the half shell or a standing rib roast? What’s for dessert?

On our weekend slate: the browsing of bookshelves and the stringing of lights around that patio minus its table, the Columbus Museum of Art to view the Caravaggio exhibit (the only U.S. venue), the living room and conversation, the Lions Thanksgiving Day football game because that's tradition (even with the TV time outs). Any extra money I have is going for wine, beer, and books. No shopping. What about you?

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

9 comments:

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Ah, to be published in The Sun would be a moment of glory.
I hate the ad noise, too. Have you ever read the YA dystopian novel FEED by MT Anderson? He took the concept of corporate takeover of our lives to a chilling place, but the book has dark humor, too, so it's a great read.
Mmm, I like the sound of butternut squash braised in maple syrup! Have a fabulous day with your daughter, Yvonne.

Short Poems said...

Enjoyed your post, great read :)

All the best

Marinela :)

grammilou said...

Couldn't agree with you more! Years and years ago we opted out of the great Christmas gift-giving scam. Instead at some completely unexpected time in the year our children received a lovely present.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are NOT commercial holidays! They are faith and family times.

farawayeyes said...

You go girl, get those corporate bastards. Couldn't agree with you more about the commercialization of everything. Ads on my blog would only have make me a whore.

Thanksgiving at my house (TD is not big in the islands) was a traditional dinner on the 'galleria' (deck)"over looking the Caribbean.

cd sutton said...

Just started blogging. Didn't know it could get this bad. Thanks for the info.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Tricia,
We had a wonderful time wrestling with the turkey and spending our Friday at the art museum. It think we've started a new tradition! Hope you had a great weekend too. (I made a note of FEED.)

Marinela,
Thank you!
It's always a treat to see a new poster! I'm off to check out your site.

Grammilou,
Thank you for commenting! Yes, we've cut way back on the gift-giving, opting more for the homemade goodies: jams, salsas, hats, etc. I do still buy books at Christmas, my one extravagance.

Faraway,
That's pretty much the way I feel about ads too. It's like wearing brand names on T-shirts, making a billboard of oneself. Dinner on the deck sounds wonderful!

CD,
Good luck with your new blog and thanks for commenting here.

Sarah Allen said...

Very good thoughts. I think I need to be way more careful about the inundation of adds and sales and crap we get. Thanks for the advice and reminders :)

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

Ed Pilolla said...

we get the sun here at the hippie house. we just discussed where it gets hijacked to after it arrives: the third floor bathroom:)

you speak of what so many of us are fed up with, seems to me. money making overload! the ads creep into our heads. it is dehumanizing. the elites could have had the world. they did have the world when they were satisfied with 5 percent profits. but now that they must have 20 percent, as much as possible, they have made our lives less good. and lots of us aren't happy about what it means for our kids.

really like the attitude in this piece: matter of fact and plain spoken.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Sarah,
You're welcome. I'm glad you found the post useful. Thanks for commenting!

Ed,
Thank you so much.

It is very dehumanizing. And the elites will never be satisfied. They'll never have enough.

I want to live in a hippie house!Talk about food for thought!