I've written about spam in the past, usually with a kind of resignation that comes from having dealt with it for so many years that I almost don't even see it anymore. And that's terrific, that completely defeats its purpose, which gives me a real sense of satisfaction. What? You sent me information on how someone wants to just give me an iPad for free? I'm sorry, I missed that. Too bad, so sad. And of course spam filters have come a long way since the days when they'd remove emails from your wife asking you to pick something up at the market on the way home, but pass through every email from poor, dying Renfield Hassenpfeffer who wants to leave you his multi-billion dollar estate. Or was it that he's trying to distribute the billions of dollars from some dictator to worthy people around the world? Poor Renfield.
I actually thought I'd gone past the point of getting angry about advertising, but this morning I went out to collect the mail and found three advertising papers lying on my porch. These were from Redplum which I'd cancelled ages ago, but apparently that only lasts for so long, and then they start up again. I guess people pay them good money to be the constant irritant. If I had the time, energy and level of rage required, I'd write to every last advertiser in this sheaf of garbage and tell them in no uncertain terms what I thought of the way they're littering my porch.
I don't have that sort of time or energy. I did have enough anger over it to go to their website and try cancelling yet again. Alas, it didn't let me tell them what I thought of their crap, so I figured I'd tell anyone who is reading this. I hate them. I wish they'd all fuck off, eat shit and die in a fire.
Oh look, I know advertising is an inescapable part of life. I recognize it's the price I pay for watching broadcast TV or using websites. I even know that I need to indulge in it to sell my work. But doesn't it seem to you that we're inundated with it these days? It's bad enough that everything in public has advertising on it. You can't pass a wall, a bus, a building on a main street that doesn't have some kind of ad plastered on it. They're getting more and more intrusive, too. There's a body shop near my house with a sign that literally lights up the block, it's that bright. If I had to live with that nearby, I swear I'd go over in the middle of the night and shoot the screen out.
There should be some way to keep this shit off your property. You shouldn't have to opt out of advertising; they should ask you if you're willing to accept it. But they're afraid to because a lot of people would say "No fucking way! Stay off my porch you damn kids!" Yes, even in this era of obsessive consumption, there are people who simply don't want all that junk dumped at their front door. Or taped to their garage. Or showing up in their email.
The thought of a world covered in advertising makes me very sad. Yeah, just sad. The anger is transient, and reserved for people who make me do a lot of extra work. In the end, though, my feeling is that advertising is just one more step on the road to making this planet uninhabitable for human beings. It isn't just about the quality of the air and water, the dwindling resources, the extermination of wild animals and places, it's about what you're forced to look at every damn day. I can tune out a lot; I almost never even see TV commercials anymore. But how much time can you spend not seeing what's around you?
I have no solutions; I'm just venting.
- When Life Hands You a Lemon (Photo credit: Tracy Rowan)