One of my local convenience stores features, GSTV, a vile and loathsome creation that yabbers commercials at you while you fill your gas tank. (Why they think that making persons angry is a productive sales technique mystifies me.)
At the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Glenn Harlan Reynolds offers his take on the soundwall of advertising that is consuming our attention. An excerpt:
He’s not talking about TV commercials, which pay for the show that you’re watching. He’s talking about ads that seize your attention while giving you nothing in return. He has a special dislike of gas station TV, in which saccharine fake newscasts appear on the pump while you fill your car, tethered by a short length of hose. But that’s not all, Wu writes: “In that genre are things like the new, targeted advertising screens found in hospital waiting rooms (broadcasting things like The Newborn Channel for expecting parents); the airlines that play full-volume advertising from a screen right in front of your face; the advertising screens in office elevators; or that universally unloved invention known as ‘Taxi TV.’ These are just few examples in what is a growing category. Combined, they threaten to make us live life in a screen-lined cocoon.”
I was recently subjected to one of those target medical “channels” when I picked up a friend from a doctor’s office. Ugh.
I chose to wait outside and look at my own screen–and at the trees, the flowers, the sky, and the near-misses on the adjacent street.