From Pine View Farm

Attention Theftacit Disorder 0

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:

Columbia law professor Tim Wu thinks your attention is being stolen. And he’s not happy about it.

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.

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