But home is also where you view the many television advertisements as merchants vie for your attention, trying to entice you to buy their indispensable thing, their compelling process, or their crucial services to fix all your problems and make your life a veritable paradise on earth. In viewing these commercials, however, you must maintain a critical eye. Deconstructing these commercials and ads has always been a part of my college writing classes at some point as I tried to develop students’ critical thinking, to open their eyes to what the companies are really selling. Much of the message of these commercials is not what you would expect, i.e. that this is a good product, and that it is necessary to improve your life. The message is usually much more subtle. They sell an experience or a capability that they know you want, or the person you want to become, so they try to manipulate you by getting you to unknowingly make a psychological connection between that experience and their product, translating that into feelings that compel you to spend.
If they are successful, you will respond to the subliminal message and rush right out to find this Holy Grail that will pull all things together to make your life perfect or at least a little better. Or you might not even wait for the trip to the store, responding to the urgent command to call immediately from your home phone (in the next five minutes) to ensure that you get one of these quickly disappearing wonders before they pass out of existence in the known world, leaving you as the only schmuck that didn’t read the writing on the wall and purchase it. Thus, you would presumably have lost an opportunity that you will always regret over the years, wondering about the possibilities that would have resulted in your life, had you done things differently at that critical juncture in the past. This is why I look at the commercials with a skeptical eye, always trying to peel back the layers to find the nugget of a simple message that is encoded in the ad. And I have to laugh sometimes at the various attempts, seeing through the smoke and mirrors and realizing how they are trying to manipulate us all, ever so subtly.
More on this tomorrow. I pray you have a blessed day with the Lord’s active presence in your life.