Please forgive this column if it's less than perfectly coherent. I've been watching way too much television.
It starts every March. I rarely watch TV, but the annual spring orgy of basketball drama is too rich to pass up. I get sucked into a black hole, and before you know it, I've exposed myself to a horrific virus that compromises the mental acuity of nearly every American—television advertising.
The mute button and the fast-forward toggle are mitigating tools, but not foolproof. No matter how hard you try to avoid it, you inevitably get asked, "What's in your wallet?" If you're like me, after a few dozen iterations, you start to talk back: "None of yer fuckin' business!"
It's not just the irritation of watching stupid people worship bad beer, or self-important hipsters stare at their electronic gadgets, or smart-ass babies make financial deals, or vain rich folks make love to their cars, clothes, colognes and jewelry. After all, our society is full of people like that—and idiots like the one who drove 700 miles to eat a nasty, high-fructose-death-pus fast-food taco. While it may be a bad idea to reinforce such selfish, foolish and irresponsible behaviors and worldviews, you can't argue that they aren't already prevalent.
Far more insidious is the Orwellian disconnect from reality in many ads. Cute little CGI critters selling cars? Uh, sure, that makes sense, since cars kill untold billions of real, living creatures every year and contribute mightily to the global climate disruption that threatens to wipe out half of the species on Earth.
The Keystone XL pipeline and tar-sands development rescuing our economy? Uh, sure, I'll buy that, since leading climate scientists have asserted in no uncertain terms that burning up all of that tar-sands oil and spewing the resulting emissions into the atmosphere would cause a climate catastrophe that would totally wreck the global economy.
Sometimes, teetering on the precipice of schizophrenia after a grueling suite of games and ads, I pace around the house and chant, "Black is black, white is white, the sky is blue, and that's not true!"
One ad rose above the rest to claim this year's Irrational Championship, and it was officially approved by Jesse Kelly, who wants you to believe he's as wholesome as a communion wafer and has your best interests in mind as he seeks to replace Gabrielle Giffords in the U.S. Congress.
Smilin' Jesse's ad trumpets "protecting seniors" as a priority. Yeah, that works, especially when you consider that he wants to turn Social Security into the same kind of Ponzi scheme that blew up the financial industry a few years ago.
Smilin' Jesse's ad says "helping families" is way up on his list. Well, sure, I believe that, since he's firmly aligned with the radical cabal of budget-bombers that wants to defund various federal programs and regulatory agencies that actually do help families by educating their children and keeping them safe from poisoned food, polluted air, contaminated water and so on.
Smilin' Jesse's ad features images of smiling women, as if they, too, would benefit from his ascendance into Beltway heaven. Wow, now that you mention it, that squares perfectly with Jesse's wet dream of destroying Planned Parenthood—a nonprofit organization that's done more to help women maintain their health and independence than just about any other.
Above all, Smilin' Jesse really wants to get rid of wasteful spending. Right, and step one is to continue throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at an utterly ineffective, enforcement-only immigration policy that includes constructing a lot more of that hugely expensive white-elephant border wall. When you factor in his support for a "fully funded" military—the portion of the federal budget that wastes more tax dollars than all other federal programs combined—you just have to nod and exclaim, "Thank God someone is thinking this through!"
I don't know if Smilin' Jesse is a purposeful liar or just a well-meaning doofus. Either way, all of this doublethink really wears me out. Luckily, right when I was on the verge of forgetting which way was up, basketball ended, and the Big Brother Box returned to collecting dust.
I retreated to the sanctum of the baseball park, where you can watch people making honest fools of themselves playing "bat race" and "human bowling ball" between innings. On a very Thirsty Opening Thursday, I noticed that Tucson's triple-A baseball park had dropped its corporate moniker in lieu of "Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium," and I saw that a massive "Rosemont Copper" banner no longer pollutes the center field wall.
Buck up, little consumer. There is hope.