Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Week of Guilty Pleasures.

A Guilty Pleasure, to me, is something that one enjoys, but would not readily admit to enjoying to anyone. I'm sure everyone has one...or two, or three. With myself, I'm hoping to come up with seven of my own guilty pleasures for each day of the coming week.

Sunday's Guilty Pleasure: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I know, I know...I should be watching baseball or the Simpsons but sometimes, if I catch it, I'll watch Extreme Makeover. This week featured a Navajo family which had been living in a trailer without running water. At the conclusion of the show, the family has a spacious home designed according to Navajo principles and architecture, which is cool. There's something heartwarming about people who are down on their luck getting a helping hand.

But as I was watching it, I began to wonder who also received a helping hand, and by who, I mean Corporate America, those who sponsored the show. Two of this weeks sponsors, Sears and Ford, received a bunch of airtime, probably twice as much as the segment on the Navajo culture and living off the land.

One of the biggest publicity stunts for Ford was the presentation of a Ford Escape Hybrid to the family which they billed as "the greenest SUV on Earth" or something catchy to that effect. Sure, I'm not one to talk as I drive a Toyota Tacoma which gets about 350 miles to a full tank, which is nothing compared to the advertised "500 +" for the Escape. Kudos for a push in the right direction for a greener SUV... God knows American automakers need more of that. However, the presentation of the Escape was preceded by a "donation" of new science equipment to the local high school. The "donation" included a few microscopes and lab kits which looked like they were pulled off the shelves of the local (local is relevant as this show took place on a reservation) Toys R' Us from their science section...

...and let's face it, no kid really every goes to the Toys R' Us science section except to shop for that kid in your 4th grade class who's name you didn't know because he sat in the back of the room and smelled like bologna because you were invited to his birthday party...and back then, everyone in the class gets invited to parties out of obligation.

...and why did he smell like bologna, all the kid (I think his name was Steve) ever ate was fluff sandwiches, cut diagonal & crustless. But I digress.

If a company is going to make a statement to its consumers about social and environmental responsibility, it will have to do it in a bigger way than a few microscopes. How about a brand new science lab with a focus on greener energy? Imagine the benefits of education tomorrow's generation in the use of green technology.

But then, Ford probably couldn't afford such expenditures, with it's reported 5.8 billion net loss in the third quarter of 2007. Maybe the American consumer has given up on the 14/20 mpg rating of the F150 and switched to a less guzzler (My Tacoma gets 20/25...I think). A quick view of the Ford website boasts only two cars that get over 30 mpg (I could be wrong).

Further on in the show, the viewer is greeted with a huge montage of the house construction and furniture being delivered and set up. I noticed in every shot, there was a logo for some home decor company. I wonder how much of those kind of shots in movies and television get passed me, letting me absorb the ad subconsciously.

Hmm, it doesn't feel so heart warming feels like I've just watched an hour long commercial...

and next week, they demolish a house with explosives, so of course I'll probably watch.

So that is all I've got to say tonight about one of my guilty pleasures, I need to rest up, because I have the odd feeling that I need to go to Sears tomorrow and buy some power drills or something.

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