Friday, July 21, 2006

"At the rate that technology is advancing, people will be implanting chips in our children to advertise directly into their brains and tell them what kind of products to buy"

No, this is not a parody.

WASHINGTON - Madison Ave. ad execs are so bent on taking control of America's children, they'd put computer chips in kids' brains if they could, Sen. Hillary Clinton said yesterday.

Saying advertisers have found so many new ways to get at kids through video games and the Internet, Clinton warned that we're verging on a society out of a grim science fiction novel.

"At the rate that technology is advancing, people will be implanting chips in our children to advertise directly into their brains and tell them what kind of products to buy," Clinton said at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The New York Democrat said the country was performing a "massive experiment" on kids who average more than six hours a day with media and advertising, soaking it up through TV, computers, games and iPods. She said the fastest growing advertising market is the 6- and under set, and that children's health is already being hurt by products like Camel's candy-flavored cigarettes and junk food sold with tips for video games - used to sell more junk food.

"People are spending billions and billions of dollars enticing children basically to be obsessed with food," she said. "These foods are almost universally unhealthy." Clinton has offered legislation to study the effects of the "advertising-saturated, media-intense" world on kids.

Robert Thompson, a professor of pop culture at Syracuse University, said Clinton and other politicians like to attack advertising because it's easier than trying to ban bad food products or fund broad education programs.

"To go after advertising really makes no sense," he said. "It's sort of a backdoor tack, but it's the safer one politically."

Yet another example of a news story that reads like a joke but, unfortunately is all too real. The Middle East is on the verge of a protracted war and Hillary Clinton is concerned that Madison Avenue advertising executives are planning to implant chips in the heads of American children so as to pump advertising directly into their brains.

Wow. Aside from the tin foil hat, black helicopter, "they're goning to put chips in my head" paranoia which is really weird, to say the least, this is quite illustrative of the liberal mindset.

"Big Advertising" is just the latest in a long line of industries that Hillary and her ilk have chosen to attack for political gain. The tobacco industry was first, then came (in no particular order) oil, companies, insurance, hospital companies, pharmaceuticals, fast food, soft drinks and probably more that I have failed to mention. The sad fact is that eventually, every industry in this country will be blamed for some deficiency in American life. In Hillary's view, nothing is really the fault of individuals, it's those pesky corporations that are to blame.

Hey America, it's your fault. You're too fat because you eat too much and exercise too little. Stop eating, take a walk and stop blaming your lack of willpower on McDonalds.

The truth is that American kids eat too much of the wrong foods and sit on their big butts watching TV and playing video games. The reason they eat the wrong foods is because their parents are either too timid, or too lazy to tell their child "no". Far too many of these kids are growing up with no fear or respect of their elders, authority figures or their parents because for their entire live they have been raised to think that they are the center of the universe. Many are unruly, impolite, undisciplined and completely anti-social as a result of our child-centric society that has been created by the likes of, well, Hillary Clinton.

Far too many parents are far too indulgent of their children. They give their kids what they ask for and they're not asking for fruits and vegetables or exercise. Too many parents have found that it's much easier to tell their child "yes" than it is to tell them "no." The fruits of this indulgent attitude are lethargic blobs that think the world should satisfy their every whim. There truly can be "too much of a good thing" and the proof is before us.

Does she actually think that this is the first generation of children to be targeted by advertisers? Does she think that prior to now, children didn't crave burgers, fries and anything loaded with sugar? This has been going on since TV was invented. The difference is that the previous generations of parents tended to discipline their children more and insisted that they sit down for family meals, meals that didn't come in a styrofoam box. Sure, there was McDonalds, but it was a treat-not a daily routine.

None of this will be solved by "funding broad education programs" or, God forbid, the banning of certain types of foods, as the "professor of pop culture" seems to be suggesting. Solving it will take some discipline on the part of parents, not only discipline of their children but self-discipline as well. Perhaps some straight talk on the part of government officials would be a start, rather than absolving people of blame that is clearly theirs. Recognition of the problem is the first step.

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