Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Dramatization. Do Not Attempt"

Posted by codemorse

If you've watched a television commercial in the past five years, you probably recognize the title of this post. "Dramatization. Do Not Attempt" is usually printed in small white-colored words at the bottom of the television screen during 'kooky' and usually seemingly-dangerous physical stunts.

It's essentially a way for companies to cover their ass(et)es. If they display those words, then they can't be held responsible when some idiot decides that driving his SUV through the swamp at speeds of 100 mph seems like a cool idea.

But enough is enough.

During the premiere of "Heroes" (good, not great - but eminently watchable), Nissan unveiled the 'Versa' automobile. It's designed, apparently, to give you more space. During the first minute of the ad, those familiar words ran constantly at the bottom of the screen: "Dramatization. Do Not Attempt."

And what was it that we, the audience, were being warned not to attempt? Apparently, we were being warned not to bite our steering wheels comedically. Or to look frustrated while in the driver's seat of our car. Because that's literally all the commercial showed: A bunch of people looking upset/frustrated/cramped in their 'tiny' cars.

Maybe I'm a little...slow, but where's the danger in that?

Ironically, once the commercial began to show a vehicle in actual motion (lazy, easy-sunday-driving slow-motion, actually; the kind of driving your grandparents probably do) the 'warning' on the screen disappeared.

What's my point, you ask?

It's ridiculous what a Nanny-based society we've become. In the name of safety and security, we're allowing companies to treat adults like children. When I enter my car, do I really need a loud and increasingly-fast beeping sound to remind me that I haven't fastened my seat beat - in the passenger seat?

Do I really need to be told that biting my steering wheel is 'dangerous'?

Societies continue to grow and change because people take risks. And risk is a dangerous, but essential, part of life. As a culture, we've become so risk-averse that we've begun to stagnate. Lewis and Clark would never have set out into the West if they'd been as coddled and as nannied as the adults of today. Shackleton never would've braved the Artic.

But Lewis and Clark weren't consumers - the primary function of every present-day American. Their generation's notions of accomplishment didn't revolve entirely around the acquiring of meaningless status symbols. They revolved around acheivements that had nothing to do with buying a new car.


At 12:58 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

This and the frivolous lawsuits that generate such warnings drives me NUTS! Good example that stupid "lite" cigarette class action suit. Anyone who thinks that inhaling copious amounts of any kind of smoke is in some way not bad for you pretty much deserves a really bad cough at least. Of course I suppose that teh cigarette companies bear some responsibility, but not as much as some seem to think.

At 8:49 AM, Blogger codemorse said...

In some cases, lawsuits can be effective - and I think the tobacco industry is an example of this.

Specifically because of lawsuits, the companies that make/produce tobacco are funding awareness programs about their product and putting information out there about the thing they're selling; something they were not doing as little as five years ago.

Still, I get you.

What bothers me most is how we've become a nation that celebrates personal risk without taking it. We've adopted the commercial appearance of "ruggedness" and "individuality" precisely because we don't practice either of those things anymore.

....And the next person to tell me that Americans "don't want to do the jobs that illegals will do" will get a fuckin' fist in his mouth. REAL Americans know how an honest dollar is earned.

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