A little over a week ago, I did a blog post about a Toyota Highlander commercial that I had seen the week before while watching Monday Night Football. A couple of interesting things have happen since that post. First, I found that there are others who are equally disturbed by the content of Toyota’s “lame parents” commercial. This surprises me in some ways because I have grown accustomed to being disturbed by events, ideas and situations that do not seem to bother anyone else while at the same time favoring thoughts, ideas and viewpoints that do not seem popular with very many people. Several bloggers have said very well what I was trying to express in my initial blog. If you have time, read what Barbara Bell, AutoAdOpolis, Time and The Simple Dollar have written.
The other thing that I have discovered in reading what others have written about the “lame parent” commercial is that Toyota is making hay even in the midst of protest. Almost all of the blogs that have advertising on them generate links to Toyota products. Such is the power of the internet. Even in the midst of expressing displeasure, Toyota’s product is still the focus.
A third thing that gives me pause comes from somewhere long ago within or at least alongside my religious experience. Growing up, I remember hearing about churches and preachers that where taught against watching television. At the time, such an idea seemed downright cruel. I could not imagine why any religion would deprive its adherents of access to The Wonderful World of Disney, Daniel Boone or Hogan’s Heroes. I was thankful that my branch of the Baptist family tree was growing in a more enlightened direction. Now, I wonder. Perhaps Newton Minow, then chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, knew what he was talking about when he said in 1961:
When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite you each of you to sit down in front of your television set when your station goes on the air and stay there for a day without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.
The current Toyota advertising campaign adds weight to Minow’s conclusion.
I had a professor in college that did not have a TV in his home… and he had five kids… five kids and no TV – I was shocked, stunned… really?
I came to find out later that it was actually no ‘broadcast TV’ – they had a set and then a VCR (I just dated myself) – from which their children could experience ‘safe’ viewing. I questioned it then, as I think you have – why would we raise our children in a vaccuum? But now, I see it differently… ‘good TV’ isn’t bad, some of it is even useful information – and while we can reach folks through that media, for the most part, what is being sent across the airwaves/cable lines is simply time drain – something else that draws our attention away from using our talent(s) to be doing the Father’s work…. and the more we become OK with the world and spending time away from fellowship with the Lord – the more our passion fades…. and Satan wins the time war.
TV’s have an off switch, as do computers, cell phones, iPods, and practically all electronic devices – its ok to hit that switch on occassion and spend some time in fellowship with the One who loves us so and maybe even say hi to our families…
Appreciate you Ed – hope you and the fam are doing well.
No, it isn’t just you! Visit my web site and you will see links to 60 and gowing sites and forums with people disgusted and angry at these awful commercials. Please sign the petition there and encourage others to do so. We need to build pressure on Toyota to recall these commercials!
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