By Jessie Close
Yes, I like TV. I know that liking TV isn’t politically correct but I don’t care. What I don’t like are advertisements. Some are cute, some are tempting but the ones that upset me the most are pharmaceutical advertisements. Why? Because of double speak. The side effects of drugs coupled with the happy video of the drug takers do not go together. That is what I call double speak. I can’t believe how duplicitous this is! I suspect the visual is more powerful than the audio because we can be certain that these drugs are selling no matter what the announcer says.
My diagnosis of bipolar 1 brought medications with it. I know the meds I take are taking their toll and I don’t read the long list of side-effects that comes with each medication but I wouldn’t be alive without them. There were a couple of medications during the early years of my treatment that did make me very sick; one actually put me in the hospital. My doctor got me off those meds quickly. That experience was incredibly discouraging because before the meds made me sick they had made me feel more well, more normal, than I had felt in my entire life! In this blog I’m writing about drugs/medications that are not necessary, that will not save your life. I’m talking about “designer drugs” that are on the market to encourage people to buy them instead of doing the hard work of eating right and exercising, among other things.
I’ve been on TV a few times and without fail the hair people and the make-up people swoop in to make you look like they think you should look. I’m not used to wearing make-up very often so after the make-up person finishes with me I don’t look like the Jessie person I know. And then my hair!! The hair person makes my hair different than how I would EVER wear it! I don’t complain because these make-up and hair people are so incredibly nice and they’re only doing their job, but, I sit in the chair in front of the big mirrors and think: “OMG!! I have morphed into TV Land! My friends will think I look ridiculous!!”
Well, that never happened; I never had a friend tell me I looked ridiculous when on TV but, this again, is the TV double-speak. Being on TV is considered a big deal, a privilege, when in fact, commercial TV fills the air with current news and programming to satisfy the advertisers. A friend told me that she knew it was me but it was obvious that hair and make-up had been at me! Again, it’s the double speak.
Double speak teaches us to pretend and we pretend a lot in the USA. How else would it be possible to sell unnecessary drugs that have such terrible side-effects? How else would it be possible to worship celebrities who are simply human? How else is it possible to purchase violent video games for our children? How else is it possible to send our youth off to war? And how else is it possible to pretend that our mentally ill, our homeless and our disenfranchised veterans are merely crazy?!
I will continue to watch TV. I will continue to be aware and hope that we all learn to hear the double speak spoken in our complicated society.