Gallery B

Brain Assault
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Sick of The Ad Barrage? It’s Going To Get Worse

By James Donahue

Something you may have noticed about this website is that it is mostly devoid of advertising. You should not find pop-up or drop-down advertisements on these pages because I don’t sell space to advertisers. There is a reason for this. I have a deep ingrained dislike of the concept of attempting to persuade people to buy things they do not need.

I am a writer and I usually have things to say. I want visitors to enjoy surfing my site without the constant disturbance of advertising popping up on the screen.

I remember the days when a scenic drive down the highway was almost ruined by the clutter of large signs standing like soldiers, promoting new cars, shaving cream and everything else you might imagine. President Lyndon Johnson's wife, "Ladybird," disliked those ugly signs as much as the rest of us and led a campaign for a law prohibiting them. But after that, we discovered how creative the advertising people could be.

You can't watch an athletic event either in person or on televison without seeing the promotions for products posted along the walls and in our face. Our television programming is broken into tiny bites now with breaks filled with back-to-back advertising. Our computer screens are being hit with pop-up and jump-out ads that hide the material we are attempting to read until we find the carefully hidden "x" that makes it go away. Our trains, buses, taxi-cabs and buildings are decorated with ads, many of them so carefully placed that we don't even realize it is an ad. When we go to the threater our movies often start with an advertisement and the actors openly use a number of products with the brand name clearly visible.
Sometimes we find ads staring at us while hiking in what we thought was wilderness. I got away from them for a while when hiking in the high desert area of Arizona on the Navajo Reservation. 

The advertisers invaded our schools when they began paying the schools to put their junk food and soft drink products in dispensing machines. Parents and school boards have been in conflict over the pros and cons of accepting the money paid for keeping these machines in the school halls.

Now the last place where I thought people might be free of advertising is being invaded. It seems that hospitals, now struggling to meet financial demands and keep costs down in accordance to the new Obamacare legislation, are starting to agree to allow advertising in their facilities.
Imagine patients, fighting to stay alive in the very worst of circumstances, having to stare at promotions for new cars, shoes and soft drinks pasted on the walls around them. 

When we reach the point where we think that any day might be our last, there is absolutely no interest in ever buying a new car or anything else that we will never use. This is the point where we lose all interest in our possessions and concentrate instead on those we love.