Sunday, December 25, 2016

An Ad to Turn Everyone into a Luddite

You may remember this ad from 2013. In it, a teenage boy appears to be futzing with his phone in the days leading up to Christmas, missing all the wonderful moments with the extended family. As the family is gathered in the living room, he interrupts the festivities to play a video on the big TV. His family members look fed up and about to growl at him, when the video begins, and they see that what he's really been doing is creating a montage of the family moments, with music, to create a touching, high-tech greeting card.

While many people loved the spot, others -- in spite of the kid's good intentions -- hated the imposition of technology, and the defense of the modern phenomenon of the incapability of people (not just teenagers) to experience life without looking at a screen. While I'm usually the first one to make that argument, I feel like that criticism is misplaced. The kid done good. Leave this ad alone.

THIS ad from this year, however, deserves every bit of scorn that was wrongly given to the 2013 ad. Grandparents look up their grandkids' tweets (somehow they lack modern technology but they can still read tweets), and see that their houses are considered hell on earth for nothing other than the fact that they lack Wi-Fi or On-Demand or Netflix or something else my grandparents' house didn't have or need when we visited for Christmas twenty-five years ago.

The grandparents decide that they need to upgrade their houses for the holidays, which just causes the kids' eyes to light up upon entering the house. "Home," by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros," a wonderful but horribly misused song, is heard, as we see technology-laden fun, concluding with the granddaughter giving their house her personal seal of approval. You may know that the chorus features the line, "Home is wherever I'm with you." Notice there's nothing there about being able to watch a movie just by voicing a famous line at the screen. The grandparents should have unplugged whatever appliances they did have and announced to the little snot that they're all going to take turns reading Dickens aloud. Some people wish they still had grandparents (or parents) to visit during Christmas or Hanukkah or Thanksgiving or whatnot, and wouldn't care if they could live-stream their kitchen dances.

I notice that the comments for the ad from this year have been disabled. Wonder why.

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