Happy seventh birthday, seanshannon.org. I will have a .journal entry to commemorate the anniversary, but as has been the case so often these past few years, I’ve got to put off writing it until I get to Thanksgiving break and have some time to write it well (and also finish dealing with some personal stuff that’s kind of weighed me down here lately).
On a mostly unrelated note, last night I think I came the closest to throwing up that I’ve been in several years. I had the late game of Hockey Night in Canada on my television, and this commercial aired where this young woman with a chef’s outfit was talking about how great her life was and how she had gotten engaged recently. A somber look overtook her face, though, and she said that she wasn’t going to get married to him the following weekend like they’d planned because she was about to have a horrible accident. She started to talk about how she should have cleaned up the grease spill earlier and how she shouldn’t have put the deep fryer in the position it was in, and in mid-sentence she turns and slips on the spill, throwing a huge amount of liquid out of the pot she was carrying, covering her face, splashing behind her and causing the stove behind her to catch fire.
Now, up to this point I’m thinking that this is a highly effective commercial. At this point, though, the woman lets out this blood-curdling screen as another chef bends down by her to help her, and then, for about a half-second, the shot snaps to the woman, the skin on her face and hands completely scalded, before snapping to black, finally showing the URL of the Website people are supposed to go to in order to learn about safety. I’d been noshing on Doritos just before the commercial aired, and for about a good twenty seconds I thought I was going to lose it. I ran to the upstairs bathroom and lifted the toilet lid, but nothing came out. Needless to say, I kept my eyes glued to my flat panel here whenever the commercial came back on, as it did several times throughout the rest of the night.
I know that we’re living in a post-Saw world and that some people argue that you need these kinds of jarring images in order to attract people’s attention these days. I can remember a debate several months ago when Volkswagon started showing car crashes from inside the cars in a line of their commercials, the ones that famously ended with the person driving the Volkswagon saying "Holy shit" at the end (with the -it cut off by a similar snap to a black screen). However, I think there is a world of difference between showing car crashes (which despite all of the twisted steel never had a drop of blood or even the slightest hint of injury) and flashing to a shot of a woman with third degree burns on her face and hands. Even though Poppy Z. Brite is one of my favourite authors and I’ve written a bit of horror myself, I really have no desire to see horror on television or in films, and it couldn’t be more obvious that this commercial was trying to play on horror-film schlock here, particularly given that they cut away from the burnt woman so quickly.
More to the point, this is not a commercial that should be airing when children are so likely to be watching it. The commercial only started airing during the late-night game, but even assuming that it aired only in eastern Canada and they didn’t show it in the west, there are still a lot of children watching CBC that late on a Saturday night during hockey season. Hockey brings Canadians of all ages together in a way that the NFL only wishes they could get football to do here in the US, and little kids don’t need to be seeing stuff like that. I’m too much of a libertarian on these issues to say that the Canadian government should outlaw the commercial, but given some of the ridiculous things some Canadian bodies (in particular the CRTC) does to regulate Canadian television, I would have thought that they’d never allow this commercial to air, much less during Canada’s signature sports broadcast.