Understanding culture through advertising

Image of US & Canada flags Canada's biggest preoccupation has been one of defining our identity. Canadians who have traveled abroad are often mistaken for American yet we see ourselves as very, very different creatures.

I watch very little network television. I abhor commercials and find them annoying and irritating. But today, for the second time in a week, I found myself tuning into Trumpnet (MSNBC) to catch the latest scuttlebutt on the ongoing Stormy Daniels saga. Setting aside President Shitferbrains recent comments on the whole sordid affair as he boarded Air Farce One, there were no stunning revelations on the news. I do believe, however, that I stumbled upon a major difference between Canadian and US cultures: it's our respective views on drugs, lawyers and television commercials.

The only advertising for medications I see on Canadian television seem to be for the non-prescription variety. "Take Tylenol for pain" or "Take Immodium for diarrhea". American television advertising, at least as they pertain to drugs, are very, very different. And there are LOTS of them. They all seem to have catchy names, like Xenolia, Baxella or Trinial, and each pill or elixir purports to address a variety of maladies and ailments from coughs, colds and sore holes to pimples on your root. I cannot remeber any of the gazillion medication names I heard but it's the long list of cited side-effects at the end of the commercial that put the icing on the cake....

"Trinial should only be used as directed by a physician. Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, swelling of the abdomen, dizziness, blurring of vision, headaches, rash, changes in blood pressure, heart palpitations, sweating, fatigue, joint pain, itchiness, difficulty breathing and/or the occasional loss of consciousness. Other symptoms may include the growth of surreptitious third nipples, difficulty urinating, hallucinations, feelings of persecution, spontaneous laughter or the sudden explosion of your left testicle. If you start to hear shallow voices or experience episodic suicidal thoughts, stop taking Trinial and consult your physician immediately."

Canadians are also not subjected to television commercials (or at least very few) by personal injury ambulance-chasers or plea-bargain criminal lawyers. This, of course, is not the case south of the 49th and if you watch just a meager amount of American network television you'll be inundated by commercials from the Saul Goodman's of the world. I suspect it's more than mere coincidence and likely mirrors the reality of a more litigious society. So why are the American television airwaves filled with drug-peddling and shyster advertisements?

Perhaps it helps to explain why your seemingly quiet neighbour, after taking Trinial, flayed Mittens, your kid's pet cat, and cooked it up on the BBQ with Cajun spice. You may find yourself in need of a good defense lawyer after you blow his head off with the .357 Magnum you bought up the street at the gun shop at the corner. Mercifully, a good lawyer would be able to convince a jury that you merely suffered a brief mental lapse. After a short stay in a psychiatric facility where you'll undergo an intense regime of Xenolia and Baxella, you'll be able to return home and clean your gun while sitting on your front stoop.

Submitted by Vincent Pachinskie, 07 April 2018