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Selective Vision
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Spent a good part of the New Year's weekend with various friends, at several get-togethers, admixed with much football. Truth be told, the women were in another part of the house, gossiping and playing cards; the men (and I) were glued to the television set, eating, beverages in hand, watching football.

There were quite a few stand-alone advertisements between games and at half-time, not to mention the banners and logos of corporate sponsors everywhere. Ubiquitous blandishments to buy this or that.

After one particularly clever ad, we discussed the graphics and setting of the ad and the tricky way the product was flashed--but none of us could remember what the product was. When we checked our memories for the earlier ones, we couldn't remember them, either--rather, we could remember the ad, but not the product name. No, it wasn't collective senility.

I think we're developing selective vision where ads are concerned, at least we old fogies are. When I mentioned the logos and the corporate sponsored equipment down on the field, I drew blanks from my companions. The only one they (and I) could recall specifically was the Nike swoosh, though we remembered that there were lots of them in view.

I think we've learned to disregard, be selective about, what we see on television, analagous to the way we sort and discard visual stimuli when we're driving. We choose what we want to look at and remember, discarding the rest.

And I'm also convinced that we do something similar online. I know that I practice spatial discrimination, not paying attention to the stuff in the right- or left-hand bars on the screen. I scroll past anything blinking. And certainly *never* click on any of it, god forbid.

Certain websites that I visit regularly--I know where the ads are, but I couldn't tell you for the life of me what they're promoting, or even if it's the same thing each time I visit.

After many decades of television and computers, we older folk, at least, have learned to separate the visual wheat from the virtual chaff. I wonder what defenses our children and grandchildren will develop.

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