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Art & the Remote
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I have taken to watching TV for an hour, two at the most, in the evening. Mostly I watch the slow motion train wreck news.

Thanks to the remote control, I can mute the sound during the commercials. Because I don't want to miss when the regular programming resumes, I pay attention to the visuals of the ads.

Some of them are astoundingly beautiful; some are clever and innovative. I probably wouldn't have noticed if the sound were on, because my busy brain would have been purposefully blocking whatever they're selling and I would have lost out on the art.

I occasionally visit websites where I find clips from ads from the latter half of the twentieth century. Watching them I am very aware of how they both reflected and shaped our twenty-first century attitudes toward "want" and "need", also our social and cultural values, not to mention unconsciously our deepest desires.

Fifty years from now, I wonder how much of us will be revealed--or seem to be revealed--to our descendants when they see clips of our advertisements.

Will they think us consumed by fears of erectile dysfunction? Will they laugh at our obsession with youth and beauty? Will they sympathize with our needs for financial security? Or will they live in a polity that has learned that the purpose of government is to promote the general welfare and all those ads for loans and mortgage refinance and bill reduction seem antiquated.

I'd love to be a time traveler and find out.

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