Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sin City

As I've mentioned a few times, I don't get cable TV.

And every time I feel the urge to get cable, I see something or hear about something which makes me back off.

I was getting my truck serviced Friday, sitting in the dealership customer lounge and reading Time Magazine's Gitmo Report (What's the big deal?) while half watching the College World Series game on ESPN (Go Vols! Does anybody know if they won?).

That's when a commercial came on. It featured two young women at a luxury hotel dressed for a business trip. The more assertive woman was introducing herself and her friend to a couple gentlemen. The scene was repeated again, and again, and again with the same two women at different locations and with different men. At first, you thought they were business networking, except the more assertive woman was using different names for herself and her friend each time. Once she bobbled the name she was obviously trying to make up. Later, she introduced herself as Lucy and the other woman as Ethyl-- to her friend's chagrin. In each scene, her clothing became more festive, and you eventually realized they were in Las Vegas. But the meaning of the series of scenes doesn't really dawn on you until the tag-line comes up.

"Las Vegas: what happens here, stays here."

The young women were repeatedly seeking anonymous sexual encounters.

It was funny. It really was funny. I wasn't outraged until I thought about it.

A few minutes later, another commercial came on. A young slacker is hanging out in a trashed house. He hears a car pull into the driveway and immediately goes into a comically fast cleanup mode. As the parents come through the door, he has just finished the living room. He has just concealed the remains of a forbidden party the night before.

Son: "Hi, dad. Hi, mom."

Dad: "Hi son! So...what've you been up to?"

Son (conscious that the kitchen is still trashed): "Nothing... What have you been up to?"

Dad: "Um... nothing."

The parents exchange worried looks while heading upstairs.

Again, you don't understand the sequence until the tag-line appears.

"Las Vegas: what happens here, stays here."

The worried looks the parents exchanged was not over what their son might have been up to, but over what suspicions he harbored regarding their conduct: some behavior they obviously would not want slacker-boy to emulate. Something besides gambling, since he would have known they were in Las Vegas.

I laughed before I realized that this was some seriously corrupt stuff I was seeing.

Of course, the add campaign I've been describing has apparently been on TV since late 2003. Most people who read this blog have almost certainly seen the adds, have been seeing them for months, and are wondering why I am so uptight about it.

The reason I am uptight about it? I've had no clue about the campaign until last Friday. Everyone else has already been de-sensitized to it.