I’m sitting here in the airport terminal. It’s the Friday before Christmas and, strangely, it’s not crowded. Just me and a dozen other people. There’s plenty of space between the slightly-reclined seats in the waiting area. In fact, almost everyone has their own row.
It’s us, the miserable adults and anxious teenagers working at Dunkin Donuts, Wendy’s, and a magazine shop, and the flat screen televisions hanging from the ceiling. A CNN Travel special is playing. You know, one of those shows where some old white dope travels to poor rural areas and expects everyone to show him around and speak his language.
If it wasn’t for his translator, he’d be lost. Might even break down and cry and forget about his penthouse suite and beautiful, unblemished wife.
Anyways, the travel show is playing for five minutes, then switching to five minutes of commercials. If I’m lucky, I catch a six minute segment of watching this sad white sap and only 4 minutes of mindless commercials written by underpaid copywriters given total authority at agency sweatshops.
The targeting is on point though. These commercials seem targeted at people traveling. I think it’s a coincidence, but soon it won’t be. Soon, cable channels will allow brands to target their ads by location and, eventually, by the individual person.
For instance, a travel company could have ads during a travel TV show only on TVs at the airport (targeting people who are traveling). This is good for advertisers but terrible for people like me who are weary of society. And not only that, the thought of this level of targeting represents a future of intrusive technology.
I saw a movie years ago that took place in a society where people had chips installed in their brains. There were chip scanners installed outside storefronts and whenever someone walked by, the storefront would turn into a giant ad based on the person’s psychology and interests. This technology is considered good by advertisers because the ads are more personalized and targeted. By everyone else who hasn’t been sucked into the Matrix, they’re annoying. They’re disruptive to living.
They represent decline.
This is me being pessimistic about the future and technology. This is me losing hope in the human race, fearing that it will be overwhelmed by consumerism. Buy, buy, buy. If you don’t buy, you’re not one of us. You have no place here.
If it comes to that, I will have no place here. I would have been born in the wrong time. God got his timing wrong with me. I should have been running with the gazelles, tracking the elephants and trying to hop on them, during a time when society wasn’t even a thing. When there were just men and women and food and shelter and maybe a tinge of jealousy within tribes.
But if I was born then, would I crave now?
It doesn’t matter, because now I am here. I will work around this shitty cable, these commercials, this consumerism. I will find the good buried beneath this shit. Good will always exist. It just becomes less obvious. Why is this? This is a topic for another time.