In television’s never ending quest to hype any and all things as the latest, greatest event of all-time, the two-week buildup on ESPN of this past Saturday’s collegiate match-up of number one ranked LSU Tigers against number two ranked Alabama Crimson Tide was never ending. Not only was this game billed by the sports network as the game of the century, but also by game time, we were being told that it would be the greatest football game ever to be played.
When this greatest game of all-time was finally over, the CBS sideline reporter informed winning coach Les Miles that “It lived up to the hype.” I know enough about football to know that one of its all-time truisms is that defense wins championships; however did this defensive struggle really deserve all the hype surrounding it? Did a game that went into overtime because both teams were only able to score two field goals each deserve all the praise given it? Did a game won in overtime by LSU having kicked a field goal after Alabama had missed one of their own after missing three others during the game live up to all this propaganda? Sure, it was a good game, but definitely not one of the greatest games ever to be played, let alone the greatest.
A decade ago, John Stossel had a documentary on television entitled Hype in which he investigated the effect that hype has on people by television. One segment he ran showed a group of kindergarten age children sitting in front of a wall of different colored blocks and inside each block was a letter of the alphabet, each of a different font. Just by looking at a single letter of the alphabet, these young children all knew exactly what product they represented. For example, when the letter “g” was pointed out, the kids all screamed Kellogg’s. Needless to say, I was very disturbed by what I saw.
The number of commercials per hour by the television networks has doubled since the early 1960s. When you consider how the networks throw in pop-up ads during a show, product placements or how they now reduce the size of closing credits in order to show more commercials, we are being inundated with advertising. Children today spend more time sitting in front of TV or computer screens than they do in school. I stopped watch NASCAR because it has become nothing more than a three hour commercial
Television can be a great thing, but it is brainwashing our children with its never-ending hype and mass commercialization of all things.
Steven H. Spring