Saturday, January 24, 2009

Get Over Yourselves...
There is a certain commercial on the air these days advertising a very interesting product (which shall not be named, because I will give no one free advertising). This product is a little gadget intended to amplify sound. As the commercial begins, we see a frustrated older woman who can't hear the numbers being called out at Bingo. An older gentleman who's wife admonishes him to lower the volume on the television set. They are both frustrated, presumably, because their hearing problems are making life unbearably difficult.

Enter the SilverEarClipThingy (SECT)! The easy way to amplify sound; you can watch TV without keeping your spouse awake, hear your children from yards away (without, apparently, having to keep an eyeball on them), listen for the doorbell while working in the garden, detect game sooner during your hunting trip. Yes, SECT! will change your life, it's so damned useful.

But then, the commercial gets a little stupid.

You see, not only will SECT! help those who can't hear, or have a definite need for increased hearing. Oh no, it does so much more! And this is where the commercial starts to get into the realm of the creepy...

It will allow you to eavesdrop on other people's conversations, you see. We see people at a party, one wearing SECT!, while two others a distance away talk about him. Another walks down the street wearing the device while his neighbors discuss his recent purchase of a car; a new arrival in the neighborhood with SECT is able to hear his female neighbors evaluate his looks, same for a winsome female walking down the beach who has her physique positively evaluated by other women. There are, apparently, millions who appear to have some sort of sick need to listen into other people's conversations....just to see if they're the topic of conversation!

How do I come to this conclusion? Why advertise this ability of SECT! unless someone believes it's a solid selling-point, and given the American propensity to market-research anything within an inch of it's life, I can almost guarantee that somewhere, some marketing expert focus-tested self-absorbed eavesdroppers and narcissists and found that they would absolutely stampede to buy SECT! I can see it all now:

Barroom and nightclub brawls in which someone with a SECT! picked up a passing whisper from 75' away, and because they were drunk, misinterpreted it.

Businessmen using SECT! to eavesdrop in public places (bars, restaurants, airport lounges, etc.) on their competition's cellphone conversations, lunch meetings, etc.

A police officer or district attorney with a SECT! manages to listen into the communication between a defense lawyer and his client.

It should only be a matter of time before the SECT! gets dragged into court by the ACLU. Which in this case, might be a good thing. I hope they do, and succeed -- because I'd just love to see all of those self-absorbed assholes who think I have nothing better to do than talk about them all day (to some of my acquaintance, it should be my full-time obsession) mentally torture themselves trying to discern whether they are the center of the universe or not. It's a fate too good for people like that, but it would be fun to watch, nevertheless.

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