Loud ads least of TV problems

Posted Dec. 25, 2009, at 8:36 p.m.

I’m wondering just how many people slammed down their newspapers in triumph Monday morning after reading the Bangor Daily News editorial confirming that the sound level of the most annoying TV ads was indeed punched up a notch or 10.

Finally some affirmation! “See, honey, it’s not that I have the TV turned up too loud!”

The editorial also informed us of the existence of HR 1084, the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation — or CALM — Act, which is making its way through the House of Representatives.

The bill would effectively prohibit TV advertisements from using volumes that are noticeably louder than the program on which they are broadcast.

One might wonder why the owners of the TV stations wouldn’t simply stop a practice that clearly annoys so many viewers. One also would have to assume that it’s because the coveted car dealers with the advertising dough to spend would march on over to the other side of town and do their business with a station that would be happy to pump up the volume in order to retain the ever-powerful advertising dollar.

I guess that is where the Federal Communications Commission comes in and why this annoyance has turned into literally an act of Congress.

One must always be wary of the powers of Congress and the pitfalls of overlegislation. But it’s Christmastime — a time of magic and great blessings — so to heck with politics and legislative responsibility. I’m making my list of things I think should be banned immediately:

Reality TV, except for “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race.” That’s right, no “John and Kate Plus Eight.” No “Big Brother,” “The Bachelor,” “Girls Next Door” or “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” BANNED!

MTV?

BANNED!

Any “actor” attempting to use a Maine accent in a TV show or ad. Maine accents are charming when coming from a native Down Easter spinning a yarn at his neighborhood pub. Most other attempts are degrading and silly and are hereby BANNED!

Christie Brinkley’s infomercials. She’s 10 years older than me, looks 20 years younger, and she and her Total Gym are here and forevermore BANNED!

“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and “Deal or No Deal” —BANNED!

Any ad starring anyone who shrieks at me and asks me to “join the paahhty.” BANNED!

Two hours of local news every weekday morning. There simply isn’t that much happening even on the busiest of days. Two hours is too long and is BANNED!

Speaking of local news: Poor, hapless TV reporters perched on the sides of interstate highways or in empty parking lots giving regular updates to viewers hour after painful hour about when the snow might actually start falling?

“No snow here yet, but we expect it anytime now, and when it does come police say driving could be tricky. Back to you, Sharon.”

BANNED!

Any commercial that talks about constipation, diarrhea, flatulence or the enhancement of male body parts. They always come on at the most inopportune times, like when you’re sitting alone with a stranger in the waiting room of a hospital.

If the ailment itself doesn’t pose enough discomfort, then having to watch the commercials in public certainly does. I’m going to order them BANNED!

This actually is quite fun. Perhaps I’d make a better legislator than I realized. I’ve never been much for censorship, but I think I could warm to the idea of simply banning things that annoy me.

Perhaps, however, the answer is simply to turn the damn TV off more often. Have a “no TV night” celebration once a week or so.

That’s a PAAHHHTY I just might be willing to join.

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