23 August 2008

Because We Need One More Distraction In The Classroom

Yesterday was a rare occasion indeed. I found myself sitting down in front of the television, while it was on. I rarely do that. Even more rare, I actually watched the television. I mean, the Olympics are a pretty big thing. I suppose I might as well watch at least some of the events. (Had I known how good looking those male divers are, and had I known what skimpy swimsuits they wear, I can assure you I would have tuned in much sooner.) In between the Olympic Event coverage, I was forced to endure that bane of television: commercials. One in particular caught my eye, and not in a good way. I tried to find a link to it online, but was unsuccessful, so I will have to simply describe it to you.

It was a Unicel (no, not Unicef, which YouTube seems to think are the same) commercial in the current "back to school" campaign. The ad is a cartoonish drawing of several students in a classroom, with the teacher at his desk in the front, and one of those little speakers in the upper corner of the room. From the speaker you hear the morning announcements, which include a personal message for one little boy that his mother has called because he seems to have forgotten his "ointment" and the little boy can pick it up at the office at any time. As soon as the announcements are over, all the other students point and laugh at the little boy, who is shown with his head buried in his arms. The message of the ad being that as a parent, and to avoid any embarrassing situations for your beloved child, you should get said beloved child a cell phone. That way said beloved child can have it turned on all day, through all his classes, receiving and sending countless disruptive messages.

Here's my beef: cell phones are distracting. The last thing kids in a classroom need is another distraction. And we all know that kids are not going to be good and leave the cell phones turned off during class time. My second beef: any parent that needs to drop off a forgotten item to a student at the school will still be required to check in to the office and the student will then be called out of class to meet the parent, creating one more disruption. Or, the office will hold the item and call the student when it is more convenient and does not create a disruption to the class. My third beef: anything of a medical nature must be dispensed by the school nurse. Mommy can't just show up and hand beloved child some forgotten medicine. Mommy would have to give the medicine, and dosing information, to the school nurse, who would then administer said medicine to said beloved child.

That Unicel commercial is stupid. Unicel is encouraging classroom disruptions. Is Unicel also encouraging parents and students to break school security rules (and in light of all these recent violent school related incidences?) by delivering forgotten items without notifying the office? Is Unicel also encouraging parents and students to break school rules regarding the dispensation of medicine by having parents provide directly to students (forgotten or otherwise) medicine that should be dispensed by the school nurse? Do parents already think these behaviors are acceptable (which is a problem in light of school violence and teen drug issues), and is that why Unicel is able to air this commercial? Or are parents, and the rest of the general viewing audience, too stupid to realize the problem(s) with Unicel's commercial? Now, if parents are following school rules, then there is simply no need to call the student to let them know about the impending visit. But, then there wouldn't be any need for Unicel's cell phones.

And while I'm airing complaints about commercials, I'd like to mention the carpet commercial I also saw last night. Unfortunately, I did not catch the name of the carpeting company responsible for this advertisement. Again, I will describe it for you. A woman is shown posing with an elderly (and rather fat) looking yellow lab (such a ubiquitous breed). She is talking about how poor Doggy used to have to live outside because he caused such a mess. Cue to scene of lab knocking over a live potted tree in the living room and spreading dirt all over a light coloured carpet. Now, though, because this woman discovered (insert carpet company name here), said company having such great carpeting and such a great warranty, Doggy is now able to reside indoors.

Now here's my beef (Doggy is thinking, Mmmmmm Beef). Most dogs, the vast majority of pet dogs, should not live outside. There are some working dogs that must live outside to perform their jobs, such as those guarding livestock. There are also some sporting dogs who do better living outside, such as sled dogs. There are even those rare dogs who simply prefer to be outside. But, I find it very safe to say pet dogs should not live outside. Especially not shorthaired breeds like Labrador Retrievers. To suggest that messes created by the dog are a good reason to force the animal to live outside is offensive. By airing such an idea in a commercial, the idea is further cemented in society that it is, in fact, perfectly acceptable to throw the messy dog outside and leave it there. Gah, this commercial is so obnoxious.

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