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Dusting off the old soap box! by Leah Jean
Hmmmmm. This will make the 3rd e-mail I've contributed in a row (unless someone sneaks one in while I am writing this one). And we ain't talking within a few weeks time either. I'm beginning to think that I should just take over this web site and make it my own. ;-) Maybe it should be renamed "Leah's Laughs and Laments"? Oh, I do love to complain to a large audience! [Snicker.] And I do make some attempts at humor. [That's emphasis on the word "attempts"!] But I know that my mother just loves to hear from her kids. And an e-mail can be fun to reread, as opposed to a phone call that is easily forgotten. Okay, so let me do what I do best ... yack via e-mail. But I think that I shall have a soap box derby in this one.

Soap box speech #1: "movies and manipulations". I think that I've already mentioned that Daryl "subscribes" to Netflix. This is a service where you can get an account on Netflix's web site and use it to update a list of available movies that you want to see. Then they mail you the DVDs of those movies as the DVDs become available. You watch the movies and then mail the DVDs back. It's a continuous cycle. And Daryl really takes advantage of these rentals! Well, he recently got one flick entitled "Soccer Dad" with Will Farrell which was really childish. But that isn't what really got me. First of all you have to understand that I just hate manipulative advertisers. Geico is really high on that list! That company does what politicians have done for decades ... try to get your name emblazoned in people's minds so it becomes familiar and then they will have a tendency to go with that product or politican. Well, I've developed a really strong distaste (no pun intended) for the coffey lobby too. Fortunately I've never liked coffee so I feel very thankful in that respect. And the way advertisers push coffee on TV series like the "Gilmore Girls" and "Friends" is annoying. But what is disgusting... just like with MacDonalds and the tobacco industry ... is their pushing coffee onto younger and younger kids! In Gilmore Girls the high schooler is well addicted along with her mother. And the mother isn't happy unless she has had at least 3 cups a day. But in "Soccer Dad" the advertisers were very obviously trying to get young kids (10 years old and younger?) that coffee is a good thing to drink!!! And they even had a store where "COFFEE" was spelled out in very big letters to make sure you remembered it! I was totally disgusted. I think the whole movie was just an attempt at brainwashing kids ... because the plot and acting was really really lame.

Soap box speech #2: "Live Audience Manipulations!" I know this one is a biggie for car dealers. Catch some unsuspecting customer on camera and try to get them to say something nice about the product. Then edit the film into a commercial to make it look like people are really smitten with the product. Well, I got to experience a different kind of manipulation ... along the same lines. My husband and his friend like these 4 commediennes who are known for their "red neck" humor. Some of you may already have seen them on cable T.V. The most well known of the group is Jeff Foxworthy. I'd seen them on TV and got to admit that they can be pretty funny ... sometimes. So Daryl's friend got tickets and 6 of us met at the theater to catch their act. We got to go to the Warner Theater in D.C. which is a beautiful old and rather small theater. Most of the time food and drink isn't allowed outside of the lobbies of these theaters. But I guess since this group was being filmed for a new DVD, the theater owners probably made some concessions (no joke intended here either!). So during this comedy show we had bright lights on the whole audience so they could film people's reactions to the jokes. There were a few shoulder held cameras filming people in the audience, a camera on a track that panned back and forth across the comediennes on stage, and a long boom camera that stretched up to view the balcony audience or take a different higher angle on the stage. It was a little distracting so the show producers probably wanted everyone to keep drinking! Plus they wanted the crowd to be very happy and laugh a lot. Manipulation #1? But the thing that really really got me was the room temperature. Stage theaters usually have rather small and crowded seating. [In fact I kept warning Daryl that we didn't want to go sit down too early before the show started.] So during the show it got rather hot in the theater and, being a cold evening, a lot of us were sitting on our coats. Each commedienne came out once by himself and then all 4 got together at the end. So you could say we went through 5 different "acts". And each one was followed by a round of applause. Well, it was so warm in that theater that you wanted to do a standing ovation just so you could get out of your seat to stretch and cool off. And oh how that blast of cooler air after each act felt so good. Okay, after about the 3rd time I noticed a strong blast of cool air after an act, it finally dawned on me ... they are actually raising the temperature in the theater to make the sweaty people want to get up out of their seats! Then they would turn up the air conditioning fans after everybody sat down! True, all of the acts were pretty funny, especially the first guy. But I kind of felt a little cheap afterwards knowing that I had been temperature manipulated a little just to get better results for the cameras. Sigh.

I feel so cheap and used. But if I do manage to make the comedienne's DVD as an appreciate audience member, I think I will be able to live with myself. ;-)

Later,
Leah

 

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