Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Witness this sadistic, mean lady who acts embarrassed and horrified and withholds her affection when her fella yells that he loves her, but declares her love when he gives her stuff. She is not to be trusted.
The Car-Sized Bow And Other Gift-Giving Lies Pop Culture Told Me
I've always wondered about this aspect of commercials - and how basically shows people at their worst. I remember seeing the particular spot referenced by Ms. Holmes back in the day, and thinking that the woman was shallow, and the man was a complete idiot. Either that, or she was the best lay on three continents. Most jewelry commercials on television seem to follow this basic model - that a woman's affections are primarily correlated to the perceived amount of money her partner spends on adorning her. It's hard to see who this serves - with the possible exception of women whose affections are primarily correlated to the perceived amount of money her partner spends on adorning her - assuming of course, that such actually exist.

But with another Christmas season upon us, I've been thinking about how we've come to equate the value of gifts with the degree of someone's love. Although "It's the thought that counts," is a popular saying, we tend to reserve it as a cover for disappointment, or the sorts of odd items that one receives from children who have been pushed to show off their facility with handicrafts. As the sort of person who dearly loves to give gifts to people, I often find myself wondering if I'm attempting to buy the positive feelings of others or to act on my own. (One way that I've gotten around this is to give people gifts anonymously, when I can get away with it.) In the end, I tend to be poor at giving gifts because I'm not close enough to the people I give gifts to that I have a intuitive understanding of what the best gifts (things that they want, but wouldn't buy for themselves) are. And so for me, gifts always come with a certain amount of guilt, because I always end up feeling that I should have given more of my time, and less material, to the person in question.

I've never met anyone who behaves in the way that people on television often do, and so I often chalk up odd behaviors, like that shown in television jewelry commercials, to artistic license. I also tend to see them as mostly harmless. After all, given that I never seem to meet anyone who actually behaves that way, clearly the commercials aren't all that influential. I suspect that Ms. Holmes and I aren't the only ones who look at television and find ourselves wondering, "Who does that?"

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