Television Without Morals

I saw this tale about someone’s quest to retrieve his stolen Sidekick (a cellphone) a few weeks ago. It’s no surprise that this tale has been whipping around the Internet. There is something immensely gratifying in reading about the rock stupidity of these criminals, and their ultimate commuppance, but that’s not why I return to this point. There is also something sad, too: that society today has degenerated to the point that some people seem to think that when one finds an expensive, personal device like someone’s cellphone, “finders keepers, losers weepers” applies. What’s wrong with kids today?

I’ve heard other people say the same refrain, and blame liberal parenting. I doubt it. My parents are committed New Democrats, and they once put a lot of effort in trying to find the owner of a lost twenty dollar bill. But somehow, regardless of our political stripes, we are failing to teach our children to respect others, and to respect each other’s property. And, frankly, I don’t think our corporate media is helping.

Witness the latest Dairy Queen commercial, which I loathe with such a passion that I’ve decided not to patron Dairy Queen until the add is off the air. It’s the one where somebody boards an airplane with carry-on luggage and the new cheesecake Blizzard. He sets his blizzard down on a tray table and starts to stow his carry on luggage, only to have a bug-eyed guy in the window seat grab the Blizzard and snarf a spoonful.

The arriving passenger is understandably shocked. “Stop it!” he shouts. “What?” asks the unbelievably rude passenger. “What do you mean ‘what’? Just stop!” the arriving passenger replies, and before the situation can escalate, an unfortunate African American woman sitting across the aisle starts complaining, quite understandably, that the shocked airline now has dropped his carry-on luggage on her head.

And here’s the part that really gets my goat. As the arriving airline passenger apologizes profusely to the African American woman, and tries to put his luggage away in the overhead bin, the bug-eyed passenger leaps to the attack. He grabs the Blizzard and the spoon, and starts downing several spoonfuls, as fast as his grubby little hands can manage, all the while keeping his gaze up, to be sure the coast is clear.

This act infuriates me because of the furtive look. The unbelievably rude passenger knows that he’s in the wrong. And he does it anyway. If this happened to me, my usually non-violent self would be seriously motivated to punch him in the face, or drag him into a dark alleyway, or possibly suggest to airport security that he tried to convince me to take a suspicious package through customs.

And the unbelievably rude passenger never gets his comeuppance. It’s the arriving airline passenger, who admittedly cares too much about his Blizzard to take care of his more-important luggage, who takes the abuse. It’s almost as if Dairy Queen condones theft. Watch out for your Blizzard. It’s so good, don’t be surprised if people try to steal it from you.

Except that, you should be surprised. More than surprised, in fact; how about ticked? And if not a blizzard, how about a Sidekick cellphone? It’s only about a $400 difference. Where do we draw the line between something that’s a joke and something where we finally cheer the rightful victor for giving the criminal his or her comeuppance?

Just a couple of weeks after I commented on the old-and-getting-older Future Shop commercials, I notice they’re no longer running on television. Did Future Shop run out of sales to advertise? Or dare I hope that they’ve moved on to a different campaign?

And dare I hope that commenting on this Dairy Queen commercial might get it removed from its cycle sooner rather than later? I can only hope.

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