Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Neverending Godfomercial, Part n.

Definition of terms:

(From Wikipedia)

Advertising is the commercial promotion of goods, services, companies and ideas, usually performed by an identified sponsor, and performed through a variety of media. Marketers see advertising as part of an overall promotional strategy. Other components of the promotional mix include publicity, public

Infomercials are television commercials that run as long as a typical television program. Infomercials are normally shown outside of peak hours, such as late at night or early in the morning. As in any other form of advertisement, the content is a commercial message designed to represent the viewpoints and to serve the interest of the sponsor. Infomercials are often made to closely resemble actual television programming, usually talk shows, with minimal acknowledgement that the program is actually an advertisement.
Infomercials are designed to solicit a direct response which is specific and quantifiable and are, therefore, a form of direct response marketing (not to be confused with direct marketing). The ad response is delivered directly to television viewers by infomercial advertisers through the television ad. In normal commercials, advertisers do not solicit a direct response from viewers, but, instead, brand their product in the market place amongst potential buyers.
Infomercial advertisers may make use of flashy catchphrases (such as "Set it and Forget it"), repeat basic ideas, and/or employ scientist-like characters or celebrities as guests or hosts in their ad. Because of the sometimes sensational nature of the ad form, consumer advocates recommend careful investigation of the claims made within any infomercial ad and investigation of the company sponsoring the subject product of the infomercial before purchasing the featured product or products. Infomercials are for the largest part shown late night to early morning between 2:00am and 6:00am.


Godfomercials are any materials (books, plays, movies, TV shows, video games, etc.) promoting the underlying tenets of religious belief. These include, but are not limited to: supernatural beings, life after death, non-corporeal intelligences, an overweening metaphysical “battle” between forces of “Good” and “Evil”, “proper” behaviors being “rewarded” with “luck” or good fortune, judgment post-mortem, “angels” and “demons” or other mythical beings interfering with daily life, possession by evil spirits, and zombies and other living dead things, and dead persons and pets coming back to life. Basically anything that falls into the category of Superstitious Fiction.

The Sunday Sermon, TV Evangelism, Mandatory prayer at specific times, and New Age Medicine Shows also qualify as Godfomercials. Basically, any presentation of superstitious material that is designed to put the listener into a near-hypnagogic state, and then reinforce through repetition those ideas being promoted until the instruction bypasses the listener’s natural skepticism or discrimination.

The Neverending Godfomercial is the constant barrage of superstitious, religious, and pseudo-religious themes in movies, on television, and in print. I believe that this bombardment actually creates demand for like product, like the saturation advertising of Coca-Cola creates demand for that product. This creates a self-feeding system that promotes itself. The large number of Freddie Krueger and Jason sequels in contrast to the usual two sequels spawned by most movie genres supports this theory.

The visual and anecdotal validation of the “existence” of supernatural demons “validates” the belief in the existence of life after death, and the concepts of Heaven and Hell. I’ll explore how this happens in my next post.


At 2:20 PM, Blogger Kristine said...

What I really hate are those pseudo-"documentaries" such as Hauntings (what the hell has happened to the Travel Channel?), Psychic Detectives (what the hell is wrong with CourtTV?), and that putrid John Edward, preying on people's sadness and loss--it just makes me sick.

Okay, once I believed in Bigfoot--when I was twelve. But nowadays, if you tell people that you really do believe in the Easter Bunny, they'll say, "How cute for an adult!" I was joking!

At 7:51 AM, Blogger breakerslion said...

The History Channel and Discovery Channel are in the mix too. Lots of "Bible History" and Eastern religious practices and journeys to discover artifacts like the Ark of the Covenant. Oh, did I forget the Loch Ness Monster? Anyway, I understand the need for ratings, and the huge audience that has been manufactured for this industry, but I resent the soft-pedaling of the mercenary aspects of these sideshows. The Holy Keepers of these "Holy" and/or mysterious places ALWAYS have their hand out. I also resent that they seldom mention the lack of corroborating evidence, or dubious historical accuracy of the legends they explore. Equal time for the non-superstitious would be nice.

As for psychics, I suspect that the good ones are pathological liars with a gift for subconscious observation and extrapolation. I have had one personal experience that I can't explain. When I was a kid, there was a kid that had a gift of being able to find things. Say you lost a ring or a coin on the beach. This kid would sit and talk with you for a few minutes, then he would look around and more often than not, find the missing object. You might think he palmed it in the first place, but this was not the case. Many times someone would go get him after the thing had been lost; he was nowhere near when it happened. I've also met people that seemed to have a "knack" for finding arrowheads; not just keen eyesight, also knowing intuitively where to look. Something about the terrain? Who knows?

At 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the aliens. They whisper the whereabouts of the objects when no one is watching... ;-)


At 12:24 AM, Blogger The Editor said...

Excellent take on how modern media can distort reality and bombard the viewer. Thus endlessly perpetuate Bronze Age Myths.

Ques. What's the difference between Jesus and Santa Claus?

Ans. Of course! only Santa is real.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Kristine said...

I actually saw a really cool documentary on Loch Ness on the National Geographic Channel. It not only picked apart those "Nessie" photos, it explained the phenomenon of backwaves, which cause monster-looking logs to actually drift against the current, giving the impression that something is swimming in the lake. Yes, not all Nessie believers are liars--they were fooled.

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