Sunday, December 30, 2007



A commercial that has been playing frequently on the radio of late is illustrative, as much advertising is, of where our country and national character is headed—straight into the toilet.

This particular annoying ad, for a drug company, features a man saying that he has “acid reflux.” His wife corrects him, telling he has “acid reflux (something or other) DISEASE.” Then the two of them yammer on about a particular drug’s copay’s being no higher than those of generics or other name brand drugs under their insurance plan.

I’m no doctor, and I make it a point to see one as rarely as possible. However, I am aware that what is now called “acid reflux” was for years called “heartburn.” It was not a DISEASE, as the shrewish wife featured on the commercial insists, but a minor inconvenience treated by, in increasing degrees of intensity, ignoring it until it went away, watching one’s diet, or taking Pepto-Bismol, Bromo-Seltzer, or, my favorite, Brisochi.

Why did we treat our heartburn with over the counter remedies, if we treated it at all, rather than calling our heartburn a “disease” and treating it with expensive drugs? I can think of several reasons. First, we had good sense. Second, we weren’t in the habit of being led around by the nose by advertising. Third, we didn’t have prepaid health plans that are laughingly called health “insurance.” But things have changed. Now, like the couple in the baleful radio commercial, we cower in fear at imagined “diseases” and whine like children at the mere prospect of having to interrupt our lascivious spending on trendy piffles in order to actually pay for some of our health care out of our own pocket.

This all serves the interests of the big government/big business cabal that has increasingly taken over our culture and our nation, turning the former into an open sewer and striving mightily, with much success, to turn national character into jelly. The drug companies obviously do very well selling us expensive drugs for which someone else pays. The insurance companies expand their business from traditional “insurance” into being a prepayer, at a big markup, for every necessity of life. The corporations in general think this is fine because they have a hook, health “insurance,” that keeps people in their jobs as corporate automatons rather than starting troublesome competing small businesses. And the citizenry becomes nice and pliable, begging “Please, don’t take my health ‘insurance’ away from me, or force me to make some of my own decisions. And whatever you do, don’t make me endure the unutterable sacrifice of not buying that latest bauble from China in order to actually meet some of my own responsibilities without passing them off to ‘someone else.’”

One can learn a lot from an inane commercial.

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