$200 million

So Jess and I have really started to enjoy watching shows on hulu. We purposefully chose not to get cable or satellite, or even standard television, because we didn’t want to have unlimited access to America’s number 1 time waster. We like hulu because there is no channel surfing, no turning something on just to have some background noise, limited access to inappropriate material, and, best of all, limited commercials. Most shows just offer a 3o second ad every 10 minutes or so, much more manageable than the 8 minutes of commercials that are shown during a 30 minute time slot on the tube.

Of the ads that you do have to sit through, one that we saw yesterday brought us face to face with the reality of the over-consumption and  utter waste of resources that we are so prone to in the west. The ad in question begins something like this: “Last year over 200 million dollars was spent in order to bring you this…” at which time we were bombarded with split second images from each of the Super Bowl ads that ran last year, ending with someone flying out of an office window into a tree (really funny) and an invitation to revisit last years ads in preparation for this the Big Game.

The first few times we saw the ad I missed the opening statement and just thought it was a clever commercial. It actually made me look forward to this year’s ads, which will most likely be very entertaining and successful in creating some sense of covetousness in my heart. Then I saw the intro and was confronted with the cost of advertising during the Super Bowl, not the game itself mind you, just the ads between plays. I was sickened. It was one of those moments where you feel like throwing up and punching someone at the same time. Being only three weeks out from the disaster in Haiti I immediately thought of what $200 million would do if put toward rebuilding and reviving that country. I thought of how much food and supplies could be bought in order to feed those in our country and around the world who are in desperate need of help. I thought about all the stuff I have that I don’t need and what my family and I can with what we have been given.

The reality is that we can all do with less, and the excess displayed during things like the Super Bowl or the movie Avatar is just a reminder of how little we do that can actually be called necessary. But what can we do? Do we sell all our stuff? Do we give away our homes and cars? Maybe we do. Or maybe we live to serve. We give when others are in need. We give until it hurts our wallets and our bank accounts and then we seek to do more. Do you need a Lexus when a Toyota will do? Do you need to buy from Nordstrom’s when you can buy from the Rack or Ross instead? Can you eat at home instead of eating out? There is so much we have to give. I need to ask myself these questions daily. I have a lot and I want more, but when I stand before Christ at the last day and give an account for all I have done, I don’t think that I will try to justify my “need” for an iPhone or another new guitar. I want my life to reflect the life that Jesus lived for us, a life that was poured out, even unto death, for the sake of God’s glory and the good of His people.

God has given us the tools and abilities to do more than live for ourselves. We have been called to lose our lives that they may be saved. In all of this, I hope that we can enjoy the Big Game, grateful of what God has done for us, and watchful, that we might not give in to the lie that $200 million is worth spending to watch some frogs chant the name of a beer company.

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3 Responses to $200 million

  1. All true. Who really needs a Rolls-Royce?… But then I would be out of a job. Same with the people at Nordstrom. Spending one way or the other will pretty much benefit people and provide jobs, which is why I think it’s better to be conscious of companies that operate ethically and have the same values you do. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with paying for quality, or for something you really want, but I do object to ‘settling’ for something less when you’re actually encouraging bad habits in companies like Microsoft or Comcast that compete with business acumen and push innovation to the sideline.

    Also, I live in Europe now, and the commercials drive me nuts. There is nothing worse than obnoxious commercials. I miss the more refined and sophisticated advertising in the United States. I’m staying up ’til midnight to watch the Superbowl, and I’m thankful for the shred of US culture that makes it over here and reminds me of home.

    Cable companies do need to get it in their head that they are not an essential industry, and need to treat their customers better, and charge less. Way to go with the hulu.

    • Basically, I’m living my dream working at a great company because there are people out there who are so rich that they can pay for these luxuries. And all the money goes somewhere, putting food on someone’s table.

      It’s interesting you pick on Avatar, because during the depression, the movie industry was huge. Everybody went to the movies, and they went to the movies a lot, because that was their only escape, going to the movies. Regular people, who barely had food. By seeing avatar, you’re supporting people who are improving technology. Over half the film’s budget was in post production. It’s not like they’re throwing $20 mil at a single actor, you’re paying for services, supporting people who are living their dream to work in the film industry, and do things right.

      It’s also interesting that you pick on Nordstrom’s, because without Nordstrom’s, there would be no Rack or Ross, which carries the ‘leftovers’ from Nordstrom.

      • Chris says:

        Thanks Dan,

        I appreciate the insight. On the Avatar thing, I just picked it out of a thousand other things that were going through my mind that relate to spending huge amounts of money to produce something that doesn’t matter. I understand the advances in technology that the movie has helped to produce and I hope they can be used to do something other than make CG people look more real. As for Nordstrom, I made the connection between it and the Rack on purpose to say that no “needs” $150 jeans, especially when you can get the same pair for half that or less. I have no problem with how that company does business, and I really appreciate the fact that they offer discount stores. I do have a problem with the way that we confuse “need” with “want”, a distinction that I struggle with daily.

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