December 2, 2018

Friends,

At this time of year I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the obsession we have with advertising and shopping This was highlighted for me last week with the opening of the two recreational marijuana sites in Massachusetts as well as the onslaught of Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season. It’s even laughable when we realize the amount of money that is spent recreating traffic patterns and policing the crowds (even shuttling them to and from the pot shops). I voted against recreational marijuana because I believe that that its presence in candy and soda is a real threat to our younger people ( children and teenagers). And also because I don’t believe law enforcement has any defined way to discern what constitutes “drugged driving”. I had hoped those safeguards would be in place prior ro the passing of the law.

If you’ve ever watched an NFL Football game, the amount of advertising is astronomical, and if the truth be told, probably two-thirds of the 3-hour game consists of commercials. Obviously, the commercials are geared to the majority of those watching the game on television. They know their audience.

Along that line, before we ate Thanksgiving dinner at my sister’s house in Roslindale, they had “Best In Show” on the TV. We were all gathered in the living room with the TV on in the background. There was a constant parade of the most beautifully manicured and coiffed dogs from many different breeds and categories. What captured my attention most was that the ads were all about animals and dog food. Once again, I realized: they know their audience and will obviously choose commercials that are geared to the majority of those watching the show. “Nothing is left to chance.” Amazingly enough, when I brought up this “discovery” on my part, my nephew enlightened me even further. He mentioned that “they” are already able to determine that everyone watching an event (e.g., on their smart phone) will not be seeing the same advertisements. “They” know so much about us from our cell phone use and priorities, that “they” can personalize the ads that you may see very differently from the ads that others may see during the same television event. This all blows me away. From the advertisers’ point of view: why waste their time with commercials that are meaningless to some? With the new technology, that is becoming obsolete.

Imagine if we could bring this same technology into weekend Masses, and the sermon (homily) that you hear will always be one that is meaningful to you, while your neighbor in the next pew may be hearing something else.  Never say never!

Enjoy Life!

Fr. Coyne

 

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