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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Time for some TV saltpeter

Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

We have no time to waste. If we are to implement a nationwide ban on Viagra, Levitra and Cialis commercials, we must do it now.

The Super Bowl is fast approaching, and if I am not mistaken, we’re in for an onslaught of 50-something couples holding hands in bathtubs. We’re in for baby-boomer men sprouting devil’s horns from beneath their male-pattern-baldness. We’re in for smug, overly satiated wives coyly dropping hints about their husbands’ tiger-like prowess, although, if I’m not mistaken, most tigers don’t take a pill in order to grow stripes.

Can’t we just have another Budweiser Clydesdale ad instead? If we have to watch an ad about stallion-like performance, can’t it be about a real stallion?

The case against these ads, the scourge of 21st century sports watching, goes like this:

They’re embarrassing – Who among us really relishes the idea of sitting in the old family room with the kids, the grandparents and sweet old Aunt Jane, all sitting stony-faced through yet another ad in which the dramatic narrative is about whether some graying-at-the-temples guy will be “ready” when the moment is ripe? Especially when the moment appears to ripen, in one ad, while the guy is window-shopping?

They’re difficult to explain to a 6-year-old – “Well, Timmy, you see those nice grandparents are taking their baths outdoors because … well, because a hurricane knocked down their house. What? Yes, Timmy, that’s exactly correct. The hurricane ruined all of their clothes, too. Yes, Timmy, that’s right. They are going to have to hide in their bathtubs, holding hands, until the Red Cross shows up with new sweat suits.”

They’re insulting to our intelligence – A wife, who has clearly been satisfied to the point of inanity, brags in one ad about what it has all meant to her. Oh, come on. Do we look that gullible? Does anyone imagine, even for a second, that these products are intended to make women happy? As a man, I know that these products are aimed directly at the most tender portion of my anatomy – my male ego. As much as I’d like to think otherwise, their appeal to women is, at best, mixed. If the pharmaceutical companies really wanted to develop a product that would relieve the suffering of unhappy, unfulfilled middle-aged women, they’d make a pill that would cause men to suddenly grow big cordless drills, along with the skill to use them on bathroom remodeling projects.

They are yet another black mark against us baby boomers – I happen to think it mere coincidence that these products were developed just at the moment when baby boomers were entering their high blood pressure/low potency years. Yet others might find it suspicious that a generation known for self-indulgence just happened, as they embraced their Golden Years, to find a cure for the ultimate human malady – the inability of geezers to make recreational whoopee.

Drug companies might have better things to do with a few million dollars – Maybe they could spend that money on cures for things that are not “dysfunctions” but actual “diseases.” (Although I’m sure that the average person with M.S. is thrilled to see what a variety of cures there are for E.D.).

Now, I am not calling for a ban on these drugs. That would be anti-free-market and also lacking in simple human compassion. What if the moment seemed right and millions were incapable of answering the call? Nobody wants that.

I just want the ads off TV. Maybe this could be considered anti-free-market as well, but I don’t think it will actually hurt the sales of Viagra, Levitra or Cialis.

They can be marketed just as effectively through their other, subsidiary route: Flooding our e-mail baskets with several dozen offers a day.

It’s a win-win. Those who need the pills can get them, yet the rest of the country does not have to sit through dramatizations of their happy effects.

What’s that, Timmy? Oh, those are just the cute Budweiser Clydesdales. I’m so glad you asked.

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