Sunday, May 29, 2011


I've got a co-worker who still has a rotary phone, who has no idea what a debit card is, who grumbles whenever the radio in the stockroom is tuned to a station that plays a lot of eighties stuff like Bon Jovi or The Thompson Twins because he can't stand that "new" music.  He'd probably be happy to have any of the items advertised in this commercial.

But really, who wouldn't want that couch?  And it comes with a free portable TV!  There's no technology you have to master with these things--with that TV, you could take it anywhere.  You'd plug it in, flip the on switch and there it was.  Maybe you had to play around with the rabbit ears to get reception, but you didn't need a decoder box, your house didn't need to be wired, you didn't need a router or a wifi card or a minutes plan or anything back in those days.  Life was good.

Even the pitchman in this ad is straightforward: Here's the merchandise, here's what it does, this is how you get it.  No irony, no flashy graphics, just a simple, effective spiel.  You'd never see such a thing these days.  But why not?  It works.  (Again, I really want that couch, hideous seventies burnt-umber color and all.) 

Obviously, we'll never go back to a pre-digital world.  But I've noticed that some of the people most likely to mock how we looked and acted back in those days are people who were around then.  Have they forgotten their own past?  Have they forgotten how much better-built merchandise was, and how well it all worked?  Have they forgotten how happy we were with what we once had?