On the 4th of May, 2020 I coined the definitive term of not only the year, but of this decade that has been off to a wretched start. As I continue to move my blog and writings into a new direction, and continue to desire a break from generalized comedy writing to focus on more specific topics such as obscure music, movies, novelty toys, and terrifying safety shorts from yesteryear, I wanted to preserve this gem before scrapping The Snicker Jar from my articles tab. Reproduced below, in all its glory of that which made 2020, is the original post.
We need a new word here in the year of our Lord 2020, and I have it right here:
This is the term that I am using to describe the ceaseless adverts about COVID-19, being together, or otherwise reminding you of the absolute despair that grips humanity at this moment. They go a little like this:
"Hi there. We’re working from home, just like you, to bring you this important message. We here at Major Business want to remind you about the ongoing coronavirus crisis even if you were just tuning into a nonsensical game show to take your mind off of that very crisis. Didn’t mean to make you upset.
We’re upset too. You aren’t able to purchase useless little USB gadgets from us while trapped inside, and with a diminutive disposable income. This makes us sad, so we made this advert filled with sombre piano chords and some uplifting vocalizations from last year’s Christmas campaigns to make you feel better, or more hopeless depending on how much news you’ve been watching as of late.
We’re here for you. We’re in this together."
The other day, I put on Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel after a storm of notifications from the BBC News app reminded me that death was lurking around every corner of this new reality that I occupy. There were ten ads in the first break and bloody nine of them were about COVID-19, the "new normal," or how we're all in this together and how you should totally buy something anyway.
I can't even tune in to Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network (because I am a giant child) without existential dread pouring forth from my television like a Lovecraftian nightmare. The tendrils of ancient, unholy beasts are always there. Death is just outside the door. What sort of horrible trauma are these children going to develop after having been subjected to this for months on end?
My elderly parents have a decent sized yard with a gazebo and a pool, and they're afraid to go out in that yard for fear that the virus is lurking in the grass or in the trees, and that a little breeze will spread it like a demonic cough right into their faces. The constant news cycle didn't implant these fears by itself, these incessant coronammercials are just as bad, if not worse, than never turning off the cable news channel of your choice.
Big companies and the like, I have some advice: Shut up. If you want to make an impact in "these unprecedented times," stop wasting your money on television ads and put it towards virologic research and development, or at least encourage people to cover their faces with a proper mask so that this thing can be properly contained and the dread will peter out a little bit. If you are that desperate for a return to normality, at least encourage or participate in behaviours that will work towards that goal instead of reminding us that you are still there with the same products you had before the viral outbreak, and at the same price.
Until then, seal your mouths and realize that nobody wants your shitty car, phone, or Barbie's Quarantine Dream House when there are overwhelmed hospitals, mass graves in New York City, and scarce necessities. Also, nobody has a job anymore so we do not have the extra money to waste on crap when we need food.
Update September 2020:
I have decided that the term "COVadvertisement” is equally valid.