A discussion about the politics of being sick and marketing to the ailing.
As a preamble to discussing any ailment it should be noted that we should be more aware that as a society we are constantly discussing diseases and all manner of ailments but we seldom discuss health or even take well being for granted. There was a time, not that long ago, when ailments and sickness were the exception, now they have become the rule. Although in the past there were famines and pandemics confined mainly to the cities due to unsanitary conditions and unwise urban planning. Sanitation is a good thing. Dealing with other people’s dung not only gets old fast, it also causes major health problems. Famine is not a disease and a pandemic plague is an infestation, a mass intoxication, not a normal ailment. Today, it is very noticeable that about one third to half of all television commercials are disease related. Not a day goes by that there is not an infomercial disguised as a news story reported by a national network or a local news station promoting disease. They are disguised as a public service message when in fact they are actually promoting their major sponsors whose business is disease – not health. A very underhanded ploy that seems to have worked quite well by playing to most people’s fear of disease and death for themselves and especially their children.
We should always remember that above all we are human beings and part of the dignity of being human is to be disease free without the need to have to take anything more than real food to maintain ourselves for the course of our entire lives, only occasionally needing a wholesome remedy for minor afflictions. All that should be needed to be well is good food, clean air and a sincere effort to keeping a good heart towards ourselves and others. We are not born to be constantly sick. Recent reports on DNA would have us all believing that there is no hope of being healthy as everyone is predisposed to being sick because of their DNA and there is nothing that can be done about it. It’s all a matter of time and out of a person’s control before everyone is sick. In addition to the effects of never before known food additives and otherwise adulterated foods, we are now also cleverly and surreptitiously being talked into being sick. Some of the symptoms being given in the media as part of an ailment are often so general that they can apply to just about everyone. This is not to say that people do not and cannot get sick, however, it does mean that today people are sicker in greater numbers than they have ever been on a per capita basis in spite of the all the “hi tech know how” that is supposed to have made our lives easier. The question is why!! It has little to do with increased awareness and being more informed; we are actually being seduced into believing in a possibility which then manifests. (No statistics are shown here as they are very easily found and interpreted.) More people are having their ailments managed but not cured.
For the first time in history we are witnessing the actual marketing of disease itself as a convenient, manageable and sustainable alternative lifestyle. This is new! Ailments are now so prevalent and pervasive that they are being presented in commercials as almost being completely normal. Ailments are being made more convenient. Why look for a cure. Ailments have also become enormous self sustaining industries looking to expand their markets.
Just look at television at any given time. The commercials are carefully crafted. The people in the commercials seem to all be so happy to have diabetes, cancer, allergies, arthritis, and so on. Everyone appears so healthy, happy, care free and completely fulfilled. Sickness has now become sheik, glamorized, convenient and is accepted as a normal state of being. Are you sick? No problem, just take this or that product! Don’t worry if it may possibly cause a stroke, cancer, paralysis, discomfort or even sudden death. Everyone is just so happy to be sick, so join the club without thinking about it; “we’ll take care of you.” Aren’t you sick? Something must be wrong with you, everyone who wants to look and feel as great as these people in the commercials have to be sick in order to belong. The appearance that those who are not sick are somehow missing out. People actually go to their doctors insisting that they be prescribed what was on the commercial for them whether it was needed or not! The message of the commercial must be a very powerful one if it makes people want the product to that degree. Diabolical!
Some of the products in these commercials have $200,000,000.00 ($200 million) annual advertising budgets; for just one product. There are thousands of products. How big must their profits be to be able to afford that much money just for advertising? What about all the talk about finding a cure? With that kind of a budget one could do a lot more than just find a cure! With that kind of budget why is health care so expensive?
After calculating acceptable risks, with this kind of budget it would be cheaper to settle law suits brought about by damages rather than stopping production of a dubious product. Furthermore, isn’t it the doctor’s job to know what to prescribe, without coercion, based on the ailment that presents itself through diagnosis? Does a doctor need a commercial to know the benefits of a remedy? If his patients come in insisting on a prescription based in a TV commercial rather than on his expertise, does it not relegate him to the level of a mere “pusher” rather than a credentialed health care provider? No offense is intended to the doctors as they too are being victimized and are being put into this position by others.
In addition, everyone should be free to pursue a happiness of their own choosing as opposed to a hypothetical happiness of someone else’s choosing, especially if it is a completely improbable fantasy. (It may come as a shock to some but, a commercial is seldom a reality!! Anything that is as good as a commercial portrays it probably does not need a commercial in order to sell. If the stuff needs a commercial to push it, one should wonder about it’s actual worth.) If we become so detached from our own sensibility that we are rendered unable to differentiate from our own happiness from another person’s concept of happiness that which is being proposed to us, we have to ask ourselves how far gone are we really. This is made even worse when the false concept of happiness is being presented in a media commercial by a company marketing products that are admittedly and openly potentially extremely detrimental.
As perverse as it may sound there are people who are actually happy to know that they are sick. They now have a label to justify themselves with. There are people who would have nothing else to talk about if it were not for their ailments and people who are actually proud of being sick. A discussion where, “my ailment is worse than your ailment,” may sound absolutely crazy, but it goes on.
Some will go as far as to use their malady to extract another person’s sympathy. Children have threatened parents by holding their breath until they get their way. An adult version of this is, “you can’t leave me, I’m sick, or if you leave I will die. For some their ailment becomes an excuse for not getting on with their life or taking responsibility for their own life, the, “you can’t help me, I’m too sick attitude.” These are just a few ways that some people employ to control another person.
Some use an ailment to feel self important or special; the “no one has what I’ve got” syndrome. Taking this a step further, some are actually very proud of being sick, proclaiming that, “no doctor has ever been able to help me” or, “all the doctors I’ve seen have not been able to determine what is wrong with me” or, “my doctor is the best in the country and he cannot find what is wrong with me.” There is a defiance that dares anyone to cure them. Sure! What would they have left to talk about.
Another strange phenomenon is people who are somehow proud of how expensive their medications are; “my pills cost $100.00 a piece.” Somehow they are impressed by this and think others should be too. This is a long way to go to feel special. In a society that was once generally affluent it will not be affordable for much longer to be able to brag about how expensive ones meds are. Maybe that is a good thing. To a clear thinking person these scenarios may sound downright strange, if not completely insane. But, it is amazing what the human mind can talk itself into or be mislead into believing. Sounds a lot more like possession than an actual physical sickness. What a sad state for a human being to fall to or be seduced into.
There is no attempt here to deny that there are people who are actually and truly afflicted with sickness. Among these, those who are sincerely looking to be cured should be helped. It would be cruel to deny help to these sincere sufferers. At the same time there are people who fake an ailment to get their way with people but, these people at least have the presence of mind to know exactly what they are doing and are not kidding themselves when they put on their act. However, if the ploy works they are in danger of believing their own deception and may fall into the following category. There are also people who actually create and believe in the imaginary world of their supposed ailment that they live in. These are to be pitied as they are actively building their own prison around themselves to the detriment of themselves, those around them and their own spiritual life. The media sure isn’t helping them either. And, finally there are also people who may actually have an ailment, usually a minor ailment and milk it for all it is worth. The biggest kindness here would be a sincere kick in the rear.