I logged on to my facebook profile last night and it sort of popped out at me even though I have mostly tried (and succeeded) to blot out a vast majority of those intruding little parasitic media viruses that brazenly seek to pollute my visual field everywhere I look these days. Perhaps I was just tired but this one got through even my cynical, skeptical defense systems.
It was under the nauseating little sub-heading of “Health Travel Tourism” which might have attracted my attention because it conveys the same oxymoronic logic as “Military Intelligence” – well, at least to my mind it does.
The pitch went like this:
“Receive expert medical treatment and make your recovery in the beautiful Garden Route of South Africa”
I must confess that I had to look twice and still then I simply had to also click on the link just to make sure it wasn’t simply a joke. Seriously, this is actually a genuine advertisement, I kid you not!
But not only that… the covering picture graphics shot looks a Hollywood ER series poster.
My first thought was, …. “are they serious?” … and indeed they are.
I must admit that I had never thought of planning my annual heart attack or surgical procedure to coincide with a holiday trip to the coast. I must also say that I can’t think of anyone I know who does actually plan their major sicknesses and surgical procedures like this … (but then I am a musician……)
Ok, my brain is also not your normal soft-corn, cauliflower look-a-like Farmers Weekly centerfold pin-up, but this immediately reminded me of the old Sci-Fi movie “Soylent Green” where in order to alleviate the global food shortage people would be lured into ‘electing’ to be “euthanised” in luxurious settings with the bonus of seeing the last remaining colour movie reels of the long lost natural beauty of the world on big screen just prior to being ‘put under.’ Their bodies were then harvested and turned into protein feed for human consumption. Sort of like the original “Stepford Wives” – only this time with stethoscopes.
Apart from the usual medical services offered there is also: The organizing and booking of outings and visits to tourist attractions and visits to the beach in the area, including rides in their exclusive beach wheelchair in order to aid in rest and recuperation. … er, ok … and: Assisting family, friends and next of kin with administrational duties, shopping, banking, running errands, rental of mobile phones etc. … But hang on, if I were to plan my next heart attack surely I’d also have the administrative fortitude to take my own barrage of cell phones along? … and if I was family, friend or next of kin to the suffering and/or convalescing patient I cannot think I’d want to focus on outings to tourist attractions and visits to the beach … er, … even I would think that would be perhaps just slightly a bit, .. er … tacky.
I know we have let ourselves slide radically and we really do fit the “consumer” label snugly, but isn’t this a bit much, even for us? I mean, what is this? What are they now trying to sell us? Is this some new sort of a “Disease Boutique” idea? Are they now trying to make medical trauma and chronic illness a luxury affair? Are we next going to see ads that say, “Die Like the Stars” – “Perish in Pleasure” or “Decay Deliciously.”
Us faithful consumers have been all but stripped, exposed and undignified for over a century now. Isn’t it enough? Can’t they at least let us totally lose our dignity in a dignified manner without stooping to this depth?
Maybe I’ve said too much already? What do you think?