In a span of fifteen minutes I found myself subjected to a relentless barrage of advertisements related to Ohio Issue 3, which would legalize gambling in four casinos in the Buckeye State. This would not be so unusual were it not for the fact that I was engaged in research and did not have a television set or radio turned on.
The first ad was a recorded telephone message from Mary Ellen Withrow, former Treasurer of the United States under President Bill Clinton. The caller ID read "Private Caller," and I only listened to her spiel for about 10 seconds before hanging up the telephone. Withrow managed to get about as far as "Treasurer of the United States" before my tepid willingness to listen completely evaporated.
Just a few minutes later I received another canned phonevertisement from Jamie Farr, the actor who played Klinger in the television series M*A*S*H. Farr is a native Toledoan, and it is not surprising that the pro-casino forces would purchase his reassuring voice to persuade some on-the-fence voters to pull the lever for casinos in Ohio. Jamie managed to get in something like "Can you believe it is 2009 and we still don't have a casino in Toledo" before I punched the button to terminate the call.
The most surprising advertisement, though, came when I was accessing the New York Times archives for the World War II class I teach at Bowling Green State University. The site had animated banner ads on the top of the screen and on the right sidebar from a group called TruthPAC. The advertisements assured me that a "yes" vote on Issue 3 would lead to prostitution, drug addiction, and organized crime in Ohio, as if these were new phenomena to residents of this decaying industrial center.
So to the folks who are in charge of marketing for the various forces aligned for and against Issue 3, you have been quite effective in reaching geeks like me who spend little time near a television or a radio. However, you are also annoying the hell out of me, and I look forward to Wednesday, when your shrill and shallow attempts to influence opinion will finally disappear.