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Steal the Experience

Updated on August 13, 2012

Opportunists and Creators of Innocence Lost


It has always been a pet peeve of mine that our experiences are being hijacked by profiteers who wish to design our sense of self and our self esteem in their image. Advertisers, product producers, any and all who stand to gain, monetarily, through our dissatisfaction with ourselves, work overtime to convince us that their product; their picture of perfection is the direct and, indeed, the ONLY route to happiness.

This influence over our daily lives is pervasive, all encompassing and, much of the time, subliminal. And purposely so!

The list of overt examples is overwhelming and familiar to most of us. The “hidden” suggestions, not so much. We are inundated with a view of the unreachable…never to be obtained, always just beyond our reach, description; in both verbal and pictorial, of what it is like to have achieved the ultimate dream. This dream is sold to us on all levels. Our possessions; whether they “live up to” the latest and greatest, our appearance; are we too old, too fat, hair too thin, too gray, are we tall enough, carry ourselves in “just this way,” in other words, are we considered attractive and, therefore, desirable? Attractive as defined by the industry standards.

Of course, we are also smothered, daily, hourly; minute by minute with sales pitches for the “in” vehicle, the “must have” style of clothes washer, dryer, the “have to own” latest piece of technology, and, obviously, the politically correct point of view. We are instructed, step by step, in ways in which to obtain the unobtainable. And purposefully always that way.

Subtle, and not so subtlety, these messages are constantly bombarding our conscience, our subconscious, and altering the way in which we view ourselves and oneanother.

Walking along, one is being evaluated on a basis which probably is not, the personal scale the critic might use . No. His expectations have been colored and shaped by the egregious money mongers who stand to profit at our disenchantment with ourselves and others.


Children are not immune to this subterfuge. They, as are adults, are being brainwashed from the moment their delicate senses are attuned to something other than survival. Shaped from the moment they are aware of the world outside themselves they are, actually, the PRIME target of these selfish purveyors of perfection.

“Steal the children,” a phrase which was once a political rally cry; (one created with the hope to free young minds from the “Stockholm Syndrome” of the enemy ….the self effacing result of those experts who foist self hatred through the sales pitch upon us, thus taking away our actual freedoms while, concurrently, hooking in another generation which faithfully follows their every suggestion. We obey, marching in lockstep to the indoctrination being fed us...we want to be accepted; to be loved by others; and by the perpetrators of the big lie) has been turned into a tool for those very forces the authors of this phrase hoped to escape. The easily influenced mind of the innocent child is fertile ground for the planting of ideas and, sadly, those with a plan to create an entire market of future consumers have this clearly in mind; to capture the spirit, individuality and imagination of young people.

One of the truly unfortunate results of this objective is the loss of innocence, delight and surprise. Kids, today, are told through hundreds of messages on TV and through popular lyrics, that it is “uncool” to be taken unawares. In other words, to be spontaneously reactive, sans "attitude," to a sight, sound, experience. No no no! To be cool means that you “know it all,” have “seen it all,” and have “been there, done that.” No child, today, wants to look like he/she wasn’t in on something. No kid wants to be caught off guard, resulting in; “I knew that,“ instead of an awestruck "WOW!”

Advertisers intentionally humiliate consumers into buying the lie.

Car dealers are insisting that parents are “clueless” and that only the young kids know what automobile is the right one to own. Parents are made to look like fools; laughable, socially inept idiots who have no idea as to what is “in” and what is not. This is another attempt to define our sense of worth through the eyes of our beloved children. What parent wants to look ‘unhip’ to their kids? . Because, to be thus means the child is embarrassed of us, and ridiculed by his peers for having such geeky parents. So, the pressure to conform to the conglomerate standards is on, big time!


Children are sexualized at an amazingly early age. All one has to do is check out the clothing sold to many kids; particularly girls, the dance ‘moves’ used to promote the current ‘in’ thing, whether that is clothing, music, or a particular holiday season. Just last night, I saw a commercial for Christmas which was completely “peopled” with kids dancing to hip/hop, machinery acting as Santa Claus and a flashing, gyrating environment meant to represent Christmas. (Electronic Santa Claus) Of course, there were no real references to what Christmas actually is; no, instead, the ad promoted an attitude designed to appeal to the young and very young, giving them ideas and suggestions about (in this case) Christmas. And, of course, the end result was to encourage these kids that, in order to be accepted, to be 'cool,' one must purchase whatever product was being sold.

Now, in itself, this is not that bad but, when combined with all the other messages kids are being sold, it all adds up to a very professional attempt to mold the child to meet the need…the market place and the need to sell sell sell.

Even the most benign examples of manipulation are causing us, children and adults alike, to expect something vastly different than what is actually ’real.’ We are disappointed in the mundanity of actuality as compared to the extreme, idealized, exagerated images placed constantly before us. We feel inferior because our appearance just doesn’t live up. The home we live in, the car we drive; outdated and out of style. Our accomplishments are not that impressive, our income doesn’t make the grade. We, in effect, are NOT keeping up with the Joneses, the Smiths, or anyone. We are abject failures and the entire world knows it..

We MUST get that CAR, we have to have that CAREER, we have to be a member of THAT club or organization!


Never good enough, pretty enough, buffed enough, young, thin, tall, rich…

The opportunists who feed off the psychology of the human race never give up. They want to own our every thought; form and shape it; with the intention to sell us the answer to all our misgivings; all our (imagined) shortcomings in life, (the very self doubt which has been intentionally foisted upon us) all those things that we will NEVER be. And they are successful !

We have allowed ourselves to be programmed; we have accepted being told how to act, feel, respond and think. By doing this, we are playing right into the hands of the powerful commercial propogandists!

We should NOT strive to achieve a superficial definition of happiness and success. We should allow ourselves and our kids the chance to learn from doing, not viewing. Gain self confidence through personal achievement rather than through what we have. Our self worth should be developed over time, not sold to us in one instant or awarded to us for owning the right "thing," looking the right "way."

The “ME” generation. I want MINE! My MTV, "I'm worth it.' are all examples of the ‘in your face’ promotional push urging us to buy buy buy!.

Remember, those of us who are old enough to recall, when we were free to learn on our own? We were able to express joy without feeling “nerdy?” We could venture forth, delighting in the surprises the physical world had to offer? Now, sadly, our kids are being told what is ‘delightful,’ told what is exciting and what that excitation MUST include in order to be the BIG rush.


And, NEVER, be caught actually laughing! If one must smile and laugh, it must be an ironic, sarcastic chuckle…that means you “know,” you're “in on it;” you’re COOL!! This contributes to a loss of the sense of discovery, the element of surprise, the essence of being vulnerable. In today's cynical" world, to be surprised and vulnerable is to be a dweeb.


Video games are another hideous experience sold to the impressionable minds of children. Protected (and WRONGLY so) by the First Amendment, these purveyors of violence and greed, overt sexuality (not appropriate for young kids) and power, feed youngsters a constant supply of ‘blood and guts,’ misogynistic imagery and impossible physiques. Again, kids are left feeling as though real life is boring; “less than” the images they are being fed. Proponents of such 'entertainment' argue that it is not harmful to kids; that it does not alter their view or outlook. This is a rather strange opinion considering the extent to which the advertising world works to 'change and alter' the preferences and choices kids make. If repetitive viewing of gory video games really does not effect kids then, I surmise; the advertising industry is obviously throwing away multiple millions in their attempts to 'sell' us through their ads. Exposing us to ads is designed to direct our purchasing choices using images which feed our egos or cause us to question ourselves. And, if ad execs. bellieve that they can and do influence consumers then, it logically follows that continual viewing of violence, greed, and unrealistic images also effects the viewer...our kids!

Further, there are no consequences to the blood and gore of the video world. Villains go about their dastardly deeds, slashing, crashing and killing with no punishment. The viewer wants to see this! Taught to hope that the ‘bad guy’ gets away. Heros are not so cool.

The Internet, a wonderful and wondrous tool, is also an instrument of easy prey. Unattended children are so easily drawn to the taboo and spurious content. Questioning, naive eyes are lured by intentional means with the objective to hook that curiosity; leading to chid porn and other unethical as well as illegal pursuits.

The powers of influence are all around us. Even dictating our dietary choices from kindergarden up as well as guiding us towards particular political preferences…it is never ending and always present. When media was less provocative; less influential, we had enough time to sift through the “BS” and remind ourselves of what was real and truly valuable. Today, efforts to shape our every aspect of life are so invasive; so pervasive, that it is almost impossible to avoid; to ignore. Or detect..

Vigilance and awareness are the best tools to fight the opportunists who wish to sell us happiness. And we, as adults, have the responsibility to assure that we, and especially our kids, are not sso easily effected.

We must take back the natural, innate parental rights with which we are imbued while rejecting the blatant attempts to steal the experience!


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    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      I'm so glad you visited, fpherj48! Well, it's a shame that decorum, respect, civility and reverence seem to be in our past. I believe it all started with the onslaught of adults, looking for huge profits, preying on the naive and innocence of children as well as adults. I appreciate your great comment....I know you 'get it.' Kathy

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Kathy, I just read the most fabulous , insightful hub, by "Lucky Cats." A true work of genius. Thought-provoking and packed with sad realities. I thoroughly enjoyed it and more importantly, learned so much from her simple, but powerful & realistic opinions. This is a must read and deserves An UP vote, as it is useful, awesome and interesting!

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      I added several sub titles meant to underscore the issues I find the most disquieting. As in so much of what we witness as years go by; one might argue that "this has always been the case." However, never before in history, were our kids (and we, adults, for that matter) deluged with non stop messages about how we should perceive the world, our surroundings, others and; ourselves. Never in history has their been the method by which these messages and subliminal suggestions are fed to us through invasive, perpetual mechanisms. There exists a constant flow of material which is aimed at an addicted populace. Addicted in that, we ALL gravitate towards the vehicles of delivery; they are a part of our everyday lives. Sadly, as with so many wonderful discoveries/inventions, or concepts; what starts out as a gift and fantastic tool primarily used to improve upon and embellish the better parts of ourselves; quickly is turned into a force for greed, averice, and manipulation. I do not like being so 'negative' but, sadly, evidence proves the point.

      I mourn the switch for kids from freedom to experience, learn and discover on their own time and in their own way (w/the help of parents guidance, of course) one that is intentionally directed by the above media manipulators.

    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

      This will continue to be the case until the day that these manipulative methods cease to work. Money and material wealth feed this machine. Once people wake up and stop feeding the machine, then it will fade. Unfortunately, it may not happen in the near future. I am sickened by how we're perceived around the world. Reality TV makes us look like sex starved idiots bent on getting rich no matter what. People are becoming famous for getting filmed committing sex acts. In this day greed, for the lack of a better word, is good. I hope we can change this one kid at a time. Thank you for sharing.

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Excellent comments to an unfortunate state of affairs.

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Hello BreatheN2Grow! Thank you for your astute understanding of this pervasive influence which threatens to overtake sanity and sensibilities; ever working against our own innate feelings of self worth. I love "words are the beginning of all creation." "It's hard to express such a wound in a few simple words when the injury is so deep." Yes! But we shall continue to be aware and we shall prevail. Thank you so much for your intelligent comment.

    • BreatheN2Grow profile image

      BreatheN2Grow 6 years ago from Los Angeles

      The desire to be rich without responsibility has run a muck! The rich today have no censorship for our society which is different from my day as we were allowed to be children! The advertisers might as well put our young people on Sunset Strip! I agree with you Kathy to destroy a persons self-esteem for the sake of selling products to esteem them later is a crime! What the machine, "subconscious mind" learns will be used when triggered later for profit! It's hard to express such a wound in a few simple words when the injury is so deep. I understand your passion to express such a injustice to us as a whole. The universe is listening and has a way of bringing on circumstances that will bring about a change for the good! Words are the beginning of all creation!

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      ahorseback...well, thank you! I was particularly disapponted and irate over "something" which spurred this hub on into the written word. I know it's a bit...yikes! a LOT "attitudinal" but, well. Eeeeekkkk!

      thank you so much for not being turned off by this...I fear some might be.


    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 6 years ago

      Hi Lucky ,You have hit a nail right on the head ! I know you can do that after reading your hub about remodeling your homes. You may call this a rant ! But its the absolute truth. Go ahead make my day for president , Change it all!!!!Be well my dear woman!........:-}

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Hi Tanya! Well, here's another rant on my part but the way I understand it; this is how all the really bad stuff is generated...we lose our natural sense of right and wrong and forget that our actions cause consequences far beyond our ability to recognize...we create victims just as we allow ourselves to BE victims of this cruel circle of deceit. Our souls get lost, somewhere, in the morass of disengenuous, false ideas/images. I KNOW you're right there understanding how this effects not only ourselves and other humans but the entire world..because our headlong rush to make the grade is destroying our environment, our happiness and that of every living creature on earth. I love the way you celebrated Thanksgiving..we will be spending Christmas with our beloved animals...just being with them. thank you, as always!

    • erthfrend profile image

      erthfrend 6 years ago from Florida

      YES, YES, YES! I so much agree with your feelings in this hub. It is so sad but so true. It seems like it gets worse and worse. My greatest happiness never comes from material things, it comes from helping. I just pray I can pass this on to my daughter so she doesnt fall prey to all of the materialistic evils in this world. On Thanksgiving Day, my greatest joy was working at the animal shelter in the morning. I knew the dogs wouldnt be getting enough attention that day because most people were too busy so to walk them, play with them and see how happy I made them, was the one thing that made my Thanksgiving so special. This to me is true happiness and no car or outfit, etc could even come close to that amazing feeling. Thank you for writing this hub, hopefully it will be an eye opener for many!

    • Lucky Cats profile image

      Kathy 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Amy, once again, you are right there with understanding and "getting it." Sometimes, I abhor being so cynical but it's hard not to be when we realize how much is taken from our personal experiences just so another can profit at our "loss"...of self esteem, self respect, really is a shame. Thank you, my dear!

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      It makes me indignant when advertisers use impressionable children to foster the "cool" imagine and in the process, use the parents as the example of losers, "not with it", knowing full well that it's the "uncool" who cover the cost of the latest gimmick. It proves your point, Lucky Cats, that we have become so indoctrinated with garbage, we don't even notice. Thank you for your perceptive, dead on, informative, well written read.