The other day, I was watching (for about the 50th time) a commercial for some learning organization where a woman gets a message from a girl named Melissa who then gets on a Skype-like system and asks: “How do you figure out the area of a triangle?” The woman smiles and then tells her that the area of a triangle is 1/2 base times height, which is found by multiplying the base times the height and then dividing by two. It took me about the tenth time of seeing this before it dawned on me that this teacher doesn’t actually teach the girl how to find the area of a triangle. She told her the formula and then showed her how to plug numbers into the formula. This left me thinking, poor Melissa still has no idea why the area of a triangle is half of the base times the height.
I thought it would have been useful for the teacher to show how to find the area of a square and then explain how the triangle would be a half of that, so that would explain why it’s HALF the base times the height. Or she could have pulled out her knowledge of geometry and explain how the process was first figured out by overlaying different spaces over each other until it was determined mathematically why area is calculated that way.
And then a commercial came on for the Postal Service. In this commercial, the good deliverers of the Postal Service sing some cute song about returning packages. About the fifth time I saw the commercial it dawned on me that the song they were singing was all about how the Post Office is making it really easy to return presents you didn’t like and then laughing about it. This felt strange because basically my government is telling me that it offers a service to make sure that if I don’t like my Christmas gifts, the government is going to jump in and help me return them to the stores where they were bought (or to the people who sent them). In all of my years, I’ve NEVER returned a gift to someone who sent it to me, because that just seems wrong. Yet, this is the new campaign for the Postal Service.
And last night I was watching a commercial for Digiorno’s (or something like that), the pizza maker that isn’t a restaurant but you buy it in stores and make it yourself. It shows really bad pizza deliverers who all seem to wear their ball caps on sideways who destroy the pizzas they deliver by bouncing them in a souped up car with East LA shocks, the pizza falling out of the car when opening up the passenger door and some other way that I seriously doubt pizza deliverers would ever do. And then the pizza commercial shows a bunch of 20 somethings eating a freshly made pizza right next to a full pizza that’s not touched. And I thought, who makes two pizzas and then eats the one that’s made second? I know it’s for advertising, but it just seemed like it was pretty stupid to have two pizzas there when in reality they were only going to be eating one of them.
Anyway, my rant for the day.