There I was, blithely reading celebrity gossip websites, and an ad came on the radio. In this ad:
A man comes home (from work?) and looks at the mail. He sees there’s a cheque from Universal Child Care. He questions his wife, who explains that they get a hundred bucks a month per kid “to use for day care, play programs, anything we want.” He summarises: “Twelve hundred bucks a year per kid? That’s better than a bill any day!”
Um, yes. It’s much better than a bill. But is it better than actually giving families enough money to cover day care? No. Is it better than ensuring that people (usually women, not always) who want to be a part of the workforce have a chance to be? No. Is it better than enabling families to procure more income, so that they may improve their lives and situations? No.
This ad, sponsored by the government, is patronising as all hell. It patronises as the couple is speaking in that government-ad way, where they make sure to present the information a couple of different ways, for those of us who are too dumb, to, say, calculate that 12 months X one hundred bucks = an actual 1200 smackeroos. Second, they sound so happy ad impressed about it. Yes! They can have a fraction of the price of day care each month per child, and they, themselves are clearly too stupid to figure out that a hundred bucks a month is like giving nothing. It’s worse than nothing, because it gives the brief illusion that the government actually gives a shit about families. It’s an insult, like leaving pennies as a tip for shitty service.
The ad also backfires, for me, and I’m betting for others, because of the hot rush of bile that rose in my gorge when I heard it. “Fuckers,” I thought. “The government thinks that that’s going to impress me? What about subsidising childcare completely so that that woman can get out of the house and have a job, thus contributing to the GDP, improving her family’s fortune as well as the country’s, as a whole?”
Okay, It took me a while to think of that, but the bile in my gorge was instantaneous.