Umberto eco once wrote, not entirely seriously, “Culture frees the body from the enslavement of toil and opens the way to contemplation.” If this were true, then TV Shop would be the pinnacle of culture. The products they sell are specifically designed not to do something that no other product can do but to save you time for philosophical introspection.
Imagine, for example, how tedious it is chopping vegetables with a normal knife, one where downward pressure is needed to perform the task. Concentration is paramount in case your guests end up with half a finger in their sausage stew. Luckily, relief is at hand from the Sonic Blade power knife (99.90 euro), an awesome implement where the blade moves back and forth hundreds of times a minute ensuring no effort at all is required to cut your food, which is ‘sonically separated’. It can also be used as a prop to make you look like a 23rd century assassin at fancy dress parties.
Alternatively, you may have been labouring under the misapprehension that in order to lose weight all you have to do is make sure your calorie expenditure is higher than you intake, and maybe do some sit-ups. Since that is obviously too difficult and time-consuming, in only 20 minutes a day you can gain the body you’ve always dreamed of with the Windsor Pilates 5 DVD set and sculpting circle (49.95 euro).
Demonstrated by grinning super-fit automatons, while exercising you might look like you’re having sex with invisible eight-limbed mutants but afterwards you’ll be able to read Nietzsche wearing a bikini on the beach in confidence. If you only want to save time doing your abs, for 69.95 euros the 6 Second Abs machine can be yours. This is a piece of plastic that allows you to do sit-ups while sitting up, at one stroke removing the need to spend ten seconds moving from an upright to a horizontal position.
Then there are the personal grooming products. Why use your hands to rub soap into your face when you can use the applicator from the Youthful Essence ‘Microdermabrasion’ kit (39.95-64.95 euros). The exquisite aspect is that in order to use the device you have to move your hand in a circular motion, which you may as well do directly on your face. Nonetheless, presumably the exorbitant price is justified by the lotion itself, although by all accounts massaging sandpaper into your face would have a similar effect.
The only complaint is that there aren’t enough products on TV Shop, as the more they sell, the more time we save, the more we can contemplate and, cogito ergo sum and all that, the more human we will become. Descartes would’ve loved it.
The writer knows the art of channel surfing.