Is it my imagination, or has the holiday season brought with it a new trend of television advertising? One always expects to see more kids pulled in from Central Casting to promote new toys or revive interest in the old ones. Now, however, they are plugging adult consumer goods as if they were spokespersons for the "greater good" of their parents. The script writers give them all sorts of consumer-savvy things to say, almost creating the impression that they have better judgement than their parents when it comes to buying stuff.
Whether or not adults respond to this sort of thing is beside the point. More interesting is the impact it will have on younger viewers. These commercials create the impression that adulthood has become a matter of making smart buying decisions, rather than one of earning the money to buy in the first place. (We are already way beyond the days of Growing up Absurd, then being an adult meant being able to provide food, clothing, and shelter.) In other words the subtext of these commercials is telling kids that they have to prepare to grow up to be consumers, just like their parents; and, for most of them, that will probably be a matter of having to contend with both debt and obesity … just like their parents.