The Old Coot misses the rotten tomato era

By Merlin Lessler —

We once were blessed with an effective (and fun) mechanism to express our opinion of politicians; even a Broadway performance, or anyone making a public appearance. It was the “Rotten Tomato Era.” A political hack, laying it on thick, could expect to be showered with a barrage of rotten tomatoes.

It was such fun to deal with politicians in those days. Sometimes a voter would run up to the podium and introduce a banana cream pie to the gasbag’s face. Actors and actresses, which for some reason (I never got the memo) we now are forced to call actors, could also expect a showering of rotten vegetables from the audience when their performance was severely lacking.

Not anymore! Our right to free “rotten tomato” speech is a criminal offense. To even touch another person without their permission can get you arrested and charged with disorderly conduct or assault. We’ve lost such a delightful free speech mechanism.

Yet, we still do it mentally, at least I do, every time I watch the news and hear a bloated bunch of malarkey from a corporate executive, politician, or even an advertisement that I know is a lie. It makes you wonder what happened to the truth in advertising rules that were enacted five decades ago? The consumer protection czar is asleep at the wheel and most certainly deserves a pie in the face. 

And what about the American Bar Association? It once restricted its members from advertising their wares. It was a matter of professional ethics. That tradition sure has evaporated. The members who run the ABA deserve a double whip cream pie in the face, along with the CEOs of pharmaceutical companies. Can you imagine how nice TV watching would be without ads from ambulance chasing lawyers and drug pushing corporations; ads that consume ten minutes of every 30-minute time slot.

Sometimes the best way forward is to go back. It sure would be nice to get those rotten tomatoes moving once again. 

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