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Birth of a Notion

What with all the interesting news right here in our own country (is it Britney or Lindsay who’s in rehab these days?), it can take a while for news from elsewhere in the world to reach us. So it is with this recent item I stumbled upon, about a shopping mall in China that projected an actual baby’s birth on its giant video screen. The idea was to commemorate last week’s Mother’s Day celebration in a big way, but some folks were bemused at best to see the blessed event in so large a venue.

What with all the interesting news right here in our own country (is it Britney or Lindsay who’s in rehab these days?), it can take a while for news from elsewhere in the world to reach us. So it is with this recent item I stumbled upon, about a shopping mall in China that projected an actual baby’s birth on its giant video screen. The idea was to commemorate last week’s Mother’s Day celebration in a big way, but some folks were bemused at best to see the blessed event in so large a venue. It’s one thing to see a 20 foot-by-20 foot fashion model on the wall, but another, I suppose, to see a C-Section.

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But I think the Chinese are on the right work-life balance track, and that this could be only the beginning. They interjected into the fast-moving world of consumerism an image that cannot help but humble us, and take our minds for even a moment off the rollercoaster of commerce. Let’s keep up this innovative priority-shifting technique. Here are a few suggestions:

SPORTING EVENTS – Instead of showing the right fielder’s stats or some idiot with a cheddar cheese hat on the Jumbotron, flash subliminal images of work-life balance. A family having a picnic, for example, or mom and dad beaming as their little one plays a tree in the school play. By the time the game is over, you won’t care which side won. In fact, you won’t care about striving or competition at all. You’ll just want to get to Chuck E. Cheese and let the good times roll.

AT THE SUPERMARKET – Now that all the checkout lines have video screens, replace the boring show business updates and cooking lessons with DVD’s of Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra and Marianne Williamson. While you wait, you’ll get a quick lesson in what is really important in life. Although you will probably be stared at by the checker when they catch you gazing meaningfully at your purchases, searching for deeper meaning in a box of bowtie pasta.

AT AIRPORTS – TV screens are ubiquitous in departure lounges now, too. So, while we’re rushing from one place to another, why be bombarded with CNN? I say let’s show reruns of “Seventh Heaven” and “The Gilmore Girls.” These family-oriented shows tackle tough work-life issues by placing attractive people in heightened moral dilemma situations. That offers us a lot more to chew on than sound bites of Dick Cheney. Once we’re on the plane, we’ll be engaged in a lively debate about teen pregnancy instead of obsessing about the sweaty person whose now-exposed gut is in your face as they reach up to try and shove their bulging carry-on item into the overhead bin.

I’m sure there are more ways to enlighten the world through mind-control in public places. Any ideas?