The best thing in the world is an all-you-can-eat-buffet. At least, I used to think so. When I was eight. Seriously. If someone would have asked me in 1982 what the best restaurant in the world was, I would have stated that the AC restaurant along the A28 highway near Hoogeveen was right up there. I can still see those long tables, filled with the best food on the planet. The never-ending promise of juicy chicken wings, crispy French fries, sweet applesauce, and six types of gravy. And don’t get me started on the desserts. Oh boy. It was an orgy of color and chocolate and sugar. Whipped cream on everything, and no end in sight. It never occurred to me that someone had to pay for all this godly goodness. Now that I’m a little older, I have found a new type of buffet. It’s more like a sitting buffet. The long table has been replaced by a streaming video site, but the basic principle is the same.

I have just devoured Game of Thrones and Dexter (all seasons). Then, I sank my teeth into Suits. And in between I treated myself to the all new HD episodes of The Newsroom. And just like when I was a kid, no one seems to pay the bill. 

But, just like I did back then, I tend to take one dessert too many. 
And of course, I get nauseous. Still, I dig in, I start grabbing and I stuff my face with anything I can find. And with every downloaded megabyte I can feel my digital love handles swell up. I just can’t seem to stop consuming. And why should I? It’s free.

 And with every downloaded megabyte I can feel my digital love handles swell up

As a kid, the reason I never got fat and helpless from eating all that food is pretty straightforward: we hardly ever went to that all-you-can-eat restaurant. The magical buffet was such a scarce treat, that it kept its charm for many years. Only much later, when I went there, in my own car, and with my own wallet, the spell was broken. I wish I were eight again.

By the way, last night, something peculiar happened. I was binge watching again, feasting on the latest season of Californication. And just before every episode on GorillaVid or Putlocker, a commercial would start. And I am not talking about some obscene pornographic pop-up, or some shady betting site. I am talking about the same boring commercials you see every night on TV. This irritated me immensely. Why? Well first of all because I thought the invention of streaming video meant we were finally free of those horrific 8 minute commercial breaks that make it impossible to enjoy a good movie on TV.

I thought the invention of streaming video meant we were finally free of those horrific 8 minute commercial breaks

But also because it means that piracy and copyright infringement are about to become accepted middle of the road advertising channels. And that brands are starting to invest their marketing budget in illegal forms of entertainment (even if the legislative bodies haven’t figured out how to really handle piracy yet). So not only do consumers (like me) screw the people that bring us great movies and series, by gobbling up all we can find in the shady corners of the internet instead of paying them. But the people facilitating streaming video are actually starting to get paid out of regular marketing budgets. Sure, I am a hypocrite for condemning the sponsoring of illegal streaming services, since I myself am a heavy user. 

But isn’t there something really wrong here?