So you decided to go without cable; what's the worst that could happen? According to a new series of web ads from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, you could face sharks, mutant rabbits, anthropomorphic flies, and a life of rural solitude. Supported by companies like Comcast and Time Warner, NCTA's new microsite is called (with appropriate grandeur) "The Hole Saga," a four-chapter epic displaying the horrors of a cable-free existence. In addition to the external threats detailed above, cable-cutters are portrayed with a physical hole in their torsos, roughly 18 inches in diameter, meant to symbolize their painful dislocation from the benefits of modern information technology.

A choice between life and death

In each case, viewers are presented with a character in crisis and asked to choose whether the character will have access to the nation's cable infrastructure — typically a choice between life and death. In Chapter One, the most aesthetically satisfying of the chapters, our protagonist is a bicyclist who encounters a bloodthirsty mutant rabbit in the middle of the desert. Viewers must choose whether to grant the unnamed protagonist access to a CNN alert, warning him of the presence of mutant rabbits, or to "cut the cord" and consign him to helplessness in the face of the leporine threat.