Sunday, February 20, 2011

30 Seconds to Outrage

Face value is something that is becoming altogether extinct. For thirty seconds during the Super Bowl the ad executives at Pepsi made us laugh. They highlighted a few problems any successful couple faces, hit someone in the head and pitched their product. They even probably thought that casting a black couple as the stars would put them well out of the crossfire of any bigotry or stereotype debates that were sure to rage on about several ads from the Super Bowl.
Alas, how wrong they were. After people watch the spot over and over and really stew over a history of racism and sexism in the United States, everyone is so upset by a few seconds of TV they seem to think it actually matters.
The point is: none of the serious issues that the commercial deals with are funny. Spousal abuse isn't funny, racism isn't funny, assault isn't funny, or nor is leaving the scene of the crime. But that's not what the commercial is about.
The commercial plays on problems that transcend gender and race. The commercial speaks to us about an overbearing partner, or a partner reluctant to change for the better. It speaks about the wandering eyes of men and the seductive nature of young women. Must of all it addresses the problem of finding a beverage that is both low in calories and rich in flavor.
In short, anything can be considered offensive if its turned over and over enough times and seen from so many angles one never wants to see it again. That's not what these ads about. They're meant for thirty seconds of mild amusement, not deeper analytical thought.
Perhaps the whole country would be well served to remember that.

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