Mind you, there is dignity in work, and your employment does not dicate your worth as a person... but some jobs are more desirable than others. For most Americans, minimum-wage jobs waiting on others would land very close to the bottom. No 9-year-old lies awake at night dreaming about someday being a waittress, or a fries chef, or pretty much any occupation that involves a paper hat.
Maybe American values are skewed, but lots of people do lie awake dreaming about being a rich entertainer and celebrity.
That's why the premise behind the Nationwide insurance Super Bowl ad is funny. Kevin Federline -- the dancer turned Mr. Britney Spears turned ex-Mr. Britney Spears -- is seen performing rap in his new post-divorce solo career. But then he is jostled out of his daydream -- by his boss at the fast-food joint. Get it? The joy ride is over. He's back to obscurity.
This is not only by far the best premise in the year-long "Life Comes at You Fast" campaign, it's also hilarious that Federline played along with the gag.
But not as hilarious as the reaction of Steven C. Anderson. He is president of the National Restaurant Association, and he fired off an indignant letter to Nationwide:
"Developing creative concepts that accomplish the marketing strategies for a product should not require denigrating another industry," he wrotes. "Should an ad of this nature run during the Super Bowl, we will make sure that our membership -- many of whom are customers of Nationwide -- know the negative implications this ad portrays of the restaurant industry."
Blackmail, in other words.
Oh, let him try to boycott Nationwide over a TV commercial -- if he can spare time from lobbying against an increase in the minimum wage. Seldom is a bit of showboating so simultaneously asinine and hypocritical. First of all, as I was saying, there is nobody in America not on Thorazine who doesn't regard fries-frying as the shallow end of the labor pool. Secondly, Anderson wants something to feel aggrieved about?
Fine. How about the many of the 12.8 million Americans he is so concerned about who work full-time in his industry and still live in poverty? Who's he going to write to about them? Certainly not his membership. That little stunt would earn him the deep-frying shift right after Federline's -- except that nobody, least of all Anderson, would be laughing.