Editor's Letter

By Published on .

It's getting so as a normal, well-adjusted adult can't sit down to enjoy a good old American game based on violent territory acquisition without being subject to an onslaught of offensive, bewildering, downright life-threatening sights and sounds. Of course I'm talking about the ads.

It wasn't five minutes into Super Bowl XXXIX, and I had barely made it through my first bucket of KFC (which I was consuming because those ads worked their evil, evil magic on me) when I was hit with a commercial for Volvo. This previously wholesome company had the temerity to run an ad flippantly depicting a spaceship lifting off, and then, the majesty and gravity of space travel was further demeaned by the sight of a bumper sticker affixed to the side of the craft, and a civilian pictured riding inside! Luckily the ad won't appear anymore, thanks to CRIST (Citizens for Responsible Images of Space Travel).

Still reeling from that assault, I had just begun soothing my abraded nerves with my seventh beer (those ads again!) when I was blindsided by a new affront, a spot for Tabasco Sauce combining the twin horrors of female exploitation and sun-damaged skin. Parading a young woman around in a swimming costume is certainly retrograde enough, but depicting severe sunburn in a light-hearted fashion as a means of selling spicy condiment is plain negligent. By politely but firmly requesting the spot be discontinued, MIF (Melanoma Isn't Funny) has ensured this ticking time bomb won't blow up in the face of some innocent TV watcher/sunbather in the future.

But then, after enjoying the stirring vocals of Paul McCartney (and seeing such a modestly dressed multi-generational group of people cheering him on), another shock came in the form of a Cadillac ad. If it weren't dangerous enough to all but cheer on lawless gun use by fancifully positioning the car as some kind of speeding explosive projectile, the wanton depiction of such disregard for posted speed limits was enough on its own to make this spot practically un-American. With some well-timed intervention by GAGA (Guns Aren't Good Advertising), this ill-conceived ploy won't live another day to taunt drivers into irresponsible vehicle operation, firearm use-or both!

Oh, there were others. But it was of some comfort that good sense and fear of reprisal prevailed in the case of an ad for Lincoln, which tried to plug its new LT truck using the image of a man of the cloth tempted by a shiny new vehicle. With some input from the group SNAP, the people at Ford were made to see the error of their ways and will likely think twice next time they attempt to create an ad that challenges viewers in any way. SNAP, rightly, thought that the child depicted in the ad looked "shy and compliant." And as more groups take advantage of the current climate to exercise control over the majority, and as more people who make commercials listen to small groups like these, shy and compliant is what the advertising industry will become. About time.

(Note on above: only one of these groups exists, only one of the spots was pulled, and advertisers need to stop listening to cranks before advertising loses the rest of its relevance.)

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