Location: St. Vincent & Grenadines

You were driving home in the dark on one glass-slippered heel, window sliced open and bathing in the snowliquor of the night air. We heard you singing, and couldn't bear to wake you.

08 February 2007

Three disturbing things:

Disturbing Thing #1: I don't have a TV, and I'm probably a little bit too proud of that fact; ditto the fact that I don't understand the rules or the appeal of football. So hell no I didn't watch the Superbowl. Two of my least favorite things in the world -- watching overpaid jocks hurt each other and watching advertisements -- together in unholy union? Uh no uh thanks. But apparently a lot of people are into that sort of thing. And ultimately I'm a "you can go your own way, as long as I can go mine" kind of guy. But I've got my limits, and Snickers went too far. Watch this and be fucking outraged.

Disturbing Thing #2: People get upset about games like "Grand Theft Auto" not just because they're morally reprehensible (beat up hookers for fun!) but because they're popular. If no one played them, who would care? And yet, despite the fact that few people ever played it and even fewer remember it, I'd say that "Custer's Revenge" has got to be the worst video game ever.

Disturbing Thing #3: This one is the good kind of disturbing. Weird and unsettling, but not at all hateful. Just beautiful and creepy.


Anonymous Reverend Spork said...

Ya know, I found the Snickers commercial funny. Not gut-busting hilarious, but funny. The two guys who "kissed" each other and subsequently ripped out chunks of their own chest hair suggested to me less homophobia than two guys simply going overboard with their fears of seeming gay, just like the "Those aren't two pillows!" scene in "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles." What I find incredibly silly is that while the left calls the ad homophobic, the Freepers have their jocks in a wad because they consider the commercial *pro*-homosexual. Much ado over nuttin', I say.

12:57 AM  
Anonymous Frederika said...

I think they changed the commercial before I saw it, but the one I saw was where they kiss accidentally and then hit each other with large tools. Which I actually thought was making fun of homophobia as much as it was making fun of gays. I'm with Reverend Spork; what's the big deal?v

12:17 PM  
Blogger Felix Helix said...

Well, follow the link. Watch the commercial. Then watch the reactions of pro football players who watched the commercial. These reactions were made available for viewing by the company that makes Snickers. And these dudes are going "Eeew! That ain't right! I hope you paid those guys extra!"

My reaction to all this is similar to the reaction I had when I, regrettably, watched "Ace Ventura, Pet Detective". Jim Carrey's character discovers that he has accidentally kissed a guy, and in the next scene he's scrubbing himself raw in a shower and sobbing uncontrollably. Didn't find it funny.

Believe me, I totally get the appeal of satire. Sending up narrow-minded people by exaggerating their narrow-mindedness can be very funny indeed; I loved "Borat". But it seems to me that this sort of thing, while it may look like satire, instead relies for its "appeal" on the element of squick, similar to the "appeal" of shows like "Fear Factor" or "Jackass". You know: watch in horrified fascination as people do really gross stuff. Like eat bugs, or kiss a man.

Snickers would never have made a commercial in which a white man accidentally kisses a black woman and then reacts in horror. Why not? Isn't racism mockable? Maybe so, but you've got to be very careful not to upset those black people, so it's not worth the risk. Fags, on the other hand -- who cares?

Homophobia, while less popular than it used to be, is still relatively socially acceptable. Of course, if you're talking about chick-on-chick action, hey, that's hot. And you know they're just waiting for a real stud to get in the middle of the sandwich; that's what all lesbians really want, deep inside. But guys with guys? The horror!

I'll say it again: follow the link and watch the reactions of the football stars. Now consider the audience for the Superbowl. How many of those many, many people do you think would be inclined to react the way you and the good Rev did? How many would react the way you see those stars reacting? How about the gay men who see that ad? You think they'll feel any more inclined to express themselves naturally after watching a guy slam another guy's head in a car for kissing him?

Ha. Ha. Ha.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Reverend H.L. Spork said...

I must take exception to your hinting that football fans are mostly red-state neanderthals. I've been an NFL fan since I was a kid and haven't missed a Super Bowl since 1981, and I'm nowhere near the most liberal football fan. And at any rate, the Super Bowl generally attracts far more non-football fans than usual. Well over 93 million folks watched the Super Bowl this month; not all of them are Bush fundies. I'd lay a bet that only a minority of viewers were.

The other problem with your statement is your description of the Snickers commercial itself, which was not what I saw during the Super Bowl. The version I watched had the two guys eating the candy bar, practically kiss, freak out, and then attempt to show their "hetero masculinity" by ripping out chunks of their own chest hair. In other words, they were two het guys acting stupid. I saw nothing about the reactions of football players, who for the most part are young, from poor or highly religious backgrounds where homosexuality is far less visible. (Remember, we're not all from the liberal enclaves of northern California) I saw nothing about one guy slamming another guy's head in a car door, which of course would have been offensive. But that's not in the commercial I saw during the Super Bowl.

Yes, homophobia is bad. Yes, homophobia is rampant in the sports world, from football to basketball to golf. But in my opinion, the commercial as I saw it was not homophobic, and in fact made fun of the homophobes in the ad. I've seen far more offensive commercials during past Super Bowls; this one doesn't even make the top 10. I say it again: much ado over nothing.

4:39 PM  

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