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« Elsewhere | Main | Lit-fict and Popular Fiction »

February 13, 2008


Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

I'm probably getting this all wrong. After all, I hardly watch television any more. And I wasn't particularly paying attention when Super Bowl ads came on. I was fixing dinner so that Nancy could watch the halftime show. Otherwise I was wandering back and forth to the room where the TV was.

Despite the distractions, I thought I noticed something I hadn't seen before. It happened on some of those beer ads, as best I recall.

For years now, such ads often have a bunch of guys hanging out, having a good time implicitly fueled by the sponsoring beverage. Way back when, they might have been all white. Then, for quite a few years it was white guys and some black guys. This year (and maybe earlier for all that TV-phobic je know), the white guys and black guys were joined by East Asian guys and what seemed to be guys from India!

Not that there's anything wrong with this, mind you. I have nothing against a society that's truly color-blind from an opportunity standpoint. And when I was in the Army, the Some Of My Best Friends Are situation applied. Moreover, the sponsoring beer companies Have Their Hearts In The Right Place, wanting to Do The Right Thing and Fight For Social Justice.

And yes, the scenes these commercials portray can be construed as an ideal situation towards which America is striving. But right now, I find them not quite believable.

Where, in the real world, is one likely to find a bunch of white, black, East Asian and Indian guys hangin' out and swilling beer? The most plausible setting I can come up with would be a Friday afternoon decompression party at a Silicon Valley firm. Except there would be gals present as well.

What we have seems to be a replay of those old World War 2 army movies where the platoon is filled with Iowa farm boys, an Italian guy from South Philly and a Jewish kid from Brooklyn. Except the movie had 90 minutes for character development and the ads only get 30 seconds.

Now I'm wondering what race/ethnic groups will be added for next year's Super Bowl ad-athon.



posted by Donald at February 13, 2008


"Now I'm wondering what race/ethnic groups will be added for next year's Super Bowl ad-athon."

The trans-gendered?

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on February 13, 2008 8:36 PM

Now I'm wondering what race/ethnic groups will be added for next year's Super Bowl ad-athon.

Here's a hint: men who listen to Maria Callas and Barbra Streisand music, and women who wear flannel shirts and play softball.

Posted by: Peter on February 13, 2008 8:53 PM

Wouldn't be any black guys at the Silicon Valley party.

Posted by: PatrickH on February 13, 2008 11:09 PM

Watching sports on TV is the ONLY situation where you would indeed see men of all races hanging out together. Not all sports, just the NFL and perhaps the NBA playoffs.

Posted by: js on February 14, 2008 2:40 AM

Since when are commercials supposed to be realistic?

Posted by: Steven on February 14, 2008 8:09 AM

They must be friends from college, where a photo of them having a picnic in front of Old Main was plastered on all the school's PR materials.

Posted by: beloml on February 14, 2008 11:52 AM

This is missing the point. Commercials are about wishful thinking, and the average guy likes the idealized conceit that his social cohort is diverse.

Posted by: Ned on February 14, 2008 12:46 PM

As a person of Eskimo, Polynesian, and Afghan descent I truly am offended by the lack of diversity in these commercials!

Posted by: Robert on February 14, 2008 12:57 PM

Don't forget the equally implausible commercials that consist of a nerdy white guy, a black guy and a smokin' hot woman sitting around eating Taco Bell food or watching a new HD flat screen or drinking beer.

Posted by: Pat Hobby on February 14, 2008 3:33 PM

You mean, most guys don't really spend Sunday watching big games with a studly black buddy and a stripclub-worthy gal? Phew. Those damn tv commercials were starting to make me feel inadequate!

Posted by: MIchael Blowhard on February 14, 2008 3:49 PM

Wot, no Mexicans?

Posted by: dearieme on February 14, 2008 5:10 PM

Commercials are about wishful thinking, and the average guy likes the idealized conceit that his social cohort is diverse.

Yup, that's the average guy to a T: going around worrying all day that his circle of friends doesn't measure up, diversity wise. Sheesh.

Posted by: ricpic on February 14, 2008 8:22 PM

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