Video-Philes: July 2008: Archives
While I think it's fair to frown upon scapegoating and stereotyping in commercial advertising campaigns, I'm not all that incensed by such depictions. However, when they are apt to promote already existent anger and animosity...and/or endorse or encourage more inappropriate outbursts and behavior, I think it warrants commentary.
To that end, Snickers and Nike have released new campaigns that may do just that. Snickers' first foray into this practice took place during the Super Bowl when two men inadvertently found themselves locked lip to lip...which was followed by outward signs of repulsion...including the wielding of a tire iron in one version of the ad. In the new Snickers ad (see video below), Mr. T., perched in the back of a muscle truck with a Gatling gun, is annoyed by a man "wogging" down the sidewalk (insinuating he's a sissy), and he commences to pummel him with Snickers shells.
The problem with the ad is that it is a tacit endorsement of violence against gays. Yes, I acknowledge that it's virtually impossible to craft an ad that doesn't serve as a trigger for some sort of bad behavior in a certain segment of society. At the same time, I would venture to say that very few people are unaware of gay bashing...which means that the ad agency can't feign surprise when it is accused of fostering that mind set.
As to Nike, the image found in its latest offering (see below), of two men playing basketball, suggests when one man's face inadvertently ends up in another man's crotch, it is wrong and humiliating. Again, the problem with this ad rests in the already evident homophobia that has been demonstrated by numerous sports figures. Hence the ad is seemingly an endorsement of these hateful outbursts and a stealth message to children that sports and homosexuality are mutually exclusive. Frankly, many of these abrasive sports figures already believe they are beyond reproach. I simply don't see any merit in Nike's reinforcement of that notion. Here's the take from one of ESPN's senior writers.
And when it comes to using basketball to humilate your opponent, there is a certain scale. Shooting a jumper over someone is maybe a one. Beating someone to the hoop for a layup might be a two. Dribbling through your legs as you do so could make that worth three, dribbling through their legs as you do might get you up to six. Sevens are garden variety dunks and blocks, while there is a special carve out somewhere around eight or nine for using your crossover to make the defender actually fall over.
But up at the top of the humiliation hierarchy, right there with doing many of the above things with the game on the line, is an explosively humiliating move whose handy shorthand might not belong on this family-friendly website.
We can call it the I'm-jumping-so-high-as-I-dunk-over-you-that-my-crotch-is-in-your-face move.
Man, I have a whole jumble of thoughts. For instance:
Homophobia is real, it is common, and it is damaging. All that is true in general in society, but especially around sports. There's a reason no current NBA player has ever come out of the closet. People should be aware of that and act accordingly. It's not funny.
These are kick-ass ads, that have meaning and make basketball sense without injecting any homophobia into the conversation. Getting humiliated like that is "just wrong," in a basketball sense, without the male on male interpretation. Pretend the genders were scrambled in that ad -- a woman defender, or a woman dunker, or both. The same headline can work without the implication that the man on man contact is the gross part.
Knowing that there is a lot of homophobia out there, is advertising that might stoke those fires in poor taste?
I can't wait to live in a world where this ad would not be commonly interpreted as homophobic, but I'm not sure I do live there now. And in that setting, I guess this counts as ethically sloppy in my book. Or maybe intended to stoke some fires to draw some attention to itself. If I ran Wieden + Kennedy, or Nike, I wouldn't have green-lighted that headline with that image. But I'm not at all surprised that others did, and maybe the conversation that ensues makes us all a little more aware.
Generally speaking, I appreciate ESPN's treatment of the issue...with one glaring exception. The writer, Henry Abbott, fails to see that the implied humiliation, while meaningful to those who play the game and those who watch it, is simply a manifestation of a society that attaches the very same meaning to it. They're inseparable, which is the fundamental problem. It also makes Abbott's wish an absurdity. Were we in a world where this ad "would not be commonly interpreted as homophobic", the ad would have never been made.
You see, the reason no one is making an ad where a man's face inadvertently ends up in a woman's crotch...designed to appeal to the gay community...and its judgmental heterophobia...is because we don't feel humiliated by it...due to the fact that we don't judge it negatively and we willingly acknowledge that it's acceptable behavior (ergo, societally supported heterophobia doesn't exist to enable the humiliation or the ad).
With that said, my primary beef with this type of advertising has more to do with the absence of advertising that is either neutral towards gays or provides a favorable depiction. In fact, when such ads are released, the uproar from religious ideologues often results in the cancellation of the campaign. That's simply an unacceptable double standard and it does little more than foster prejudice. The most recent instance involved an ad in the UK for Heinz Deli Mayo, in which two men share a harmless peck on the lips. In short order, the loons were up in arms and the ad was immediately canned.
I find myself wanting to stuff my Snickers bar in Nikes face. Unfortunately, they'd likely take a bite without giving a second thought to the double entendre. Perhaps that sheds some light on the problem, eh?
Tagged as: Advertising, Basketball, Hate Crimes, Heinz Deli Mayo, Homophobia, LGBT, Mr. T., NBA, Nike, Snickers
Daniel DiRito | July 22, 2008 | 6:26 PM |
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Stephen Colbert expands upon the twenty percent of Americans who think everything is going well and suggests that we need a placebo to change the negative psychology of the other eighty percent who just can't see the pot of gold that sits at the end of the rainbow.
In the following segment of The Word, Colbert implores George Bush and John McCain to intervene in order to correct this psychological deficiency...and he thinks a sugar pill is just what the doctor ordered. Yes, Colbert contends that if those people losing their homes to foreclosure would just change their mind set, they would see that all is well in their world.
Colbert has only one problem with the strategy of the president and John McCain. He insists that they avoid telling us that the placebo won't really solve our problems. As Colbert notes, if we're going to buy into the benefits of a sugar pill, we should at least be told that it's the best thing to come along since sliced bread.
Tagged as: Gas Prices, George W. Bush, Home Foreclosures, John McCain, Placebo, Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report
Daniel DiRito | July 17, 2008 | 12:43 PM |
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Have you ever wondered who makes up that small segment of American society that believes everything is hunky dory? According to the latest surveys, less than 20 percent of Americans believe the nation is headed in the right direction. In the following Daily Show offering, Jason Jones sets out to find some of the people who comprise this constituency.
It doesn't take Jones long to find J.P. "Gus" Godsey, author of How To Be Happy Everyday, and the man Jones believes is driving the "short bus". As it turns out, Godsey is convinced that everything in America is glorious...and then Godsey proceeds to prove the contention of Jones' second interviewee, Deepak Chopra, who contends that happiness can easily be the result of ignorance or denial.
Godsey then offers some of the suggestions from his book that are sure to make us happy. They include chasing an ice cream truck, buying a pen, and sweeping the front porch. Next, he offers one of his real world solutions. Godsey's goals is to take back the word "gay" and restore gaiety to the countless heterosexuals who remember it fondly from their childhood...but are no longer able to use the word to describe the utter joy they feel about the world.
I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that we'd be better off if the occupants of the short bus were transported to a special school for those who have lost touch with reality. In fact, it would make me very happy (I'm already gay) to drive them there myself.
Tagged as: Deepak Chopra, J.P. "Gus" Godsey, Jason Jones, Jon Stewart, LGBT, The Daily Show
Daniel DiRito | July 17, 2008 | 11:56 AM |
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The Daily Show's John Oliver provides an in-depth expose on Iran's devastating ability to increase the number of missiles it launched in a recent test through the use of photoshop. As such, it would appear that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad now has the capability to put Israel out of existence...albeit only by manipulating a jpeg map image.
Yes, it appears that Iran has learned to use basic computer software...and that signals an expanding threat from one of the nations included in George Bush's Axis of Evil. Oliver, mouthing the neocon meme, concludes that we have no choice but to invade Iran.
Unfortunately, that may have to wait until Oliver stops singing and dancing to a Rick Astley tune and is able to convince Jon Stewart to stop focusing on his photoshopped vagina.
Tagged as: Axis of Evil, Comedy, George Bush, Humor, Iran, John Oliver, Jon Stewart, Photoshop, The Daily Show
Daniel DiRito | July 15, 2008 | 2:54 PM |
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In the following video, The Onion suggests that there is a constituency group, "No-Values Voters", who seek a candidate with absolutely no soul. Their objective is to elect a candidate who has the total lack of moral fiber they prefer.
One can draw two inferences from this satirical piece. First, do politicians ever have the good of the public as their objective or are they simply seeking the power they perceive comes with holding political office? Second, are there really any values voters...or are all voters primarily seeking the ability to impose their beliefs on everyone else?
Value, by definition, is a relative worth. In other words, what holds worth to one individual may be meaningless to another. Perhaps that's the ultimate message being delivered in this latest iteration of The Onion. What it instructs about the nature of politics and elections is open to debate. In the end, isn't the notion of values just an elusive construct to make us feel better about ourselves?
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Election, Humor, Satire, The Onion, Values
Daniel DiRito | July 15, 2008 | 10:06 AM |
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I first saw Jim Gaffigan on Letterman and thought he was a funny guy. When I read the title of this video clip, indicating it was about religion, I suspected I was in for a treat.
His take on Jesus and Catholics is a hoot. I especially like his, "oh no you didn't, I'm offended voice". It has that holier than thou ring to it and reminds me of those times when I've witnessed a religious person feign outrage when someone made a religious joke. Perhaps it's just me and my twisted enjoyment of all things sacrilegious.
Tagged as: Catholicism, Comedy, Humor, Jesus, Jim Gaffigan, Pope, Religion
Daniel DiRito | July 12, 2008 | 9:34 AM |
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How about a Friday afternoon chuckle? I especially like the good sister's Aussie accent.
Tagged as: Comedy, Faith, Humor, Jesus, Nun, Religion
Daniel DiRito | July 11, 2008 | 2:47 PM |
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Since so many creationist, intelligent design, strengths and weaknesses, academic freedoms advocates are working to deny evolution and all the science that contradicts their Biblical notion of the origin of the universe, I thought the following video offered a worthwhile presentation of the actual facts that underlie the Big Bang Theory...one of the favorite targets of these faith-based pseudo-scientists.
The bottom line is that science isn't certainty...just as faith isn't fact. The difference is that science only accepts the accumulation of facts to support its theories while theists deny all facts that don't absolutely disprove their faith. One enterprise (science) is committed to the accumulation of more knowledge in hopes of a more certain hypothesis and the other (creation apologists) is only committed to that knowledge which supports its preordained conclusions.
Needless to say, this important distinction, above all else, provides the rationale for rejecting the many iterations of creationism that have been put forth as acceptable scientific theories.
Tagged as: Big Bang Theory, Creationism, Faith, Intelligent Design, Religion, Science, Scientific Method
Daniel DiRito | July 9, 2008 | 2:13 PM |
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Tagged as: 2008 Election, Cindy McCain, Comedy, Drag Names, Drag Queens, First Lady, Hedda Lettuce, Humor, Michelle Obama, Mo Rocca, Peppermint
Daniel DiRito | July 8, 2008 | 7:11 PM |
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I like Eddie Izzard. There is something very down to earth about his comedy. It has what I would call that "duh" practicality factor...a very simple view of the world if you will.
In the following videos, he offers his unique perspectives on creationism, Dinosaurs, Jesus, Noah's Arc, and the great flood.
I especially like the section in the second video (from 5:58 onward) where he suggests that the great flood appears to have offered an exemption to those creatures that naturally live in the water. It's an example of his ability to rely upon simplicity to make us laugh...as well as force us to reconsider the things we humans often take for granted.
Tagged as: Comedy, Creationism, Dinosaurs, Eddie Izzard, God, Humor, Noah's Arc, Religion
Daniel DiRito | July 6, 2008 | 3:51 PM |
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The following video is destined to be an Onion classic. While it is offered as satire to make us laugh, it will certainly hit home for millions of Americans. I suspect that the Bush presidency will be scrutinized for many years to come...and I doubt that the conclusions will be all that different from the ones offered in this tongue-in-cheek segment.
Tagged as: Bush Administration, Bush Presidency, George W. Bush, Humor, Satire, The Onion
Daniel DiRito | July 6, 2008 | 9:31 AM |
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Since the 4th. of July is a day for celebrating all things American, it only seems appropriate to post the following video. After all, expressing one's patriotism, like expressing one's love for a spouse, shouldn't be restricted on the basis of one's sexual preference. With that in mind...I'm happy to say on this Independence Day that I, too, am "totally gay for America". Now where the hell is my hot dog!?
Tagged as: America, Gay, Humor, July 4th, LGBT, Music, Satire, USA
Daniel DiRito | July 4, 2008 | 3:15 PM |
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OK, Mo's gone off the deep end...which means he's moving into election mode. In the following video, Mo begins by pointing out that the wives of both presidential candidates are beautiful women. From there, he posits that millions of American men are going to want to know how to dress up like these glam gals. To see if this is possible, Mo seeks out the services of Peppermint, a drag queen...hoping to get some insider tips and few tricks of the trade.
In this episode, Dion Flynn (I have no idea where Mo found him) has volunteered to have Peppermint transform him into Michelle Obama. After some work...and plenty of product...Mo introduces the newly "minted" man...woman...Michelle Obama impersonator. Whether she looks fabulous is open to debate. I think the hair and the makeup were a success...but the dress isn't working.
As I watched this video, I started to wonder if Mo may was watching the tele the other night and became inspired when John Waters was reminiscing about all of his old movies and the antics that accompanied them? I'm not sure which channel it was on but I caught the last half of his stand up routine and it made me think about the drag queen of all drag queens...Divine. Taking a look at Mo's outfit and the set...listening the music...the whole drag queen theme...coincidence? Perhaps...but with all the John Waters' kitsch in this video, I'm gonna say there's a good chance he was tuned in.
Tagged as: Divine, Drag, Drag Queens, Humor, John Waters, Michelle Obama, Mo Rocca, Peppermint
Daniel DiRito | July 2, 2008 | 11:00 PM |
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Oh that Johnny Mac! First he showcased his singing talents with Bomb Iran (video below), an updated rendition of the Beach Boys hit, Barbara Ann. As if that weren't enough, he recently took the big leap from the 60's to the 90's to showcase his smooth dance moves with an artistic interpretation of Madonna's Vogue (video below).
But that's not all. Not to be outdone by Ronnie Reagan's years as a Hollywood heartthrob...and spurred on by his newfound success as the elder entertainer of the "Gray Old Party"...Johnny Mac is releasing a new CD complete with his take on the music of the last six decades. See the graphic below for details.
The songs he's chosen for this compilation have all been adapted to reflect his own life experiences and they're consistent with the themes and policies that have been the mainstay of a party that clings to the past in the same way that Joan Rivers skin clings to what remains of her long forgotten face.
From the neocon classic, Bomb Iran, to the modern day mantra of the McCain campaign, Babyl-On,...these songs will surely remind voters that John McCain is no newcomer to the ways of Washington. Hear him sing about the difficult moments that typified the struggles he faced in his early years in Mac's New Wife and Don't Go Breakin' My Arms. Enjoy his renewed spirit and his tribute to the Reagan years in a raucous rendition of the Beastie Boys' You Gotta Fight For The Right.
John McCain may not know the difference between Sunni and Shiite factions...or whether it's Somalia or Sudan that the U.S. needs to pressure...but he doesn't miss a single note in this must have CD. Don't have a CD player? Not to fear...neither does John McCain. This musical masterpiece will also be available on vinyl, eight track and cassette.
An unidentified group is offering a free six pack of beer to the first 10,000 purchasers of McCain's CD. Callers will receive the beer in exchange for a promise that they'll place a bumper sticker on their cars. The bumper sticker is reported to read, "John McCain...Giving America The Song & Dance Routine".
Tagged as: 2008 Election, Beach Boys, Beastie Boys, Bobby Darin, David Gray, Elton John, GOP, Humor, Iran, John McCain, Kiki Dee, Madonna, Ronald Reagan, Satire, Shiite, Somalia, Sudan, Sunni
Daniel DiRito | July 1, 2008 | 1:52 PM |
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She's two, two stars in one...but there simply isn't enough of her to go around. Yep, we're talking about Miley Cyrus, the Disney darling turned Vanity Fair vixen. In the following video, The Onion has some fun with Hannah Montana and her rise to fame.
Of course The Onion warns that her Whitney-esque "I'm every woman (teeny bop), it's all in me" persona can't last forever...predicting that she's destined to be "drained dry of entertainment value" if we continue to overindulge.
If the celebrity expert in the video has a handle on Cyrus' trajectory, one minute she's a wholesome role model for young girls and the next she's going to be on the cover of every tabloid getting out of a limo with Lohan, Spears, & Hilton in what can only be called a panoply of panty-free promiscuity.
Tagged as: Britney Spears, Entertainment, Humor, Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus, Paris Hilton, Satire, Teen Idol, The Onion, Vanity Fair
Daniel DiRito | July 1, 2008 | 9:11 AM |
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