"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Monday, February 05, 2007

Super Bowl Ads: Blame Bush

The ads during yesterday's Super Bowl weren't up to their usual standards. Most of those for Bud Lite were pretty good, and I think this might be my favorite:

I like it. Guys. Beer. Rock/Paper/Scissors. But the fellows at the New York Times are smarter than you, and they're way smarter than me, and so -- to them -- this isn't just amusingly silly. Oh no. It has DEEPER SIGNIFICANCE. Indeed, if the editors could, they'd no doubt want to ask you to imagine that you're the rock, and explain to them how you feel. Whatever.

But since The War That We Must Lose is never far from their tiny little hearts, it all has to do with the war. It's not about beer. It's not about guys. It's not even about selling stuff. It's All About The War:
Super Bowl Ads of Cartoonish Violence, Perhaps Reflecting Toll of War
No commercial that appeared last night during Super Bowl XLI directly addressed Iraq, unlike a patriotic spot for Budweiser beer that ran during the game two years ago. But the ongoing war seemed to linger just below the surface of many of this year’s commercials.

More than a dozen spots celebrated violence in an exaggerated, cartoonlike vein that was intended to be humorous, but often came across as cruel or callous.

For instance, in a commercial for Bud Light beer, sold by Anheuser-Busch, one man beat the other at a game of rock, paper, scissors by throwing a rock at his opponent’s head.
Yeah, man. Far out. Violence is, like, real bad and war isn't healthy for people and other living creatures and war is not the answer and bush lied and peace, love and Woodstock. Power to the People. Right on!

[A long time ago, and far, far away, a fellow who was a member of the Black Panther Party told me that he'd know he was becoming irrelevant when white guys started saying, "Right On!" I also distinctly remember the first time my mother said, "Right On!"]

There is an obsession among some with what they think the anti-Viet-Nam-war days were like. They think it was clean and bright, and clear what was right and what was wrong. And wannabes now think they missed something, and they think they can recreate something that didn't, of course, really exist. It must be like someone not quite old enough to have gone off to World War II, but so desperately wanting the respect and the shared experiences that gave to the fellows who were just a little older. Of course, those guys felt they'd missed out on Victory, while our present generation of poseurs think they missed out on showing how much they despise their country.

James Lileks decided to take the NYT column and run with the "war ads" angle:
Anyway, ads in WW2 did not appeal to a yearning for peace. They appealed to a yearning for victory, after which peace would follow. The ads of World War Two were mostly martial, with sweaty stubbed dogfaces, cigars screwed in the corners of their grim-set mouths, dealt the lead. The ad was usually an encouragement to keep fighting so the war could be over and we could have refrigerators again. Towards the end of the war, the ads hinted at the day when Johnny came home – plans would be made, houses bought, appliances ordered, insurance purchased, girls turned into wives with the application of woo, and children produced to populate the new era of peace. But the ads were as cautionary as they were hopeful. Johnny couldn’t come home until the war was won, of course.
Exactly. What has happened to the United States in the last 60 years that has so changed us that we can no longer imagine Victory?


Comments on "Super Bowl Ads: Blame Bush"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1:18 PM) : 

The ads from WWII really are classics. I have collected a few issues of LIFE magazine from the war years. It is fascinating how practically all the ads -- no matter what the product -- try to find a connection to the war. For companies such as Cadillac this was fairly easy. The assembly line had been turned over to making tanks and such for the duration. Other companies could hype dubious links to the war effort, such as the ad slogan "Lucky Strike green has gone to war". Lucky Strike cigarettes switched from green to white packages, purportedly because the green dye used precious copper, which was needed for munitions. Actually, they wanted to switch to white for marketing purposes. But, my all-time favorite WWII ads was one for a humble toaster (Sunbeam, I think). The ad sloganeers managed to come up this the line (this is pretty close, perhaps not exact) -- Delicious, easy to digest toast for wartime meals. the old timer


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