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Homophobic Lip-Lock
Those Superbowl Ads Again

Is one of those nuts gay?

A couple of postscripts on the Superbowl. First, it’s time the word the press no longer split the word. It’s not Super Bowl. It’s Superbowl. Splitting the word may be technically correct. It’s popularly ridiculous, like the prohibition on splitting infinitives and dangling participles. I’m not sure what participles are (as an English-as-a-third-language learner I never learned my grammar rules and definitions). But I like the idea of dangling them. And splitting infinitives is to me foreplay with words. Nice tension-creator. Second, those Superbowl ads. The Snickers ad about the two idiots devouring a Snickers and ending up in a brief, scurrilous kiss did seem at first like an attempt at humor. Homophobia is pathetic. But it’s not as if I would jump up and down and twirl in giddy joy all over the place if by some wild odd concurrence of circumstances and gravitational freakery I ended up in an inadvertent kiss with a man, any man. Would it disgust me? Well, there’s no reason to be childish about it. But it wouldn’t strike me as the most luscious thing in the world. I like my kisses wet, girlish and free of all facial hair not my own. So I could understand the initial reaction of the two cave men under the hood, finding their lips locked to the browns of a Snickers bar. The reaction though was childish. It was intended to be so: that was the joke. But at that point we can decide if the joke was in good taste or not (not quite), and if it was handled with the kind of subtlety that could override the homophobic message. It wasn’t. Adding a tight end’s snickers and other football players’ idiotic reactions didn’t help. Sprint’s connectivity dysfunction spot was a much better example of an old cliché turned out for a good laugh. Beyond the sophomoric, Stuart Elliott in Monday’s Times picked up on a necessary observation, one ultimately more relevant and interesting (for discussion’s sake) than Snickers’ molten moment:

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. [The full piece…]

Rewrite that sentence: More than a dozen policies celebrated violence in an exaggerated, neo-con vein that was intended to be democratic, but often came across as cruel or callous. But if that’s the best we can get of an “undercurrent of Iraq” in our commercials, then the war really has become even more of a distant afterthought. Something repressed that only surfaces in these briefly brutal ways only to be snuffed out again the moment whatever program is on TV resumes. That’s what the Iraq war adds up to: Quick, get me the remote. And how many meanings could that word remote be given….

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