Monday, February 3, 2014

Coke and a smile, people

So, one of the resident conservative iconoclasts put this on the board today in response to Coke's ad during the Super Bowl:

You know what? I actually think the adverse reaction (which seems to have been pretty minimal) is more than anything else a case of people being annoyed at being told what to think.


There are a lot of social signals that one has to conform to certain ideals. Diversity is good. Gay people deserve equal treatment. Bullying is bad. The rich don't pay their fair share. Poor people deserve a leg up. Prejudice is bad. Burning carbon is bad.

I think people at some point just resent being "herded" by broad, mass media social signals into viewpoints that are selected to be good by some collective agreement by some opinion makers. I think it is actually okay for some people to think, yes, America is the product of immigration, and is an example of diverse people from diverse cultures with diverse languages forming a new society--and continually adding diversity through immigration. But a cherished paean to America should preferably be sung in America's language--which necessarily is English even if plenty of Americans speak a different language as their first language.

In this case, I think I find the reaction to the reaction (calling people neanderthals etc.) more troubling than the reaction.

(Oh, and sometimes bullying is good. Some people deserve to have their ass kicked. And carbon energy has been a great boon to people in general, and has really improved the quality of the lives of billions of people. The doctrinaire attitude on some topics is sometimes worth questioning.)
There's so much ammunition there that it almost brought me to the point of immobility... but nah. I did sit there for a moment trying to decide whether it was more disingenuous or fatuous (definitely something with an "ous") but, in the end, it's like playing Tee ball.

The central theme is the usual pseudo-Libertarian horseshit that essentially states that people who aren't tolerant of intolerance are hypocrites. Coke, instead of presenting the song "America the Beautiful" in its proper language of English (how offended must the English be that their language has been abducted by idiots?), has done all independent thinkers (read: racists, super-patriots... oh, and idiots) a disservice by encouraging the social mores that state that diversity and respect for cultures and languages that are not explicitly whitebread 'Murrican are, in fact, a good thing.

First off, it certainly is trying to "tell you what to think." It's an advertisement. It's telling you to think about buying Coke. That's how they do. But you're saying the rest of society is telling you how to think about non-whites and gays and the environments and bullies? Who's telling you? The people that object to all of that anti-social behavior? Yeah. Life is rough that way. Most decent people will tell you that it shouldn't matter what color someone is or what language they speak (aka "Diversity is good.") And they'll tell you that gay people should be treated equally since they're, you know... people; that treating people poorly ("Bullying") is wrong; that poor people could use your help; that prejudice is bad... What intelligent person doesn't think those things? Certainly is a helluva lot easier to get along with your neighbors if you don't hold preconceptions about them before you even get to know them. Fer reals. It's, like, been proved and stuff.

Secondly, what could honestly be so offensive about singing a song in another language? Would you shout down a chorus in France if they dared to sing "America the Beautiful"? Are you saying that people who can't speak English aren't allowed to sing that song about their home (because that's quite a few residents of this nation)? I mean, that's what these people are saying:

(H/T Midtown blogger for the list.) I bet you're really discouraged that you didn't hop on Twitter last night and number yourself among Mensa candidates like that. Such a lost opportunity. I especially like the last guy, since Coke has not only told him what to think but drinking too much of that crap has clearly corrupted his memory of his own national anthem.

What a number of people likely failed to remember is that Coke was bouncing off of their own 40-year legacy of having produced this commercial:


which explicitly and implicitly called for unity and goodwill among races and nations (albeit from the foremost front for the CIA in destabilizing and disrupting many of them...) Given that and the current rather divided status of these United States, what message would you have preferred to hear? "America is beautiful as long as it's sung by and filled with white, hetero, sometime bullies who don't want to be reminded that they're racist, homophobic assholes?" I mean, I'm sure there's a song out there like that but probably not from any composer this side of the Aryan Nation.

Now, of course, I'm being facetious (another "ous") because there's no way you'd (publicly) admit to thinking that because it would be stupid and make you look and sound every inch the Neanderthal that those fools did on Twitter last night. If one is so weak-willed as to object to being "told how to think" by a commercial or is objecting to the broad-based message of inclusion despite difference that said commercial is presenting then, yeah, I think you deserve every epithet being tossed your way, especially if you're willing to do so in a public forum like Twitter.

And, again, suggesting that people be tolerant of your obnoxious attitudes for fear of hypocrisy is perhaps the most asinine idea put forth in that post. Contradiction is not intelligent refutation (thank you, Michael Palin.) What you see as heavy-handed social engineering, the rest of us see as simple common sense. There's all kinds of people. Getting along with them should be the first order of the day, every day.

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