Still Incomprehensible -

Still Incomprehensible


I guess you heard about how a Snickers ad starring Mr. T was pulled due to complaints about “stereotyping and bullying.” I’m not one to complain about political correctness, because such complaints have in themselves become PC (and eventually it’ll be politically correct to complain about the political correctness of complaints about political correctness), but I just don’t see it. The speedwalker isn’t identified as gay, and Mr. T doesn’t shoot him with the Snickers gun for being gay, he shoots him for being a speedwalker. It is anti-speedwalking. Now, how eating Snickers bars is supposed to get you in better shape, I’m not sure. But judge for yourself.

Now, as the link notes, the complaints weren’t necessarily just that the commercial was homophobic but that it stigmatizes any activities that are considered to be “unmanly,” which is to say, any activities that are associated with that skinny guy from the Charles Atlas ads. But stigmatizing people for being wimpy or not macho enough is a time-honoured advertising tradition. It’s like the male equivalent of ads that stigmatize women for not being supermodel-skinny: it cynically plays on our worst fears. But all advertising does that

Besides, there is documented film evidence that Mr. T is a Boy George fan. So you know he’s a good guy.

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Still Incomprehensible

  1. Is the complaint a parody as well? I found the ad pretty funny (Mr T is always a hoot) but the complaint actually got more chuckles out of me.

    Perhaps they should splice the complaint into the ad somehow – have some preofssional hand-wringer on the side bewailing Mr T’s harsh language and stigmatizing language.

  2. I agree. Effeminate does not mean gay, and vice versa.

  3. Well, he just shot candy bars at that guy. Look what he did to these guys. I mean, that’s attempted murder. Oh the humanity.

    Some sage advice here though.

  4. I think you’re wrong. The word “gay” may never be used, but he’s meant to be read as gay from the first instant we see him, most notably by those swirling hips. T shoots him for not being a “real man” and calls him a “disgrace to the man race.” It’s absolutely about T perceiving him as gay, and it’s a nasty bit of work.

    The female equivalent wouldn’t be about weight, particularly; it would be about a tough looking woman with a mullet and a flannel shirt.

  5. I see your point, but given the way he looks at his hyper-expensive watch, I read him more as the sort of latte-sipping yuppie mocked on “Stuff White People Like.”

    But I do agree the commercial would have worked better, and avoided controversy, if they hadn’t had that swivelling-hips shot at the beginning.

  6. “if they hadn’t had that swivelling-hips shot at the beginning.”

    Have you seen Olympic walking races?

  7. Have you seen Olympic walking races?

    I watch them every day of my life. Who doesn’t?