Like many people, my family held a Superbowl party with friends (and my signature Chili dish) to watch both the game and the commercials. The group is about evenly divided between which is the greater draw, though with a relatively dull game the commercials took on a heightened level of scrutiny. The commercials were not a bumper crop this year but there were a few particularly funny spots. I liked the Doritos baby commercial, the Christopher Walkin commercial, the Willem Dafoe/Snickers commercial and the Prius commercial the most. They are posted below. However, NARAL Pro-Choice America, a leading advocacy group on the issue of abortion, quickly sent out tweets denouncing various commercials in an apparent effort to show critics that the organization is truly incapable of humor or restraint at such moments.
The group first singled out the Hyundai commercial featuring comedian Kevin Hart, which I thought was pretty funny:
Here is NARAL’s response:
“Hey, @Hyundai – taking away your daughter’s autonomy and stalking her on a date isn’t funny. #NotBuyingIt #SB50”
NARAL then went after the Doritos commercial:
The problem? “Humanizing fetuses” even though this looked like a fully grown baby.
Then NARAL went after the very funny Snickers commercial below as “transphobic”:
So it appears other people watch the Superbowl for the commercials, though NARAL sits there with a cellphone waiting to tweet the first offense or insult that it can spot:
.@SNICKERS, what was up w that commercial? Transphobic & implies women OK w being objectified as long as they have snacks #NotBuyingIt #SB50
6:58 PM – 7 Feb 2016”
They seemed to not let a funny commercial get by without finding something to denounce in it. It was the hilarious “Walken Closet” spot.
Nothing can be that funny without being terribly insulting. I would suggest denouncing the Kia Optima as advancing a beigist stereotype and being beigophobic.
Even the spot showing the throwing of a wedding bouquet prompted an angry NARAL tweet:
“Really, @Buick? Women fighting over a wedding bouquet? That was the best you could come up with? #NotBuyingIt #SB50”
What is fascinating is that the woman tosses away to the bouquet at the end of the commercial.
Just for the record, I also liked the Prius commercial below:
Some tweets seemed to be a parody of itself in seeking any basis to object. For example, the car commercial featuring an astronaut received this furious tweet:
.@Audi – you couldn’t find a single female astronaut to feature in your ad? #NotBuyingIt #SB50
7:13 PM – 7 Feb 2016”
There is of course the ability to support pro-choice causes and still have a sense of humor and a modicum of social perspective. What is interesting is that, even if one accepts that NARAL is not where one looks for humor, these attacks would seem to undermine its credibility and connection with the vast majority of people. However, like PETA attacks, these criticisms are clearly meant to resonate with a narrow band of the population. It is possible to see these ads in a different light, but that is clearly not possible if you view everything through a self-fulfilling and hyper-sensitive lens. Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said “[t]he overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities a sense of humor and a sense of proportion.” He of course never saw the comedic critiques of NARAL.