"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Controversy for all

Perhaps you've heard that the Mars Corporation, makers of Snickers®, have responded to protests by several Gay and Lesbian groups over its Super Bowl commercial (featuring two "manly men" who accidentally kiss while enjoying the candy bar) by yanking all further replays of the spot. The company also pulled the plug on a planned extensive follow-up campaign around the ad, which had been on the web at www.afterthekiss.com. Protesters called the theme of the ad "violent" and "homophobic", and in a statement announcing the cancellation, a spokesman for the candy maker said, "We know that humor is highly subjective and understand that some people may have found the ad offensive. Clearly that was not our intent."

You probably know as well that the American Association of Fast Food Workers also complained about the Kevin Federline Nationwide ad, saying it insulted employees in that industry. Apparently, this means it is no longer politically correct to say "you want fries with that?" in a jocular manner. Remember that the next time you're trying to be funny at a party.

But most amazing to me is that just when you thought it was again safe to watch the half-time show, religious conservatives and some journalists are complaining about Sunday's acclaimed performance by Prince. It was not enough for them to decry the thousands of children who would forever be doomed to a life of crime and moral depravity by their 9/16-of-a-second exposure to Janet Jackson's right breast in 2004, they are now upset that Prince's silhouette, projected on a flowing curtain during his rendition of "Purple Rain", contained (gasp!) phallic imagery. New York Daily News TV critic David Bianculli called it "a rude-looking shadow show," and "embarrassingly rude, crude and unfortunately placed." A spokesman for the NFL countered, "We respect other opinions, but it takes quite a leap of the imagination to make a controversy of his performance. It's a guitar."

Look at the photo and see what you think. All I can say is if the image is meant to be anatomically correct, the man must have a hard time picking out a pair of pants at Wal-Mart. (Not that Prince would shop there anyway.)

Anyway, I think what we're seeing here is just the tip of the iceberg. If controversy can be sparked by this somewhat overzealous interpretation of Prince's act, then a lot of other special-interest groups are missing the boat and should jump on the bandwagon of criticism as well. For example:

• Atheists should be upset that Prince sang a portion of Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" during his show, a direct reference to the official publication and website of The Jehovah's Witnesses. Has no one else picked up on this? Prince became a Witness in the 1990's, and obviously used his halftime appearance to deliver thinly-veiled religious propaganda to millions of Bowl viewers.

• The National Association for Mental Health and Mental Retardation should be all over Prince for his song selection as well: his opening number, "Let's Go Crazy", is clearly a derogatory term and a stereotypical slur to the mentally handicapped. At the very least, they could force the Purple One to change the lyrics of the song from "Let's go crazy/let's get nuts" to "Let's exhibit situationally inappropriate behavior/let's have a learning disability."

• The NAACP can complain that Prince wasn't a "black" enough choice for the Super Bowl crowd, while the Aryan Nation can be offended that he wasn't "white" enough. Every other ethnic group could follow suit, including Asians, Hispanics, etc. NOW could protest that he's not female, and the Anti-Defamation League could protest that he's not Barbra Streisand.

• Any person of British descent should be appalled by Prince's choice of his own name, an obvious slap in the face of The Royal Family. Unfortunately, this is a no-win situation for the entertainer, as when he changed his name back to Prince some years ago, he received howls of protest from The Association of Artists Named After Unpronounceable Symbols at his defection from their ranks.

• The Fashion Designers Guild must take issue with Prince's choice of his outfit. I mean, a light orange umber shirt under a light-aqua-blue jacket? What was he thinking with that abominable color scheme? What horrible message does this send to our esthetically-challenged youth?

• Finally, a newly-formed group, the Association of All Recording Artists On The Planet Except For Prince must no doubt find it highly discriminatory that sales of Prince's album catalog jumped by an astonishing average of 653% following his Super Bowl gig. “The Very Best of Prince” moved from No. 710 to No. 71 on Amazon.com’s Top Sellers list, and “Music from the Motion Picture ‘Purple Rain’” moved up the chart from No. 432 to No. 53.

In a related story, the NFL announced today that due to the controversy over Prince's halftime performance, there were only three "safe" acts left in the world being considered for future shows. Viewers of the 2008 Super Bowl will see either (a) Pat Boone, (b) Michael Bolton, or (c) The Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

I feel safer from depravity already.


  • At 2/07/2007 11:46:00 AM, Blogger Marie said…

    hey there! i like your blog!

    sad to say, we have just become a country of whiners! some, if not most people, for a lack of better things to do are just nitpicking - whining to their hearts' content just to get noticed & get their 10-min of fame! it is frustrating! there's no more fine line! why can't they just live and let live, instead of stirring the pot?

  • At 2/07/2007 11:49:00 AM, Blogger Marie said…

    hi! sorry, it's me again! i linked your blog to mine coz i want my friends to read your posts, that way, they could be enlightened somehow. let me know if it's ok, otherwise, i'll take it off. my apologies!

  • At 2/07/2007 12:19:00 PM, Blogger Daisy Martin said…

    See, it's safer just to watch the Puppy Bowl. I don't see any of their half time acts getting axed in the media. Or we'll just make all of those burly football players wear puppy costumes for the next superbowl and that will mellow those haters out. It could work.

  • At 2/07/2007 04:29:00 PM, Blogger Mr. Toast said…

    Hi Ingrid! Glad you stopped by, and thanks for the linkage. I'm not too sure about the "enlightened" part, but I'm always happy to have new readers. I like your blog too and have added you to my sidebar list.

    Daisy, I think you've got a fine idea there, except instead of uniforms, I'd like to see the players all wearing fuzzy bunny suits with big floppy ears. I mean, if you're gonna go for cute, why not go all the way?

  • At 2/08/2007 10:03:00 PM, Blogger The Misanthrope said…

    Is there nothing safe anymore??


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