A few weeks ago I noticed an ad on the tube. It seemed to have a Bond-girl feel to it. Reminded me a bit of Ursula Andress in Dr. No. It made me think, no, I’m not ‘beach body ready’, plus I’m still single. I got myself a pie and didn’t think any more about it.
The next thing I know it’s exploded into some huge bitching media frenzy. All over Facebook the politically correct donkeys are having a go like the unguided missiles of the fragments of unsound argument that they are. Political Correctness (or Critical Patheticness) can be described as: “the feeling of superiority for behaving in a way that you think other people will approve of, not thinking about issues yourself, and having a go at those who have thought about them for having an original opinion”. In other words the PC brigade says “everybody thinks ‘xyz’ and you are social scum for wanting a discussion about it.”
Guess again, keyword-activated knee-jerk namby-pamby self-righteous cancerous polyps on the colon of society. Received opinion is of less value than no opinion. There’s a malaise in society that has empowered all the idiots to think they have a right to an opinion they haven’t originated, rarely understand, and certainly can’t defend in a debate. Which is why they gather together, like some sort of ‘SS’ boot boys, making sure no one has a proper discussion, or puts forward any ideas they themselves haven’t adopted.
Is the advert harmful? To the extent that people are susceptible to advertising, you could argue all advertising is harmful: it seeks to control your thoughts and actions, the very definition of fascism. On the other hand, this ad just made me think I need to lose weight, which I do. And as we are the *10th fattest country in the world I’m guessing millions of others do too. The PC-SS would argue that it makes young girls get anorexia. Well lots of things manipulate people, most of all religion, but I don’t remember religion being banned or controlled, although it probably should be.
I suggested, had the same sort of advert had existed in the time of Rubens, then would the same people have been saying “oh no this advert is causing young girls to eat cakes to look like this unhealthy ideal Rubenesque woman”. I’m betting they wouldn’t. So their point isn’t an honest one to start with.
Surely, if we as a society do think that the vulnerable are at risk from advertising, then the answer isn’t some coffee morning QUANGO like the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) crowd-pleasing with a ruling against such an ad. The answer is, as I suggested (and this is the remark that led to me being instantly unfriended on Facebook), that the problem is the unsophisticated consumer: we educate people to see through marketing tricks. If we simply ban everything then people are vulnerable to the next clever marketing campaign, and the next, and the next.
The girl in the advert isn’t even air-brushed. There was a photo published of her at the beach. So should she, herself, be banned? Obviously it’s unacceptable, her going round in public, looking all healthy and attractive. All the people who defaced those ads should be brought to justice and charged, not only with damage to property, but also for some sort of defamation by proxy offence. They are abusing this model for looking like she really does. It’s disgusting and they should apologise. Made to apologise. They’d all complain if someone had a go at an ugly person, well they’re no better. Maybe this model is offensive to ugly people too. Maybe she should be kept out of sight along with all other pretty things.
And that’s the society we’ve created. One where people are protected from themselves, but not each other. One where proper frank debate is stifled by cry-bullies, themselves incapable of seeing in more than one dimension. One where banning the symptoms trumps dealing with the root of the problem. One where moaning is more important than solutions.
Here’s a parody which sums it up very nicely. This should be number 1! Jon LaJoie’s brilliantly done Pop Song.
* source: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine