Wow. What A Schmuck.

(Pardon my Yiddish)

I’d never heard of New York assemblyman Dov Hikind before tonight.  Something else I was not aware of before tonight:  being an Orthodox Jew and being culturally illiterate are not mutually exclusive.  But there you go.  I mean, last time I checked, it was 2013, and it was universally agreed upon that wearing blackface in this day and age is not cool.  Nor is it funny, wacky, or whatever Hikind was going for when he decided to celebrate Purim dressed as a black basketball player.  And what really makes me angry about this whole thing is that Hikind apparently calls people out when they’re being blatantly anti-Semitic, but doesn’t seem to grasp why it was such a big deal that he, in the year two thousand fucking thirteen, made such a horrendous costume choice when he could have dressed as something that, I dunno, wasn’t some sort of ethnic stereotype?  Like an astronaut, or a chicken, or something?  Well, as someone who is partially of Jewish descent (and not nearly as observant a Jew as Hikind is.  Actually, I’m kind of an atheist), I’m fucking ashamed that anyone who claims to oppose anti-Semitism would be so ignorant of all other types of bigotry.  So seriously, Hikind can go shtup himself if he doesn’t get why his costume got the reaction it did.


The Best and Worst of This Year’s Superbowl Ads

So on Sunday night I watched the Superbowl.  Despite the fact that I don’t understand football in the slightest, I chose to watch the Superbowl because of the commercials since, though they more often than not turn me into a frothing rage-monster, they happen to be great indicators of everything that is wrong with our consumerist culture (hence said transformation into a frothing rage-moster).  And maybe a handful are actually worth watching in a non-masochistic way.  Also, the halftime show is usually very promising (and boy, did it deliver and then some this year.  All-female backing group + Destiny’s Child reunion = seven hundred different kinds of epic).  And it wasn’t like I had the choice to watch the Puppy Bowl instead, since my mom had money riding on the game’s outcome and my dad was dead-set on watching Wicked Tuna or some junk (I think it’s sort of like The Deadliest Catch, but with tuna instead of crabs) the only two TVs in the house that still work would be occupied.  So the Superbowl it was.

Just a note:  I’m only reviewing the commercials that I happened to catch on the night of the Superbowl, with a single exception:  this Audi commercial.  Because it was too vile not to mention as one of the worst.  This commercial follows some young loser who attends the prom by himself (note:  this is not what makes him a loser.  I went stag with one of my female friends myself) in his cool car (I guess.  If you’re into cars).  He shows up late (I’m assuming), waltzes on up to the prom queen just so he could kiss her on the mouth, without bothering to get her okay first (note:  this is what makes him a loser); angers prom king (who is probably also a loser — not because his date gets kissed by another dude, but because his anger is implied to be more about his “big-man-on-campus” image being tarnished than about the knowledge that someone did something kind of rape-y to someone he cares about), and in the next scene sports a black eye as he drives off and lets out a “victory” whoop (“victory” in quotes because he’s a moron).  And apparently Audi wants us to believe that he was “brave” for encroaching uninvited on someone’s personal space and then driving off like the entitlement-deluded weenie that he is.  As if “brave” were synonymous with “stupid and douchey”.  Yeah fucking right, Audi.

When it comes to making terrible commercials for the Superbowl, has practically cornered the market.  This year, they decided to go with the horribly cliched and thoroughly debunked concept that there’s a dichotomy between smart and sexy, and they chose to illustrate “smart meets sexy” by having supermodel Bar Refaeli make out with a stereotypical nebbish nobody.  Yawn.  The commercial epically fails at being either smart or sexy; it’s moronic and dull.  For one thing, we’re of course supposed to assume based on appearance alone that the guy is smart (OMG he’s wearing glasses!  Total egghead, amirite?) and that the supermodel is not so smart (because you don’t need brains when you’re that hot.  Or something).  Sexiness and intelligence are treated as if they’re mutually exclusive.  Well, for all the troglodytes that might still believe that, consider the following:

Actress/Inventor Hedy Lamarr and Singer/Songwriter/Actor/Rhodes Scholar Kris Kristofferson.  I rest my case.

Actress/Inventor Hedy Lamarr and Singer/Songwriter/Actor/Rhodes Scholar Kris Kristofferson. I rest my case.

And then there was some commercial for some brand of t-shirts that I’ve never heard of.  I’m not entirely sure what’s going on in the video, but whatever it is, it’s creepy.  I think since the title is “Getaway”, the implication is that it’s a guy trying to leave after a one-night stand while the woman is still asleep, but the problem is that she’s wearing his t-shirt.  So he tries to remove it from her person while she’s asleep.  Which is weird, because if it’s just a one-night-stand with a person who you didn’t care for much in the first place (as implied by the guy’s befuddled look at the furry handcuffs still affixed to his wrist, this woman was apparently “too freaky” for his taste or whatevs), why would you even let them put on your t-shirt?  And even if you never want to have anything to do with the person you just slept with ever again (which is fine; the feeling might well be mutual), wouldn’t you at least have the decency to wait until she woke up so you could ask for your shirt back?  Wouldn’t it have been mutually agreed that this was a one-night-stand and didn’t mean anything to either and that her waking up while he’s still there wouldn’t indicate that he’d be obligated to have so much as breakfast (let alone a relationship) with her?  Don’t people ever communicate with each other anymore, especially in situations where they will, are, or have been banging each other?  Whatever.  I don’t claim to have much (or any) experience when it comes to sexual encounters and maybe I don’t yet understand the sexual practices of my peers.  But I’m pretty sure this commercial is how decent human beings are not supposed to act.

And let’s see, oh — there was that VW commercial that was stirring up so much controversy because of the white guy speaking Fauxmaican to cheer people up or whatever.  It probably wasn’t the most offensive commercial I’ve ever seen, but it was probably one of the dumbest.  It was about as intelligence-insultingly unremarkable as the average UB40 song (no offense to UB40 fans.  But you have to admit it’s an appropriate analogy, right?).  So let’s move on before thinking about it too much (if “thinking” is something that can at all be applied to such an ad) renders me comatose.

And then there was the wankfest that was the 2 Broke Girls promo.  I’m already confused enough that a show like 2BG is even still on the air (of course, considering Mike and Molly is still a thing, the existence of 2BG should practically be a given) but what confused me even more was the idea that having the title characters (who are the only genuinely likeable thing about the show) do a striptease/pole dance as a way of advertising the show.  Luckily, the commercial’s one saving grace was actually acknowledging how stupid the concept was, but the foul taste was already in my mouth by the time this happened.

Hmm…okay, there was that astronaut > lifeguard Axe commercial, but as far as Axe commercials go, it was less nauseatingly stupid than it could have been, so I’ll leave Axe alone this time.  Even though astronauts and lifeguards got nothing on rock stars, if you ask me.  But then, I don’t pretend that my personal opinion illustrates some sort of universal attractiveness heirarchy, as if such a thing even exists.

The Sketchers commercial where the guy saves an antelope by catching a cheetah and tying it in a knot made me kind of angry, even though I usually have a soft spot when it comes to animals in commercials (more about that soft spot later).  This is because first of all, I think it’s dumb to peddle sneakers on the obviously stupid concept that they’ll actually make you run faster or something.  Now sure, some shoes are more comfortable to run in and for a longer time than others, but no manner of pumped-up-kicks will ever make it possible for man to even come close to catching up with a speeding cheetah, let alone physically twist one into a pretzel and leave it to starve.  And thank goodness for that, too, because cheetahs already have enough natural/biological factors working against their population’s survival.  Also, I don’t really understand why the viewer’s sympathy should inherently favor the gazelle just because it’s lower on the food chain.  Carnivores gotta eat to live too, ya know?

"You are one lucky little meat creature."  -Sokka, who's not much of a threat at the moment, being wedged in the ground.

Sure, it’s cute, but it’s also made of meat.

And one last thing before I get to the commercials that were actually at least halfway good:  THAT FUCKING E-TRADE BABY NEEDS TO DIE.  Every time I see one of those e-trade commercials, I am seized with the immediate and overwhelming urge to sic Jonathan Swift and a pack of hungry dingoes on that thing.  And no, I don’t feel at all bad for feeling this way, as that monster is no baby; it’s a goddamned demon.

The Dorito’s commercial with the dad and all his manly man friends dressing up as princesses with his daughter was pretty cute, even though I have mixed feelings on the whole only-hang-out-with-my-daughter-because-of-Dorito’s thing.  Also, I think most of the humor in the commercial was derived from haha-men-dressed-as-ladies and how men dressing up in makeup and clothes traditionally thought of as “feminine” and/or playing “girly” games is supposed to be a humiliating act that one would only do if bribed with, say, nacho-flavored corn chips.

Speaking of princesses, there was this one really awesome part of an otherwise mostly forgettable Toyota commercial starring (the admittedly very funny and charming) Kaley Cuoco as a genie who grants wishes to a family of four.  One of the daughter’s wishes is to be a princess.  Typical thing for a little girl to wish for, right?  Yeah, well, this little girl gets to be a totally badass princess who wears armor, wields a sword, commands a sizeable army to avenge her father’s death (the only flaw being that her father is still quite obviously alive and well).

Lumpy Space Princess and Turtle Princess from Adventure Time

Ooooooh, you go, gurrrrl!

Oreo had this commercial where a whole library full of people argue over whether the cookie or the cream was the best part of the Oreo.  Usually I find commercials like this kind of dumb, but the sheer absurdity of the escalating chaos that ensues and the fact that no one raises their voice above a whisper even while overturning tables and knocking over bookshelves made me smile in spite of myself.

Okay, now remember when I said I had a soft spot for animals?  Well, I’d never heard of before Sunday night and would probably have no use for their services (I don’t really like driving), but none of that matters because their commercial had wolves in it.  Which, what with them being only MY ABSOLUTE NUMBER ONE FAVORITE ANIMAL, is pretty much a fool-proof way to turn me into a babbling pile of mush, especially when their pups are involved.  I’m not sure about the whole “protective mother wolf” aspect of the commercial, since wolves are not the same as bears, and I think since wolves usually traveling in large groups, there would be less of a chance of a mother wolf, in particular, going out of her way — alone — to rescue her puppy.  And once again, being an advocate for carnivorous mammals in general and wolves in particular, I’m not crazy about the way wolves are continually portrayed as being much of a threat to humans (they’re not, except when rabid or like super desperate).  But whatever.  The point is, this commercial brought the cute.

But the best commercial of the evening, hands down, was the Budweiser commercial with the Clydesdale and the Stevie Nicks and the inter-species best friendship and the everything.  I don’t even like beer (can’t really get into the taste of alcohol), and don’t typically enjoy beer commercials (because they usually cater to the dudebro culture and therefore insult my intelligence), but this commercial was a flipping work of art, in spite of my having no use whatsoever for the product it was intended to sell.  Did I mention that “Landslide” is one of my favorite songs ever, and has brought me to tears on several occasions, or that I want to be Stevie Nicks when I grow up, minus the drugs of course?

Oh, and one last thing:  that one Coca-Cola commercial where all those random people are after Coke in the desert?  And how you’re supposed to vote for who gets to the Coke first?  Well, the answer is pretty obvious to me:  Micky Dolenz gets there first and, finding the Coke machine empty, blows it up, and then giant Victor Mature destroys everyone.  That is the only way situations like this should end.

New M&M’s Commercial Is So Terrible In So Many Ways I Can’t Even

Content warning:  discussion of rape/assault narratives; general awfulness.

Okay, so last night, whilst watching the ol’ boob tube, I happened upon this monstrosity of an advertisement (warning:  unlike the delicious and iconic candy being advertised here, this commercial may very well not be safe for human consumption):

The commercial begins with Miss Brown (M&M’s latest character, who sexism-wise is barely an improvement on the only other female M&M, Miss Green, but let’s not get into that now) hanging out at a party with a human female friend, who warns her to “steer clear of Kristen”, another human lady at the party who apparently cannot control her urge for chocolate, even when that chocolate manifests itself in sentient beings like Miss Brown and the rest of the M&M’s crew.  Can I just say right now how tired I am of seeing women portrayed as chocolate junkies in commercials and other media?  This is usually just a mild annoyance for me, but in this particular commercial, the cliche takes on some dark implications that are absent when thinking, feeling representations of chocolate aren’t involved.  I mean, think about it, this woman’s urge for chocolate is so mind-warpingly strong that it would override her recognition of Miss Brown as a living, autonomous person-type-thing.  “She’ll devour you” if you’re chocolate because she just can’t help herself, which is sort of the excuse most sex offenders try to use to explain their supposed lack of choice when their targets don’t or can’t consent.  And I’m not one to throw around rape analogies lightly, but this commercial starts to look more and more like a rape narrative the further it continues.

Which brings me to the absolutely horrifying conclusion of this icky commercial, in which obnoxious jerk M&M Mr. Red is purposely set up with Kristen by Miss Brown, who conveniently neglects to tell Mr. Red about the woman’s peculiar “problem” (because Miss Brown, who has reason enough to dislike Mr. Red, nevertheless thinks endangering the safety of others is the same thing as doling out a well-deserved prank).  The commercial ends with Mr. Red and Kristen in her car, and when Mr. Red asks if she “want[s] to grab a bite somewhere,” she says “Here’s fine” and locks the door.  Mr. Red says “Oh, no,” and what happens next is left largely to the viewer’s imagination as the perspective switches to an external shot of the car and we hear Mr. Red scream.  Apparently this is supposed to be funny or something.  Too bad the creative team at M&M/Mars don’t understand how funny works.  Because assault is not funny.  No, not even when it’s female-on-male (since a lot of unenlightened people seem to think that female-on-male assault doesn’t exist or something and therefore fictional depictions of such are funny.  Or some crap); not even when it replaces rape with voracious candy consumption.  I’d like to know whom the entire conglomerate of people responsible for this commercial’s conception, greenlighting, and distribution are, because they all need to be fired and/or have their sensitivity glands repaired.  And then spend the next 24 hours watching Law and Order:  SVU (which, actually, isn’t a bad way to spend 24 hours, if you ask me) and write a five-page essay on what they learned about assault not being funny.