Football As Culture War: America Is Beautiful But Wait Why Are Those Brown Faces On My Tee Vee Screen?
For anyone (understandably) remaining deep in their cave: There was a big-deal football game Sunday, and many of its much-hyped, over-priced ads featured images and narratives celebrating those once-all-American concepts of tolerance, diversity and opportunity. Coke recycled a 2014 ad declaring that "America is beautiful" by showing all the multi-colored, multi-lingual people who like to drink its sugar water; the company said it sought to promote "inclusion and (celebrate) humanity" - all good, you'd think. Airbnb also showed diverse faces, insisting, "The World Is More Beautiful The More You Accept." The Pennsylvania-based, progressive-minded 84 Lumber Co. aired a poignant, cut-by-Fox-News story of an immigration journey by a mother and daughter to proclaim, "The will to succeed is always welcome here." Causing the most indignation, Budweiser - so patriotic it famously, disastrously tried changing its name last summer to America, for God's sake - portrayed the fraught journey from Germany to a suspicious America of one of its founders.
The clamorous uproar was swift, and would have been laughably inept if not for its hateful core. #BoycottCoke reportedly took off even before the ad had finished airing, because, agh, languages other than English and skin colors other than white declaring our country beautiful. Skeptics were almost as plentiful as supporters; noted one, "If this ad offends you, it's time to take a good long look in the mirror at your racist face." #BoycottBudweiser was probably the most bizarre effort: While Fox stooped to fact-checking the story and fans of the ban offered remarks like, "We don't need your beer, your opinions, and your illegal immigrants," many others noted the hashtag was misspelled, deeply ironic given the company is now Belgium-based, and misplaced given the crappiness of the beer: "It's called BudLight because fermented garbage water doesn't fit on the can."
The faltering boycotts were followed Monday by the release of yet another ban-bashing ad from a Mexican airline insisting walls don't work, the declaration by U.K. political leaders that Trump is too racist and sexist to be allowed to speak to their House of Commons, and most vitally by the news that almost 100 technology companies - including the massive likes of Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, as well as smaller firms such as Uber, Reddit and Netflix - had filed a legal brief supporting Washington state’s lawsuit opposing the travel ban, charging both that it would harm the economy and many thousands of workers, and that it's unconstitutional. The flood of opposition, including by so many key companies hawking so many vital goods, suggests to some that we might eventually reduce the right wing of the country to "living off squirrel meat & pond water."
Above all, the widespread resistance by so many economically and culturally mainstream players reveals to what extent it's in fact Trumpsters fighting on the wrong side of history who are increasingly inhabiting the "bubble" that progressives were once charged with living in (with their unicorns). When Lady Gaga sings at half-time that everyone - black, white, gay, straight, is "born to survive," and when Coke and Budweiser join the cry of outrage, notes The Nation's Dave Zirin, "the wind is at our back." The "thrum of political fervor" behind the ads could be viewed as an uber-American effort to "commodify dissent," he concedes, "b ut it is stunning that the suits of Madison Avenue - after years of erectile-dysfunction and sexist godaddy.com ads - feel something in the air that they yearn to commodify." And don't forget the game's end, he adds: "Great comebacks should remind us that nothing is set in stone."