Monday, December 13, 2010



I was searching for an All-State commercial with a young black couple and the woman is giving her assumed boyfriend an earful over the accident he caused, backing his SUV over a parked car.

Now I don’t know if anyone is familiar with that particular commercial or the ad campaign, but I thought that it was pretty cute. For a brief moment, I felt a ‘twinge’ as it nearly tripped my stereotype alarm, but as broad as the campaign is, I let it go. I mean, there is one where there are three slacker guys, one of whom asks for a hot tub and another with three young women, one of whom looks the ‘Delilah’ part, asking for a ‘bad boy’. To me, the entire series is obviously aiming for middle-brow humor.

I did a web search and came upon a blog that decried the one commercial with the black couple. I read the post and some of the comments and left one of my own. I mentioned that it was not a ‘mocking’ the Sapphire-ish black woman (now that I think of it, it could have been jonesin’ on Alice Kramden-types as well), but was as general and non-offensive as it could be. You can’t look at it stand-alone as it is part of a whole and that the commercials make fun of more than one segment of people and in different areas of life. I would also point out the Farmer’s Insurance commercial series, one in particular that has an older man with his much younger woman friend getting a jet ski stuck in a tree. That commercial said a lot in a little space, as it had the appearance of a vacuous young blond being spoiled by a older, ‘sugar daddy’ who was trying so how young and vital he still was.

Sometimes, a funny gag is just a funny gag. In my mind concerning the All-State ads, it is just a funny gag.

When it comes to humor being not broad but dangerous, the E-Trade commercials come to mind. Last year, it was the one mocking Lindsay Lohan that made light of addiction and substance abuse along with infant girls sending raunchy photos via the web and talking ‘dirty’ over the phone.

The new ads have two baby boys enthralled by nature videos of animals mating. The one baby says to the other, “E-mail this to me,” or something to that effect. That the one baby was coy about what was in his browsers history, said a lot about the content of what they were watching.

Whenever you infantilize adult behavior and project prohibitive or in this case, behavior that is close to pornographic, I have BIG problems with that. Not only are you justifying that kid of stuff for children who watch that stuff, what about the target audience? It is ADULTS who abuse and are addicted to that kind of stuff and man, I know I have sent several emails complaining about the E-Trade ads. No real point to be made, I will let y’all make up your own mind. I know how I feel and that is that with that.

Watching Sports Center on ESPN this morning, there was a segment about Nancy Lieberman, who at age 52, coaches a men’s minor ( the NBA’s D- League) professional basketball team. She is considered to be among the greatest female basketball players of all time. What struck me about her isn’t not she is a woman coaching men but that she is still an attractive woman. What is notable about my finding her attractive NOW is that when she was younger, I did not think twice about her looks or sense an ‘allure’ to her.

I still look at younger girls… but they flash across my mind like shooting stars. It is women who are more ‘age appropriate’ that catch and hold my attention now, more and more in fact. Would I feel comfortable chatting up someone in the late 20’s or early 30’s..? Right now today, sure. But ‘today’ is not about gaming with women (even if honorable intentions are present, there is still some gamesmanship to be involved at the beginning of a relationship) as much as it is to re-establish my direction personally and objectively, of where I am going with my life.


The second song that I attached to my forward vision of my life in Omaha was ‘The Heinrich Maneuver’. When I would listen to this song, I would hear the story of my ‘whatever we are going to have’ with Nebraska being played out. Still do, and with good reason.

But I don't want to take your heart

And I don't want a piece of history

No I don't want to read your thoughts any more

My God

'Cause today my heart swings

Yeah, today my heart swings

I am not going to pretend that there is anything that she is doing or not doing as much as this is about something that there are things that I want to have confirmation of before I go foward. If I hadn’t been stumbling around with an idea that I hoped would have brought me back to Tee Jay, I would adopted an approach that would have had me remaining single and loving it. The paranoia that a new relationship can induce often manifests itself in different ways in different people. If there is any uniformity to that paranoia, it is that it is usually negative and often destructive. I an quite leery, given my condition, my tendancy to be ethusiastic over what I read in my own tea leaves, of becoming involved with a person that I can't figure out to my own satisfaction.

No matter what I may think of myself and of my role in my romantic entanglements, two things stood out: My continuing to be single and a regression on the road to reaching my destiny… not ‘reaching’ but the aim changed. Seeing that correlation, I did not think I would be in the market for a partner, not for a ‘true’ measure of time.

I don’t think that the factors that play into my decision to not want to be a part of a relationship has changed since I envisioned being single ten years ago. Took my shots and missed the mark. Love, unlike horseshoes, hand grenades or ballistic missiles, needs to be on the mark if not a bull’s eye. Maybe things will improve now that distance isn’t that much of an obstacle for us, physically, that is. What I do think is the song has taken on greater significance for me and what it means as far as my outlook regarding ‘us’.

The things that I have learned by going ‘back in time’ while I was in Detroit only verified what I and many of long time followers of my journal have confirmed about me… I am a decent if flawed cat, taken a misstep or two (or three… okay, okay, more like four or five… who the heck is counting?) but some should take a chance on me, cause I ain’t so bad!!


LceeL said...

I think that Allstate commercial is hilarious. I think anyone who would complain about it has to be a bit thin skinned, and, perhaps, has a bit too much time on their hands.

And as far as Etrade commercials go? If the intended audience was kids I'd say "yes - something wrong there". But the audience for those commercials is adult. Kids don't sit there and day trade all day - well, most don't, anyway. I think those commercials are catchy and humorous - just like they were intended to be. So we disagree.

On the other hand - if you and I agreed on EVERYTHING, there wouldn't be any point in reading you.

Toon said...

People need to lighten up. Gay men like myself have learned that not having a sense of humor about ourselves helps no one.

mrs. miss alaineus said...

how did weather the big snow? everything is closed here except DPS (which explains why i am commenting mid-monday morning.)

the nebraska concept isnt a concept anymore. since you are there it's no longer an abstraction or a zephyr of a thought....whatever shall it be called now i don't know- the word is just beyond the tip of my tongue.

concept to reality....job well done. a long day's journey into night (thank you eugene). rest well and collect bits of stars like grains of sand in your pocket.


That corgi :) said...

Totally agree with you about the E-trade commercials, Mark; glad you did some emailing in complaints about them too.

It is interesting to read the Nebraska Concept and I think time will tell what will happen or not happen in relationships now that you are physically there. Whatever happens, I'll keep reading (maybe not always commenting, but reading) about the events as you choose to share them, of course respecting everyone's privacy :)


FrankandMary said...

I sometimes offend people when I am actually going out of my way NOT to offend anyone. I've stopped caring..unless I hurt someone I love, otherwise, everyone can get offended by almost anything if they have a mind to.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

You are absolutely a decent cat :o)