If you’re watching something on TV, there’s a strong chance that it doesn’t actually matter. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that the masses won’t have strong opinions about it, anyway. One example is the Super Bowl. It’s a game that pretty much only happens in the U.S., and even less relevant are the commercials that play during it. A couple years ago, Clint Eastwood told America to get off its ass (he later went on to talk to imaginary people). Michael Jordan and Larry Bird once played an epic game of horse. This year, Coca-Cola made Pepsi the drink of racists.
Even though I get obsessed with commercials, I was hoping to avoid writing about Super Bowl ads. Everyone with a keyboard writes about the good and bad ones with their own subjective rating scales. No one is convinced by what they read, they’ve already made up their minds. But a lot of people aired out their phobias on the internet last night, so here we are.
We learned last night that Peyton Manning may not be all that great after all, and that we’re supposed to sing songs in one language at a time.
Coke’s “It’s Beautiful” ad brought out some ugliness. It featured the song “America the Beautiful” sung in English, and then several other languages, all while showing a montage of people of different ethnicities, presumably living in America. Also, kids were diving for bottle caps in a pool for some reason. The message was one of multiculturalism. It was supposed to be a feel-good, “look at how awesome and diverse we are” kind of thing. Sweet and disposable, just like the product it was selling. And for a lot of people, it was. For a vocal subset, it was offensive and threatening.
Let’s be clear on this, “America the Beautiful” is not the National Anthem. That would be “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a poem written by a guy who was so belligerent when the British burned D.C. that he was arrested and witnessed a bunch of ships unsuccessfully trying to blow up a Baltimore fort during the first war we ever lost. It was then set to a tune sung in English bars to determine who was and wasn’t drunk. It’s as American as it gets. And it didn’t even become the theme song of the country until 1931.
“America the Beautiful” is just a song. That’s all. It’s not officially anything other than public domain, which means anyone can sing it in any manner they choose without fear of causing an international incident. It’s a poem written in the 1890s set to a hymn. It’s words, it’s notes, and it’s about how beautiful Colorado is. If anything, we should be offended that Coke was subtly rooting for the Broncos.
As soon as it aired, xenophobes took to their phones to complain that the song was not sung completely in English, which they believed meant that foreigners are coming over here and talking funny. They sometimes confused the song with “The Star-Spangled Banner” and other “yay, America” songs, and they swore off Coca-Cola because they were offended so. How dare these people come to America and not act like whites?
A commercial–for sugar water–came to be an outright assault on Mom and apple pie. DURING THE SUPER BOWL, THE MOST AMERICA THING AMERICA DOES.
We need to all look, speak and think the same way. Leave all that foreign crap to monarchy lovers like RC Cola.