Thursday, March 1, 2012

Enough to make you grind your teeth

By guest blogger E.J. Copperman

A car commercial aired during the Oscar telecast Sunday night that just got on my nerves. What better forum to discuss it than in my dear friend Lorraine’s Pet Peeve Thursday?

Commercial pixThis particular ad, directed by the filmmaker Wes Anderson (who has made a lot of films I didn’t especially like, either), depicts a suburban dad doing his very best—which isn’t very good—to make dinner while getting instructions via the phone from his wife, who makes a comment about the “bumper-to-bumper” traffic. Around this poor schlemiel, some strange pudding-type substance is erupting on a table, children are rushing around trying to help, refrigerator magnets are dropping off like dead flies and a small child is eating frozen french fries. That are still frozen.

The beaten-down yutz whines to his wife, “Just hurry. Please.” She, meanwhile, is out in the driveway of their home, luxuriating in the automobile in question, whose manufacturer shall remain nameless (Hyundai), while Jeff Bridges’s voice asks, “Did we make it too comfortable?”

Stick it in your earStick it in your ear, Jeff.

While first of all trying to sell us on the idea that a car so fabulous (and made in the Korea we like) is an excuse to ditch your spouse and ignore your children, the commercial demeans women. By suggesting—as so many such ads do—that men are incapable of keeping a household from falling to pieces on their own, it blatantly insults the male gender.

I’m not a big fan of generalization. I bristle whenever someone starts a sentence with, “Women all…” or “You know, men always…”. People are individuals. This is the gender equivalent of an ethnic joke, and we know how much good THOSE do.

Still, here’s one that I think is funny, because it really doesn’t demean anyone:

I’m just saying: The next time you see a depiction of a man who can’t put together a pasta dinner without instructions from his wife, or a woman who simply couldn’t manage to get the garbage taken out without some brawny guy to help, consider that many of the world’s greatest chefs are men and there are female Marines who can kick your butt from here to Iwo Jima.

Don’t accept such views. Don’t ignore them. But do notice them, and complain. Because that’s how you get stuff to stop.
E.J. Copperman is the author of the Haunted Guesthouse Mystery series, recently continued with OLD HAUNTS. You can find out more about E.J.—whose last name is NOT “Cooperman”—at