Six years ago, I flagged an ugly series of DirecTV commercials. One showed police casually tasering people, yet another approved of stealing stamps from one’s employer. Then there were a series of commercials promoting the satellite company’s NFL package, with the theme that hate is hilarious. Among the incidents featured:
- In Wisconsin, a Green Bay Packers fan welcomes her 49er fan neighbor by leaving a cake on his stoop. The cake reads “DIRT BAG.”
- A group of Patriots fans in wintery Foxboro, Mass. grumble about the Miami Dolphin fan next door (“Moron!” says one woman). One of them throws a shovelful of snow on the Miami fan’s door.
- A Dallas Cowboy fan sends her dog to trash and pee in her Redskin fan neighbor’s house.
- In another Dallas setting, a diner, the waitress expresses her contempt for Philadelphia Eagles fans by secretly squeezing her dishrag into their beers.
That was mild, however, compared to the vicious sentiments being sold in a new DirecTV commercial. A married couple sits down in their living room to watch some television when the husband realizes he forgot to record the show. Jon Bon Jovi appears behind them and sings about the power to turn back time with DirecTV, with its new feature that allows viewers to track down and watch shows after they have been broadcast. to That’s not the only magic they can accomplish by turning back time, the aging rocks star sings. For example, they can go back in time and reconsider having their second child, who looks about 7, and is drawing on the walls.
Poof! He’s gone! His crayons fall to the floor. The boy is erased, and the two parents smile at each other as Bon Jovi smirks.
DirecTV does realize that making a living human being vanish forever is just another way of killing him, right? Why isn’t it immediately obvious that this shows antipathy to children, boys, and human beings generally? The human being who was made to go away because he was inconvenient and burdensome couldn’t have been a girl, because it would be a “war on women,” and the family couldn’t be Hispanic or black, because that wouldn’t have been funny, but a white couple erasing their son from existence because he misbehaves—now that’s comedy gold.
I’m not certain whether the commercial reflects our culture having progressively less respect for human life, whether it pushes us closer to such a culture, or is just the product of sick creeps. (Nobody in the management chain said, “Wait, we show a couple turning back time to get milder salsa, and then have them eliminate their child as if it was in the same category? What the hell is the matter with you people?“) Whichever it is, one thing is clear: DirecTV hasn’t learned anything in six years.
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