Is this what the culture has accomplished with its hard won respect for and acceptance of gay Americans? Really?
Neil Patrick Harris has done a series of quirky, benign spots for Heineken Light, perhaps to lure us into a false sense of ease. For in his most recent commercial, Harris notes, as he stands next to a man grilling barbecue, that Heineken Light makes it OK “to flip another man’s meat.”
This is another in a long and growing list of TV ads based entirely on the assumption that adults think it’s hilarious to suggest obscene or vulgar innuendos. I’ve written about this phenomenon before, which is merely the normalization of crudeness in our discourse, nothing more, but nothing less either. So now we have gay sexual innuendo by an openly gay actor to advertise beer. Isn’t that great? Boy, Heineken must be so proud.
The grill guy replies to the puckish—or flirtations?—former-Doogie that no man can do that, but late, Harris asks him: “Can I flip your meat?”
Wow, that’s just hilarious! Why is it hilarious? Because it’s naughty? Because it’s daring? It’s certainly not clever, and if virtually defines the word “gratuitous.” It it a challenge to viewers, daring them to question the taste of joking about “flipping a man’s meat” when they routinely accept gross commercials with vulgar and gratuitous—you know, like this —heterosexual double entendres? Is the assumption that gays will giggle, guffaw and slap each other on the back when they see this! “Good own, Neil!” Really? How insulting.
I can’t wait for the masturbation double-entendres in credit card and bank commercials.
Here’s Heineken’s slimy and evasive response to criticism about the spot:
“We’ve received lots of positive feedback for the campaign overall since launching all of the videos this spring. We’ve especially seen some great traction on digital. We’ve partnered with Neil for three years to create commercials with the same fun and cheeky sense of humor our consumers have come to expect. He’s one of the most respected actors in the business, and we’re proud to be working with him on this current phase.”
Translation: “Hey, there are plenty of vulgar, lewd, moronic consumers who can’t get enough smut. We’re not the ones who are out of step, you are!”
By all means, use Neil for the cheeky ads eluding to anal sex. Those will be hilarious to that market too. I’m sure he’d be happy to do them.
There is no justification for polluting television and the culture with such ick, and it is irresponsible and disrespectful to TV audiences to do it.
As I noted earlier this year, the useful and natural filter we used to have on language has been shot full of holes by too many high profile boors to mention, although the fact that one Presidential candidate is one of them doesn’t help.
“Does everybody want to live in a society where everyone from executives, pundits and actors to nannies, athletes and bank tellers are routinely spewing cunt, fuck, suck and motherfucker like Samuel L. Jackson on a bad day? That’s where we’re heading,” I wrote. Isn’t it inspiring to know that our newfound comfort with gay sexuality is able to contribute to this cultural progress, a.k.a rot?
I need a beer
It will NOT be a Heineken.