KABOOM! Just…KABOOM!

atom-bomb-cloud

Now I think understand why Ann Althouse, an intelligent, rational lawyer and law professor, has begun holding a “Most Loved Rat” contest on her blog to see which of her rat doodles are most popular. I’m less creative, I guess (though I also draw good rat cartoons!)—my head just explodes. It exploded last night.

It’s hard to explain exactly what did it.  Here I was, watching a series of baseball play-off games (since the Red Sox had been eliminated by the Cleveland Indians the day before), and Neil Patrick Harris appeared yet again to tell me that “Heineken Light makes it OK to flip another man’s meat.” (I wrote about the gratuitous vulgarity of this ad here. Apparently this makes me a homophobe.)

Wait…isn’t flipping another man’s meat sexual assault? What is the difference, in lack of respect and sexual assault ethics, between grabbing a woman by the pussy, as Donald Trump so eloquently put it, because you’re a rich celebrity, and flipping another man’s meat because…of beer? 

How is this TV commercial, running at 6:17 EST when kids are watching baseball with their parents, charming, harmless and funny, even though it is intentionally broadcast to millions, while poor Billy Bush, who did little more than play along with Donald Trump while he was alluding to sexual assault hyperboles of approximately equal vulgarity, sees his job gone and his career destroyed by the same network that runs this ad repeatedly? (Not last night, but at other times, and often.)

How is smirking Neil Patrick Harris, a gay man, still cute while making this suggestion, while Billy Bush, equally smarmy, not quite as talented, but also not accepting money to be publicly vulgar and assuming that he is not going to be broadcast to millions, outed himself as a danger to women by playing Mini-Me to The Donald eleven years ago? An esteemed commenter just asserted on another thread that women at NBC should be afraid of Bush now. Should men who perform with Harris be similarly wary? Just gay men? All men? All attractive men? Or is it all harmless, because Neil is joking? Bush wasn’t joking?

Is the distinction that Harris is scripted, and Bush was just talking? So if comments making light of sexual assault are written and filmed for mass viewing, that’s acceptable, but spontaneous comments implying similar attitudes that were never intended to be widely viewed are a firing offense?

Is the main distinction  that sexual assault jokes about men are funny, but sexual assault jokes about women are taboo? Wait, how does that square with feminism and gender equality?

I multi-process during baseball games, and a bit before the first running of the meat-flipping ad, I had read on my laptop about Joy Behar’s comment on The View yesterday.

It was a segment on some of Bill Clinton‘s rape and sexual assault accusers attending the debate, and being evoked during the debate by Donald Trump in his attacks on Hillary. Behar suggested that Clinton should have responded, “I would like to apologize to those tramps that have slept with my husband.” Wait—wasn’t it Hillary who said that the accusations of victims of sexual assault had a right to be believed? Isn’t the assumption that the woman is to blame when a husband cheats the height of sexism? Never mind that none of the accusers being discussed had any consensual sexual relationship with Bill Clinton at all, making Behar’s “joke” factually false as well as disgusting. Why is Behar’s dishonest sexism, displayed intentionally before a national TV audience, treated as a “mistake” that she was allowed to apologize for this morning, case closed, no harm done? ABC forgives a show host who cruelly and unfairly denigrates women on the air, and NBC destroys a host for being caught on a video joining in a smirk-fest with the guest of an NBC show.

Reconcile those for me, please, without using the words, “double standard.”

Then Harris’s ad ran again. And again. I saw it six times last night, on three channels. But that’s not all. There was also one new commercial that ended with an animated elephant talking about peanuts and saying, I have no idea why, because I only caught the end:

“I mean, who wants to eat something that begins with pee and ends with nuts?”

Oh, niiice. “Nuts” alluding to male  genitals is playful fare, but “tits,” which was one of the taboo words Bill Bush didn’t slap Donald Trump silly for saying in a conversation intended for two individuals only, is unforgivable.  Got it.

No, in fact I don’t. I don’t get it at all.

The popular culture, which includes everything on TV, and liberals, who disdained simple civility as “up-tight” censorship from the 1960s on, have worked overtime for decades to coarsen U.S. culture in discourse, entertainment, personal demeanor and dress. They paved the way for Donald Trump, whose vulgar public conduct and modes of expression would have made him a pariah before this cultural rot was planted and cultivated. Moreover, his manners are the manners of a large proportion of those who create and administer what we see and hear as entertainment, advertising and news.

I agree that the video revealed the awfulness of Donald Trump and his utter lack of fitness to be President, but that awfulness and unfitness had already been on full display. I understand why Democrats have the gall to behave as if their continued idolizing of Bill Clinton isn’t completely hypocritical, for though there should be little doubt that he has had thousands of equally repulsive conversations about women and his power-fueled conquests of them—because that’s the kind of creep he is—this is politics and it has been well-established that journalists and confused voters will let them, and him,  get away with it.

The popular media, however, is ethically estopped from acting as if the miserable values that Trump exhibits have not been encouraged, enabled, and flagrantly exploited by them, routinely and oppressively, and still are, even while they pretend condemn them when it’s expedient to do so.

The full, cynical, hypocritical import of this only began to sing out as I watched Neil Patrick Harris grin about flipping my meat.

Kaboom.

42 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Kaboom!, Marketing and Advertising, Popular Culture, U.S. Society, Workplace

42 responses to “KABOOM! Just…KABOOM!

  1. The beer commercial is stupid and unfunny. But doesn’t the commercial make a joke about consensual adult activity, not assault?

    • At the end, after the meat-man objects. The opening statement, however, is as I stated it. “Heineken Light makes it OK to flip another man’s meat” does not suggest consent, and is no different in principle from “power and celebrity make it OK to grab a woman by the pussy.”

      Just dumber.

      • Chris

        “Flipping a man’s meat” is an obvious double entendre. It doesn’t mean what it sounds like; that’s the joke. I think I’m forbidden from saying more, but this was clearly not the case is the other example, unless there were actual felines around that bus.

        • I get the joke, but do you really think a smutty double meaning that si intended defuses the offensiveness when its in an inappropriate context? Two guys talking vs. on a national TV commercial…

          • Chris

            Definitely. Between the double entendre, the absence of the non-consensual implication, the lack of sexism…I think it’s many, many degrees of difference.

            I’m imagining a similar commercial with two women: “Heineken Light makes it OK to try another woman’s taco.” Still filthy, but not misogynistic or rapey.

            • How about “grab another woman’s taco”? You seem to have bent over backwards to avoid that.

              Do you recall that there was an earlier episode in the GOP debates campaign involving pussy. A woman in a rally said that Cruz was a pussy, and Trump said,
              “She just said a terrible thing. Shout it out, ’cause I don’t wanna say it.” “Pussy!You’re not allowed to say… pussy,
              and I never expect to hear that from you again. She said — I never expect to hear that from you again — she said he’s a pussy. Terrible! Terrible. That’s terrible.”

              When did pussy become the word from hell? I thought it was the act described, not the word. And as acts go, “flipping a man’s meat” is an exact match/

  2. Jack, I half-way see your point. Gay puns (if you want to call it that) are usually not damning. Straight men would laugh at that and gay men would not be offended. Straight women would find that funny and it would challenge their man’s masculinity by the whole ides. I DO NOT think it is an appropriate commercial and I think NPH shouldn’t have stooped so low. But you cannot possibly compare it to the tape of The Donald, Neil didn’t say penis, cock, etc. And a 59 yr old professional shouldn’t be using the word pussy in terms of grabbing them by. Sounds to me like you are normalizing what Trump said by comparing it loosely to the commercial. Has there been any negative feedback or public outrage regarding the commercial?

    • luckyesteeyoreman

      “Has there been any negative feedback or public outrage regarding the commercial?”

      Yes. But I won’t post the link to the article I saw. Because, after all, the outrage is dismissable because it’s all coming from faux-puritanical, hypocritical homophobic Jesus freaks. Nothing to read there.

  3. Thank you sooooo much for writing this post. I’ve been watching the playoffs with my 26 year old grandson and I can’t tell you how uncomfortable that “meat” ad makes me feel. I thought at my age I was just getting old and outdated, but glad to know it’s not just me.

    • I turn that damned ad off every time it flickers on.
      And I don’t even know what it means! It’s just creepy-crude.
      Luckily for the beer maker, they aren’t losing sales to me.

      • Honestly, please share with us why the ad is “creepy-crude” to you. I’m not putting you on the spot, I really want to know why it is bothersome to you? Were you bothered by Trump’s remarks, “Grab them by the pussy?” or did you take that in stride since that is the typical masculine thing one says about a women?

        • What’s creepy and crute about a prime time ad saying that beer makes it OK to sexually molest a man, referring to his “meat,” a common euphemism for male genitals ? Gee, what COULD it be? Huh. Well, I’m stumped! Nothing crude or creepy that I can see. I especially like NPH’s cute head tilt on “meat.” No innuendo there! Nothing suggestive or smutty! Meat is meat.

          Dumbest question here in at least three months.

        • And as your comments keep crawling up the jerk scale, nobody, including lucky, has said that “is the typical masculine thing one says about a women.” Its not typical, its not acceptable, its not masculine. It’s being an asshole. The point is that men talking like assholes to other men about women is neither rare nor harmful, just rude and ugly. Men also urinate outside in public places sometimes. It’s crude, but I am not exactly horrified by it. I don’t do either, and I’ve taught my son not to do either. You are, however, a special case, arguing that a commercial about “flipping another man’s meat” is innocent, and a captured moment of lewdness that was not intended for general consumption is proof of depravity.

          • valkygrrl

            Not harmful?

            Talking about women in the way Trump did before he mentioned touching them may or may not be harmful, I think it is, you clearly don’t, but doing the things Trump described is harmful. And treating the things Trump described as acceptable is harmful. After hearing between men over and over that you can do those things, men will do those things. Many men do those things. You complain about marijuana advocates so why is this different?

            • Stop it: he didn’t DO anything. He spoke. Speaking, boasting and joking isn’t doing. I have had it with this false representation.

              1. Yes, doing those things is possibly illegal. Saying you did them, want to do them, think someone else should do them or any combination isn’t doing them. And if you can tell me how a conversation between to people hurts anyone else, even if they discuss torture and mayhem, laughing like fiends, please enlighten me.

              2. “And treating the things Trump described as acceptable is harmful.” I don’t know of a single person who has done that. Certainly no one here. A straw man.

              3. “After hearing between men over and over that you can do those things, men will do those things.” Baloney. And people who watch violent movies go out and kill someone. Utter nonsense. Talking is a substitute for doing in most cases.

              4. Many men do those things. What do they have to do with this conversation? Nothing.

              5. What is this, hysterical comment night? Pot advocates? I have spoken about those who advocate disobeying the law, in public, in articles. When Trump publishes an essay on why sexual assault should be legal, let me know.

  4. Rusty Rebar

    The cognitive dissonance on this issue is deafening.

  5. Wayne B

    If anybody of the same sex tries to “flip my meat”, he will get a knuckle sandwich. I guess that make a homophobe or something.

    • Wayne B, you don’t get it and NO, no gay man is looking to flip your meat. You can do that on your own time. That does NOT make you a homophobe, you are just choosy on who touches your meat. However, in Jack’s context, how would you feel about a guy who bragged about grabbing the privates of your wife or daughter? I already know your reaction and it pales in comparison to flipping your meat as Jack is suggesting.

      Maybe Jack is trying to get a “rise” in us…….OMG….that was sexual too!

    • valkygrrl

      What if he’s six inches taller than you? What if he’s surrounded by his buddies who are also six inches taller than you? What if he’s wealthy?

      What if he and his buddies sue you for punching him and deny that he ever touched you? What if they try to shame you in public to a million twitter followers and /b/? What if they beat the crap out of you? What if other people don’t take your side at all and say he was just flirting and you’re too sensitive? It was just a touch he didn’t hurt you and real men are sexually aggressive.

      You could probably defend yourself from sexual assault and no that doesn’t make you a homophobe. It makes you lucky. Not everyone is.

  6. dragin_dragon

    To Wayne…not really. It makes you someone who will defend against being sexually assaulted. Go for it, Bro!

    To address the actual issue…Heiniken’s is a beer that I used to like. Couldn’t afford it unless Sam’s Club had it on sale, but I liked it. I’ve seen this commercial and it actually make me retch. No more Heiniken’s for me. None. Done and done.

  7. What if Matt Damon, Patrick Dempsey or even Hugh Jackman did the commercial? would it be less offensive to you Jack? Or a straight burley football Pro? Jack you are married and I would think, even if it wasn’t P.C., that you would be totally disgraced with Trump’s words. By you comparing it to lamer examples and maybe “locker room talk” FOR A 59 YR OLD , you are ultimately excusing him. There is an article about if Trump had applied for a Fortune 500 job, that he would have been eliminated. And, frankly, the President of the USA is more than even a Fortune 100 job, as it’s reported.

    • What? It makes no difference at all, except to the minority of viewers who know Harris is openly gay, and even then, that just adds an inside joke, if that. Me, I don’t care who the actor is: the lines are smutty, not the performer. The point is that what he says, and that networks happily air, is not much different from what people are going bonkers over with Trump.

      Can you guess what would have happened if a candidate 10 years ago threatened to flip an adversary’s meat?

      I think I made my position clear as glass. Trump’s disgusting, but I knew that. I assumed that he behaved like this, and everyone else should have, and most who thought about it DID. This was so far down the list of horrible conduct by Trump, and since I have been present in many, many settings where men of better character said equally awful things (and worse), and because I assume that about 95% of those acting as if Trump revealed himself as the Devil Incarnate in that video have also witnessed and even taken part in such conversations at one time, I find the reaction by everyone, especially Republicans, who should have known something like this was out there, utterly ridiculous and hypocritical.

      You will not find a single word written by me that excuses Trump in any way. Pointing out that the reaction is ridiculously overblown is not excusing him at all. This is a silly comment Wade. What does age have to do with anything? Gross and boorish young pigs grow up to be gross and boorish old ones. Why are you citing an article that states the obvious? I have said consistently that Trump’s miserable character disqualifies him for any position of trust. Who are you arguing to? He would be rejected for bar membership. The clergy. What’s your point? We knew all of this, and I’ve written it for years.

      His words, however, do not make him a sexual predator. Why does that matter, if he’s already disqualified?

  8. Other Bill

    I needed some clarity on this so I googled what “flip a man’s meat” means and came up with this from the Urban Dictionary:

    “Usually used when chatin shit about last nights girl you had.
    Flipping the meat is when you flip your girl over on to either side to get access to a different hole.
    Shit nigga, I love to flip the meat with my girl.”

    So for gay guys I guess it means “can I turn you over and penetrate your anus with my penis.”

    Well, now at least I know.

    What a really gratuitously nasty commercial. It runs nearly every inning of every game.

    And doesn’t it make sense for historically discriminated against minorities to not do stupid, inflammatory things? But I guess not. I guess Act Up is still a viable strategy.

    • max

      I’ve been told it refers to hand-job.

      Apparently I’m the only one who noticed the reference to alcohol in the ad, give a man Heineken so it is OK to flip his meat. I would think in today’s climate alcohol advertisers would shy away from anything suggesting getting someone drunk to take sexual advantage of them, but apparently it is acceptable for a homosexual male.

      • No, I noticed that: it’s explicit.

        • Other Bill

          Until I looked up the Urban Dictionary definition, I had surmised it was code for a hand job as well. But it sure seemed snottily obscure to me, one of the uninitiated, I guess. It’s not hip to not be cool.

          • The urban dictionary is not an authority.

            • But, the Urban Dictionary might be the best way available for Other Bill and me to get as near as possible to knowing the truth about meanings of some terms, including the still vague (to me) “flip another man’s meat.” I especially appreciate Other Bill’s use of “snottily obscure;” it’s like he and I had a mind-meld there.

              Okay, sure, I can let my imagination run…and before letting it attain a jog, after briefly pondering the context of the use of the phrase, “flip another man’s meat,” I can imagine that “flip” involves some kind of action involving use of hands, and “meat” means male organs (either the penis or the scrotum, or both). I already did that – imagining – the very first time I saw the ad, because there was something about the ad that obviously I wasn’t “getting.”

              I did know about Harris’s sexual style long before I ever saw the ad. So I surmised exactly the same as Other Bill (before he found out more in the Urban Dictionary) – “hand job” – even if OB and I perhaps arrived at surmising the same as a result of navigating different paths. I had to surmise further that if there was something catchy to any audience about the ad and use of that phrase, it was probably some extra innuendo or even inside joke of some kind about which I was ignorant. Hence, the ad put me off – making me resentful of what struck me as “snotty obscurity.”

              Contrary to what I am sure many commenters here think of me, I work hard to avoid being ignorant. News flash: I’m human; slaying my ignorance still does not always immunize me from the “ick factor.” So yes: I am “icked-out” at the thought of one man handling another man’s genitalia for sexual pleasure. That thought will never, ever normalize or “un-ick” in my mind. An ad with suggestion of that thought – or of some action still beyond, such as Other Bill shared – will not make me laugh, smile, grin, or think “ha-ha.” It sure as hell won’t sell beer to me, either.

              Lastly, I appreciate max’s comment, which connected the dots for me (finally!) between the beer and the flipping, so that I could explain to myself (before I could explain to anyone else, like wade756) what I could not explain earlier, about why the beer ad with NPH is “creepy-crude” to me. I am sure the beer-maker revels all the way to the bank while being able to produce a legal date-rape drug. (That was not sarcasm.)

              • Other Bill

                Lucky, I well remember the day I realized I had outgrown the beer demographic. It might have been the Budweiser Bikini Skydiving Team campaign. In any event, it was a shock. But I got over it.

    • Rusty Rebar

      Somehow I doubt you are being genuine here, but i’ll bite.

      When someone refers to a mans “meat” they are talking about his penis, plain and simple.

      When someone asks to “flip a mans meat” they are, in all likelihood talking about touching/playing with his penis.

      How that is not clear to you is a mystery to me, my only conclusion is that you do not participate in popular culture, and have not been aware of it for the last 30 years.

  9. Jack, I joined this blog because I am democrat yet wanted to learn an “unbiased” side of your right winged side. I know you don’t hate “gays” yet this last blog is troublesome to me. You are making a “gay” issue out of nothing. I am unsubscribing. Thank you to all of you who have respectfully shared with me and added an additional dialogue to this blog, i.e. Steve-O and others.

    • Wade, that’s ridiculously unfair. I didn’t say it was a gay issue at all, nor do I see it as one. It’s a civility issue, a double standards issue, and a hypocrisy issue. The post would be exactly, and I mean exactly the same if a woman was the actor in the spot. I mentioned that Harris is gay because he’s the one in the commercial, and that’s part of the “joke” (or at least the gay community seems to think so.) I don’t care about the inside joke—it’s vulgar language involving one individual touching another individual’s genitals without consent, just like Trump’s statement. It’s pretty simple. I’m sorry its too complicated for you.

      Furthermore, this is not a “right wing blog.” If the ethical positions I take don’t jibe with those of progressives as often, that’s because progressive are frequently wrong, not because I’m biased. Perhaps this occurs because they too often reason like you did here—emotionally and badly, and don’t really process arguments they don’t like.

      Tell you what: I’ll just ban you, and you can figure out how to unsubscribe yourself. I didn’t subscribe you.

  10. I agree that the video revealed the awfulness of Donald Trump and his utter lack of fitness to be President, but that awfulness and unfitness had already been on full display.

    Reconcile those for me, please, without using the words, “double standard.”

    That is the key word.

    Double standard.

    Nothing dissolves standards more effectively than double standards.

    And sadly, it was the American electorate as a whole, with their approval of Bill Clinton at 60+%, after he was exposed as having committed perjury to defeat a sexual harassment lawsuit, who condoned the double standard.

  11. But what is the purpose of such an ad? What is it doing? What is its intention?

    In “After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s” a plan for the normalization of homosexuality into American (and world) culture is outlined. Make the idea of the choice homosexuality and that activity the same as one person liking vanilla and another chocolate, or one person liking the color blue and another purple: just a matter of taste. No other implications.

    Now, the 90s are long gone but the ‘agenda’ has continued forward. It has taken 20 years and now to even have the thought that homosexuality, as a culture-wide value, and one taught to children and make ‘normal’, it is THAT THOUGHT which is not understood as deviant. Amazing!

    When national advertising (the propaganda industry and the public relations psychological manipulation industry) now bring the two ‘choices’ out onto the national stage, and the one who says ‘no’ seems to be the somewhat backward one (my read), the meaning is pretty clear.

    It is another way to *sell* the homosexual option. In another 20 years who can guess what advertising will bring to us?

    Once people lose the ground under their feet, once their own moral sense or their natural sense of right and wrong/good and bad is decided by others, and one’s their natural inclinations are deliberately undermined by ‘agendas’ like this one clearly is and has been, there seems to be no limit to the perversion they can be introduced to.

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