Guess I shouldn’t have let my soon-to-be-13-year-old son watch the Super Bowl while he was reading Hemingway on his nook, poised to call me to the tube in time to catch the newest GoDaddy.com commercial. Turns out while I was fiddling, Rome burned down ‘round his innocent ears and eyes as he was exposed to a beer commercial that presented a scenario of bonehead guys crashing a book club and making dopey double entendre to the chicks attending.
As is wont to happen, folks outraged by the ad are online viraling more ad-bang for the beer co’s buck while all atwitter over the abject disrespect shown book clubs. And women. They feel the ad suggests women who read are silly/not all geniuses/not all opposed to men visiting their book clubs/[fill in the blank]. Or that reading is unnecessary in general, or for women/men/pretty women/cute guys/[fill in the blank]. In addition, it’s been attested to by many concerned literati that the beer being advertised isn’t really good anyway. So there.
Even our brother readers bear with Alan Alda-like zeal the banner for female book-club members on this one. For instance, one male online commentator says beware the ad's incontrovertible message which allows men and boys watching to infer that chicks in book clubs happily will halt novel dissection mid-"Pride and Prejudice” to fellate randy-but-not-necessarily-bright guys who make beer-drinking nuisances of themselves while disparaging literacy in barely literate ways.
I missed that part. And, believe me, if you’ve read me here at BN, you can trust I replayed the ad trying to catch it. Because, frankly, even the mere suggestion of some Guys-Gone-Bonehead action might have convinced me to accept an invite to join one of the suburban-mom book groups that assured me they never read romance of any sort.
Years ago, my feminism-is-either-black-or-white world view would’ve colored me affronted out-of-hand by the book-club-crashers beer commercial. But musing on Super-Bowl ads got me thinking about an older Super-Bowl beer commercial which still bothers me. In it, horse flatulence is ignited, and the punch-line of the ad is the hair and face of the woman riding behind the animal being scorched and singed. Now there was a real knee-slapper.
Keeping that in mind, in the scheme of things detrimental to women’s places in society, the state of literacy and men’s opinions of each, I’m not too bent out of shape about a beer ad I think is wicked way more derogatory toward doofy guy stereotypes than chicks or reading.
Like everyone, I’ve got an opinion. But I also exercise my influence close to home, addressing issues like this with my kids when so moved. Hey, there’s an idea: Let’s turn this into a teachable moment for our sons. Remind them that when a woman says no -- you can’t join my book club – she always means no.
What do you think is the ad’s message about book clubs and reading? Do you find it a pop-culture work-of-art in which everyone’s the target of deprecating humor -- or a masterpiece in misogyny and illiteracy promotion?
Michelle Buonfiglio writes daily about romance fiction at BN’s Heart to Heart and RomanceBuytheBook.com and Tuesdays at BN’s Unabashedly Bookish. Buonfiglio also authors the popular RBTB NEWs romance newsletter.
Dying for Romance?: Every day this month, meet and swap comments w/a different top romantic suspense author at BN’s Mystery boards as moderator Becke Davis celebrates Valentine’s Day with a Month of Romantic Suspense!