Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

It wasn't a great year for Super Bowl commercials. Most were insipid, boring, or just, well, stupid. Companies dropped the usual bundle for advertising during the premier sporting event in America (over 111 million sets of eyes were watching) and they delivered some pretty disappointing content for all the money spent.

The people of Michigan got an extra "treat." Just prior to the game, a candidate for the Republican nomination to run against Senator Debbie Stabenow ran an ad, and it was a howler. Pete Hoekstra's commercial managed to insult all sorts of people.

U.S. Senate hopeful Pete Hoekstra’s Super Bowl ad is drawing attention. Just not the kind, perhaps, that he had hoped.

The ad features a woman of Asian descent thanking Debbie “Spend-it-now” for her help in driving up what is presumably the Chinese economy.

“Thank you Michigan Senator Debbie Spend-it-now. Debbie spends so much American money,” she says. “You borrow more and more from us. Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you Debbie Spend-it-now.”

The ad manages to hit just about every ugly stereotype of Asians imaginable: the broken English, riding a bicycle around rice paddies with a straw hat dangling on her back. (The video of the ad is available at the link.) It got people's attention, all right.

The reaction was fast, furious and from varying quarters — including a few unlikely places.

Nick DeLeeuw, a conservative activist from the western part of the state, wrote that: “Racism and xenophobia aren’t any way to get things done.”
[Emphasis added]

By that evening, the You Tube of the ad had gone viral and the comments had to be cleaned up. Outrage at the overt racism seemed to be the general consensus from every segment of the targeted audience. Hoekstra promised to respond to the complaints and he did so yesterday. It was a typical response from politicians of his stripe:

In a conference call with reported Monday morning, Hoekstra, a former congressman, denied that the ad is racially insensitive.

"The ad is only insensitive to Debbie Stabenow and her spending," Hoekstra said, adding that "it doesn't criticize the Chinese at all."

Hoekstra said the ad illustrates the fact that China benefits from the "recklessness" of U.S. economic policy. He said the response has been "overwhelmingly positive" and said he is "excited" because "it has jumpstarted the debate" about what he cast as Stabinow's support for reckless spending.

"It's about stopping spending in Washington, and this ad starts the debate," he told reporters.

Right, and Newt Gingrich's dog whistle about the poor children learning the value of work by replacing their school's custodians wasn't about African Americans. Chinese women, including those who live and vote in the US, speak broken English and go around in their silk pajamas wearing straw hats all the time.

What's next? An ad featuring a minstrel show?

What a racist moron.

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Blogger Marcellina said...

That's not even broken English. That's an American woman. Shame on her for taking part.

3:05 AM  

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