Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Men Behaving Badly




First, a top physicist was forced to make an apology for the loud bowling shirt he wore while telling the world of the incredible landing of a robot spaceship on a far distant comet, and now Coca-Cola has come under fire for its splashy new milk ads.  Apparently, there is no longer any room for pin-up girls on the wall.

The incredible landing of the spaceship Rosetta on a comet far, far away was no match for the indignation voiced over Matt Taylor's shirt, which featured a collage of pin-up girls.  Granted, it was probably not the best choice of wardrobe for the occasion, but it seems the media was less excited about this major accomplishment than they were his bowling shirt.  We all know scientists are eccentrics after watching The Big Bang Theory.   Fashion faux pas are the norm on the show, and what is Kaley Cuoco if not a pin-up girl come to life.  However, Matt probably should have taken fashion tips from Sheldon Cooper, eccentric but not overtly sexist.

No beverage seems out of bounds for Coca-Cola, which has launched its new premium milk product with a retro set of advertisements that would make Sterling Cooper proud.  For seven seasons Mad Men has presented the sexist world of 60s advertisement in the name of high brow entertainment.  It seems Coke's "Drink What's She's Wearing" ad campaign lacked the requisite irony to consider it good taste.  For the record, the Fairlife milk webpage is much more prosaic and informative.

The sad part is that all this angst over what physicists wear and how Coke chooses to package its new product diminish what are actually two major accomplishments.  I guess you can blame Matt for distracting the media with his "offensive" display, but what Matt had to say for outweighed what he wore.  Coca-Cola actually has a good product, which it distributes for the McCloskeys, who developed the high nutrition drink, thanks to better care of cattle and a filtering process that removes much of the fat and sugar from the product, without any additives.  Of course, you would never know it the way the media has seized on the ad campaign.

We have to be ever more careful how we present ourselves to the public these days.  In a lengthy interview with Frank Rich, which has been heavily cribbed by the media, Chris Rock says it's tough to play a college crowd today, as you don't know who you will offend with your off-color humor and/or political views.  Just ask Bill Maher.  Tough to play any place for that matter.

Yet, we see Mad Men get away with its haughty brand of sexism in the name of irony, even if the show essentially condones men behaving badly.  The same could be said for the highly popular The Big Bang Theory, as it gets away with the same rude behavior in the name of good clean fun.  Even Yahoo News! can't resist using a provocative photo as a link to a news story.

We pick the strangest things to vent our moral outrage on.


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