I hate commercials, but the Super Bowl commercials are pretty fucking decent.
It’s true. Super Bowl commercials are usually more poignant, more true to life, funnier, or more pertinent than commercials at any other time of year. So imagine my surprise and chagrin when I came across this article by inspirational, minimalist-living-guru Joshua Becker entitled “7 Life Misconceptions Portrayed in the Super Bowl Ads”
1. Super Bowl commercials claim that happiness is for sale.
Joshua says this is a blatant lie because “happiness cannot be purchased no matter how hard we search for it in material possessions.” I completely disagree.
Example: Coca-Cola promotes “Open happiness”
Dude, it’s the little things. Happiness, if viewed from this perspective, is totally for sale, and I am definitely buying it. Opening a Coke does, indeed, bring me a moment of satisfaction. Does it fix all my problems? No, of course not. It’s a beverage, not a check to pay off my house. Does it make my daughter NOT have to flip back-n-forth between two homes? No, of course not. It’s a drink, not a lawyer.
Does a can of Coke make relationships better? Does it help ease a bad mood? Does it make life a little easier to deal with? I’m going with a large, emphatic *HELL TO THE YEAH* because drinking a Coke does, indeed, provide me with some small measure of joy. I’m not talking “cure for cancer” here, folks. I’m talking about a moment of pure bliss, wherein I can gather my thoughts and dive back in and fix some damage.
You’re right in that Coke isn’t a cure-all, but hearing that pop-tab followed by the fizz of carbon stimulates a pleasure center in my brain and releases some kind of hormone which I shall refer to as endorphins, even if that’s incorrect because I don’t really know about that kind of thing. Pouring a slightly frozen Coke into a glass of ice, watching the cubes pop, seeing the frosty mug and the chips of condensation slide down the sides — yeah, baby. For one tiny moment, the world is definitely a better place in which to live. Cancer be damned.
Observant people might draw one of two conclusions from my cray-cray reaction to Coke:
a. Don’t forget to smell the roses. Take a moment to enjoy the small pleasures in life. You can find a tiny bit of happy for less than a dollar. Buy it.
b. Calm doesn’t happen by itself. Prayer and/or meditation are perfectly acceptable ways to find your center and be at peace. When I silence the world, for just a moment, I am one with the universe. Sometimes a product can help that process. Buy it.
2. Super Bowl commercials claim that self-confidence can be quickly found in the right purchase.
Joshua says this is a blatant lie because “putting your confidence in an automobile or stick of deodorant is not the same as finding it in yourself.” I completely disagree.
Example: Speed Stick promotes “self-confidence”
Dude, have you ever heard of a power suit? Or an athlete’s lucky underwear? Or a writer’s favorite pen? I am always at my best when I feel pretty (or at least not quite ugly, har har) and when I know I smell good and when I’m wearing something that for me portrays my inner strength. I’m not saying I stick a feather in my cap and believe it will make me fly; I’m not a Dumbo. But I also know that wearing my long-sleeve, boring, librarian-esque, grey, button-up sweater over my pajamas or day clothes or whatever I happen to be dressed in at any particular moment — makes me feel ready to write. That’s just the way it is. I put on my Writing Sweater and I am a Writer who is busy Writing. My Writing Sweater does, indeed, quickly lend me the self-confidence to Write All the Words.
I want a pair of black boots. Why? Because wearing them will make me feel like a badass, plain and simple. Our outer appearance matters NOT in how others perceive us, but in how we perceive ourselves, thereby causing others to believe whatever story we’re selling. If I am wearing my black boots out in the world, I am kicking ass and taking names. It doesn’t matter to me one iota what people think of me, because what I think of myself is way more important.
I don’t have black boots yet, but I do have mascara. If I am out in the world without mascara, I feel like my eyes aren’t open enough, and that I look dopey. Thinking that I look dopey makes me FEEL dopey. And then suddenly, I start ACTING dopey. Compare this pajama-clad individual with the marching bitch from the previous paragraph.
Perfume? The perfect olfactory stimulant can push me into action. Lemon scents make me want to Clean All the Things. A steaming cuppa coffee makes me want to sit down, grab a pen, and start making lists. You better believe that my Britney Spears Curious perfume makes me feel confident. That shit smells good, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about it. If I’m wearing that stuff, I am busy conquering the world, and you should get the fuck out of my way.
Self-confidence can DEFINITELY be bought, just like happiness can. We attach very strong feelings to smells and looks and textures. Know what works for you and run with it.
3. Super Bowl commercials claim that youth culture represents the pinnacle of life’s seasons.
Joshua says this is a blatant lie because with age, “maturity and wisdom have taken root.” I completely disagree.
Example: Taco Bell indicates the “youth” season of life is to be among the most praised, promoted, and desired.
I don’t mean to be disrespectful here, but I’m going to go ahead and be disrespectful here. Anyone who praises maturity is a fuddy-duddy. My 19-year-old son is not exactly happy to be an adult, and I don’t fucking blame him. Being a grownup sucks major donkey balls. I mean, sure — I get to stay up as late as I want (and suffer the consequences); I get to eat as much crap as I want (and suffer the consequences); I get to have as much sex as I want (to which, being married, there are ZERO consequences). But paying bills and going to teacher conferences and fighting over custody of my daughter and figuring out how to help my son pay for college? That shit is not cool.
Yeah, gimme some god damn Taco Bell and a bucket of glory days with a side of nostalgia. And make it snappy, bitch.
The best days may yet be ahead, but let’s not fool ourselves into believing that getting old is admirable. Have you seen where we stuff our elderly citizens, and how little we care for their health and wellbeing? It ain’t pretty. So if people want to look back on their youth from time to time and wax poetic about how things used to be when rules were made to be broken, I say tally ho, my friend!
4. Super Bowl commercials claim that sex is the ultimate goal.
Joshua says this is a blatant lie because “sex is best enjoyed and brings the greatest fulfillment in a committed relationship.” I DON’T completely disagree, although I won’t take the Christian stance that this is the ONLY way sex can be fulfilling. I have enjoyed way too much of that junk in my lifetime to even pretend otherwise, much less try to sell it to an audience. In the words of the esteemed George Michaels, “Sex is natural, sex is good, not everybody does it, but everybody should!” — to which I’d add, “consensually and at an appropriate age!”
Otherwise? Teaching moment, dude. You can’t watch TV with your kids and then get all bent out of shape about what’s being sold in the middle of the most male-oriented sport on this stupid planet. Don’t play like you’re all naive and shit. That’s like going to see the movie FIGHT CLUB and then being shocked at all the violence.
Shall I go on?
Joshua mentions four other ads with which he takes offence, but this rant just got lengthy so I’ma finish up next week. Plus? I’d like to make sure I’m not off my rocker.
What’s YOUR stance on the Super Bowl commercials?