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Friday 17 September |

I’m a pro-lifer, and I hated the Doritos Superbowl commercial

Simcha Fisher - published on 02/09/16

As an enthusiastic consumer of nameless, store brand, orange-colored, nacho-flavored chips of corn origin, I don’t have a dog in the Dorito fight. (I wish I didn’t have a dog at all, but that’s neither here nor there.)

If you missed the Superbowl commercial at the center of the hullabaloo, here it is:

Does it seem especially pro-life to you? It’s really not. The only reason it’s getting spun that way is because NARAL grotesquely complained on Twitter that Doritos used an “antichoice tactice of humanizing fetuses.”

naral tweet fetus

In response, pro-lifers cheered Doritos, gleefully vowed to stock their shelves with the brand, and took coy selfies with a pro-life chip halfway to their mouths.

It was a little silly, but NARAL comes out looking far sillier than anyone else (especially after they also tweeted that they liked a Subaru commercial “with dog parents driving their puppies around.” No word on why it’s okay to humanize dogs).

If anything, Doritos was commercializing the fetus, which any halfwit can see is already pretty damn human without needing any help from an ad campaign. Still, it was nice to see an ultrasound in a commercial, I guess (although the commercial itself was, frankly, gross). It shows that a large percentage of the viewing public has been in a room with an ultrasound tech and would recognize what that was on the screen (a baby, duh), and it was nice to see the doctor say, “And there’s your beautiful baby.”

But, guys. It was less than six months ago that half my friends were angrily boycotting Doritos because they were making special edition rainbow chips, in support of the “It Gets Better” campaign to support LGBT youth, or whatever it was.

At that point, conservatives called for boycotts of the same Doritos, and my progressive friends then gleefully vowed to stock their shelves with the brand, and took coy selfies with a purple NOH8 chip halfway to their mouths.

What’s the moral of this story? Nothing. There is no moral. And that’s the point: we need to stop looking to commercial brands to express any meaningful part of our moral lives.

Yes, it would be wonderful if corporations would quit making social statements and just focused on making chips or cars or office supplies or whatever. But the other half of this equation is us. We need to stop responding with glee or rage or hysteria or, worst of all, coy selfies every time a new commercial campaign debuts. That’s not activism; it’s just a slightly more pretentious kind of consumerism. And guess what? It doesn’t matter to the corporation if you’re using a happy or an angry hashtag, as long as their name keeps coming up.

We need to stop drooling every time corporations ring their sociological bells. Talk about dehumanizing!  All commercial campaigns are inherently dehumanizing, because they invite us to see ourselves and each other as mere consumers, rather than as whole people with better things to do than think about Doritos. This effect is doubled or tripled when a bag of chips tries to persuade us that it has anything to say about, for instance, sexuality. Please. It’s chips. It’s just chips.

So, my title was a bit of an exaggeration. I didn’t hate the Superbowl commercial, really. I just hate all commercials. I hate being made to think about them. I hate being made to act as if they matter. I have stuff to do.

You know what power we really wield, as socially conscious consumers? The power to turn the damn TV off.

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