Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Have A Coke ... Tener Un Coca Cola ... يكون للفحم الكوك ... 有一个可乐 ... Есть кокс ... Haben eine Coke ...

I sometimes think I’m the odd man out; not just for being gay, though there are some who think that makes me odd; not for being a snarky queen, though others disagree. I think I’m the odd man out because when I see someone who looks different than me — me, being a middle-aged … gosh that hurts … white man — I like what I see. If I pass a person on the street who is a different color than I am, I find it interesting; when someone speaks another language than the English I speak, I find it appealing; if someone dresses differently than the so-called norm, I find them charming.

Which was why I loved the Coke ad that played during the Superbowl; that one-minute commercial that featured children and adults, gay and straight, from all walks of life, from all across America, singing "America the Beautiful" in multiple languages. I loved the different ethnicities and genders and orientations and families and languages in the ad because it made me remember that, despite the fact we are all so different, we are all Americans, and I think that’s cool. I like living in a country where we don’t all look and act and think and speak and dress and love the same; I live for different.

And so I am the odd man out because that little Coke ad up there at the top seems to have really pissed some people off; it sent a great many into hysterical reactions, racist comments, and just plain idiotic responses.

At first people jumped on the idea of the two gay dads in the ad — and it was a kind of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it segment — because, I guess, in their America, two gay dads don’t exist. News flash: they do. Still, I expected a little outrage over those dads because we rarely see gay couples featured in mainstream ads on mainstream shows, much less the most watched Superbowl in history-ry-ry-ry-ry-ry. Echoing is mine.

Michael Patrick Leahy at Breitbart.com was not happy to see gay dads roller-skating, with children, and Coke:
"When the company used such an iconic song, one often sung in churches on the 4th of July that represents the old 'E Pluribus Unum' view of how American society is integrated, to push multiculturalism down our throats, it's no wonder conservatives were outraged."
Wait’ “America The Beautiful” is sung mostly in churches on 4th of July? So, that means no gays? How Leahy can talk about integrated society in the same breath as having multiculturalism shoved down his throat is the height of GOP and conservative pundit lunacy. See, try as we might, America is not yet fully integrated? Not for all of us, sir; many of us are still considered less than in this country. I know, because I’m one of them.

But then I heard people were going nuts because “America The Beautiful” was being sung in languages other than English even though we are not a solely English-speaking country no matter what anyone thinks. We don’t have an “official” language in this country, so stop thinking and acting as if we do.

Former GOP Congressman, and deluded asshat, Allen West was especially unnerved by having to hear a non-English commercial, and wrote on his blog:
"If we cannot be proud enough as a country to sing "American the Beautiful" in English in a commercial during the Super Bowl, by a company as American as they come -- doggone we are on the road to perdition."
But Allen, it was an American ad sung by American for an American company and aired during an American sports tradition, but if you want to hear the song sung in America’s “native” language then might I suggest that you pick a Native American group to sing it because everyone else in this country is an immigrant who brought their own language here.

And that’s what’s good about this country; that America welcomes everyone and respects their differences; we are, as that old saying goes, a melting pot of multiculturalism and we are every language and creed and religion and gender and orientation and for Coke to feature that in an ad makes me wanna shout, I’ll have a Coke please. But, while West’s condemnation of the ad was somewhat tame — if also somewhat stupid — conservative columnist and Fox News Radio host Todd Starnes could not contain his rage or his Twitter fingers:

This is the typical right-wingnut, conservative zealot GOP response: America, love it, and speak English, or leave it. Starnes only speaks English so then English should be the only language he hears. How American is that? How welcoming is that? How delusional is that?

And then we have Glenn Beck, who recently began speaking a little more intelligently about the LGBT community, especially in light of the Russian anti-gay laws, but now he’s reverted back to form:
“So somebody tweeted last night and said, ‘Glenn, what did you think of the Coke ad?’ And I said, ‘Why did you need that to divide us politically?’ Because that’s all this ad is. It’s in your face, and if you don’t like it, if you’re offended by it, you’re a racist. If you do like it, you’re for immigration. You’re for progress. That’s all this is: To divide people. Remember when Coke used to do the thing on the top and they would all hold hands? Now it’s, have a Coke and we’ll divide you.”
It’s funny, and sad, to me, that Beck thinks this ad is divisive because I think when you include everyone, all nationalities and genders and orientations who live in this country and call America home, you’re being inclusive, but then Beck probably only wants to include the white right people.

As I’ve said, we are a country made up of many different peoples; we don’t all look alike, think alike, speak alike, love alike, worship alike, but if we can’t agree on one simple fact … that we are all Americans … then we’re sunk. Why can’t we celebrate the differences? Why can’t people who speak Spanish be American? Why can’t two men raise a family together as a loving couple? Why can’t we wear certain clothes, and preach certain things, and sing in our native tongue?

I say embrace the differences; learn something new. Or sit back in your easy chair and grow more and more angry.

Oh yeah, and let’s not forget that Katharine Lee Bates, who wrote “America The Beautiful”, was a Lesbian.




Ron said...

Like you, when I first saw the Coke ad I thought "How cool!" Then yesterday, seeing the news reports of the outrage by some Americans over the different languages used in the ads I thought,"WTF?" What is the matter with THESE people?" Then I thought (like you), I MUST be the odd man out. Not only am I gay, I don't kill living things, I don't cheat and lie, and I don't apologize or feel guilty for being gay. I have friends and relatives Bob who think and feel the same way as many of those who spewed out those negative tweets. What is the matter with those people?

the dogs' mother said...

I didn't watch the Coke commercial because I loathe that type of commercial - happy, happy, loving, nice-y, yippee skippity all while quaffing our product.
The happy gay dads and daughter are happy because of the hard work and unconditional love they show their daughter not for drinking Coke or speaking English.
Wasser trinken, Leute, es ist besser für dich.

anne marie in philly said...

the teabagistan folks don't have enough twists in their panties, so they bitch about something like this. their motto seems to be "if it ain't WASP, it's wrong. period".

S'A said...

I hadn't seen the commercial until my daughter had posted the video on Facebook (I didn't watch the game)and I thought "lovely", then made the mistake of reading the comments. Wow. Just wow.

Professor Chaos said...

What the hell is wrong with people? That commercial was beautiful!

Frank said...

I loved the Coke ad. And the new Cheerios ad as well.

The outspoken jerks who fill pages with vile negativity are, I hope, fewer in number than their comments would suggest.

Some even referred to the song as the National Anthem and were doubly outraged that the National Anthem was being sung in "foreign" languages!!!

I also love languages and wish I was fluent in more than one. My Italian grandparents learned English and they all discouraged their children - my parents, and sixteen aunts and uncles - from speaking Italian.

I had to learn Italian, as best I could, in college. I think students in the US should be encouraged to be fluent in more than one language. Travel abroad and almost everyone speaks English in addition to their first language. They put us to shame.

Helen Lashbrook said...

The repressive views of the right - anti-immigration, anti-same sex love, anti going green, anti the poor, anti anyone not like me - are gaining ground in the US and the UK and both countries are the worse for it. Mind you, if you are rich you can overcome the right's hatred of you - green cards are for sale, was it $500,000 and you are in? Money taints everything.