Geico’s TSA-Friendly DoughBoy Commercial Is A Loss For LibertySubmitted by McWilly on Tue, 04/30/2013 - 15:26
I’m sure almost anyone who owns a television has seen Geico Insurance’s now ever-present commercials with the theme of “Happier Than…” The series follows musclebound bodybuilders who flex while guiding traffic, Paul Revere with a cell phone, et cetera. They range from mildly amusing to clever (as with the Paul Revere spot). However, the most recent addition is one that I find to be incredibly distressing – a commercial featuring the Pillsbury DoughBoy (PBD) going through a TSA checkpoint, where he is repeatedly fondled while giggling happily.
Some may read this and think that this is an absurd thing to worry over, but I assure you it is not. And here is why: Once we, as a public, start to joke about something, that something has achieved a level of distinct acceptance in our society.
There is an always-present consciousness behind humor, and when it is appropriate to joke about a topic. South Park famously announced that the amount of time that has passed for something tragic to become funny is 22.3 years. Their example was AIDS, which has been around long enough for it to become accepted as a part of the society we live in, and thus lose it’s stigma. Jokes are constantly labeled as “too soon,” when they violate what is commonly held to be a topic that is still taboo – this can range across a wide variety of topics, from disease to terrorist attacks to religious ideology to rape.
When it is no longer “too soon” to joke about something in the broader swath of society, it means that something has been accepted as fact and the strongest emotional reactions to that topic have been more or less stripped away.