Last night around 9:30 I was just minding my own business, watching some harmless comedy shows on demand when a commercial came on that piqued my interest via a typically dumb interaction between a dude talking to a babe in a bikini. I was waiting for some type of cliché to end the interaction between the two — something like a beer-commercial crotch shot or the woman doing something weird like licking an ice cube — when the story took a most-surprising turn: the dude in the scene was gay.
The woman sits down on a beach chair next to the guy, who
is squinting into his iPad-looking device like a dork. She starts
reading her Kindle like the sun is no big deal and he says: "That's a
Woman: "Yeah, it's the new Kindle Paperwhite."
Man: "I love to read at the beach, but..."
Woman: "This is perfect at the beach. And, with the built in light, I can read anywhere anytime."
Woman: "With your book?"
Man: Nope. "I just bought a Kindle Paperwhite." *Leans toward her.* "We should celebrate."
Woman: "My husband's bringing me a drink right now."
Man: "So is mine."
Husbands waive from the bar.
I watched it again this morning (the email I sent myself on the subject after having several beers and talking about sports all evening only says: “Gay kindle commercial. What does that commercial mean?”), and it’s actually pretty genius. Gay-rights groups have pointed out that this type of media is following steps taken by shows like Ellen and Modern Family, which depict gay couples as pretty much ordinary anymore.
Check it out here:
Naturally, some people on the Internet think it’s way icky.
And organizations like One Million Moms (a weird, conservative Christian group that should be named something more like “One Million Mean Moms.” Ha.) took exception to it. OMMMs wrote this: “We have Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite commercial that promotes gay marriage. Instead of Amazon remaining neutral in the culture war while showcasing how their product has no glare even at the beach, they chose to promote sin.”
People flagged the ad as inappropriate enough times on YouTube that it was briefly taken down for review, but it was posted back on the site later.
When journalists interview people, it's more often than not about something very specific. When we interview the governor, his press person would definitely give us a dirty look if we threw in questions like, "What's your favorite '90s boy band?" or, "Did OJ do it?" We're there to discuss something specific, and straying too far outside that topic is viewed as either a waste of the interviewee's time or an invasion of privacy.
The reality is that there are more facets to the people we interview than we'll ever know. What was Senate Chef Daniel Wright's favorite toy when he was a kid? What does CityBeat editor-in-chief Danny Cross order at Taco Bell?
The answers to questions like these don't define a person, but neither do their jobs, possessions, political leanings, philanthropic efforts or social status. It's a little bit of everything. In this blog series, I'll be picking random Cincinnatians who are doing something interesting, call them on the phone/harass them on the street and ask five or six weird questions and hope I don't get yelled at. Feel free to comment if there's someone you'd like to suggest.
As a practice go, I'm first interviewing my cubicle mate and reporter extraordinaire, German Lopez. If you don’t recognize the name German Lopez, it’s because you probably never read CityBeat, so shame on you. Around the office, he's known for his dry sense of humor, really liking donuts, ditching all of our happy hours and one time writing almost an entire issue by himself. He's the one we all go to when we need him to explain in plebeian language the meaning of complicated political and economic data.
Hannah McCartney: What's your favorite most recent viral video?
At the risk of inducing widespread PTSD flashbacks, I invite everyone to recall 2011’s Internet Public Enemy No. 1, Rebecca Black. The teen, who is probably a decent human undeserving of worldwide hatred, assaulted eardrums on a massive scale with her music video gone viral, “Friday.” The worst realization to come out of Friday-gate wasn’t the sorry state of the music industry or even the online bullying Black faced, but the fact that, apparently, rich people will throw a few thousand dollars at a greedy producer to create a shitty song and music video for their marginally talented child.
Record producer and songwriter Patrice Wilson was one of the driving forces behind “Friday” and if you wanted to give his work another chance, you’re in luck. He worked with Nicole Westbrook to record a song not about one day of the week (that’s so 2011), but one day of the year. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Thanksgiving.
Kraft Mac-n-Cheese – AY! Stove Top stuffing – AY! We one-percenters should have better food than this.
While we’re on the
topic of social phenomena ripe for mockery, it’s fitting to recognize Food
Network’s Guy Fieri (Real Name: Guy Ferry. Yeah, douchebag status: confirmed)
who recently opened a new restaurant in New York City. It seems most people
either love or hate Guy. He co-owns five California restaurants and hosts the
popular Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,
on which he travels the country highlighting off-the-beaten-path chow-down
spots — so, clearly he’s got some fans out there. Others are a bit turned off
by his labored “Rock-N-Roll” façade, his annoying catchphrases
and his penchant for bowling shirts.
I can’t trust a man who purposefully styles his hair like a goofy visor hat from Cappel’s, and apparently New York Times’ Pete Wells isn’t a fan either. In his Nov. 13 take-down piece on the new Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square, Wells completely ripped the joint apart limb from tribal tattooed limb. While any attempt to seriously review what sounds like a black hole for overweight tourists would probably prove futile, I feel Wells could have been a bit more creative in his blasting of Fieri. Guy’s an easy target, so why go with the cliched “Dear Guy,” letter format, punctuated by a series of overly sarcastic questions? At this point I’m waiting for a cynical review of Wells’ review (please tweet any findings to @jackern), but I have to hand it to the reviewer for this service assessment that made me choke on my morning coffee: “The well-meaning staff seems to realize that this is not a real restaurant.” Find the full story here.
Fans got a first look at Brad Pitt zombie action flick World War Z last week. The film, based on Max Brooks’ 2006 novel of the same name, may stray farther from the text than fans have hoped, judging by the trailer. (Though it’s important to note how deceiving these first looks can be). The book reflects on a worldwide war on zombies after the fact, using interviews with survivors to paint the terrifying picture, whereas the film appears to be a straight-up zombie movie. However it turns out, zombie purists beware: These may be the quickest and most agile undead yet.
After last week’s election, gay marriage is now legal nine states. It’s a great feat for equality, but we’ve got a long way to go. In fact, gays across America have given straight, conservative men an ultimatum: Vote to legalize same-sex marriage, or they will marry the crap out of your girlfriends.
Portlandia, the hilarious sketch comedy spoofing counter-culture trends, returns to IFC Jan. 4. The show stars SNL’s Fred Armisen and Sleater-Kinney/Wild Flag guitarist-singer Carrie Brownstein — quite possibly my favorite non-romantic duo — in a series of timely skits about the hipster sect of popular cult