Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Political Correctness in our New Era
Today, this would be considered kiddie-porn
Two items in the news today. First, Merck is selling its consumer products division to Bayer. The accompanying illustration (see below) of the NEW "Coppertone Girl" with the article had me scratching my head in disbelief.
The NEW Coppertone Girl is no longer showing any cheek. But the logo no longer makes any sense. What's next? Taking the spilling salt container away from the Morton Salt Girl?
The whole point of the ad was to show, in a humorous way, how a tan-line can form, and thus show dramatically the difference between white and tanned skin - thus selling the advantages of "The Coppertone Tan." The new illustration, sanitized for our protection, makes no sense. It just shows a girl with a dog tugging at her pants, with no tan line showing. What does this have to do with Tanning oil? With anything? If anything, the image is more obscene than before, as it doesn't have a reason for existence - just a dog about to de-pants a little girl.
I imagine if Shirley Temple movies were made today, they would be banned as obscene. But back in the 1930's and 1940's, it was considered acceptable for little girls to wear "baby doll" dresses which showed, well, just about everything. Times have changed and we have become greater prudes than in the past.
And nowhere is this more true than in Russia, which just declared a ban on swearing in books and movies. Here's a clue: Fuck You, Putin! (this insures my blog will be censored in Russia). Go ahead, fine me 50 Rubles. What is that, like 25 cents? I can swing that.
What is going on here? Why have we, as a country and as a planet, become more prudish over the last 50 years?
Part of this may lie in a newer understanding of childhood sexual abuse issues, as well as sexual assault in general. When I was a kid, we all knew that the Priests "touched" altar boys. We also all knew that if you said anything about it, you probably would have to move to another town, as the shame would be on you, not the Priest (for that reason, most of us declined to be altar boys, as we knew the score). The same was true for other forms of sexual abuse, rape, and assault. There was an old saying back then, that if you were raped and went to the Police to report it, you'd be raped twice (at least emotionally, and sometimes even physically).
So perhaps we are more sensitive to things like child nudity in the media. And using a three-year-old in a state of undress, as your logo, perhaps today is seen as unseemly. And maybe some of this is a change for the better, as rapes are more likely to be reported, women are safer, and children are assaulted and bullied less. Or are they? Recent headlines show that the "she was asking for it" defense is alive and well in the USA. And as for bullying, smart phones and social media have taken it to "the next level".
But maybe there is another factor - religion. We live in an Age of Unreason, and the far-right of every religion is making its voice heard, all over the world. In Russia, the orthodox church has come back with a vengeance, and is behind the anti-gay measures and now anti-swearing measures, in Mother Russia. Putin panders to this far-right minority, because they support his political agenda.
In the Islamic world, well, do I need to even address this? Far-right Muslim extremists are pushing Sharia law, strict interpretation of Islam, and of course, terrorism on every Continent.
Here in the USA, people are having debates on whether the Earth is six thousand or six billion years old - and whether evolution or creationism is "science". People are building a Noah's ark theme park - with government-backed bonds. And if you don't like the invocation given at the town hall meeting, our Catholic Chief Justice says "you can leave the room."
This makes about as much sense as the "New" Coppertone Girl.