Thursday, 17 November 2011

Disturbing, Disgusting, and Dumb

A few random items have caught my eye over the last few days and I must confess that each and every one elicited a response of "WTF?" I have to seriously wonder what went into the thought processes behind these campaigns. Somebody, somewhere had to realize that they would make the files of the disturbing, the disgusting, and the dumb.


Clothing maker Benetton launched their new UnHate campaign yesterday with a series of creepy visuals of world leaders kissing each other. Check them out here.

Yes, that is the pope kissing an imam, Mr. Obama smooching with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Benjamin Netanyahu lip-locked with Mahmood Abbas, and Germany's Angela Merkel getting it on with Nicholas Sarkozy of France. It should be noted that the Vatican was so outraged about His Holiness puckering up, that Benetton pulled that picture from its campaign. Alessandro Benetton, executive chairman of the company launched the ads yesterday and attempted an explanation.

"While global love is still a utopia, albeit a worthy one, the invitation 'not to hate', to combat the 'culture of hatred', is an ambitious but realistic objective. At this moment in history, so full of major upheavals and equally large hopes, we have decided, through this campaign, to give widespread visibility to an ideal notion of tolerance and invite the citizens of every country to reflect on how hatred arises particularly from fear of 'the other’ and of what is unfamiliar to us."

While I can certainly appreciate the ideals of love and not hate, there is something untoward about these pictures. I am not getting the vibe of world peace that I believe that Benetton was aiming for, but rather an uncomfortable and squeamish feeling in the pit of my stomach. An age of understanding cannot be forced upon us with a kiss. There is actually a christological Judas imagery that comes to mind. In truth the photo of Angela Merkel and Sarkozy is the creepiest for me. It reduces one of the most powerful women in the world to a sexist punchline. This is just my opinion, but I certainly would be interested in others.


Just in time for American Thanksgiving, those whack jobs at PETA are at it again. In a campaign aimed squarely at children comes this little gem that is popping up on a roadside billboard near you.

Nice? Friendly? Grotesque!! And I'm a vegetarian! I have discussed PETA's over the top tactics before and how I truly believe that their mandate of animal protection gets lost in the morass when it behaves abhorrently and batshit crazy. All this ad serves to do is creep out a bunch of unsuspecting kids and probably land them on a therapist's couch trying to figure out from where their nightmares emanated. I know that it kept me up! All I could think about was some weird science experiment involving the dog Eddie from Frasier. Get with the program PETA. If you truly want to educate kids about ethical eating my advice would be to tone done the nonsense, stop trying to scare the shit out them, and stop thoroughly pissing off their parents. 


And now for the truly dumb. On Tuesday the United States Congress decided that pizza is a vegetable. From the Associated Press:

The final version of a spending bill released late Monday would unravel school lunch standards the Agriculture Department proposed earlier this year. These include limiting the use of potatoes on the lunch line, putting new restrictions on sodium and boosting the use of whole grains. The legislation would block or delay all of those efforts.The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now. USDA had wanted to only count a half-cup of tomato paste or more as a vegetable, and a serving of pizza has less than that.Nutritionists say the whole effort is reminiscent of the Reagan administration's much-ridiculed attempt 30 years ago to classify ketchup as a vegetable to cut costs. This time around, food companies that produce frozen pizzas for schools, the salt industry and potato growers requested the changes and lobbied Congress.

A series of high-powered lobbyists from companies that produce and provide frozen pizzas and tater tots to school cafeterias managed to get the deep thinkers from the Congress to classify the two tablespoons of tomato sauce on a pizza as part of the daily requirement of vegetables that school children consume every day. And all of this whilst the United States is battling a growing obesity problem amongst the nation's young people. Jamie Oliver is out there somewhere crying into his fresh veg. Congress is sacrificing children's health and well-being in exchange for a deep-dish from Di Giorno. And we wonder why Americans have no faith in their legislative bodies.

If you have others from the files of disturbing, disgusting, and dumb please forward them to me or comment below.

P.S I've been syndicated on Blogher They liked my post entitled "What Have You Learned, Dorothy" so much that they published it. They like me!! They really really like me! Does this mean that I am now a professional writer? You decide.


  1. Auctioning off Michael Jackson's deathbed surely fits into the category of Disturbing and Disgusting. Sorry to remind you of it again, but I am just saying...

  2. @Anonymous-You are absolutely right. I forgot. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Wow. The ads above really bothered me... I have to agree. I am pretty open minded and seeing two men kissing does not normally bother me... if they are actually consenting to it.

  4. No matter how dumb it is, but these ads got your attention. Mine as well as I thought what the heck?.. These kisses looks unnatural following the famous Brezhnev/Honecker kiss which became the symbol of European liberation and the ent of separation. The artwork has been done professionally, but this kiss will not reach the big audience ans young people do not understand what it really means.

  5. Actually @Marius, I classified these ads as disturbing not dumb and I do agree with you that the provocative nature of them is what got my attention. The main reason that I found them disturbing had less to do with the kisses themselves and more about the world leaders chosen to deliver them. I absolutely understand what Benetton was attempting, but you are correct that the audience is ignorant to the thoughts behind it.