#withthetimes

Truth in advertising?

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Imagine if Delta released an ad like this today? 45 years ago it offered military personnel cheap tickets. In an era where sex, drugs and rock’n’roll ruled, such a risqué advert (torn asunder all the promiscuous women are seemingly white) was one can only guess “in step with the times” back then.  Then again the same Delta Airlines has just cut off its association with law abiding NRA members for simply flying to see the inlaws. CM noticed that National Geographic has just issued a formal apology for its racist and bigoted articles from 100 years ago. The editor wrote, “For Decades, Our Coverage Was Racist. To Rise Above Our Past, We Must Acknowledge It.” One would imagine that all the editor did was raise an issue that a majority of its readers never thought about and hold present journalists and photographers to some sort of ‘Day One, Year Zero’ doctrine.

What is it with this “shaming” culture we live in today where corporates must make collective apologies for things that were done before people were born to people who are most likely dead on matters they had zero control over? Just spare the sanctimonious lectures and thought control. I can’t remember the last time I heard a wolf whistle but some want this made a ‘hate crime’. Not condoning it but a wolf whistle is generally viewed as a compliment not a slur. Just like those Hollywood actresses wearing three postage stamps held together by dental floss chanting #METOO all the while they kept quiet about mass sexual harassment because their careers were more important than principle. Spare us the hypocrisy.

Surely people’s sensitivities can’t be such that this should be a jailable offence? Even Qantas staff have been handed newspeak dictionaries on what they can and can’t say to customers to avoid the 0.00001% risk of offending someone. Where do we draw the line? Seems like the line is being drawn further to the point of endorsing a whole industry built on victim culture.

Instead of acknowledging humans have flaws, celebrating differences and accepting it we are being cornered into smaller and smaller ‘legal’ boxes of what is deemed ‘with the times’ and straying outside that risks an innocent person being labeled a bigot, racist, sexist or homophobe. Worse, more laws (like Canada’s M-103 or Australia’s 18-C) risk jail or massive fines for anyone that makes a factual statement. The worst part about it is that lives have been ruined based on trumped up charges willingly egged on by groups like the heavily biased Australian Human Rights Commission, a group that encourages people to lodge complaints but gladly tweets justices it self-serves on its own side  no impartiality

We can all look at the above advert from Delta 45 years later and see it doesn’t really fly (no pun intended) but most of us do not need some sort of state sanctioned manual to ensure we all are indoctrinated to know it is bad form with a law laced on top. Yet this is exactly the type of thing we are seeing day in and day out.

Zip It or be Zapped

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It seems that everywhere we turn these days someone else is raising a flag to suggest “we need to move with the times.”  What are “the times?” Whose times are we required to move for? Mine? Yours? Theirs? A chat on social media the other day raised the conversation of an HR director saying that he would not sign off on a hire who didn’t agree with his subjective view over a trivial subject. He argued that it was for the best interests of diversity and inclusion not to hire someone who wasn’t offended by said subject. CM retorted “so if I don’t agree with your thinking on a topic which is completely unrelated to the job task that I might be hypothetically the most qualified for, you’ll sink it on that alone…sounds like a totalitarian power trip.” This confirmed the ‘unconscious bias, conscious bias‘ piece on HR last week.’ 2+2=5. HR departments are becoming all powerful autocrats.

It is hard to know whether to laugh or cry! The conversation went further to suggest that I simply must accept change on the grounds of diversity. That word is chucked around as loosely as a Casanova saying “I love you” to his multiple conquests. It simply seeks to force compliance. Surely all things work better when there is mutual buy-in rather than threatening to burn people at the stake. Why is my subjectivity any more or less valuable than someone else’s?

The idea of forcing conformity is dangerous ground. As long as one’s views don’t openly impact others why should it matter? Why should HR apparatchiks use bullying behaviour which goes against the grain of every appropriate workplace behaviour training seminar staff are required to take? Well it is only “some” behaviour. So much for equality in the workplace.

Just like the same sex marriage (SSM) debate. Anyone with a rainbow screen saver could proudly display it in the office without attracting a whimper because they were ‘on message’. Anyone that didn’t believe it and had a “Vote NO” as a computer screen background would have been summoned before HR for hate speech and reprimanded or worse, sacked. Is that freedom of opinion? Is that diversity? Or inclusion? Accept or face the consequences is hardly a way to encourage it. Diversity and inclusion only creates division and exclusion because only some people are allowed to voice free speech.  When the government funded Diversity Council tells Australian workers that the use of the word ‘guys’ is offensive then just how far are we willing to trade everyday freedoms and cultural norms? If one is triggered by the use of the word ‘guys’ or a preferred pronoun then they need a shrink not an HR department to help them.

The sad reality is that diversity should be won on the grounds of the argument rather than legislation. Just like the F1 race queen ban from this year. It doesn’t much matter to CM personally on what the F1 wants to do. Go on the MotoGP website and there is a “Paddock GirlssectionTo suddenly reverse a decision it so actively promotes would be utter hypocrisy. While the need to halt the objectification of women argument is bandied about, the women who do it are clearly happy to be objectified for a price. Instead of viewers being told to “get with the times” shouldn’t they be hammering the message to the umbrella girls to tell them they’re letting down their own side? Could it be they can exploit their beauty for some decent coin because they don’t share offense over the issue? Their looks are a virtue in their eyes. Are they wrong to use it their advantage? Would a Harvard MBA graduate apply to McDonalds for a cash register role so as to check his or her privelege to those that weren’t so lucky to study there?

Whether one likes it or not why not let sponsors decide how they want to spend their ad dollars and let consumers bury them if they find the use of advertising across a cleavage as “not with the times”? Why state control? Casey Stoner ended up marrying his pit girl and has a wonderful family now. If 10% of teams decided to keep pit girls but got 75% of the TV coverage before the start of the race could you blame them? Advertising is literally all about ‘exposure’. Or would race control demand the camera operators avoid them?

Further to that, perhaps F1 should ban the popular cockpit radio transmissions of drivers like Kimi Raikkonen who drop the F-bomb every other lap. Or is profanity now ‘in with the times’?

Should the forthcoming Tokyo Motor Show ban the use of scantily clad women standing next to cars? Last year Porsche, VW and Audi had several slick cut male models parading their products. Ladies were lining up to take selfies with these foreign himbos. If not for objectification, then what? Girls could be heard saying “cho kakkoi” (so handsome). As a male was I feeling insulted and triggered? No. I figured it was time to sign up for the gym, visit Hugo Boss for a sharp suit and book an appointment at a $300 hair stylist after I got back in shape. If I had made a song and dance about feeling uncomfortable at handsome men being treated like slabs of meat would I be granted the same rights to being offended? Not for a second.

Should pretty women be banned from starring in adverts?  Cosmetics companies have products that are pitched pretty much solely toward women but no one bats an eyelid when Giselle pouts a lipstick. Luxury goods stores also cater predominantly to women. No shortage of flesh showing off shoes, handbags or miniskirts. Why no outrage? Should Subaru be raked over coals for targeting same sex couples in its adverts? No. If it feels that is a market it wishes to tap then it should feel free to push for it. If I was offended then I could simply refuse to buy an Impreza WRX. I shouldn’t have a right to tell Subaru who it can and can’t sell to. That’s accepting diversity. Not enforcing my view of the world on others with respect to Subaru. Choice.

Put simply why should the subjective opinions of people (within reason) be such that we must comfort the wowsers at all times? Yarra Council is telling it’s 1,000 staff it mustn’t use the word “Australia Day” to refer to Janury 26, a Day celebrated since 1815! Aussie nurses and midwives are being told to check their white privelege and admit their colonial roots should a patient demand so. Shouldn’t the safe delivery of children be the only priority than have a “code of conduct” to force behaviours that have probably never if ever been an issue in decades? Bad bedside manner for healthcarers is one thing less likely to do with race, gender or sexual orientation than individual attitudes.

Still the message is zip it or be zapped. Next time you’re being told it is for diversity start running for the hills. Your subjective opinion is as equal as anyone elses provided you don’t disagree with the Marxist’s definition of ‘with the times