Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Remember, This is OUR Country, Not Your's; Got That??

Car commercials are interesting to me I guess. So here goes another discussion on car commercials. Never one to be unsupportive of American jobs and businesses (except Walmart and my passionate love for VW), but the Chevrolet commercials struck a cord with me.

It must be kept in mind that the song repeats "this is our country" over and over while showing classic images of Americanism. The bulk of the images that show up: white rural men. Interesting to note: the only black people in the video were Martin Luther King Jr., some random guy standing next to his chevy truck in New Orleans, Muhammad Ali and a Rosa Parks-like image. I'm sure she'd drive a Chevy truck after the stand she made on the bus (because deep down, she's a white rural man). I made that last parenthetical comment because, really, what do Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. have to do with trucks? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I understand that Chevrolet is attempting to show that such classic moments in American history are what make America, for example, Richard Nixon, the 9/11 memorial, the hippie movement, and also Chevy trucks. I get that. But something that I think is also interesting, while they threw in arguably the three most famous black people in American history, they also failed to show any other minorities. How about Latino/a people and their illegal migration each year that contributes to cheap crops? Or Asian Americans...oh wait, we can't show them because the commercial is supposed to encourage Americans to buy American trucks, not Honda or Toyota trucks. Of course they did manage to sneak in the helicoptor landing in Vietnam during the war ( see this is what we're fighting against, people! Why are you supporting the people we were at war with??) It makes me cringe. I understand that the possible majority of people who would drive Chevy trucks are white rural American men. However, it's a little offensive to include images of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and MLK when they aren't really associated with Chevy trucks except for the fact that they're all American, and really, Chevy trucks themselves probably did not directly have any overall influence on these events and people.

I guess I would have felt more comfortable if they had made a commercial about the west/midwest and rural white men, or the modern cowboy, and left it at that, appealing to their target audience. But no, they had to bring in a broad, sweeping generalization of American culture and history. The images of war, 9/11 and MLK were bordering on offensive because it creates a sense of exclusion against outsiders that are not considered "American" enough. For example, when I saw the 9/11 memorial images, it almost screamd "look what those foreigners did to us!" The same goes for the Vietnam War images, completely ignoring the fact that those very same races are attempting to create just as American of a lifestyle as you and I. It almost seems to appeal to the inner racist by implying "this is our country" and they attacked us; men died because of them. Therefore support American-made Chevy trucks, regardless of exactly who attacked us. Which makes about as much sense as assuming Rosa Parks is a white rural man. The parody clip says it all really.

1 comment:

  1. Ahh... Rosa Parks, Muhammad Ali, gas guzzling: That's America. Did anyone else notice Nixon? Now that's someone we're really proud of around here.

    Incidentally, if you want to see just how awesome Muhammad Ali is, check out the film "When We Were Kings."