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Summer moved on; Tasteless advertising, pt. 2 - Impressions and Expressions of Ijon
October 3rd, 2002
03:37 pm

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Summer moved on; Tasteless advertising, pt. 2
Woke up today and didn't break a sweat immediately after leaving my air-conditioned room. That gave me a start. Peered outside the house carefully, and discovered that against all expectations, the invincible, indefatigable, interminable Israeli Summer is, in fact, showing signs of defeat. A shower and a foo-feeding later, walking to my car to get to work, I felt the distinct sensation of raindrops falling on my head. Whee! I savored the moment a while longer, and drove off to work, thinking there might still be hope after all.



It's been a while since our previous installment of Tasteless Advertising, due solely to my indolence and not to lack of material, but on my way to work the radio assaulted me with the following:
American voice:I did not have sex with that woman.
Israeli voices with reasonable accent: I did not have sex with that woman.
Cheerful advertising voice, in Hebrew: At Berlitz, where we teach English from CNN and business media, learning English is so much easier! Call now [etc.]
Yuck.

foo: last seen sprawled on the sofa, yawning.

Current Mood: productive
Current Music: Joni Mitchell -- Tin Angel

(13 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:ukelele
Date:October 3rd, 2002 06:31 am (UTC)
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You must have sent your summer to us -- it was inexplicably in the 80s in New England yesterday. Ugh.
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From:avva
Date:October 3rd, 2002 07:49 am (UTC)
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Was the American voice Clinton's?
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From:ijon
Date:October 3rd, 2002 08:00 am (UTC)
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No, it was an Israeli speaker with a decent American accent. But it obviously tried to resemble Clinton's statement.
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From:veryty
Date:October 3rd, 2002 09:08 am (UTC)

Have I fallen for a crass/unfair/outdated stereotype?

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...which made me think, Why would any company waste their money on something so silly as pitching their product with Israelis saying out loud, "I did _not_ have sex with that woman" - when the way I heard it, Israeli men would never say that (even if it were true), as it would reflect badly on their macho-stud image?!?

Incidentally, could you make out any female voices pronouncing that sentence? Just in the interest of my wondering whether Israel is indeed relatively GLBT-friendly? (relative to, say, Western Europe & the US West Coast...)

About tastelessness in broadcasting: you've probably run across the quote (by HL Mencken, of whom I otherwise know little): "Nobody even went broke underestimating the taste of the American Public." Wonder what could be said about the Israeli public, with its burgeoning consumerist mentality?
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From:ijon
Date:October 7th, 2002 08:21 am (UTC)
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The zeitgeist in Israeli advertising for the past several years is apparently "make 'em laugh", building on top of the tried-and-true method of "show 'em young female flesh". The ad was supposed to be funny, not to appeal to Israeli men's machoism. Advertisers seem to think that the positive reaction to a funny ad is worth more than that of an ego-boosting macho ad.

Yes, there were female voices pronouncing that sentence, but I don't think it is any indication of Israel's "friendliness" on gender issues. Again, the ad was supposed to be funny, and having or not having sex with any woman was not its point.
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From:veryty
Date:October 7th, 2002 10:37 am (UTC)

Well, fie on me...

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...for taking this [too,] too seriously. Truth to tell, I have a guilty fascination with the advertising game. I don't even want to think about why. Though it's probably 'way less complex than that whole issue of "what is humor/ous?"

Though if Israeli men can laugh at their own machoism, there is hope for this society! (I don't feel qualified to extend that optimism to the probable hopes for the _country_ and the world. I'll take what I can get, thank you! :-D
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From:ijon
Date:October 7th, 2002 11:03 am (UTC)

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I think you're still missing the joke. What was supposed to be funny, I think, is that Clinton's famous denial was being used as an exercise sentence in the acquisition of English. The whole Clinton affair was first and foremost a hilarious scandal for most of the world, Israelis included. The ad reminds you of that affair (mildly funny in itself), and puts it in an unexpected (and therefore humorous) context.

That's it. The ad was not aimed exclusively at men, as you repeatedly assume, and presumably not only men would find it funny (although this sour-faced critic didn't). Machoism is simply not the issue here.
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From:veryty
Date:October 7th, 2002 12:03 pm (UTC)

Just because I'm not laughing...

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...doesn't mean I didn't "get" the humor, purported or real. C'mon, Ijon, don't make me say: "I was writing parodies & satires before you were..." -- well, before you _were_ :-P

(And I hope I shall never, never again sink so low in _my_ humor... to write such a thing that, as a favorite line from The Simpsons goes: "...demeans both of us" :-o

If anyone [still?] thinks "Feminists don't have a sense of humor," try a disappointed US Democrat. Like my dad, for example, and I see his point. Particularly, in this case, a [secular FWIW] Jewish-American Democrat. It was a true scandal, nothing funny about it, and basically, degrading. Not the affair itself, but the way it was handled, the way the people behaved. Did you get your version of it directly from Americans at the time and since, or mediated through reportage? (Like Paul Simon in his reworked J.S. Bach "American Tune" -- I'm just wondering what went wrong.)

I also sometimes sadly wonder what effect all that (and Hillary's role, while we're at it) had to do with Gore's ultimate non-election, giving us Boosh-ha-Ben and what he's got in store for us (via Saddam, plus global energy issues etc.). Yes, us, U&me right here in the good ol' blue&white.

OK, so I'm gloomy about this. A lot of tawdry stuff went on and went down, and how much of the world is going to be paying a steep, ill-afforded price, and for how long?

As for my contention that men would be more likely to find the ad humorous, that's based on my assessment that men, more than women, would find humor in the original scenario that inspired it. I don't deny there were ridiculous aspects. That's not the same as humor, in my book.
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From:ijon
Date:October 8th, 2002 03:43 am (UTC)
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I give up.
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From:kynn
Date:October 4th, 2002 11:42 am (UTC)
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That is pretty funny. :)
(Deleted comment)
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From:ijon
Date:October 9th, 2002 08:57 am (UTC)

Re: *thud*

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Hey, welcome, and thanks!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 11th, 2002 12:59 am (UTC)

I wrote you an Email

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did you get my email?
I know it sounds weird but I had to write you.
Liora
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