The Viva Vine: vol #6, no #2: March / April 1997


Vegetarians Are Losers,
Dead Animals Are Funny
By Eddy Bikales

I'm not much of a professional-football fan . . . and on Super Bowl Sunday I found out why-because I'm a vegetarian. Ridiculous? This notion was actually expressed in a commercial just before the game. For animal lov-ers, it was only the beginning.

Though I don't follow the sport or watch much TV, I couldn't resist flipping on the tube about 15 minutes before kickoff. Call it my duty as an American male. Beyond the game itself, I was vaguely curious about the much hyped Super Bowl commercials, which I'd heard were running at $1.2 million for 30 seconds.

The first commercial was a promo for a Simpsons-like family cartoon series. It showed a hefty midwestern guy with a case of beer and stack of beef at the checkout counter. A dweeby, zitty teenager running the cash register looks disapprovingly at these items. "Why not get some of the spicy hummus?" he asks. Pause for laughter. "Boy," midwestern guy sneers, "you've never even seen a football." Dweeb looks crestfallen. End of commercial.

Hmm. Should I be offended? I vaguely hoped that America was laughing at midwestern guy, not the dweeb. But what marketers judge to be the Zeitgeist became clearer as I watched on.

One of the next few commercials showed a ransacked Pepsi machine, its dripping contents spread across a field. A brief investigation leads to a cow as the suspect. "Justice" prevails as we see plastic-wrapped bright red beef being laid out for sale in a supermarket. Message: Buy Pepsi.

Up next: A fancy car drives swiftly, swerving to avoid flying pigeons, who are dropping poop from above. Car darts into a garage, garage door shuts, pigeon crashes into door, its head dangling inside, dead. Message: Buy a Nissan.

In the next few minutes, I was treated to a spot for "pork, the other white meat" and was told to prepare for the big Oscar Meyer halftime show.

With kickoff moments away, I guess I could have kept watching. Instead, I punted.

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