Posted by the bekka
I read Jill at Feministe's post and was moved to make some comments about the conservative response to Brokeback Mountain (and homosexuality in general). Here they are for your enjoyment: enjoy, darn you!
1. If gays and lesbians were to “recruit,” they’d have one hell of a pitch for potential proteges: discrimination, hate crimes, contempt and disgust, legal inequality, and ostracism from family and loved ones. I wonder how this can be repeatedly construed by people whom homosexuality makes “uncomfortable” as a compelling recruitment package? And besides, our country isn’t exactly in a mood to be recruited right now (see under: US Armed Forces).
2. Wow. The Marlboro Man is an enduring symbol of America. That’s terrific, considering that he’s an advertising concept. Here’s a little background on him.
Dr. John Watson, one of the founding fathers of Behavioral Science, pioneered the use of behavioral modification in his post-psychology career as a Wall Street advertising executive. Ever seen really, really old commercials? How they just tell you - straightforwardly - all about how good the product is? And it seems really strange? Watson was one of the first to identify the comparative power of pairing a product with an emotionally provocative image (Pavlovian or Classical Conditioning) such that the consumer would associate the feelings from the image to the product. This is a much more effective way of enticing a customer - it’s an emotional appeal, not an intellectual one.
Enter the Marlboro Man. Marlboro was originally sold as a cigarette for women, and Philip Morris wanted to redirect it towards the male market. In a rap session, their ad execs asked themselves, “What’s the most manly thing you can think of?” Of course, the immediate response was “a cowboy.” And thus the Marlboro Man was born, and a resounding success he was - Marlboro is now one of the most popular brands of cigarette on the market. Oh, and here’s the clincher - ever notice how the Marlboro Man is on the advertising, but not the cigarette pack? That’s because, according to the ad execs who created him, the Marlboro Man represents the American dream - a dream of freedom - and they wouldn’t want you to crush that dream and throw it away every time you finish a pack.
Hmmm. Now that I think of it, maybe the Marlboro Man is a enduring symbol of America - of consumer manipulation lurking under the guise of “freedom of choice.”