Wednesday, September 17, 2003

God help us if we make old people, black people ... or EVEN WORSE ... old black people, sad

Dammit, I did NOT plan to blog thrice today.

But as I was about to close the window displaying the Washington Post story about AOL Time Warner losing the AOL part of their name, the big animated GIF ad on the page caught my attention:


OK, there's a lot of fodder here. The Universal Service Fund is bullshit (I have to pay for poor people's telephone and Internet service because I can afford my own telephone and Internet service) anyway, and I could write 10,000 words on that alone. But I shant (anger is for the wife anyway).

But spend a few minutes letting the magic that is animated GIF tell the story of this ad.

The tagline for this ad is "THIS IS UNFAIR to Seniors & others ..." and there's Barbara Bush looking all sad because the USF is going to turn against her.

But on the first screen, we get the headline "THESE FEES WILL HURT US" with photos below of:

a) two old black men - one of whom may actually be a Claymation figure - who appear to be quite sad
b) a youngish, blackish woman who appears to be quite sad (and angry)
c) a young black couple who appear to be quite sad

I've been around this media thing long enough to know there are no accidents in advertising. When ADT puts together a home security ad, they think long and hard about what their "burglar" will look like.

So these folks were picked on purpose.

We have 4 "victims" of this change presented. All except one is black (or reasonably black). They don't look particularly poor, either. Just black.

Now, I wasn't surfing blackenterprise.com when I saw this ad. It's in the business section of washingtonpost.com, which has to have a predominately white audience.

Am I, Mr. White Reader, supposed to feel guilty because the people who will be "hurt" by this are black and therefore support the effort to change things?

Are the ad masters coming to realize that a lot of young people like myself have zero sympathy left for the Gimme Generation? And maybe I'll have more sympathy for the black experience?

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