This commercial is the worst type of propaganda. It tricks you into thinking social problems can be resolved if only people tolerate their oppression just a LITTLE while longer. It pushes the idea that bigotry, sexism, and transphobia are just differences of opinion that are up for debate, and deserving of civil discourse and equal consideration.

View at Medium.com

74 thoughts on “This commercial is the worst type of propaganda. It tricks you into thinking social problems can be resolved if only…

  1. Yeah, I watched that ad was somewhat annoyed for those reasons. And the trans-woman being pressured to be the ‘reasonable’ one after that raving bigot was exposed was painful to watch.

    He gets to feel big about having a trans ‘friend’. She gets one more person in her life who judges her based on her identity while pretending to be a friend.

    Yay.

  2. < ![CDATA[Yeah, I watched that ad was somewhat annoyed for those reasons. And the trans-woman being pressured to be the 'reasonable' one after that raving bigot was exposed was painful to watch. He gets to feel big about having a trans 'friend'. She gets one more person in her life who judges her based on her identity while pretending to be a friend. Yay.]]>

  3. Watching corporations try to make “meaningful” commercials is like watching your executive team goof around at a big company meeting. The odds of them pulling off something genuine are so freaking small, you just want them to not do it at all and save everyone the agony.

  4. < ![CDATA[Watching corporations try to make "meaningful" commercials is like watching your executive team goof around at a big company meeting. The odds of them pulling off something genuine are so freaking small, you just want them to not do it at all and save everyone the agony.]]>

  5. Turns out when your purpose is to lie to people and trick them into thinking they need something they don’t, that doesn’t mesh well with sincere expressions of political belief.

  6. < ![CDATA[Turns out when your purpose is to lie to people and trick them into thinking they need something they don't, that doesn't mesh well with sincere expressions of political belief.]]>

  7. Ads are “someone lie to you to get your money selling you something that you don’t need” (if you needed it, you would buy it without the ad).
    That should be reason enough to despise them.
    We are so used to them that we really don’t think about it anymore, but there is simply no way, no way at all, that they could make an ad to sell you beer “with sincerity” or “for social justice”. They should simply stop trying and return to ads telling you that a certain beer will get you laid with a supermodel.

  8. < ![CDATA[Ads are "someone lie to you to get your money selling you something that you don't need" (if you needed it, you would buy it without the ad). That should be reason enough to despise them. We are so used to them that we really don't think about it anymore, but there is simply no way, no way at all, that they could make an ad to sell you beer "with sincerity" or "for social justice". They should simply stop trying and return to ads telling you that a certain beer will get you laid with a supermodel.]]>

  9. In a lot of cases bigotry is helped by a lack of contact with the people bigots hate. Establishing that contact (over a beer of course, because it’s a beer ad) can help reduce the bigotry. It’s easy to hate people when you see them as a stereotype or caricature. It’s a lot harder to hate them if you know them as people.

    So although I dislike Heineken, I do think this ad has merit. It doesn’t merely treat the opposing positions as equally valid, it makes the holders of these positions accept each other as people. And while that does mean making people accept their oppressor as human, it also means making the oppressor accept the target of their hate as human, rather than subhuman.

    It’s still an ad, it’s trying to sell beer, and it wants beer to be the thing people bond over while setting aside their differences, but at least it’s trying to bridge some gaps, and that’s still better than nothing.

  10. < ![CDATA[In a lot of cases bigotry is helped by a lack of contact with the people bigots hate. Establishing that contact (over a beer of course, because it's a beer ad) can help reduce the bigotry. It's easy to hate people when you see them as a stereotype or caricature. It's a lot harder to hate them if you know them as people. So although I dislike Heineken, I do think this ad has merit. It doesn't merely treat the opposing positions as equally valid, it makes the holders of these positions accept each other as people. And while that does mean making people accept their oppressor as human, it also means making the oppressor accept the target of their hate as human, rather than subhuman. It's still an ad, it's trying to sell beer, and it wants beer to be the thing people bond over while setting aside their differences, but at least it's trying to bridge some gaps, and that's still better than nothing.]]>

  11. That’s pretty much what I said too. This beer is so good (at getting me drunk) that I can “set aside” the fact that this person in front of me wants me dead/starving/out of their country/electrocuted into submission out of my “disease”, and even bond with this person.
    It’s so good, that instead of mentally being on my toes, looking for where the exits are, and expecting this to end badly for me if their friends show up and they don’t want to be seen as soft on one of “those” people, I can relax and make a friend.
    It’s so good, the lack of inhibitions that alcohol usually brings about magically makes me safe instead of worried out my skin.
    It’s such a good beer, and such a realistic ad.

  12. < ![CDATA[That's pretty much what I said too. This beer is so good (at getting me drunk) that I can "set aside" the fact that this person in front of me wants me dead/starving/out of their country/electrocuted into submission out of my "disease", and even bond with this person. It's so good, that instead of mentally being on my toes, looking for where the exits are, and expecting this to end badly for me if their friends show up and they don't want to be seen as soft on one of "those" people, I can relax and make a friend. It's so good, the lack of inhibitions that alcohol usually brings about magically makes me safe instead of worried out my skin. It's such a good beer, and such a realistic ad.]]>

  13. Mark Delsing I’m not sure if that’s the point of the article, but it’s certainly my point: it’s not about the positions, it’s about accepting people as equals. And when people do that, their beliefs that others are subhuman hopefully cannot stand up to this.

  14. < ![CDATA[Mark Delsing I'm not sure if that's the point of the article, but it's certainly my point: it's not about the positions, it's about accepting people as equals. And when people do that, their beliefs that others are subhuman hopefully cannot stand up to this.]]>

  15. There’s no shared coming together. There’s just a capitulation to power. It’s getting punched in the face, then being expected to chill with the guy who punched you. It’s empty and it’s awful and it’s evil and it’s everything that advertising and capitalism are. It’s nakedly goddamned repugnant, and the headline is accurate: if you can’t see that fact, you’re a moron. There’s no value to this. There’s anti-value.

  16. < ![CDATA[There's no shared coming together. There's just a capitulation to power. It's getting punched in the face, then being expected to chill with the guy who punched you. It's empty and it's awful and it's evil and it's everything that advertising and capitalism are. It's nakedly goddamned repugnant, and the headline is accurate: if you can't see that fact, you're a moron. There's no value to this. There's anti-value.]]>

  17. Martijn Vos(null) “Me” and “Someone who does not consider me human” are not positions.

    I get that you’re hoping the latter will correct themselves when exposed to the former, but that’s a lot of risk you’re asking me to take on. It’s a false equivalency.

    I don’t need a beer. I need laws protecting me from evil people.

  18. < ![CDATA[Martijn Vos(null) "Me" and "Someone who does not consider me human" are not positions. I get that you're hoping the latter will correct themselves when exposed to the former, but that's a lot of risk you're asking me to take on. It's a false equivalency. I don't need a beer. I need laws protecting me from evil people.]]>

  19. Mark Delsing It’s not just that I’m hoping the bigot will correct their views when having friendly interaction with the target of their bigotry, it’s that I think it will. Hating people is easy when they’re distant and other and not people you interact with on a daily basis. But when you meet them and interact with them as equals, it becomes a lot harder to convince yourself that they’re subhuman.

    Of course there’s still an ugly phase in between where “oh, but you’re different from all those other disgusting people”, but I really do think that it’s harder to remain intolerant to people you interact with on a regular basis. Getting bigots out of their bubble helps. And yes, that bubble may also offer protection to the targets of their bigotry, but I really strongly think that segregation is not a solution to anything. It may be a temporary stop gap, but in the long run, it will allow the problem to persist.

  20. < ![CDATA[Mark Delsing It's not just that I'm hoping the bigot will correct their views when having friendly interaction with the target of their bigotry, it's that I think it will. Hating people is easy when they're distant and other and not people you interact with on a daily basis. But when you meet them and interact with them as equals, it becomes a lot harder to convince yourself that they're subhuman. Of course there's still an ugly phase in between where "oh, but you're different from all those other disgusting people", but I really do think that it's harder to remain intolerant to people you interact with on a regular basis. Getting bigots out of their bubble helps. And yes, that bubble may also offer protection to the targets of their bigotry, but I really strongly think that segregation is not a solution to anything. It may be a temporary stop gap, but in the long run, it will allow the problem to persist.]]>

  21. Martijn Vos I think you’re assuming an ideal state that is both improbable and, again, risky.

    I also think it’s a bit of leap to interpret me as asking for segregation. The issue is simply much bigger than this commercial is capable of addressing.

  22. < ![CDATA[Martijn Vos I think you're assuming an ideal state that is both improbable and, again, risky. I also think it's a bit of leap to interpret me as asking for segregation. The issue is simply much bigger than this commercial is capable of addressing.]]>

  23. Well if the point was: let’s put a bigot and an oppressed person together and let’s enforce strong, reliable rules to prevent them hurting each other and infringe on each other’s liberties, and we’ll see that the bigot’s point of view will evolve, I might agree.
    Still the ad’s point was: let’s put a bigot and an oppressed person together and let’s enforce strong, reliable rules to prevent them hurting each other and infringe on each other’s liberties let’s give them beer, and everything will be fine.
    That’s quite a lot to overlook for your point to safely travel to destination, despite how much i might wish it was the case.

  24. < ![CDATA[Well if the point was: let's put a bigot and an oppressed person together and let's enforce strong, reliable rules to prevent them hurting each other and infringe on each other's liberties, and we'll see that the bigot's point of view will evolve, I might agree. Still the ad's point was: let's put a bigot and an oppressed person together and let’s enforce strong, reliable rules to prevent them hurting each other and infringe on each other’s liberties let’s give them beer, and everything will be fine.
    That’s quite a lot to overlook for your point to safely travel to destination, despite how much i might wish it was the case.]]>

  25. Mario Bolzoni Well, the ad did put pretty strong rules in place, and letting them work together before the big reveal is a pretty vital part of the process, I think.

    Mark Delsing Of course the issue is much bigger and more complex than any commercial can address, but I really do think that bringing people together is going to be far better than keeping them separate.

    And if you do not want these people to mix, what is that if not segregation?

  26. < ![CDATA[Mario Bolzoni Well, the ad did put pretty strong rules in place, and letting them work together before the big reveal is a pretty vital part of the process, I think. Mark Delsing Of course the issue is much bigger and more complex than any commercial can address, but I really do think that bringing people together is going to be far better than keeping them separate. And if you do not want these people to mix, what is that if not segregation?]]>

  27. I don’t want a simulacrum of integration meant to sell shitty beer, that tells disadvantaged people if they just swallow the nauseating insult to their being, things will turn out just fine.

  28. < ![CDATA[I don't want a simulacrum of integration meant to sell shitty beer, that tells disadvantaged people if they just swallow the nauseating insult to their being, things will turn out just fine.]]>

  29. Martijn Vos I’m not saying “these people shouldn’t mix”. I’m saying this isn’t an issue of “perspective”. It’s not like these people are debating economics or something.

    Would I support a program that has rural white teens do social work in economically-depressed, minority neighborhoods, in hopes they gain some perspective? Sure.

    Would I support a program where impoverished black kids spend time in American racist strongholds getting to know white supremacists? No way. I’d be putting their lives at risk.

    Again, this is not a equal relationship.

  30. < ![CDATA[Martijn Vos I'm not saying "these people shouldn't mix". I'm saying this isn't an issue of "perspective". It's not like these people are debating economics or something. Would I support a program that has rural white teens do social work in economically-depressed, minority neighborhoods, in hopes they gain some perspective? Sure. Would I support a program where impoverished black kids spend time in American racist strongholds getting to know white supremacists? No way. I'd be putting their lives at risk. Again, this is not a equal relationship.]]>

  31. Robert Bohl I think it’s not impossible to do something meaningful, just highly improbable.

    E.g., a commercial that sold the beer by celebrating diversity (“Here’s to all of you making a difference” /raises beer) would be fine.

  32. < ![CDATA[Robert Bohl I think it's not impossible to do something meaningful, just highly improbable.
    E.g., a commercial that sold the beer by celebrating diversity (“Here’s to all of you making a difference” /raises beer) would be fine.]]>

  33. Do you honestly believe the, e.g., African-American woman in the pairing with the white supremacist has anything to learn from him? There’s no consensus to be reached. There’s solely the hope that the racist will mend his ways.

    That’s nuts.

  34. < ![CDATA[Do you honestly believe the, e.g., African-American woman in the pairing with the white supremacist has anything to learn from him? There's no consensus to be reached. There’s solely the hope that the racist will mend his ways.
    That’s nuts.]]>

  35. We disagree about two things: the risk and the effect. I don’t see what the risk is when they meet one on one as equals in a controlled environment, and I think forcing a bigot to accept someone as equal before discovering they belong to the hated group, may cause them to reevaluate their hatred. You clearly disagree, but I don’t quite understand what risk you see or why the bigot would not reconsider their position.

    Also, if this can’t make them reconsider, then what can? Arguments clearly aren’t working. Is progress hopeless?

  36. < ![CDATA[We disagree about two things: the risk and the effect. I don't see what the risk is when they meet one on one as equals in a controlled environment, and I think forcing a bigot to accept someone as equal before discovering they belong to the hated group, may cause them to reevaluate their hatred. You clearly disagree, but I don't quite understand what risk you see or why the bigot would not reconsider their position. Also, if this can't make them reconsider, then what can? Arguments clearly aren't working. Is progress hopeless?]]>

  37. Martijn Vos Take a look at the article I’m linking here. It’s the story of a white nationalist icon who, exposed to different viewpoints, totally changed his worldview. Just like you are saying.

    But. It took time. And effort. And many people. And a willingness on his part. It was not something that could be accomplished over a beer. And it definitely did not involve anyone on an hypothetical “other side” getting to understand his position.

    Because he had no position. He had racism.

    I don’t think progress is hopeless. But I do think there’s a reductionism being demonstrated by this commercial that is, honestly, not helping.

    It’s like staging a debate between a climatologist and climate-change denier. The denier isn’t an “opposing viewpoint”. The denier is a fucking idiot who’s been duped. You don’t debate with them. You… I dunno. You change the culture which is producing idiocy, I guess.
    washingtonpost.com – The white flight of Derek Black

  38. < ![CDATA[Martijn Vos Take a look at the article I'm linking here. It's the story of a white nationalist icon who, exposed to different viewpoints, totally changed his worldview. Just like you are saying. But. It took time. And effort. And many people. And a willingness on his part. It was not something that could be accomplished over a beer. And it definitely did not involve anyone on an hypothetical "other side" getting to understand his position. Because he had no position. He had racism. I don't think progress is hopeless. But I do think there's a reductionism being demonstrated by this commercial that is, honestly, not helping. It's like staging a debate between a climatologist and climate-change denier. The denier isn't an "opposing viewpoint". The denier is a fucking idiot who's been duped. You don't debate with them. You... I dunno. You change the culture which is producing idiocy, I guess. washingtonpost.com – The white flight of Derek Black]]>

  39. Fixing education certainly helps, but you don’t control culture in an easily fixable way when nearly half the population has been duped like that.

    But I do regularly get the impression that that half of the population believes the other half is evil, subhuman, or out to get them in some way. Showing this not to be the case may help open doors.

    And of course a single beer is not going to fix the world, but it might open a door in this wall that separates the nutcase half of the population from the more reasonable half. (Of course calling them nutcases, no matter how well deserved, will surely close that door.)

  40. < ![CDATA[Fixing education certainly helps, but you don't control culture in an easily fixable way when nearly half the population has been duped like that. But I do regularly get the impression that that half of the population believes the other half is evil, subhuman, or out to get them in some way. Showing this not to be the case may help open doors. And of course a single beer is not going to fix the world, but it might open a door in this wall that separates the nutcase half of the population from the more reasonable half. (Of course calling them nutcases, no matter how well deserved, will surely close that door.)]]>

  41. Mark Delsing I can see only two ways to stop bigotry: for bigots to stop being bigots, and to kill them all. I strongly prefer the former.

    And yes, it sucks that they exist at all, but I don’t see how they’re magically going to stop being bigots if they’re still bigots at this point. There’s something deeply wrong in their worldview, and telling them it’s wrong is clearly not working. The only alternative I can see is to show them they’re wrong, and in a way that makes it easy an attractive for them to change. Rejecting them seems to be pushing them deeper into their bigotry.

    And it’s not your fault, it’s very clearly their fault. But they’re not going to correct that fault out of their own. I’m not talking about laying blame, but about fixing the problem.

  42. < ![CDATA[Mark Delsing I can see only two ways to stop bigotry: for bigots to stop being bigots, and to kill them all. I strongly prefer the former. And yes, it sucks that they exist at all, but I don't see how they're magically going to stop being bigots if they're still bigots at this point. There's something deeply wrong in their worldview, and telling them it's wrong is clearly not working. The only alternative I can see is to show them they're wrong, and in a way that makes it easy an attractive for them to change. Rejecting them seems to be pushing them deeper into their bigotry. And it's not your fault, it's very clearly their fault. But they're not going to correct that fault out of their own. I'm not talking about laying blame, but about fixing the problem.]]>