Move-on After Completion

March 1, 2011

Not one of those long ones today, I’m running out of weird things to try and tie together that I haven’t done so already. However, I will say that this clip I found last semester came back to me the other day in conversation that I feel is an important concept with what we’re doing with the class.

The actor(yes, actor) in the clip is that of Rob McElhenney, the creator and star of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. In the Phillip Morris ad, he tries to reason with you that he thinks and doesn’t smoke and comes off as an angry kid while doing it. Anyone who’s a fan of the show knows that his character, Mac, has a different approach to the subject. While he does not smoke often on the show, Mac does advocate smoking. In one classic episode from the 5th season, Dennis tells Mac that he accidentally swallowed apple seeds, to which Mac advises him, “Smoke a pack of cigarettes. The smoke will kill the poison in your stomach.” Not exactly telling people that he thinks and doesn’t smoke. Hell, he’s actually telling someone that smoking will cure his ailment.

That’s probably why that Phillip Morris ad in particular isn’t that effective. Now that you know that the kid who’s awkwardly pushing anti-smoking propaganda is the same person who is regaling you with the health benefits of smoking in a laid back, cooler style, it makes the first ad worthless by comparison. We could push biking or recycling as much as we want in our podcasts. If we make it look awkward and obvious that we’re selling something we don’t believe in, no one will believe us. Especially if we go out and pop bike tires or throw cans in the street and make it look fun outside the context of the podcasts, where people see what we’re really like and if the ad we sold them was real.

Why else do people get mad when Hannah Montana/Michael Phelps takes a bong hit? They are people our kids look up to, so if they aren’t on their best behavior all the time, they get slammed hard. Even if it’s not a big deal, they have to get slammed because god forbid one kid is stupid enough to go “Duh, Hannah Montana smoked, I should smoke too, Duh.” But, rather than admit that they are human, we slam them.   

Are we that kid in the Phillip Morris ad, or are we Mac? Do we care about the stuff we push, or is this just a gig? Can we let our guard down, even for a second, and be a flawed human being, or do we have to be the image we present, a perfect little package that always walks on the right side of a black/white version of morality? All I know is, I eat apples a lot, so I got a pack of cigarettes in my lock box, just in case.

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