(This post was actually written on September 2 but, for some reason, I didn’t bother to actually publish it. It’s not quite as timely as it might have been had I posted it at that time, but it still contains thoughts I wanted to share, points I wanted to make.)
Some days, I think I must be an alien. I just don’t understand why people get worked up over what seems to me to be a fairly minor thing.
The stink that arose about this ad was over the imagery and the tagline “The tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11. The planet is brutally powerful. Respect it. Preserve it.” WWF themselves quickly condemned the ad, saying it had been rejected by them after it was presented to them by a Brazilian ad agency.
But let’s pretend they hadn’t, that they had actually approved of the ad. You could argue that it is perhaps too soon for something like this (assuming there is ever a right time) or that it is in poor taste (I’m personally more offended by the “Save the whales” PETA ad showing a fat woman at the beach but that’s a whole ‘nother issue and even then I’m more puzzled than upset), but the level of vitriol leveled at the people who made it boggles the mind. Most people would have a hard time imagining 200,000 people wiped off the face of the planet by a single event — the shocking image in the ad is a stark representation of the very factual tagline, and it puts the tsunami loss of life (and Mother Nature’s power) in terms that most people can understand by giving an idea of how many planes it would have taken to equal the same number of people of who perished in the tsunami.
I get that emotions run hot about 9/11, even eight years after the event.I don’t feel those emotions myself, but I really do understand. But it still seems to me that there should be a point where articles, ads, and discussions that don’t maintain a sacred, reverential attitude towards it won’t be buried under mountains of sinister, frequently threatening outrage. If you’re not with us, you’re agin us.
A second example from around the same time was Aubrey O’Day being vilified for, among other things, saying that Hitler was brilliant during a discussion on FOX’s The Sean Hannity Show. How dare she! Why, brilliant people are always working for the good side of the Force. Clearly everyone working for the “other side” is stupid or they’d be on our side.
I could take Aubrey to task for so many things she says but is the concept that dictators are very intelligent really that hard to believe? Sure, they’re usually stark raving bonkers as well, but crazy and brilliant aren’t mutually exclusive, and I doubt that a stupid or even a mediocre dictator-wannabe would live long enough to actually become a dictator.
Her comments were called disgusting, unforgivable, inane…yes, perhaps “brilliant” was a less-than-perfect choice of words, since people usually equate “brilliance” with good qualities in good people. But no one seems to be particularly offended by the possible misuse of “brilliant”, but rather are offended by the classification of Hitler as an extremely intelligent man. When did intelligence become the birthright of only the good and just?