Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Warning: Advertising can be “Suggestive”

And by suggestive, I’m of course talking about teh sex. But not any old sex, that's fine, but sex between men seems to be appearing in newspapers aimed at a gay audience. So, consider yourself warned.

I woke up this morning to hear CBC Radio talking to someone from Capital Xtra about some recent goings on at city hall. Apparently a parent at a community centre decided to read Capital Xtra and complained about the suggestive advertising to a councilor whose name I forget. What followed was the councilor passing the matter off to city staff and said staff then conducting seven days worth of research to find out whether or not a free gay culture newspaper should have the right to be distributed in city run community centres.

This entire situation just reeks of the type of activity that utterly disgusts me about this city. This matter could have been dealt with in a matter of minutes with a PFO (please fuck off) response from the councilor. It’s not about whether or not you are willing to listen to your constituents, or whether or not you agree with them, it’s a matter of being the type of leader that defends all the people you represent. Trust me, you can be polite to people who are trying to bring up non-issues with you, I used to do it all the time with the Green Party. I could have saved you seven days. Seriously. Here’s a response off the top of my head “Thank you for voicing your concerns I am always open to listening to my constituents, however the city, and myself allow all our citizens the right to free expression and we embrace all communities who live in Ottawa.” Can I get some consultant fees for that? It took me under a minute, you can buy me a large double-double and if I win a free cookie, I’ll even give it to you.

But what I think we’re all missing here is the real story of how Capital Xtra has miraculous powers. Think about it for a second. The parent who made the complaint must have been totally blind and deaf until he picked up a copy of Capital Xtra only to be exposed to advertising for the first time. I can imagine the experience of suddenly having sight only to see an advert in a gay newspaper would be a bit disconcerting. I’m thinking we should start rubbing Capital Xtra on lepers and see what happens – could reduce wait times.

I’m seriously shocked over someone concerned over suggestive advertising. Where have you been for your entire life. Heck, when Henry Ford rolled the first Model-T off the assembly line he drove down town with it and put up a poster that said “If this Model-T’s a rockin’, it’s because we’re doing God’s work.” Or Flittermaster and Sons Corsets – “These corsets will make him lose his breath too." I think Shakespeare advertised Titus Andronicus with “Avail thyself to the wanton ways of yester-year. Alas, and alack with public approval only the finest beef liver is used for the utmost clarity in life mimicking personal tongue removals.”

There’s a similar faux moralism being brewed up in the comic book geekery over an upcoming cover that has a well endowed man. It’s covered much better by Chris and Dorian - warning, if you click those links, you’ll see penises in underpants. The deal in the comics isn’t about whether or not the artist is talented or can actually draw anatomy, it’s that suddenly there are male bits rather than over sexualized women being presented. What is telling isn’t that there’s anatomy but the reaction to it which I find fascinating.

This unnecessary local scandal isn’t about advertising, it’s about homophobic behaviour being given credence by city hall. Did we really need to consult with other municipalities to find out that everyone in this city has the same rights?

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