Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Triptophan Haze

I was watching television the other night, never a good thing if it doesn't involve hockey or soccer in my opinion, and I saw this commercial that had this cool black co-worker making fun of this nerdy bespectacled white guy who is trying to dig his way out of the office with a spoon much like The Great Escape or The Shawshank Redemption. The cool black guy looks down on the white guy and smirks out the belittling phrase “Looks like somebody missed snack time.”

This has been bothering me ever since. At first glance it’s just some smartass that’s making fun of his co-worker who needs an energy boost. But you scratch the surface and you see a deeper meaning here. Warning: A lot of the following text will make you want to tell me to chill out and stop reading so much into things.

So what are the bigger issues I see here. Well, first of all it’s the black guy who is eating the fast food which immediately ties into the American stereotype of “black people like fried chicken.” It’s a chicken wrap sandwich thing. At the core of this assumption is the truth that a lot of the overweight population in America is urban black culture simply because when one cannot get an office job like the people in this commercial in a society without a social safety net your limited income leads to unhealthy lifestyle choices because they become more affordable and less time consuming. Take a look back at the Katrina disaster to see what I mean. There were countless images of poor black Americans left stranded, many of whom were overweight. Never once was there discussion about the lack of social safety net in light of Katrina.

So not only is it the cocky black guy eating fried chicken he’s making fun of someone who has pretty much been driven insane by the mind numbing banality of his office job. The solution isn’t to help the guy come to terms with his situation or consider new ways of engaging employees. The solution to deal with this situation is to jam a chemically laced piece of deep-fried chicken down your gullet so your body releases endorphins and you’re complacent because you’re digesting hormone laced bird-like product.

Yes, that’s a great message. Complacency through fried food.

Am I reading too much into this or seeing what was intended? I guess you can be the judge. But for the rest of us who appreciate Dilbert and the general mind-numbing bullshit of office politics, here's a great little airplane safety type card for workplace revolution. There are naked cartoon people in it near the end so be warned.


Jan Triska said...

Dude, you are reading into this commercial way, way too much.
I saw it a few days ago - and, it's funny, and whatever. There's a bit of an inversion of some stereotypes, too, with the white guy (for a change) feeling like he's in jail.

The office liberation card is great, though. Let me guess, based on the Spanish and on imagery of reversion to rainforest primitive society, it probably comes from Latin America.

I kinda liked the one where they are hunting with bows and arrow at the end. Like what Green party hopes to accomplish...

joncormier said...

Oh c'mon, like the one thing North America needs right now is for its workforce to actually EAT MORE.

The message is that you'll be happily complacent in you eat deep fried lard on bone (with chicken flavour).

Yeah I probably read too much into the racial politics but you can't tell me they're not playing up the idea that black guys are inherently cooler. I go to a comic shop on a semi-regular basis. So I know that all people are equally nerdy.