Tuesday, February 4, 2014

America the Beautiful?

I'll admit it, when I heard the Coca-Cola ad during the Superbowl, with all of the different cultures singing "America the Beautiful," in different languages it was a bit of a jolt to me.  I wasn't offended, per se, but it struck me as odd.  Sort of like wearing someone else's underwear.  Not that I have done that.

I suppose, mostly because hearing that song in a language other than English wasn't what I was accustomed to hearing.  It was a visually beautiful ad and the voices were on perfect pitch.  However, at the time, I pondered what the end game was on this ad.  Let's be honest, ad agencies don't make decisions willy-nilly.  There is a well thought out plan behind every piece of a production.  Dare we say it?  Advertising agencies are calculated in their decisions.

As is the case these days, most of us have our social media accounts opened up during a major event, so we can share our thoughts, sarcasm or insight, on what is unfolding live in front of us.  My Twitter feed lit up with comments about that Coca-Cola ad and many of them were filled with vitriol.

If we were to sing the much beloved Chinese song, "Battle on Shangganling Mountain" in English.  It would likely be met with Chinese eyebrows being raised and perhaps some jail time, mostly because they wouldn't know how to take it.  For the record, that song is pro-communist and a victory celebration, depicting when the Chinese took up arms against the "American Imperialists" at Triangle hill (Shangganling) during the Korean War.

As a side note, did you know that a Chinese pianist played that song at the White House in 2011?  That strikes me as distasteful, but perhaps I would be called a racist by some for feeling that way?

We are teaching our children to be tolerant of others.  This is a good thing, in my opinion.  However, it begs the question, are we allowed to have opinions on things?  Being tolerant and having an opinion are NOT mutually exclusive.  You may not like something, but are you required to shut your mouth, because someone else doesn't agree with your point of view?  Are we teaching our children to just be quiet if they disagree with someone?  I'd rather have a child who can have an educated opinion and debate things with others.  I'd rather have a child who has the intestinal fortitude to stand up for their beliefs.

We are all entitled to our opinions.  No where does it say we all have to agree on everything.  Just the fact that we're having this dialogue about the commercial and what it meant to each other is good.  If you're casting a blanket judgement over others because of how that ad made them feel, then shame on you.  You're behaving exactly as you profess those who spoke out against the ad.  I ask again, are we not entitled to our opinions?

Are there people in your circle of family and friends that agree with EVERYTHING that you believe?  I mean EVERYTHING.  I'll be the first to raise my hand and say NO.  I have similar views on many things with a handful of people in my world.  I vehemently disagree with several people in my circle on some of their views, but I'm not about to chastise them for having opinions.  Actually, I enjoy talking to those folks the most.  It's engaging to hear other views on things, why they feel the way they do and the backstory as to why that feeling resonates so strongly.

If someone wants to act like an asshat, in my opinion, they are free to do so.  I don't have to agree with them and I might very well agree with them later on a whole different topic.  Just because someone has a different opinion than you on an issue, doesn't mean that you have to tear them down for that.  It makes you into that judgmental person that you profess to be speaking out against.

Silencing those who disagree with your views only narrows your own world view.  I'd rather keep an open mind and hear as many different angles on a subject.  How about you?  Drop us an email.

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