Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Apes & Angels in the 21st Century

Proving that old fashioned nativism(a/k/a racism)is not dead, Arby's latest TV commercial features a team of scientists(one of whom appears to be Indian) watching a group of chimppanzees on an assembly line making hamburgers, ostensibly for Arby's, the fast food chain. The scientists are amazed as the chimpanzees break into an Irish step dance.

Arby's gets an F for stereotyping and stupidity in advertising, but they're not the only ones.

The man who posted this insult says his daughter "loves Irish dance music." He responded to a critic on his blog by saying, "and sometimes and Irish-dancing monkey is just an Irish-dancing monkey. Stop trying to make racism out of everything. That's just immature."

Simianizing an entire ethnic group is immature? We suggest he pick up a copy of "Apes and Angels: The Irishman in Victorian Caricature" by L. Perry Curtis Jr. for an insight into the caricatures of the 19th Century, specifically Thomas Nast, and read how that effected Irish-Americans of the time. Then he might want to look at what stereotypes can do to people, using the genocide of the Native Americans, the opression of Africans, and theJewish and other victims of the Holocaust crematoriums as guideposts.

Then tell us the reaction to his nonsense is immature!

What's even more disturbing is that another cretin out there has done a video response to the original commercial minus the scientists, remixing "Lord of the Dance" with chimpanzees. This is almost as insulting as equating Irishmen with nothing but alcohol. What's even more insulting is that people actually think this idiocy is funny. Where are the rest of the outraged Irish?

A very belated thank you to our colleague in Minnesota, Mark R. Connor, who brought this to our attention -- and a very loud raspberry to Merkley & Partners, the downtown New York ad agency who created this outrageous piece of trash.

Patricia Jameson-Sammartano
WGT Culture Editor


Anonymous said...

I feel like I'm in a personal crusade against Arby’s. I couldn't agree more. Irish step dancing and music are at the core of who we are as a people. That ad-campaign is nothing but bigotry. I’ll join any boycott or class-action law suit. I’m not an ambulance caser but this one can’t slide. Our men and women who defend our history and traditions need our support. They single-handedly have brought the Irish from the bottom to the top of most respected peoples in America and the World. We’re our Al Sharpton, when we need him most.

Anonymous said...

i'm not sure if you people are joking or not, but on the off chance you demented bleeding-heart liberals are serious about that commercial being a stereotype, i have something to say. as an irish-american that in no way offends me. will you people please stop trying to find racism/sexism/prejudice in everything. damn, get the hell out of america you people ruin this great country. go to a starbuck's in france and bash america from there you emo-music loving douche bags.