I kinda knew that Joe Romm wouldn't find the Super Bowl Audi commercial funny. He's humor challenged. But David Roberts at Grist? Jesus, can't you guys just chill and see past your environmentally correct navels for once? Dudes, it was satire! It worked. Hell, I bet Al Gore laughed. If you've ever seen him on late night shows, you know Gore has a wicked sense of humor. He knows how to poke fun at himself to good effect. The world is full of stereotypes. Sometimes parody is the best way to deflate them. UPDATE: Romm's readers seem evenly split on the ad. Many are offended. Plenty others echo my thoughts and suggest that people lighten up. UPDATE 2: The majority reax by libertarians over at Reason's Hit & Run blog is notable for it's antipathy towards environmentalists. They loved the commerical's mockery of greens (taking it at face value), then felt betrayed at the end by the endorsement of a "green" car. But I think the libertarians at least figured out that they aren't Audi's target audience. UPDATE 3: Okay, it's official. I'm obsessed with the polarized reaction to this commercial in the green community. I've been scanning comments throughout the day on various sites where greenies congregate. Here's the best damn comment I've read. It captures my sentiments precisely. So is the ad offensive?
I think this is pretty much the same question as asking if Chris Rock is funny or offensive. If you think his jokes reinforce stereotypes, then you probably don't understand the audience. "Grandpa" isn't going to become MORE racist after hearing a Chris Rock joke. Personally, growing up in a rural, almost exclusively white area, I think it was better that I got those stereotypes from Chris Rock on TV than a racist neighbor. The framing is important. Similarly, it's better this idea is attached to a "greenwashing" car company than the crazy extremist who actually believes it's going to happen and says, "we shouldn't start down the slippery slope of environmentalism!"