Monday, February 19, 2007

"Sorry" makes it ok

The parties responsible for the People'sChoice Credit Union's "Fee Bandit" ad gathered on Friday, to say "sorry" and claim they just didn't realize what they did was wrong.

Per usual, the offending parties all come together, hear from the Jewish community why this was offensive, act contrite, say the right things and everyone goes back to their own way of operating. It reminds me of being back in school and being pulled into the principal's office for breaking one of the rules of the school, or violating some statute in the student conduct code—you knew what you were supposed to say and how to act—then you went back and laughed about it with your friends.

I found a bit more on the incident over the weekend. Catalyst News Network, brought to you by the same people behind PunkVoter and Militaryfreezone, weigh in on Friday's "summit," as does Dan Kennedy, at Media Nation.

Incidents like this always produce a certain amount of hand-wringing and vows not to let it happen again, but the damage has already been done. The ad is out there and the image and the stereotype has been perpetuated, not to mention that thousands, if not tens of thousands of readers are now familiar with the image, which clearly is that of a Hasidic Jew.

So, when I hear that everyone's apologized and all parties are satisfied, I'm not so sure that anything's changed. Let me be as clear as I can here. This wasn't a case that "Some people felt the photo resembled a Hasidic Jew and drew on painful stereotypes," as David Hench's article in the Press Herald reported on Friday. The obvious intention of this ad was to "plug in" to and draw upon reader stereotypes, associated with Jewish people, stereotypes that portray them as lenders and bankers, with a propensity to get the better of any transaction. How the hell else would the ad have worked?

In 2007, to claim that you didn't know better in choosing to clearly draw upon a centuries-old image that would clearly "grab" the reader, in my opinion, was not some accident, or mistake, but a clearly well-thought out means to a creative end.

For all our posturing and insistence that we are an enlightened state, Maine still has pockets of ugliness and ignorance and I think they're much larger than many care to think about. How else do you explain most of these comments? Yeah, right folks—this whole fiasco is just another case of political correctness run amok. Good lord—evolve cretins!!

1 comment:

MEAnon said...

Did Kimberly McCall ever explain herself or make an individual apology separate from the group hug version?

(Same anon as below, only will comment as MEAnon from now on.)