It looks like Britain is finally losing patience with America's degenerate need to wallow in its own routine (and, by now, unconscious) glorification of casual violence. The U.K's Advertising Standards Authority has just proscribed a poster campaign for Wanted (starring inner-tube-lipped flake Angelina Jolie), which features the actress lounging on a car holding a gun. Here's what the Authority had to say about what is, frankly, a perfectly typical and even banal American paen to what my church's baptismal liturgy calls the "glamour of evil":
[W]e considered that because the ads featured a glamorous actress, action poses, several images of or related to guns and aspirational text, they could be seen to glamorise the use of guns and violence. We concluded (they) could be seen to condone violence by glorifying or glamorising the use of guns.No shit! The promotional campaign for an American movie is actually using an eroticised firearm as a key component of its artwork, for only the seventy millionth time?
Do you mean to tell me that this campaign dares to suggest that the ne plus ultra of cool, the apex of class and the summit of all our aspirations is to find an excuse to pump the full contents of a SIG Sauer 9mm magazine into the head of some suitably expendable, unattractive, non-American, non-blond, non-English-speaking loser? I am shocked...shocked, I say! What an odd departure from the kinds of things Hollywood is noted for--stories about poets, philosophers, doctors, theologians, teachers, farmers...Gee, I hope this American obsession with thrill-killing scumbag misfits is just a fad.
In all earnestness, though, I'm delighted to see that a public agency in the U.K. is actually being responsive to the sensibilities of citizens. The Authority says:
We have seen a proliferation of complaints from the public about advertising which is seen to condone gun or knife crime. We are responding to the level of consumer concern.If this sounds impossibly exotic to North American ears, it's because we've become inured to the grotesque notion that all space is corporate, that private agendas take precedence over public ones, and that the marketing industry has a divine right to turn every aspect of our environment into leaven for already-bloated transnational investment portfolios.
It is so refreshing to see government help people assert their right to a social space that is livable rather than sellable, yet it galls me to have to acknowledge that, if such a gesture were ever attempted here, the bleats of civil libertarians would be drowned out by the howls of Harperoid "conservative" market fundamentalists, who would smugly remind us all that the "nanny state" has no right to interfere in the brilliant job that market forces appear to be doing in setting North America's cultural tone. Why, every healthy, red-blooded North American teenager wants to be the next Steve-O, Britney or Jenna Jameson. Let Europa have her Rembrandts, her Monets, her Einsteins, and her Schweitzers. As long as Wall Street and Madison Avenue keep on sanctifying porn stars, bimbos and morons, we'll continue to have plenty of talent to place alongside those stuffy old krauts, frogs, wops and dagoes.
I love the way Universal Pictures (the dreck factory that produced Wanted) defended the ad. Their ineptitude clearly reflects their shock at actually being made to defend the poster, an anti-capitalist outrage that would never have happened Stateside:
Universal Pictures, the studio behind the movie, insisted the posters had not appeared near schools or other areas frequented by children.Really. This is the planet Americans live on: as long as you keep posters away from schools, British kids will never view them. You see, England's downtown city streets, the London Underground, and all the other common venues for movies posters are strictly off limits to minors.