When is bigotry bigotry? According to the new moral majority, only when conservatives are expressing an opinion. The left is apparently incapable of transgressing its new moral imperatives, which is quite convenient when you think about it. It’s a level of blindness and hypocrisy which far exceeds that of their hated enemy, that old-time religion.
The new Heineken ad is incredibly revealing on this score. It’s a fascinating video, actually. Strangers are paired based on one criterion: their opposing views. They’re videotaped beforehand speaking about their view on a certain subject, then put in a room with their opposite and left to follow certain tasks, at this point unaware that they are fraternizing with the enemy. Some get-to-know-you questions, a team-building activity (they assemble a bar), and then, just as they’re getting along swimmingly, the big reveal. The footage shot earlier is shown, and Mr. There Are Only Two Genders learns that the woman next to him is transgendered. The participants are given a choice: leave, or discuss their differences over a beer. In a world full of animosity, these pairs of strangers discover that they can discuss their differences with civility and open-mindedness, aided by a Heineken. Bliss.
Except it isn’t. This isn’t a story about how we can all just get along if we put our minds to it. It might have been if Heineken hadn’t shown their hand in the last twenty seconds, but they did. The last bit of the commercial shows our three pairs– the feminist and the anti-feminist, the environmentalist and the anti-environmentalist, and the transgendered person and the anti-transgendered person– sitting down over a beer to discuss their differences. We see the stolid older man who had previously resisted transgenderism saying “I’ve been brought up in a way where everything is black and white, but life isn’t black and white.” The transgendered woman responds, “Yeah, I’m just me,” to which the man replies “Yeah,” while nodding his head. The anti-feminist jokes “smash the patriarchy” while clinking bottles with the feminist. Here the true message snaps into focus: we would all get along if you stodgy old conservatives would just abandon your positions.
Think I’m wrong? Then play the commercial the other way. At the close of a successful experiment, the feminist takes a long pull of her beer and says “you know, you’re right. Women have different roles than men, and a wife’s role in marriage is to support her husband.” The transgendered woman, tears standing in her eyes, admits that she’s been harboring hatred in her heart for cis men, and she now realizes that the man in front of her is not a monster. Can you imagine the outrage? That sort of ad would make Pepsi’s marketing director look like a PR genius.
See, the new majority cannot imagine this kind of scenario playing out, and there’s the bigotry. This commercial could only have ended in one way. They refuse to consider that there’s an opposing yet valid perspective on the issues. This is a video about moral conservatives coming to their senses at long last.
Heineken claims it’s time for us to have a civilized conversation about the issues that divide us. I think they’re right, but such a conversation can only happen if both parties are willing to listen. Ads like these look reasonable, but they are made by people who refuse to listen to an opposing viewpoint. If only we had a term to describe a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.