Saturday, July 5, 2008

Pathetic Irony

I was watching the opening stage of the Tour de France bicycle race on the cable sports network "Versus" today. One of the ads was for "Auto Zone" car parts stores. It shows a young teenager riding down a dusty road on his bicycle. He comes upon an old junk car by the side of the road that has a cardboard sign stating "If you can fix her, she's yours." He spends the rest of the summer riding his bike back and forth to the Auto Zone store to gets parts for this shitbox. Finally, at the end of the ad he has the junker running and he states, "At least now when I have to go to Auto Zone, it won't be on my bicycle!"

This commercial makes me so sad for two reasons. First, who the heck at this channel matches up commercials with the programming? I mean, come on, people are tuning in specifically to watch the greatest bicycle race in the world (You can be pretty darn sure not many of us will stick around to watch "Tap Out" cage fighting and PBR bull riding!) and they play an ad with the punch line: "At least I won't be on a bike." I wonder if anyone at Versus or Auto Zone saw the ironic disconnect in that.

Obviously, the second reason this makes me sad is the way they perpetuate the typical American attitude that only kids and losers get stuck riding bicycles. It's better to cruise around in a broken-down, worn-out, junky gas hog than it is to ride a bike. Hello! Gas is at four bucks a gallon and heading up. People are dying in Iraq. We're getting ready to drill in National Wildlife Refuges. We're all getting fat, sick and lazy. Can you idiots on Madison Avenue wake up, please?

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