You know, I had no problem with Tim Tebow's pro-life Superbowl ad. It was fundamentally about choice - about the choice of a mother to keep her baby, which is a choice that resulted in a talented and seemingly highly moral, decent kid who happens to be ginormous football star. I am pro-choice, but I don't consider that inconsistent at all with pro-life -- there's no way that having an abortion, ever, is an easy decision, and it more often errs on the side of absolutely wrenching, not to mention physically debilitating.
I know that pro-choice organizations were up in arms over the ad -- and there were legitimate concerns about the potrayal of the 'choice' Tebow's mom made; and the organization behind it, James Dobson's Focus on the Family, is, as Tracy Clark-Flory pointed out at Broadsheet, not just antiabortion but specifically and explicitly anti-choice. And the Tebow ad, presented by all accounts as a simple moral choice, did not take into account the circumstances of the pregnancy, the potential complications nor potential threats to the mother's life, nor present a balanced look at all the factors surrounding that kind of highly personal decision regarding a woman and her body.
Well duh. It's a pro-life ad. But still, even with all of that, I thought, let it air — it is a beautiful story, it might change the mind of a skittish 25 year old nervously wondering about her options — or provide comfort to a 17 year old sitting in the room with stern parents, who had none. At this point in the abortion debate, each side knows what it stands for and what it wants (though only one side is willing to allow that women can make that choice in either direction!), and in my view the Tebow story was a worthwhile one to be heard, just as worthwhile as, say, the girl who was "sodomized as bad as you can possibly make it" (shout-out to Republican South Dakota State Senator Bill Napoli, yo!)
So fine, CBS, show the ad. Even though you have a history of rejecting advocacy ads, even though it might upset some of your audience, let's do it — we're a nation of grownups, and it's 2010. We can handle it, right?
This is the point where I punch a wall — because apparently that only applies to pro-life ads featuring handsome football players wearing Bible-verse makeup. CBS has REJECTED the scary Mancrunch ad featuring two football fans realizing they leurve each other and making out furiously.
It's true! It's too hot for TV! Apparently the network that thought it was okay to have Frosty the Snowman talking about his PORN COLLECTION gets all squirmy when confronted with two schlubby dudes touching hands in the chip dish and then going in for the smooch (and by the way, for the fakest, spoofiest most non-lip-touching smooch ever. Look at that video
below. They are not even actually kissing). This network, which has no problem carving up various unlucky victims across NCIS and numerous CSI franchises, decreed the two-dudes-kissing ad to be "not within the Network's Broadcast Standards for Super Bowl Sunday."
Oh but seeing the dude below in his briefs is okay, because there's no danger of him kissing any nearby man. Though there is a danger of double-taking at the flesh-toned bra of the woman behind him, who looks for a moment like she's topless. Ladies in their bras? BRING 'EM ON! Men in their undies? WE CAN'T GET ENOUGH! So says USA Today: "Super Bowl to show more ads with people in their underwear." TAKE IT OFF, AD PEOPLE! Just as long as it's clear that the ladies in their bras are with the men in their undies and vice versa. Anything else is way too confusing for CBS' chest-thumping football-loving man-viewers and the curvacious blondes refilling their Cheeto bowls. EXCUSE ME FOR A MOMENT WHILE I BONK MY HEAD AGAINST THIS WALL.
This is flat-out, straight-up homophobia. Not to mention a flat-out, straight-up double standard. My God, the lingerie-clad ladies in that PETA commercial had to near-hump a broccoli to be banned. GoDaddy.com girl Candice Michelle may have upset the committee with her tank-top strap-snapping commercial in 2005, but it still ran. And fine! Why not? Oh my God stop the presses, sexy ladies have big boobies. But hey, stop the presses again: THERE ARE GAY PEOPLE IN AMERICA. PROBABLY A BUNCH OF THEM RUNNING THINGS AT CBS. (And certainly more than a few starring on the network...particularly as the voice of Frosty the Porn Collector.)
I know there's speculation that Mancrunch can't actually pay for the ad. Pshaw. That's a side excuse, not the reason for the rejection. The ad itself could not be less offensive or less intrusive. (There's even an appropriately-shocked friend in place, just to let you know that you can be shocked, too!) Fine, it could be the slippery slope to hellfire and damnation and gay adoption (NOOOOO NOT GAY ADOPTION!) but CBS, you're a broadcast network, and you are on the airwaves by the good grace of the public that you serve in so doing. Yes yes to budgets and creative license — hello, NBC's The Tonight Show With Jay Leno! — but where policies like this are concerned, there has got to be a uniform, consistent standard. You can't hold yourself out as the moral guardian of the people (no gay ads! We have standards!) and the guardian of free speech (hi, Mrs. Tebow!). You can't have it both ways — you really gotta pick.
I know, I know. Some decisions are hard. But that's what choice is all about.
The Scary, Scary Video (AVERT YOUR INNOCENT EYES!):
This post originally appeared at Mediaite.com.
Follow Rachel Sklar on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rachelsklar