Last Sunday, over 100 million Americans watched a great Super Bowl between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco Forty-Niners. It featured two terrific quarterbacks, a record breaking 108 yard kickoff return at the start of the second half by Ravens' Jacoby Jones and a great effort by the 49ers to come back from a 28-6 deficit in a cliff hanger finish.
Super Bowl XLVII included the traditional two weeks of dramatic buildup, this time featuring a biblical rivalry between the two coaching Harbaugh brothers, a hyped half-time show featuring a dynamic Beyonce reunited with Destiny's Child, and even an unprecedented delay in the game when most of the lights in the 73,000-seat building Superdome went out with 13:22 left in the third quarter.
And of course, we all sat at the edge of our couches waiting for those hyped up, really expensive Super Bowl commercials. In fact, 39 percent of Super Bowl viewers said the commercials, which cost $3.8 million a pop this year, were the best part of the game-with only 28 percent liking the football the most.
Traditionally, Super Bowl commercials try to stand out as the best, and some have proven superb, like this year's Dodge's ad featuring Paul Harvey's "So God Made a Farmer" speech.
Then, there are always Super Bowl ads that are judged as very controversial too.
Go Daddy, which sells domain names and builds websites, has for many years created Super Bowl ads that gain notoriety by testing the parameters of what are already sullied decency standards.
This year was no exception. In fact, to the delight of Go Daddy's management, the ad entitled "Perfect Match," may go down as the most repulsive of all time.
The ad starts off with Israeli Super Model Bar Refaeli (described by Maxim magazine as the "hottest girl in the world") sitting next to a stereotypical pimply, disheveled ugly nerd "Walter", played by actor Jesse Heiman. For the first 10 seconds, they sit there as a voice states: "There's the sexy side of Go Daddy, represented by Bar Refaeli, and the smart side that creates a killer website for your small business, represented by Walter. Together they are perfect."
Then, for the remaining 20 seconds, viewers were then treated to of a close up of Refaeli and Heiman passionately swapping spit.
As I watched the commercial, my reaction was one of total revulsion, which I believe was the same as most of the other 100 million watching the game.
But for me it was more than the intended Beauty and the Beast "shock" impact of seeing a grotesque man kiss a hot model.
Growing up as a short chubby "nerd" and continuing into adulthood as a short, "portly" adult of some intellect, that commercial was cruel and hurtful-and brought back memories of humiliation in my "wonder" years of enduring taunts, jokes, and ridicule about my height, my weight, and even my smarts. Needless to say, I relate well from such experiences with the Big Bang Theory Leonard Hofstadters of the world.
All of sudden, 40 years later, Go Daddy ruined my Super Bowl by jolting my repressed memories of teasing by the hottest girl in my high school class who continuously (and really not in a truly mean way) came up to me once or twice a week in the hallway and stuck her finger hard in my belly, saying "Hey Pillsbury Doughboy." Obviously, unlike Walter, there was never a shot of me hooking up with her.
We live in a society that is supposed to promote civil rights and tolerance in our society. Over the last 50 years, we have made great strides in fighting discrimination, and bullying, in terms of racial, religious, and sexual bigotry and stereotypes.
What was really obscene about that Go Daddy ad was not the sloppy kissing, but the promotion of that negative "nerd" stereotype that condones, and even promotes, negative "Walter" typecasts that make children and adults alike disdain, bully, and discriminate against ugly smart people.
That Go Daddy commercial illustrated how America has a nasty, anti-intellectual streak which disdains scholarly excellence and, instead, handsomely rewards both monetarily and in stature the superficial beauty and sexual attraction of supermodels like Refaeli.
Dissing nerds is as American as apple pie and NFL football. Sadly, I have a feeling that Walter is going to make a return at next year's Super Bowl. In the meantime, I won't be visiting the Go Daddy site anytime soon.
An edited version of this article appeared in the Sun Sentinel on February 7, 2013
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