Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Marriage ads - one good, one bad

I'm going to disagree with a number of gay activists and writers who simply love this ad. I think it's too sugary and too obvious an attempt to say that gay and straight are no different. If it was an ironic send up of the sort of fluff that state tourism agencies dish up, I'd like it more.

On the other hand, this ad makes its point beautifully and strongly.



Larry Ohio said...

You are right in that gays and straights are different. One of those differences is that straights tend to have a hard time with the concepts of irony and satire. While you and I may both love the second ad better than the first, it might be lost on its target audience, straight voters.

Randall said...

I like both the ads for different reasons. They speak to different sensibilities. North Americans, as a rule, have to be spoon-fed niceties and constantly reassured that there are really no monsters under the bed; the Maine ad works in this regard. "We're just like you! We're not the monster under the bed!"

(If Dan Lawson from Monroe needs a husband, he can give me a call, too!)

The Irish ad brilliantly drives home the "What if?" point. I doubt this kind of creativity would work on this side of the pond. But I could be wrong.

Nelly said...

Irish ad for me - the other one is a bit schmaltzy.

headbang8 said...

Father Tony, with the greatest respect, let me disagree back at you.

Making a point strongly may change a mind, but it doesn't change a heart.

Too obvious? There are many people voting on my rights, and your rights, who have never (knowingly) seen a gay couple. To whom the most obvious point--that gay marriage is a question of humanity and not religion--is invisible.

Our front-brains tell us that it's illogical to deny someone the right to marry the person they love. The Irish ad says it nicely.

But even the supremely intelligent believe illogical things, if strong emotions intervene. We need to win the back-brain. And that's done with images, not arguments.

The Irish ad makes me assume that the people who need to be convinced are wrong, even silly. And if I'm one of them, that's not an easy pill to swallow.

(Further, the Irish ad doesn't have any gay people in it, for what it's worth.)

I think that the strategy to show gay couples and families as warm, loving and dignified, is correct. I recall polls showing that one of the key factors which correlates with support for gay marriage, is personal acquaintance with gay individuals and couples.

Frankly, I think the Maine ad, as you point out, could have been done much better. But it's on the right track.

The Irish ad fights fear with logic. The Maine ad fights fear with gentle reassurance. When you're afraid, the latter holds far greater power.

That holds true for everyone. European or American. Gay or straight.

Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear LarryOhio and Randall and Headbang8, you make good arguments that counter my opinion.

David said...

Also, for the record, a very similar ad to the Irish one did in fact run in the US, back when Prop 8 was going on. We know how that turned out.

David said...

matt said...

you may be right. when i first saw the maine ad, I thought it was for the anti-equality people until it was about two thirds through. it has the other sides look and feel. but maybe this is good for our cause. i just don't know.
i also don't want to allow the mean-mongers to have a monopoly on wholesomeness. they'd already tried to co-op god and the flag as if both were their personal property.