Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ad hoc, ad nauseum

"She's a busybody, sometimes," my grandmother said, gently explaining why my aunt was upset about something.

I thought of her when I read about the groundswell of opposition to Tim Tebow doing a Superbowl commercial. Now, Tebow is a Christian-- it's as plain as the scripture on his face -- and Focus on the Family reportedly wants to air the story of his mother refusing an abortion that was recommended by doctors.

Reportedly, I say, because nobody but the principals really knows what is in the commercial. That doesn't stop the opposition, like somebody criticizing a book or film sight unseen they're jumping right in.

They've been played. Focus on the Family will get untold publicity out of the commotion, worth far more than the $2.5 to $3 million they were willing to pay. They can't lose: if the spot is pulled they are the victim of a conspiracy. That's brilliant.

What's the harm, as long as they don't broadcast bloody pictures? (Though, I admit, wardrobe malfunctions speak more to my taste in edgy Superbowl viewing.) Then again, I don't see why People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was denied access in the past-- with the same reservations about seal-clubbing and such. PETA, in particular, is capable of the sort of humor we appreciate on Superbowl holidays.

I'm making a leap of faith here: the assumption is that CBS will screen the ad and exercise some judgment despite the television commercials I see everyday. Actually, I'm more concerned that some political hit job will sneak in thanks to the Supreme Court decision to allow corporations to market politics too.

It would be uncomfortable to think during our annual circus, but the story -- if that's what the commercial is about -- bears telling. The extremists on both ends of the abortion debate are just that. The ground in between is muddy: the mother might have died or we might have had another smug athlete.

In this case, Pam Tebow made a choice.

I'm not comfortable with abortion; I hope I never am. It is absolutely necessary sometimes. It shouldn't be used as a means of birth control and I don't trust the government to make decisions for people.

But I'm just being a busybody: we won't see the Superbowl ads on Saipan anyway.

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