It’s almost impossible to sell anything in the United States without reinforcing the social class hierarchy. But some ads are more explicit than others.
The embarrassing thing in this ad isn’t riding the bus. No. It’s riding in your father’s previous-century station wagon.
But it’s not just embarrassing. It’s utter humiliation, according to the blonde-headed leather-jacket wearing boy as he gets into his Toyota Highlander. It’s shameful to not have new stuff. On top of that, you must show everyone else your disgrace by hiding and dashing.
Slow the video down to see the reinforcing messages. Blondie sports a leather jacket. Shameful boy has holes in his jeans. He’s wearing a plaid shirt. Shameful’s father is kind-of short compared to the station wagon and definitely compared to the Highlander. Shameful’s father probably isn’t a Personal Wealth Manager.
Be ashamed of your low social status. Be very humiliated.
See more things like this in the media? Send me your links or images or videos or whatever! firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Whether we’re talking about race or gender or class, popular culture is where the pedagogy is. It’s where the learning is.” — bell hooks
N. Jeanne Burns lives in south Minneapolis with her partner Liz. She writes where she can find juice for her laptop, iPod and cell phone. Her muse, on the other hand, prefers to inspire her in places not mentionable in polite company. Jeanne has been published in Haute Dish, Spout, Northography, and the anthology “Writing Cheefully on the Web: A Quaker Blog Reader.” She maintains a blog on Quakers & social class at http://quakerclass.blogspot.com.