File this under the category ‘’Mixed Messages’’
It has been far too long since our social betters in Hollywood delivered a condescending message to us, the unwashed proles, so thankfully that lecture vacuum has been filled. A new public service announcement has been created with the teaming of The Ad Council, The Center For Disease Control, and Warner Brothers Studio, and it is here to get all of us in line in regards to public safety.
In order to see to it that we all comport to the mandate of wearing masks in public we get served a collection of movie characters who are following along with the public health decree. The spot is nothing more than a series of cut scenes from various Warners motion pictures, with the famous icons appearing with digitally inserted facial coverings. It is an example of pandering of the highest order.
Or, it is arriving at just the right time, considering all of the maskless hysteria we witnessed following the Super Bowl. There are a few nonsensical aspects to this PSA however. For openers, in almost every scene the characters are shown in scenes where they are properly distanced from others. Then, idiotically, in the classic take from the film ‘’Casablanca’’ Humphrey Bogart toasts Ingrid Bergman with the famous, ‘’Here’s looking at you, kid’’ line, as they are about to sip their champagne – with masks in place. (I believe Rin DeSantis will have some coaching for them, on this matter.)
Spots like these always raise a series of questions. Who out there has not already been bludgeoned with the message to wear a mask in public?! Taking that a step further, are there really those people who to this point have been obstinate and have refused to wear one — for any number of reasons — but upon seeing a group of Hobbits donning their N-95s they will suddenly come to terms with the need to wear one?
There is an even greater paradox in this spot. One of the melodramatic responses we have witnessed regarding those who go without facial covering goes along the lines of, ‘’Why are you trying to kill people??’’ With that in mind, it becomes deeply odd that Warners decided to include in their vignette a number of characters who are the embodiment of murderous intent.
I’m sorry, but if you are attempting to sway the public you would expect to see the use of inspirational figures, not a demonic clown, a violent villainess, a homicidal sociopath, and the embodiment evil incarnate. A clown that kills children and basically is the seminal figure of nightmare fuel for millions is hardly considered the best motivator in this cause.
Released today the 30 second PSA is available for stations to run in their donated advertising slots. Lisa Sherman, president and chief executive officer of the Ad Council, gushed about the spot. “We are so grateful to the WarnerMedia team for their commitment to educating Americans on the importance of wearing a face mask to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19,” she raved. ‘’We’re truly grateful to Warner for lending their talent and iconic films to support this critical message.”
The studio was also effusive with their involvement. “WarnerMedia is proud to help educate and inform our fans about the importance of mask-wearing during this pandemic,” says Dennis Williams, senior VP of corporate social responsibility at WarnerMedia. I bet they are also happy to get so many of their in-house properties displayed at no cost, in the name of public service.
Now, it would be a cynical mind who looks over this generous offering by the studio and tries to see a craven corporate effort being made. For the record, I possess just such a mind. See, I began to contemplate just how many of the presented characters and films in this spot are currently being made available on the studio’s brand new streaming service, HBO-Max. It would almost appear as if Warners was hoping to generate some interest in its properties, such as ‘’Wonder Woman’’, or the upcoming release of the revamped ‘’Justice League’’, on the sparkly new digital platform.
Yes, I know – I’m simply looking at the negative side of things here. I should just consider the upside to this and consider the safety measures. So yes, I encourage everyone to follow the example set by The Dark Lord of All That Is Evil, and wear your masks folks.
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