Let the Super Bowl Ads Begin!

Florida St Florida FootballI never send ‘em.

I rarely receive ‘em.

I infrequently read ‘em.

What are “they”? Those emails forwarded by friends and family ranting about the political hot potato of the day.

For the few I do open up (sometimes inadvertently), I have yet to read a cogent argument that’s convinced me to change my position on that particular issue.

Last week I received a forwarded email about the upcoming pro-life Super Bowl ad featuring football star Tim Tebow and his mother. Reportedly, the spot tells the story of how Mrs. Tebow, pregnant with Tim, came down with a tropical ailment while living in the Philippines; the doctors then told her the pregnancy had become life-threatening. Obviously, Mrs. Tebow chose to still have the baby, her son Tim; the ad celebrates that choice.

The ad (and the fact that CBS entered uncharted ground by agreeing to ad an “issue” ad during the Super Bowl) have generated a passionate response, eclipsing interest in the actual game. (Go, Saints!) The email I received last week is case in point. Here’s an excerpt:

“I found out that CBS has cleared the way to subject nearly 100 million people to Focus on the Family’s extrema agenda by agreeing to air its new pro-life ad during the Super Bowl.

Focus on the Family has an unmistakable anti-choice, anti-birth control, anti-sex-education, anti-gay agenda. If that isn’t bad enough, its views on women are just plain insulting and dangerous. For example, its web site urges women facing unintended pregnancy to seek “wise advice” because “the hormones and extreme emotions of pregnancy make reasonable decisions more difficult.” Yeah, there is no way you can make this up.”

This dire email from NARAL was forwarded to me by my cousin, a bright guy with a big heart and a wicked sense or humor. I scrolled to the end of the message expecting a wry comment from him about the hyperbolic language in the email. Nope. Just a quick disclaimer: “I don’t usually send this type of stuff, and my apologies if this is not something you want to receive.” (Which is true, he doesn’t.)

The form email went on to urge me to not “sit by while CBS lets Focus on the Family place a political ad during the Super Bowl” and sign an online petition in protest.

Actually, the urge I felt was NOT to leap into cyber action. I wanted to scream in frustration. It drives me bonkers that the original email author believes that a position framed in polarizing and demonizing language will convince me – and others – to change positions on this deeply personal issue.

The Washington Post sports writer Sally Jenkin’s article, “Tebow’s Super Bowl ad isn’t intolerant; its critics are” captured my sentiment about the brouhaha:

“CBS owns its broadcast and can run whatever advertising it wants, and Tebow has a right to express his beliefs publicly. Just as I have the right to reject or accept them after listening — or think a little more deeply about the issues.”

I didn’t reply to the forwarded email. (Add that to the list – I never respond to ‘em.) But, it definitely pushed a button for me.

Wise Women, how do you handle it when you receive a forwarded email with a viewpoint (or hyperbolic language) that you find problematic? Any reaction to the back-and-forth about this year’s Super Bowl ads? And, perhaps most pertinent to this first weekend in February, who else is joining me in rooting for the Saints?


  • Catherine Says:
    2-5-2010 09:16:19

    I was just about to get dressed and walk before the we are snowed in for several months. However, after reading Elaine’s commentary, I must say I agree with Sally Jenkins.

    We, as a nation, seem to have lost the ability to have a calm, civil, tolerant conversation about any controversial topic. I am sure there are many reasons for this including the influence of conservative AM radio. We Americans seem to have an entrenched need to defend a particular position without even entertaining that a different viewpoint may have merit.

    Isn’t part of wisdom admitting that one doesn’t have all the answers? In Don Henley’s song, “The Heart of the Matter,” he writes: The more I know, the less I understand, and I think that is the beginning of wisdom.

  • laurie Says:
    2-5-2010 22:27:17

    I am sick of the polarization and divisiveness. Life is too short. I will admit that there is someone whose rantings about the president have gotten to be overkill, so I have been ignoring her postings. BUT I have a former co-worker who has a habit of sending some pretty vitriolic emails — the ones that were popular in the days following 9-11 — still in 2006/2008. I added her to my spam list and one day after she had sent something completely offensive, I diplomatically asked her to remove me from her distro list completely. She still didn’t get it, but I did feel better.

  • laurie Says:
    2-5-2010 22:28:14

    PS — I like the Saints’ chances on Sunday.

  • Maya Says:
    2-6-2010 20:29:57

    I spent last weekend in New Orleans to celebrate my sister’s 50th birthday, and that trip alone endeared me to the Saints and to the people of New Orleans. When the Saints were so bad that they were called the “Ain’ts” by their fans, a sportscaster promised to wear a dress and parade down the city’s streets if they ever made it to the Super Bowl. On Sunday, I spent a very memorable day in the French Quarter watching thousands of men sashay down the street in dresses. That’s team spirit! I hope they seal the deal tomorrow night!

  • Sharon Says:
    2-7-2010 14:45:43

    The most important message is that Mrs. Tebow made the decision for herself and that ALL women should have the right to make the choice that works best for them.

    Planned Parenthood would have aired a commercial if they could have afforded to do so. Their message is that every woman should have the right to choose what happens to their own body.

    As far as football goes, I’m rooting for the Saints.

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