Although Houstonians who watched Superbowl XLIII didn't get to see the porn that those lucky Tucson folks witnessed, they got something almost as juicy: an ad for AshleyMadison.com, a website aimed at married people who want to boink someone other than their spouse.
This outraged the concerned folks at the Parents' Television Council (a supposedly "non-religious" group which nonetheless spends a great deal of time monitoring how religion is portrayed on TV, and, God bless us all, really digs Kirk Cameron) whose members decided to raise their objections to the TV stations that ran the ad. This includes KPRC. So the PTC issued a press release quoting Council President Tim Winter saying "On behalf of the more than 90,000 PTC members in Texas, we condemn the NBC affilliate's decision to accept money to air this advertisement." Houston chapter president George Hall was quoted as saying "This type of advertising is unacceptable in our community, let alone in our state....And you can ber that KPRC will hear from PTC members in Houston to express their outrage..."
The move was pure genius: by e-mailing the press release to every media outlet imaginable, the PTC was now helping advertise AshleyMadison.com - for free! So, OK, even if the campaign is a tad misguided, Hair Balls feels for those poor parents who were just trying to enjoy some family-friendly football with their kids. (Nothing says "family-friendly" like multi-million-dollar franchises owned by old white men and consisting largely of young black men pummeling each other, punctuated by commercial breaks featuring frat-douches drinking shitty beer and chasing after vacant-eyed anorexics proudly displaying their surgically enhanced merchandise - but alas, Hair Balls digresses).
Now, even though Hair Balls wonders why the PTC is raising a fuss over KPRC running the ad, that doesn't mean we wholly approve of AshleyMadison. For one thing, the company seems strangely in denial of what it's actually doing, to wit (from the website): "Providing a service like ours does not make someone more likely to stray any more than increasing the availability of glassware contributes to alcoholism." (Note to AshleyMadison: Your slogan is "Life is short. Have an affair." So in that ridiculously sanctimonious metaphor, you're not the glass. You're the fucking whiskey.)
Hair Balls spoke with Houston chapter member Tammy Goforth, who really threw us a curveball by not being an obnoxious Bible-beater. Goforth, a jazz vocalist who also teaches piano, says her main concern is not that KPRC carried the ad in the first place, but that it was shown during a time when many kiddos were watching.
"If they want to show it later at night, we wouldn't have as much of a problem with that," Goforth told Hair Balls. However, she added that running in the ad in general "shows a lack of social responsibility. And we're...kind of calling them to task on social responsibility."
Goforth also said, "I'm a parent. I'm volunteering for this organization because I believe in what they do. And yes, the parent has the first line of...defense [for] their child. That's the first...responsibility a parent has. But sometimes you don't have control, and so we're asking our fellow human beings to help us in raising our children the best we can. It's not a moral thing, it's a human thing."
We're pretty sure Kirk Cameron would agree!
(Hair Balls left a message for a head of advertising at KPRC, and we'll update this if we hear back.)
-- Craig Malisow
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