Ben Peek (benpeek) wrote,
Ben Peek
benpeek

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The Grim Reaper Loves You (and Bowling)



You remember this?

It was on Boing Boing today, which I figure most people have seen, but if not, there you go. I was about ten or eleven when this came out, and AIDS was kicking into mainstream culture. Every sex ed course that was run throughout High School included the words, "If it's not on, it's not on," and STDS were reduced to AIDS. In fact, I'm fairly sure if you had asked me fifteen years ago what an STD was, I would have said AIDS. Anything else? Isn't AIDS enough? I would have said. Are you telling me that I can get more? You fucking bastards! You've ruined it for us all! Now we'll all have sex and fucking die! FUCKING CUNTS!

...Yeah, look, I was an angry kid. I hadn't yet got a blog. I hadn't found authors. I needed outlets.

More realistically, I vaguely remember seeing Monty Python's The Meaning of Life around the same time of this commercial and so, perhaps unfortunately for the makers of this, I always found the ad funny. The Grim Reaper bowling. The Grim Reaper telling people they ate the salmon moose. In what will continue my fad of embedding what I'm talking about, I tracked down the Monty Python skit for you to compare the two and, which, in the true British way, has men dressed up as women. The British have always been very good at that. Anyhow, so while the commercial above was busy trying to alert everyone to the fact that AIDS was no longer for gay people--I love that line--my friends and I were always laughing at the fact that the Grim Reaper was bowling for people.

Outside my little bubble of existence, there was some complaint about the commercial, and how it traumatised kids. Maybe adults, too. I don't remember the commercial being on TV for very long, but I may be wrong about that.

It's funny, however, when you look at the AIDS campaign here and compare it to the Anti-Smoking Campaign going around these days. Me, I don't smoke, but I've got not thing either way about it. Smoke, don't smoke, smoke around me, don't, it's really not something I can get worked up about. But those commercials, filled with decaying teeth, tar filled lungs, gangrene feet, and so on and so forth, are designed along the same lines of the AIDS commercial, which is to shock and horrify you into a position where you want to take better care of yourself, possibly by getting a different and yet unexplained cancer. Which is not, incidentally, me saying that there is no harm in smoking. I've watched people die from smoking related cancer. I've seen the problems that come up when someone wants to kick the habit. I'm just saying the two ads remind me of each other.

And, y'know, the Monty Python clip below.

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