So there's this commercial for the Trojan Vibrating Triphoria that often airs during Comedy Central's late-night lineup.
(Has there ever been a better lead for a blog here? I defy you to find it.)
For those of you who haven't seen it, the spot takes us to a bridal shower, where the lucky bride-to-be receives the advertised product not once or twice, but three times. Upon opening the first one, she asks who gave it to her. One of the girls says she did, and she has the electrified hair to prove it! But then two more of her friends say the same thing and sport the same back-swept hair, which leads the party to devolve into helpless laughter.
The ad then cuts to the couple's home, where the betrothed mentions to her man that she got three of the vibrator they always talk about (!) to which he joyfully replies, "suh-WEET!"
Trojan doesn't go out of its way to explain how the shower girls wound up with their hair that way — Did they just have sex 10 seconds ago? What position could they possibly have been in? Why would no one have noticed their hair up to that point? — and they make the joke three consecutive times. And let's not even get into the guy's enthusiasm. I suspect the marriage won't last long.
All in all, it's a silly, cheesy spot for a product I don't plan on using and I know no fiance of mine would ever need. Ahem.
So why am I writing about this ad? Well, if you watched it, you may have noticed this bit of fine print:
What it means is, whatever state these ladies live in got over the Civil War.
It also means that every time Comedy Central airs this ad in Louisiana, it's cut off several seconds in and usually replaced by something more to Jesus' liking, like hunting rifles. What's funny is that the ad still has time to articulate the product and its website before it blacks out (cutting off the fine print that says, hey, you can't order it). It also means the substitute ads start later and bump into the shows.
Southwest Missouri is as Bible-thumping Christian as they come, and yet they air the ad with no problem. Nobody gets hurt, Trojan gets some business and viewers don't have to guess which guest is taking the chair on The Daily Show.
On an intellectual level, I've pretty much always known that Louisiana and other Deep South states have tight community broadcast and adult-commerce standards. But seeing it in action now that I've lived elsewhere gives me a sinking feeling, like I've regressed. And it makes me wonder how a state that puts on such outrageous pageantry as Mardi Gras can be so backwards on the airwaves.
I'm not saying that Trojan ads should be on every Saturday morning cartoon show. What I'm saying is that when even tame ads for adult products get censored on late-night cable TV, and the items are not for sale due to "moral" concerns, then something is wrong. Actually, lots of things. And where these "moral" concerns interfere with freedom, such as in purchasing safe, legal products and/or barring a segment of society from basic legal rights, then it crosses over from outrageous to unacceptable.
On top of costlier insurance premiums and gas prices, this is just one more high price to live in Louisiana. Maybe this is the kind of price we ought to roll back.