To the "It's just an ad!" camp
It is just an ad. I'm not offended by a pic of a busty gal (I am one, no big deal there) and I'm not offended by the shocking fact that --gasp!--men fantasize about women. In all sorts of compromising positions. And I'm cogizant of the fact that Kos needs to get the bills paid. And I realize how people may think us girls overreact when we call people out for using the word "pussy" or making an off-hand sexist comment.
But what the "just an ad camp" does not, I think, fully appreciate is not what the ad shows, but what it represents. If you haven't been stared at like you're a piece of meat in a deli it's hard to understand. But there is this feeling of minimization when you get oogled at and treated purely like a sex object. This ad has a twinge of that.
And let me tell you why I think it's caused an uproar from those who think it's offensive. Because we women are living in dangerous times. The Bush admnistration and the radical religious right has declared an all out assault on our personal rights and identity. The minimization has already begun; a switch in a Justice or two and whither Roe v. Wade? Women's health care is being virtually ignored. And our control over our bodies--in terms of abortion, yes, but in other ways as well--is under attack. So understand that in the current climate, the last thing we need is an ad reinforcing the view that our sole purpose is to serve and please our masters, men.
That being said, it's just an ad.
To the "It's so offensive!" camp
It's not a treatise on male/female relations. It's not a bill in the Senate. It's just an ad. If we were to object vociferously to every detail in life which represents women as just sex objects, we wouldn't have time to accomplish anything on this site! And as such, we must give it the proper weight it deserves. Which, in my opinion, is very little.
Let's be reality-based. Sex sells. Look at the Grist ad with the revealed thigh. Look at the Lipstick on the Pig ad with those huge, luscious red lips (ok, ok, wrong example!) And sex is a part of the "state of nation", which this site is meant to address. This site should not be sterilized to get rid of every sexual theme or undertone. And that's what I think Kos was trying to say in his post. Sex is part of life. Women are viewed as sex objects, so are men. But the progressive and moral thing to do is to not view women just in sexual terms. And when we object to an ad because it depicts a male fantasy, are we not doing just that? Are we not denying the fact that women are sexy beings? And, most importantly, are we not distracting ourselves from the key issues undermining women's rights?
This is a grown-up site. Like the "cuss-word" debates, the debate about what level of sexuality is appropriate in an ad will always exist. But, my friends, we are way off the mark on this one.
And by we, I mean we as a community, Kos and members included.
Group-think and Moving On
If I find the ad offensive, I'm not going to get upset that others do not. If I find the ad benign (or arousing!) I won't flame those who don't.
And I will NEVER EVER troll rate those who disagree with my opinion. Group-think is for freeperville. Giving out troll ratings like their free pixie sticks at the county fair is NOT acceptable, and I'm disappointed that so many last night found it easier to defend their position by handing out a "0" than by engaging in a substantive debate. We are not a single Kossack, with a single set of moral values and worldview. We are a cast of thousands, each with their own life experiences, and to think that the entire site can hold one view over another is impractical and dangerous.
That being said, Kos's tone was, I believe, inappropriate. And personally, I think he has employed the "you don't like it, screw you" attitude one too many times on this site. Kos, this IS your site, and god bless you for it, but it's such a great site because of you AND because of us. You'll get turnover, I'm sure. As old members get offended or tired and leave, you'll have fresh faces registering every day. You should not temper your words or let the fact you're in charge shade your views, but I think you do have to try to realize that even the host at a party needs to act a certain way. And that involves creating a welcoming environment. You won't be able to please all 50,000 users at once. And you can't possibly accomodate everyone's greivance or request. But you CAN do is treat the people who dedicate hours to your site with a bit more respect, and respond to them in a constructive, not antagonistic, manner. I don't give a shit how you respond to people outsie this site, how politically or apolitically you want to deal with outside criticism---but when that criticism comes from your own house, from your quasi-internet family--you have a duty to lead us away from conflict, not to contribute to it. (phew! ok, got that out of the way. kos....please don't ban meeeeee)
So, to conclude. It's just a pie fight ad. Just like it was "Fuck Ohio". Just like it was "memo v. minutes." Just like it was a host of other issues which have caused a degree of divisiveness here.
And Kos's response was, I think, just an ill-conceived attempt to put the issue to rest and to point out that we can't let ourselves be distracted.
Because, fellow Kossacks, we have a lot of work to do. And if we are to do it--if we are to help put this country on the right track--we cannot stop along the way and analyze banner ads to death. We can't let our best members behind in the wake of arguments such as these. Our success as an online community, as a liberal community as a whole, hinges on our unity and our ability to put aside differences in opinion and work together towards a common goal.
So, everyone, say it with me. FUCK THE PIE AD.
Fuck distractions. Fuck the infighting. Fuck the navelgazing. I'm ready to address the real issues...are you?