The ad promoting tourism to the US seemed innocuous enough, but Family Research Council president Tony Perkins warns that the advertising campaign is being used to “highlight same-sex attractions.” The Discover America ad highlights diversity in the US, including a song by Rosanne Cash and images of an interracial couple, two Muslim women in a city and people celebrating the Hindu festival Holi. But Perkins is peeved by its attempt “to celebrate homosexuality” by featuring a man with his arm around his partner on a bus for almost two seconds.Well, two seconds, then. Call in the anti-gay brigades, we can't have that. And so the Family Research Council has mounted a campaign to let everyone know they have a sad at this two seconds of apparent intolerance, and it must not stand. President of anti-gay sad Tony Perkins:
Hello, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.Hi, Tony! I hear you has a sad about something again?
In 236 years, America's never had an international tourism ad. So when Congress passed the Travel Promotion Act, people thought it'd be a great chance to highlight American attractions. What they didn't know is that it would highlight same-sex attractions. That's right.Same-sex attractions? Not sure I follow you, sport. Do gay people have a separate Disneyland now?
The commercial invites people to America-not to see the Grand Canyon, but to celebrate homosexuality. In one scene, a gay man is sleeping on his partner's shoulder in a trolley.Ooooh, a gay trolley. I get it now.
The actors said they were specifically recruited to add a "homosexual presence" to the commercial. According to Brand USA, the ads were supposed to "open up some minds as to what America really is"-which, based on this commercial, is a country of radical values and backwards priorities.Well, it's a radical country where a guy can put his head on another guy's shoulder on a trolley for two seconds and not face public execution for it, which sounds pretty good to me. I understand some people are working to change that, though.
I suppose this is part of the President's push to "rebrand" America. It's just too bad he used a travel ad to feature so much cultural baggage.Sure, Tony. For the sake of argument, we'll just say here that the president of the United States personally scripts and directs every promotional video made by the government. Granted. But what impresses me more is that Two Damn Seconds is enough to even get on Tony Perkins' personal gaydar.
I think the problem here is a bit more than branding. The ad features "an interracial couple, two Muslim women in a city and people celebrating the Hindu festival Holi." So I think the ad is obviously trying to send the message "Come visit America: we won't stone you for having different beliefs." Now in many parts of the world, that counts as a pretty good selling feature—it's definitely something you want to highlight, when trying to appeal to folks to spend their delicious, delicious tourism money here. All of those people, though, are people whose mere presence pisses Tony Perkins off. His branding would be more like "America: We won't stone you for having different beliefs, but trust me, we're working on it." And trust me, they're working on it.
Ah, well. Personally, I think it's probably all right if we keep making tourism ads for America, and Tony Perkins can contract out to make some nice tourism videos for Afghanistan or Iran. Think it over, Tony, I think you'd be pretty damn good at it!