March 4, 2014

4 things about that first-ever TV marijuana ad.



1. That's a real ad, and it's showing "in New Jersey on several national networks — including A&E, Fox, CNN, Comedy Central, Food Network and the History Channel."

2. It's very funny. "Yo. You want sushi? I got sushi...."

3. It's surprisingly racist, especially coming from an outfit that purports to be doctors and people who are attempting to lure marijuana consumers into the supposedly more wholesome milieu of medical marijuana. In the effort to clobber you over the head with how disgusting it is to buy a product from a street dealer, they chose a dark-skinned actor. In stooping to exploiting the viewers' lower-brain impulses about skin color, Marijuana Doctors wreck their own effort at flaunting purity.

4. Yes, I realize the actor is of indeterminate race and ethnicity. His accent is generically urban (and not anything stereotypically black or Spanish). This indeterminacy is the evidence that they absolutely intended to resonate with racism: They knew they needed deniability.

40 comments:

Shouting Thomas said...

Shit, maybe I need to move to Jersey. Girlfriend lives there. NY State doesn't have medical pot. Yet.

Since I made my living, in part, working on corporate and commercial video, I do acknowledge that the creators of such video sit around in endless brain numbing meetings sniffing out Diversity odor in detail.

You graduated from a NYU. Washington Square Park is the social center of NYU, and it is also a haven for dubious drug dealers and their clients/marks.

Dark skin has always been the common denominator of the shoddy dealers in the park. And the dealers in the park are notorious for passing off every kind of cheap shit, dangerous chemical crap and oregano on passing dupes.

So, the commercial is accurate. White buyers visit the pusher in the pusher's home or apartment as if on a social call. High quality and purity is assumed.

So, no, the commercial is not racist. It's accurate. But such accuracy is not supposed to be openly depicted. I grant you that.

Scott M said...

In the effort to clobber you over the head with how disgusting it is to buy a product from a street dealer, they chose a dark-skinned actor.

Probably because SAG got sick of supplying white actors for Brinks Security break-in commercials.

Illuninati said...

Excellent analysis Ms. Althouse.

The reason the add is racist is obvious, everyone knows that New Jersey is a staunch red state filled with bigoted rednecks. Everyone also knows that red neck conservatives have been the most vocal proponents of legalized marijuana. You do understand that it is all about stupid conservatives and dog whistles. Conservatives just can't resist those whistles you know.

Shouting Thomas said...

Shorter answer:

Reality is racist!

Something must be done!

The Crack Emcee said...

Line up, Folks, go ahead - take your shots.

Feel free to pretend you're doing anything different than your ancestors,..

The Crack Emcee said...

Shouting Thomas,

"Reality is racist!"

I don't know which sucks more - your ability to read or comprehend:

"This indeterminacy is the evidence that they absolutely intended to resonate with racism: They knew they needed deniability."

DON'T BLAME WHITES FOR WHAT THEY DO - IT'S REALITY!!!

B said...

Come visit Los Angeles. All the radio car dealership ads touting "bad credit? no problem, we have our own financing company" use distinctly urban-sounding voice actors.

Illuninati said...

The Crack Emcee said:
"DON'T BLAME WHITES FOR WHAT THEY DO - IT'S REALITY!!!"

Are you sure you meant that? Perhaps you really meant to say "DON'T BLAME conservative WHITES FOR WHAT THEY DO - IT'S REALITY!!!

Matthew Sablan said...

Maybe he was just the best actor who tried out for the job.

... yeah, even Optimist Matt isn't buying that.

Jupiter said...

Althouse, you are overlooking the obvious. Try to imagine what they could have done that would not have been "racist". Hint; didn't that sushi salesman seem kind of -- gay?

Jupiter said...

In case you are wondering, Crackster, gay is the new black. You are the old black.

Pogo is Dead said...

Maybe the ad problem arises from the ad agency, not the MD pot seller.

Matt Weiner, creator of Mad Men, has said that there were no black people in the advertising business in the 60s (hence no blacks on the show), and that there are still still no black people in advertising.

The video series Mad Black Men was made in response.

EDH said...

"What kind of shit is this?"

"It's the best, man. I got it from a Negro... You're probably so high already, you don't even know it."

LuAnn Zieman said...

When I was in college in the 60s in Minnesota, the only dealer I knew was an Italian from New Jersey!

Severin said...

You have to ignore this kind of trolling.

If they choose a white actor they were being racist because there weren't enough minorities in the commercial.

If they choose a minority actor, what could they be implying.

Once you agree to this form of argument you always lose.

It's trolling.

Shouting Thomas said...

In case you are wondering, Crackster, gay is the new black. You are the old black.

No shit.

The NY press is in a tizzy over a gay basketball player who's been averaging about 2 minutes a game.

Previously, the NY press campaigned openly for one of the local pro teams to sign this marginal player to a contract.

SGT Ted said...

Of course its racist.

Everybody knows no black people have ever sold weed or any other type of drug on the street in the inner cities. And when they do, it's always safe and high quality.

Racists.

SGT Ted said...

The brothers I know selling weed work at the dispensary.

So, win-win.

EMD said...

All this ad did was make me hungry for sushi.

Shouting Thomas said...

Look Crack, if you want us whiteys to stop believing in the racial stereotypes of blacks...

Maybe you could help us out...

Stop playing the hilariously stereotypical role of the black Race Man.

How are we honkeys spozed to stop believing that black men play out stupid negative stereotypes when you persist in doing precisely that?

You are Exhibit A. Racial stereotype personified.

EMD said...

"I wanted to be a fan of it when it first came out," Ruffin tells NPR's Arun Rath. "I just had my own personal differences. Not liking the way blacks were represented in their universe. I just couldn't get over it."

That universe was real, though.

Should PC trump authenticity when produced period pieces?

EMD said...

Also, re: Mad Black Men.

Shouldn't it be called Black Mad Men? Because Mad Black Men is nothing out of the ordinary. Just look on this blog. ; )

Scott M said...

Should PC trump authenticity when produced period pieces?

Absolutely, otherwise Martin Lawrence's "Black Knight" never would have gotten the green light.

jr565 said...

I'm not a doctor but I play one on this commercial!

rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You are Exhibit A. Racial stereotype personified

Have you actually seen Crack's dick or just pictures of it?


If you're going to believe the myths you better believe them all. And if racial stereotypes are correct then Shouting Thomas has a small weenie.


Not just small. Considering his constant anger towards women, I'd say very VERY small

The Cracker Emcee said...

"In case you are wondering, Crackster, gay is the new black. You are the old black."

Just so. Who wants to identify with the struggles of the ghetto when there are affluent white men in need of solidarity?

Seeing Red said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seeing Red said...

Food Network? Can't wait for the first pot competition.

Thorley Winston said...

Absolutely, otherwise Martin Lawrence's "Black Knight" never would have gotten the green light.

Well Lancelot on “Once Upon a Time” is black. As was Friar Tuck on the BBC’s latest iteration of “Robin Hood” and Porthos on their new “Three Musketeers” show and Guinevere from “Merlin.”

Scott M said...

Well Lancelot on “Once Upon a Time” is black. As was Friar Tuck on the BBC’s latest iteration of “Robin Hood” and Porthos on their new “Three Musketeers” show and Guinevere from “Merlin.”

Get back to me the next time someone makes a Shaka Zulu movie and casts Winona Ryder as his mother.

Biff said...

New Jersey is among the most ethnically mixed/diverse places in the country. Perhaps it is racist to assume that an actor of indeterminate ethnicity and who speaks with a very common North Jersey accent is NOT representative of the market.

Biff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HoodlumDoodlum said...

Just so I'm clear, then: indeterminate ethnicity = clearly racist in intent because it's evidence of an attempt to deceive/appeal to hidden biases. Using a clearly minority character = racist in intent because it's a direct appeal to biases.
So the only non-racist move is to only use clearly-white actors in such roles? The effect of which would be to make it marginally harder for good minority actors to get work? Because, racism?
Is this a Wargames-type situation, maybe?

Unrelated: Can anyone help me finish a phrase I learned on this blog? Premise: The Madison WI "Black or African American" population is less than 6% of the total, right? Why would a white person choose to live in a city with such a small percentage of Black or African American residents? Phrase: Well, one answer is...

Sigivald said...

So anyone you could interpret as quasi-"dark" is proof it's racist intent, because ... that's deniable?

Let me just rewrite that in English: "Picking any actor that isn't white proves they're racist!".

To not be racist, the "bad guy" has to be white (or maybe Obviously Asian?), then?

The only not-racist option is the one where the dealer is one specific race; white.

That's so incoherent that I'm amazed even a public intellectual can believe it, even if only implicitly.

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Ah, the race consciousness of liberal academics living in lily white Madison.

Ugly.

Anonymous said...

MM recs are doled out on the Venice, CA boardwalk in a manner not that different from the sushi vendor depicted in the vid. Perhaps in true competitive fashion, the dealers could be given equal time to depict the MM doctors as retired cranks with surprise paperwork charges. ;)

Eustace Chilke said...

So how come the criminals in, for example, identity theft protection service commercials are all white? Racism? Nah. Can't be. It's not possible be racist against whites. This is especially true if you end up there by being exquisitely careful about the sensitivities of non-whites.

There is a weak spot to do with such unreason in the foundation of racial grievance arguments that those who advance them should be the first to see and the most careful to remedy. I suppose they find no need. They get plenty of traction while pretending there isn't any weak spot.

Anonymous said...

The vid is mostly cheesy and low-budget. It looks like they tried to roll in ham-handed, anti-drug imagery from old PSAs. Additionally, the doctors are only responsible for the recs, not any kind of purity of the dispensed product, so it's a bit misleading.

The basic gist of "What are you doing on the streets? Grow up" is a decent one, but needs some tweaking.

The Godfather said...

Once pot is legalized and advertised everywhere, it will cease to be cool. Then you'll have to find something else to do to be cool.