Quick question: What is one major similarity and difference between “Twilight”, “The Great Gatsby”, “The Miller’s Tale”, “Popeye” and the KFC “Double Sweet and Fire” advertisement?
Answer: All revolve around a love triangle that goes wrong; but only KFC is trying to sell you a chicken sandwich.
Take the Miller’s Tale: a popular book for A’ level students written by Geoffrey Chaucer, who is regarded as the father of English literature.
The much sought after and married Alisoun is enjoying the company of her lover, Nicholas, when Absolon shows up and begs for a kiss. Alisoun sticks her bottom out the window and, in the dark of night, Absolon can’t help but think that his “savoury kiss” did not live up to expectations.
Absolon returns with a red-hot iron and begs for an encore. Nicholas decides to get in on the act and sticks his own rear out for a smooch. Needless to say, what happened next would stun any parent if it was recreated at a local secondary school.
In the old days, though, adults thought young men and women had enough intelligence to spend weeks absorbing and recreating a play of such comic but immature violence without anyone trying to get their buttocks kissed. And Mr Live Wire cannot a recall a single “buttocks burning” incident during all the years that the Miller’s Tale was on the school syllabus.
Exactly why the Anti-Bullying Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ABATT) and other bloggers believe that a 30-second advertisement in which two men playfully joust for a women’s attentions while she eats a chicken sandwich is “troubling, irresponsible and reckless” is beyond me. Particularly as all three leave arm-in-arm without so much as a scratch and, unlike Twilight or the Great Gatsby, no one is mutilated or shot.
Meanwhile in Tobago, former PNM government minister Rennie Dumas is fined $18,500 by the Scarborough Magistrate’s Court after being convicted of knocking a security guard’s teeth out with his firearm. Not a peep from the ABATT or the anti-Machel Montano lobby. Not yet anyway. Fingers crossed.
Parents raise children not KFC, Chaucer or Movie Town. Perhaps the ABATT should start in the homes if it wants to make a real difference rather than through ill-conceived press releases.
In the “good old days”, a pipe-smoking but jolly sailor named Popeye could not seem to keep a muscular rival, Bruno, away from his girlfriend, Olive.
But, with the help of a leafy, green stimulant and impressive boxing skills, Popeye routinely gave Bruno an almighty hammering for butting in on his romance.
The ABATT might be surprised to know that, despite being lapped up by pre-teen viewers for up to five times per week, Popeye did not lead to an identifiable increase in violence, smoking or spinach consumption.