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Tuesday, February 12 2019

John Cena confuses me.

No, I’m not confused by his career choice of professional wrestling, his ungodly gargantuan size, or anything like that.  To each his own.  I’m confused by his fairly self-evident (as in, most elementary students could pick up on it) contradictory television campaign promoted by the Ad Council called, “We Are America.” 

The ad was actually crafted by some outfit labeling itself “Love Has No Labels,” a self-contradiction itself that perhaps should have tipped me off from the start that the ad wasn’t going to be an exercise in intellectualism.  Nonetheless, since it debuted in 2016, it has been heralded as a masterful proclamation for diversity and inclusion, as well as a brilliant and powerful statement of patriotism. 

The ad campaign partnered with Coca-Cola Company, Pepsi Company, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, State Farm, Google, Johnson & Johnson, and received support from Facebook, Twitter, BuzzFeed, and Cena’s WWE.  Pop culture loves it.  And I remain confused what they are missing.  Consider the concluding line from Cena’s script:

“Because Love has no labels.”

This would seem to imply that people are people, and if we love them we won’t reduce them down to some manmade identifier or social construct.  Yet, the near entirety of the three minute ad does that very thing:

“There are 319 million U.S. citizens. 51% are female…54 million are Latino. 40 million are senior citizens. 27 million are disabled. 18 million are Asian…9 million are lesbian, gay, bi, or transgender…Around 10 million are redheaded. 5.1 million play Ultimate Frisbee. And 3 and a half million are Muslim. Almost half the country belongs to minority groups.”

That’s a lot of labeling.  And Cena concludes this exercise by actually celebrating…wait for it…labels:

“People who are lesbian. African American. And bi. And transgender. And Native American.
And proud of it! We know that labels don’t devalue us, they help define us: keeping us dialed in to our cultures, and our beliefs, and who we are.”

Am I the only one that is confused by this?  Am I the only one that sees the glaring contradiction in promoting from one side of our mouth the idea that labels don’t devalue us and that we should take pride in them, while concluding out the other side of our mouth that love has no labels?

Maybe I’m being unreasonable but is it too much to ask that the cultural revolutionaries putting together these moral lectures make up their own minds before telling us how we should think?

Posted by: Peter Heck AT 08:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email