Does It Get Any Worse?

I know a lot of my co-bloggers are football fans. Personally, I couldn’t care less about professional sports. How many of you will refuse to watch a Super Bowl that runs this ad?

I also love the YouTube comments that insist that “Jesus has a sense of humor.” Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t, but I wouldn’t want to test that assumption by mocking the Eucharist. In the future I think it would be worthwhile to explore the psychological mind-game that secularists play with Christians: having a “sense of humor” by acquiescing to the obliteration of all that is sacred is proof to them that you can play in their sandbox. Take anything too seriously, treat anything with too much reverence, and you may as well be a yodeling suicide bomber.

Of course Islam must be respected, because Islam responds to mockery with violence and force. Is this what I wish for Christianity? Not exactly. Getting mocked by the world is part of the deal (I wonder if any of those Roman soldiers said to Jesus at one point during his Passon, “hey, where’s you’re sense of humor!”). So is bearing it patiently, and forgiving it. But it would be nice if Christians cared enough to respond to such provocations by at least taking their business elsewhere. They won’t. Because today’s Christians, by and large, don’t care about Jesus, his name, or his sacraments half as much as the average Muslim cares about Mohammed. It’s Jihad vs. McWorld because McWorld vs. Christianity is already over – McWorld won that one.

I have to give the commercial one thing, though: the idea of introducing ridiculous and absurd gimmicks in the hopes that it will keep the attention of shallow and faithless people has been a popular idea in certain Catholic circles for several decades now. Doritos and Pepsi replacing bread and wine seem like the logical end of this mentality. If I were to one day emerge from my traditionalist hidey-hole and attend a mainstream Novus Ordo service, I wouldn’t be the least bit shocked to find people queuing up for Doritos and Pepsi, or perhaps pizza rolls and Dr. Pepper while Kid Rock or Lady Gag-me was blaring in the background.

26 Responses to Does It Get Any Worse?

  • And yes, I’m sure some nitpickers will say this is mocking a Protestant service. After all, they have a woman handing out the “Cool Ranch” Doritos, and the interior doesn’t look very Catholic.

    I think it was made vague on purpose so that the maximum amount of Christians could be offended.

  • “Humour is for them the all-consoling and (mark this) the all-excusing, grace of life. Hence, it is invaluable as a means of destroying shame. If a man simply lets others pay for him, he is ‘mean,’ but if he boasts of it in a jocular manner and twits his fellows with having been scored off, he is no longer ‘mean’ but a comical fellow. Mere cowardice is shameful; cowardice boasted of with humourous exaggerations and grotesque gestures can be passed off as funny. Cruelty is shameful — unless the cruel man can represent it as a practical joke. A thousand bawdy, or even blasphemous, jokes do not help towards a man’s damnation so much as his discovery that almost anything he wants to do can be done, not only without the disapproval but with the admiration of his fellows, if only it can get itself treated as a Joke.”

    – C.S. Lewis
    “The Screwtape Letters”

  • The best thing to do is to turn Bill Donahue loose on the Pepsi Corporation. He should call for all Catholics to boycott Pepsi products. That’ll do the trick.

  • Horrible commercial. I say it is a comment on Pepsi and Doritos that they are getting desperate for market, so they must resort to shocking ends. I hope they are completely boycotted.
    I can’t change my ways to make an impact, because I never buy either product already. If it was for my influence, they’d both disappear!

    Wow, Paul, thanks for the C.S.Lewis quote. I get so irate at everyone making everything a joke, and so, this explains the reason of it.

    I’m not Catholic, I’m protestant, and this comerical offends us all!!

  • To clarify — this is the SUBMISSION OF AN INDEPENDENT PARTY to PepsiCo., part of a contest. The winning video will be chosen by PepsiCo and aired during the SuperBowl.

    The authors of the ad are http://mwvp.com/ — it does not appear (and I can find no written evidence that) PepsiCo has officially or formally endorsed this advertisement. I guess we will know if you see it on the Superbowl or posted to their own website. The source of the advertisement is here:

    http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150304543435075#!/FeedYourFlock

    At the present moment, I believe this remains the creative product of the artists in question. What we should do is write PepsiCo. and voice our displeasure with the content of this advertisement. Who knows? — perhaps Corporate HQ will understand why Christians are upset.

  • But remember, you’re a bit grumpy because its winter over there.

    And Happy New Year to you all, from Down-under-land where its summer. Went to 8 am. Mass, got home and Sandy & I had breakfast on the deck, looking out to sea over a couple of nearby islands, a few clouds cotton-wooling a lovely blue sky and 24 deg. C. Milk over cereal linished with sliced banana, fresh strawberries and yoghurt – yum.
    Then I thought how wonderful it was to be in this God’s creation, and summer and all that……then I thought of all you guys up in the Northern Hemisphere suffering under blizzard conditions, snow bound………………. so I had another lovely fresh strawberry. :-)

    Okay, you can take the mickey out of me in June.
    Oh, and BTW, the advert is pretty insulting – declare a fatwa.

    (To Elaine – your message from the future – now 10.20 am. on New Years Day. ) :mrgreen:

  • Initial thoughts:
    1. Ad shows the hatred many ‘elites’ have for Christianity.
    2. It’s likely aimed at younger people. Building a herd mentality by mocking Christianity among the more naive and increasingly spiritually ignorant of our population to build up a brand is satanic.
    3. Mocking the Eucharist? Seriously?
    4. Clearly we now live in a non-Christian country. We’ve got a lot of work to do.
    5. You should seriously check yourself Pepsico. I can certainly get along fine without ever again paying the crap your companies put out.

    Screwtape Letter reference is spot on…

  • I’m going to partially fulfill Mr. Hargrave’s comment. While I’m not going to say, “This isn’t attacking Catholics,” I would like to note that it’s not only attacking Catholics.

    There are other Christian groups who have a high regard for the Sacrament and believe that Christ is truly present, body and blood, in it. My church body (the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod) is among them. We are just as offended by this ad as you are. When I saw this ad, I had to physically stop myself from vomiting, and I was barely successful.

    If this ad was actually produced by Pepsi and Doritos, I doubt that I’d ever use their products again. It sounds like (from what I’ve been able to find) that this ad is not one of the top-runners to be Pepsi’s Superbowl ad.

  • Christian-bashing, and, more so, Catholic-bashing, is hardly new and very much in vogue these days, although Hollywood has been getting away with it for years.

    Who can Imagine, an ad mocking Jews, gays, latinos, asians, blacks or Muslims? No way would that be tolerated by the PC media, which is forever defending “minority rights”. But Christians are easy targets, continuously being marginalized because we “fail” to change with the times and embrace the philistine culture that pervades America.

    If the ad runs on Super Bowl Sunday, it’s guaranteed to be selected as one of the fan favorites.

  • “You’re a bit grumpy because it’s winter over there”

    Actually, it feels like spring today… got up over 60 degrees… unfortunately, there were also severe thunderstorms and a tornado destroyed several homes near Petersburg, about 20 miles northwest of Springfield. Talk about going out like a lion…. but I digress.

    Paul’s C.S. Lewis quote is part of a lengthier discussion between Screwtape and Wormwood on the subject of laughter. Screwtape explains that there are four basic things that make people laugh: joy, fun, jokes, and flippancy. Joy and fun are “disgusting” and of no use whatsoever to Screwtape, while genuine jokes — even salacious jokes — aren’t as useful to him as one might think.

    What Screwtape finds most useful is flippancy — a general attitude that automatically treats everything as a joke. He says that unlike real humor and wit which sharpen the intellect and require some knowledge and thought about the subject, flippancy dulls the intellect, and doesn’t create any kind of bond between those who practice it.

    It’s all fine and dandy to have a sense of humor, and not take oneself too seriously. I do firmly believe that God Himself has a sense of humor since we are made in His image and no other creature has this sense.

    However, in order to make a truly funny or effective joke about any person or subject, you have to have a basic knowledge, love and respect for that subject first. That’s why, generally, ethnic or religious humor only “works” when it comes from a member of the ethnic or religious group. When it comes from outside, from people who obviously don’t know or respect the subject, it falls flat.

    I think G.K. Chesterton said that one mark of a good religion was being able to joke about it. However, I do NOT think this was at all what he had in mind. This does not spring from genuine humor but mere flippancy or “irreverence,” which our culture treats as a virtue.

  • “Actually, it feels like spring today… got up over 60 degrees… unfortunately, there were also severe thunderstorms and a tornado destroyed several homes near Petersburg, about 20 miles northwest of Springfield.”

    And this is after a month of Illinois doing a good imitation of Siberia. Illlinois weather, you have to love it, or you’ll spend most of your time cursing it!

  • I’m a big N.E. Patriots fan and there’s a good chance they’ll be in the Super bowl this year. If this ad runs I will not watch the Superbowl. This crosses the line.

  • Another reason why I shall be drinking Coke!!!

  • Who ever dreamed up this ad must be a very angry fallen away Catholics!! Another reason I no longer watch TV. If those shows didnot raise my blood pressure the commercials made me down right sick :-( Thank God for being able to watch EWTN via the internet and of course blogs!

  • I’d like to see Pepsi put out an ad mocking Islam. I’d bet the reaction would be swift and fatal to PepsiCo’s profits for mocking the prophet!

  • Sheesh – that was horrible… One of the reasons why I came back to the Church was in fact – reason. That same fact was what was helpful – in again referencing C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity) – to show that one of the signs that Christ was the Messiah was in how he was mocked throughout history. This is nothing more than a slap in the cheek. How we handle this as Christians will in fact show the world a light as to how we reflect what our Trinity God wants us to be.

  • I haven’t watched the Super Bowl in years, and I don’t drink soda or buy chain pizza, so I guess I’m already boycotting them.

    Doritos and Kool-aid have already been used in Catholic Masses (making the Sacrament invalid, of course). See YouTube.

    I’ve also been in Catholic churches that didn’t look any more Catholic than the one in the ad. No crucifix or kneelers, and wreaths instead of Stations on the wall, but that doesn’t prove anything. Most EMHCs around here are women, so that’s no indication of anything either. Generally, if TV wants to indicate “non-denominational minister,” they use one of those wide white “wrap-around” collars that makes me think of Anglicans, not the very Catholic-looking white square used here.

    When I think of having a sense of humor about Catholicism, I think of the nun in The Blues Brothers. Humor has to be based on reality, exaggerated or twisted, so it needs to be done by someone familiar with it from the inside, like Elaine said.

  • That may be an independent travesty. It may or may not be purchased by Pepsi.

    However, I only buy Coke products because the CEO of Pepsi is a major abortion promoter and anti-Christian activist/bigot.

    I will watch the game and list the products I will boycott.

    Don the Kiwi, Happy New Year!!!

    You Kiwis ever see a blizzard (alal NYC last Sunday/Monday)? Barrel of laughs! Especially, when you have to get the wife to and from work (ICU RN hospital) in 60 mile per winds and white-out conditions. The Toyota Highlander handled it. Mayor Mike didn’t.

  • Hi T Shaw.

    Strange you should mention NY. One of the regular posters on our local Catholic blog http://www.beingfrank.co.nz who posts as ‘filia day’ just happened to be in NY on holiday when the blizzard hit a few days ago, and she put up a post on how she had never been in a blizzard before (we hardly see them here – only in the South Island central high country generally- although we get snow up into the North Island). She was very impressed though, by the lovely churches and cathedrals you have there, and the way the liturgies are conducted. Some of the music had her a bit bemused though. You can get onto the blog if you wish and check her post.
    God bless you all. :-)

  • “Doritos and Kool-aid have already been used in Catholic Masses (making the Sacrament invalid, of course). See YouTube.”

    That’s what I thought. With things like that going on, we don’t even need the secularists to mock us. How low, how pathetic, how infantile some within the Church have become. Maybe we deserve this.

  • I really can’t consider it mockery of the Eucharist because I suspect the creators of the spot don’t really know what the Eucharist is. It is, of course, a terrible thing – but we Catholics are ultimately at fault because we have allowed the world to run the show for a couple centuries now. If we want a world where someone wouldn’t make such a commercial because they know and respect what the Eucharist is, then I suggest we set ourselves to work and prayer with a will for a decent, Christian, civilized society.

  • As one who has contacted the corporation directly, I received this response:

    Thank you for contacting us at PepsiCo to share your sincere thoughts.

    We want to reassure you that the commercial you cited is not one designed and produced by PepsiCo, but a consumer submission in our web-based Crash the Super Bowl promotion. In this program, participants can upload their own 30-second spots for Doritos tortilla chips or Pepsi MAX to be considered for broadcast during Super Bowl XLV. The finalists will not be announced until January 2011.

    We sincerely apologize that you were upset or offended by this consumer submission, and we will be sure to share all your feedback with our marketing teams so they can be aware of your concerns.

    Thanks again for taking the time to write.

    Sincerely,

    Margaret Corsi
    Consumer Relations Representative

    I would recommend all Christians write the company directly, and convey their thoughts on this.

  • Christopher Blosser,

    I understand that the “ad” is independently produced and is part of a contest.

    However, Pepsi and Doritos (and Yahoo! and the NFL) all are all responsible for allowing the ad to remain as part of the contest. It is within the power of the company runing the contest, PureVideo, to remove any offensive ad. Please see the PureVideo Terms of Agreement (http://www.purevideo.com/terms/).

    According to their own terms, “PureVideo reserves the right to determine, in its sole discretion, if such a violation has occurred, and to remove any such submission from the Website.”

    One of the possible violations is “inflict[ing] emotional distress on other people”. PureVideo could easily determine that this ad in fact does cause emotional distress and remove the submission.

    By saying that this ad is independently produced and part of a larger contest is a specious excuse. If those large corporations – Pepsi, Doritos, Yahoo!, and the NFL – wanted to exert even the smallest amount of pressure, PureVideo could drop the ad. All of these corporations shoulder the burden of making sure the contests that they sponsor are free from such blatant mocking.

    Is there any doubt that a racial ad would be removed?

    And, yes – we should contact the corporate offices to register our complaints. I have already contacted Doritos. I will be contacting the others.

  • An update from Pepsico. (via Matt Abbot):

    I work for Frito-Lay and wanted to provide you with an update regarding the video you have been discussing from our Crash the Super Bowl contest. First, I wanted to reaffirm that the video was a consumer-created entry in the contest where consumers were asked to submit ads for Doritos or Pepsi MAX with the chance of airing on the Super Bowl broadcast. The video was not created by Doritos or Pepsi MAX.

    We received over 5,600 entries. As you can imagine, with such a significant number of submissions, you get a pretty wide range of concepts. We apologize if you were upset or offended by this consumer submission.

    We announced our 10 finalists this morning, and I wanted to let you know that the video you have been discussing is not included in the group. This means that it will not air during the Super Bowl, nor will it be a part of any other Doritos or Pepsi MAX marketing programs in the future.

    If you have any questions, please let me know.

    Sincerely,
    Chris Kuechenmeister

  • Perhaps Pepsico might have taken the complaints they have received thus far into consideration when selecting the 10 primary contestants among the 5,6000 entries.

    Thankfully I won’t be obliged to boycott my favorite soft drink (PepsiMax – twice the caffeine of regular Pepsi). ;-)

  • Well, I’ll continue not drinking Pepsi because I prefer Coke :)

    But it’s good to know they won’t be running the ad.

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