Miscellaneous musings from the perspective of a lefty (both senses) atheist with a warped sense of humor.

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Location: Madison, WI, United States

I am a geek, but I do have some redeeming social skills. I love other people's dogs, cats, and kids. Snow sucks, but I'm willing to put up with it just to live in Madison.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Felinicide Mea Culpa

Back after the 2005 Super Bowl, you may have been among many people with whom I shared my appreciation for (and possibly my videotape of) the Ameritrade felinicide commercial.

This was a dialog-free domestic scene that was so hilarious it still evoked tears of laffter after re-viewing it half a dozen times. A young guy is preparing a really nice, romantic dinner for his lady, and he's busy dicing the veggies when their super-fluffy white angora cat jumps up on the kitchen table and upends the pot of marinara sauce. The guy gets this alarmed expression on his face, reaches down, and picks up the kitty by the scruff of the neck.

Just then, the young woman opens the door to their apartment, walks in, and sees him standing there holding a knife in one hand and a red-dripping cat in the other. And if you think the expression on HIS face is priceless, you should see HERS! (I couldn't find the ad on YouTube, but I've still got the videotape here somewhere, and I'm willing to lend it out.)

The overtly voiced moral of the story was "Don't judge too quickly. We won't!", and it was from Ameritrade, a financial company promoting its philosophy of being willing to issue mortgages to people whose credit might be a tad shaky, not to say nonexistent. "We're willing to cut you some slack.", they seemed to be saying. I thot that this was pretty praiseworthy, giving young folx just starting out in life a shot at the American Dream even tho they hadn't built up a lot of equity or credit yet.

Little did I suspect at the time that what I was seeing was the early flowering of the come-ons for the kind of subprime mortgages that eventually ended up in the hands of people who not only weren't judged too quickly, they apparently weren't judged at all!

And I remember being charmed that the young couple in the commercial were African Americans. "Finally", I thot to myself, "we've reached the point in this country where you can use nothing but black actors to make a pitch to the whole nation, in all its diversity. Good for them." Ameritrade had earned a lot of good will in my book, and I wasn't shy about saying so to other people (possibly you).

Naive me! In retrospect, this was obviously a totally cynical pitch aimed straight at young black apartment dwellers, the prime audience for those sucker mortgages that they couldn't afford. And, if you issue enuf of those, after a couple of years you get the meltdown in the subprime market that eventually leads to the collapse of huge investment banks, insurance companies, and mortgage lenders that's caused the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

So, for whatever small part I may have played in the current debacle by drawing people's attention to the felinicide commercial, I apologize (which is more than you're ever gonna get out of the right-wing speculators, manipulators, and deregulators with a million times more culpability).

But I don't apologize for the ad agency, tho. Damn, that commercial was good! They could sell snow to eskimos.


Blogger Richard S. Russell said...

Here I am, commenting on my own blog. How gauche. But I recently did another search on YouTube to see if that cat commercial had ever been posted, and I struck it lucky.

I may have missed it earlier because I was searching for AmeriTrade instead of AmeriQuest .

9:29 AM  

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