So, apparently, this billboard is causing quite a stir a few hours northwest of me:
Time travel with me back to the 1960s when diamonds were “a Girl’s Best Friend”. What has happened that now the idea of gifting gems to a girl is a bad thing? Context.
In the mind of the advertising executive who designed this board, throw = give, rocks = gems stones, and girls = the women us men love. It’s really pretty simple. The wordplay is pitted against the idea that, as boys, we would sometimes throw real rocks at girls (present company excluded), which was and is a bad thing.
But in this new politically correct world, we can not even suggest throwing rocks, even precious ones, at anyone. Throwing is bad. Throwing rocks is worse. After all, they stone women in Afghanistan, don’t they? (Before you suggest that I’m running amok with the logic, let me point out that this was an actual comment I read on a news outlet’s post of this item.) They may indeed. But does that make this ad ‘bad’? Who exactly are we protecting by protesting this billboard?
Little girls from school yard bullies? Doubtful.
The women of Asheville from heartless men who throw rocks at them? Seriously?
The women of Afghanistan from their primitive patriarchy and misguided religious zeal? If it were only that simple.
What is really going on here is the hubris of self-righteousness. A righteousness judged, not from an external standard, but rather from one’s own internal sense of ‘rightness’. Unfortunately, we can not judge right and wrong from the standpoint of our own perceptions. Our perceptions are ever shadowed by our broken hearts. How a person judges ‘right’ from ‘wrong’ can pass far wide of the mark, even a mark set-up by societal norms. Take, for example, the protection of children.
Our modern western society has decided that children should be protected from so-called ‘adult themes’ in every area of their lives. This is a noble idea. And yet, children are being used by adults in many ways that society actually condones. Can a five-year-old child really consent to being in a beauty pageant? Does a pre-teen truly understand the ramifications of being a “Master Chef?” Is it in the best interest of children to introduce them to all sorts and conditions of the murky world of adult gender confusion?
Adults use children for their entertainment, to assuage their own guilt, and to live the lives they think they missed when they were children themselves. And, to each individual, it is right in their own eyes (You can check out the book of Judges to see how that works).
So, “Sometimes, it’s ok to throw rocks at girls” raises the rancor of a few in a large southern city. They wail and moan, wring their hands, and protest. They end-up feeling good about themselves. Now they can go home feeling like they have accomplished something, even something as meaningless as the false satisfaction of doing what amounts to nothing.
We are all far too easily offended. So many people think that they have the right to scream and rant against every little perceived slight against them or whatever their cause-of-the-day might be. To gather in protest of this billboard is Much Ado About Nothing. If you want to make a statement, simply refrain from patronizing the ‘offending’ establishment.
P.S.: I asked the two women who live with me for their reactions to this billboard. To my surprise, they each paused and considered being offended. After a moment, they ‘got it’, like I believe most rational people would. But I was still interested in their initial thoughts on the offense. There is something here about violence that might be worth considering. Considering, but not protesting.
Am I off the mark? I’m curious to hear your thoughts.