Guys, listen. I don’t want to brag too much, but I can finally share a very big secret I’ve been keeping for a while. I was in that Heineken ad. Yes, that Heineken ad! Or I was supposed to be. We filmed a whole segment, built the bar, had the beer, all of it. But it didn’t make it into the final cut. More on that in a second.
But just in case you aren’t familiar with the ad that is quickly healing any and all political and social difference the world over, let me give you a brief summary. Two people with differing (yet both totally, equally valid) lives put together a bar. Then they sit and talk about themselves for a little bit in a very polite, seemingly intimate way. Then (and this is the real kicker) they watch confessional videos where they reveal themselves to be bigoted assholes/godless heathens. The big question is: can these two people with such different (yet totally, equally valid) viewpoints be able to sit and drink an overpriced beer together? The answer is always “yes.” Because Heineken is all about healing the world.
In my case, I met with a man who had slightly different (yet totally, equally valid) take on reproductive rights. See, I felt that I should be able to decide if and when I have children, and if so, how many. And he felt exactly the opposite (in a totally, equally valid way). At first I thought that this was only about controlling women’s bodies, and therefore livelihoods and lives overall. I was all, “I absolutely don’t want to have children, and it would be horrible for everyone involved if I were forced to because of lack of birth control and abortion services.” And he was all, “You really do need to remember that we need you to have our children.” And I was all, “What the shit are you talking about? Plenty of women want to have children. I’m only arguing that we give women the power to determine how and when that happens. Plus, the world is more populated than it’s ever been. We don’t have a shortage of humans.” And he was all, “Yeah, but they’re probably not even the good kind of babies.” And I was all, “HOLY FUCK. This is how The Handmaid’s Tale happens.”
But after we sat and talked for a while, I realized something. He wasn’t trying to control my body because he’s a racist, misogynistic asshole who needs to oppress others in order to make himself feel tough. He was only trying to help me achieve my greatest potential. Because what woman wouldn’t want to take on the greatest role in the world? That of mother? (I’m seriously asking. If you know any women like that, you should report them. There are people who want to have a civil discourse with her.)
And now I’m hearing all of these complaints about the commercial that’s just trying to touch souls and change minds. That it normalizes unscientific viewpoints that are detrimental to the world. But it’s like, have you tried talking to them? Maybe you can find some common ground on whether the planet is at-an-ever-increasing speed hurtling toward its doom. If anything, I think the complaint should be that we didn’t hear from enough out-of-the-mainstream scientific ideas. Has anyone bothered bringing a six-pack to the Flat Earth guys? Or there’s the complaint that it frames some topics (climate change, feminism, transphobia) as debatable in ways that other topics (racism, homophobia, wife beating) are not. But that’s totally unfair, guys. Caitlyn Jenner only invented being trans like three years ago. We need to give some people some time to adjust. And we should talk them through that. Also, everyone knows racism is dead. People are only against “illegal immigrants,” “thugs,” and “terrorists” now.
Lastly, I’ve heard a lot of complaints that the commercial reinforces the idea that straight, cis, white men are the arbiters of what forms of discrimination are acceptable. And that that perpetuates that POC, women, and the LGBTQ community need to ask for their permission before being granted the rights to demand equal treatment. It places men who believe themselves to be more knowledgeable and have better taste at the top of the hierarchy despite all evidence to the contrary. And it’s like, yeah, duh! This is Heineken. Straight, white dudes who think highly of themselves despite being mediocre at best is kind of their target audience. You think they can just not appeal to them? It’s called capitalism!
Despite what the SJWs might being saying now about the commercial, what I’ve gotten from it is a life long friend in the form of an aggressively passionate guy who doesn’t want me to decide what happens to my uterus. In fact, it was my stupid uterus that got us kicked out of the commercial in the first place. I argued that, because I’m lucky enough to have access to health care, I most likely won’t have to use abortion services because I have reliable birth control in the form of an IUD. At which point, he tried to forcibly remove it from me. I’ll admit, it was a weird thing to experience from my brand new, best friend. But he was totally willing to talk to me about it afterward.