a blog by Clark H Smith

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ripped From Today’s Headlines…

Literally, I ripped this out of the Oct 5, 2015 Time Magazine. Enjoy this snippet of an interview with Nancy Meyers, writer and director of The Intern starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathway. (online version of interview)
Why did you write about a friendship between a young female boss (Anne Hathaway) and her older male intern (Robert De Niro)? I wish as a young woman I had had someone who was not my shrink, not my parent, but a wonderful person watching my back. Ben (De Niro) is not damaged, and a lot of the men I’ve written have been. It made me think about men I knew when I was a little girl—my dad, my grandfather—and how that kind of man seems to be disappearing. (emphasis added) 
In The Intern you posit that today’s young women grew up with girl power, but men did not receive the same encouragement. Are young men stunted? In the movie I talk about “take your daughter to work day” as a broad umbrella over how you girls were raised. When my daughters were growing up, Oprah was on TV every day at three o’clock pushing girl forward. Meanwhile, boys fell in love with video games. These boys turned into men who wear hoodies and don’t shave. I think there is a reluctance to embrace adulthood. (emphasis added)
Meyers presents an effect (the “disappearance” of “that kind of man”) but seems confused about the cause that led to the effect.

Let’s start with “that kind of man”… what kind of man? Answer: “a wonderful person watching my back.” I haven’t seen the movie, but from previews I take it that De Niro plays “a wonderful person watching my back” - a mentor, an encourager, just like Meyers describes her father and grandfather.

The insane part of this interview is how both Meyers and the interviewer seem completely baffled by why “that kind of man seems to be disappearing”. But Meyers herself is partly to blame. Did you read her words… “Ben (De Niro) is not damaged, and a lot of the men I’ve written have been”? Meyers wrote damaged male characters! She did not write about damaged males, she created and wrote dialogue to advance the damaged condition of males. (I don’t watch a lot of movies and I certainly don’t watch many Rom-Coms (romantic comedies), but you can see a list of the movies Meyers has made and judge for yourself how she has portrayed males.)

While Meyers bemoans the disappearance of healthy males in society, she appears incapable of understanding that she, herself, has advanced the narrative that men are either bumbling fools, misogynist predators, or at “best boys fell in love with video games”, “who wear hoodies”, “don’t shave” and are reluctant “to embrace adulthood”. Maybe males have finally learned to live up to expectations?

Meyers gives another clue to the cause of the disappearance of “that kind of man”. For a quarter of a century, “Oprah was on TV every day at three o’clock pushing girl forward.” I think it should read “pushing girls forward”, but maybe “girl forward” is an Oprah meme. I don’t know. Nevertheless, the cause is clearly connected with the effect, even if Meyers can’s see it - the “girl forward” movement has not run alongside a “boy forward” movement, it has run against it!

This whole War On Men blog is about documenting the strong theme in popular culture that men are idiots and women save the day. Why are most of my illustrations tv commercials? Because they are the best sign of what’s happening in the day to day lives of everyday citizens. Why does Progressive Insurance constantly attack and humiliate males? Because Progressive believes that females are the decision makers when it comes to buying insurance and they believe a message that “empowers women” is the way to capture that market. Unfortunately, Progressive’s message is not at all about empowering women, it’s about communicating to women “Progressive is on your side against the boys.” Don’t believe me. I remind you of Progressives current ad campaign.

And this “girl forward” movement is not limited to tv commercials and rom-coms. I watch even fewer Ted Talks than I do movies, but somehow, I wound up watching this one:

John Gerzema wrote The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule The World - a “girl forward” book that advocates that female values and attributes are the needed new wave of leadership style in business, politics, and culture. (By the way, proceeds from the book benefit the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up campaign. So, I guess technically it’s Girl Up, not “girl forward”.)

While Meyers finds in her effect, she misses (pardon the genderist pun) her own effect. If you write enough damaged male characters two things will happen. Men will wonder if, and some will eventually believe that, they are indeed that damaged male. And women will wonder if, and some will eventually believe that, they have been stuck way back in line behind generations of damaged males who got “cuts” to the head of the line by being more aggressive. From Meyers own words, this conclusion is inescapable.

War On Men is not about propping up the prominence of the male gender - say, the Martian Doctrine. It’s about fairness. All women are not weak and all men are not bullies. Neither are all women… to be blunt… ball-busters nor all men milquetoasts. Maybe Hollywood can’t find strong and supportive males because they are not found in their scripts - the boundaries of their knowledge. I once heard a scriptwriter explain his source of information on Lee Harvey Oswald - “I discovered the character through the prose I wrote for him.” Sounds eerily similar to what I ripped from Time Magazine today.

And I kid you not, I did my ripping in the lobby of a senior community in which I work. I ripped, I stood, I turned… to see a tv commercial… of Flo… screeching “that’s enough out of you.”

I couldn’t agree more, Hollywood, that’s enough out of you.

P.S. Did you notice this conundrum… “I wish as a young woman I had had someone who was not my shrink, not my parent…  It made me think about men I knew when I was a little girl—my dad….”

Safe to say, I don’t know what Meyers thinks or wishes for. And neither does she.

Friday, October 9, 2015

That's Enough Out Of You!

I've been feeding this blog for over two years now. I think the evidence speaks for itself - there is an all-out War On Men. And yet, I continue to be stunned by absolute anger and disrespect aimed at men.

Progressive Insurance is the B2 bomber fleet in the War On Men. They have made multiple appearances in this blog. And they keep getting more and more transparent about their view of males. Check out this video:
Pay attention at 24 seconds in. "That's enough out of you" shrieks Flo. Yes, the male in the commercial is spouting terribly misogynistic stereotypes... that were written for him by the ad agency. Just like "All In The Family" and "M*A*S*H" in the 70s, the behavior of the characters is carefully crafted to communicate the bias of writer, or in Progressive's case, the bias of the company. Simply put, based on the body of evidence offered, Progressive Insurance despises men.

Do you have Progressive Insurance? Do you agree than men are bullying bigots / limp wimps / idiots? No? Then why are you still with Progressive? If you're in the Kansas City area, let me give you an alternative. Call my friends, Scott and Sara Coffman at AHI Insurance Group. Whether you're a male or female, they'll treat you with respect, help you find some great insurance, and give you personal service second to none.

And if this is your first visit to War On Men, scan through the posts below and see how consistently Progressive declares War On Men.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I Don't Apologize

Sep 27, 2015
I don't apologize for the fact that most of the videos presented in this blog are now "private". It's not my fault. I will, however, look into the problem and try to fix as many links as I can. This is simply a problem with Google serving you.


Every time I see this commercial on TV, I grumble "War On Men". It is despicable.

I'll grant you that "women driver's" is an unwarranted cliche, but the hostility with which this nag badgers her boyfriend/husband... well, it's is simply despicable. The way she barks "SILENCE!" at the end of the scene... I would have walked out on her for good and let her pay for my breakfast with her lousy $5 check.

The amazing thing, as always, is this, Allstate paid an ad agency to produce an ad that is so misandrogenistic. They market tested it with key demographics to ensure that this was a winning message. And they've run it for over a year. When you look at all the posts in this blog, you'll see that man-hating is apparently a winning strategy for insurance companies. To them, I say SILENCE!!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Verizon - The Good More

The ad agency for Verizon has a good idea. Let's have Mom direct the Christmas morning video. Fun! When Dad (a thirty something with lots of gray in his scruffy hair and beard) doesn't give her the gift-opening response she wants, she subs him with a more handsome, better coifed Dad-stand-in. The most pathetic thing about the scenario is when ex-Dad sees and hears new-Dad's response, he nods in acceptance if not appreciation for the choice Mom made. If my last post didn't spark you to look up cuckold, maybe this one will.

I guess the saddest or most confusing thing about these commercials is where they are placed. When I watch TV, I watch sports. I don't watch The View, The Chew, Rachel Ray, Oprah, or Ellen. One might reasonably expect that sales messages that appeal to randy women who want to neuter their life-partners would be placed in shows that pull in that audience (and I'm not suggesting it is a small audience). But what advertising agency meeting ended with "and we're going to run this during Sunday Night Football"? Primetime TV spots are expensive. Commercials are strategically placed where there is a high expectation of favorable response. These ads are the snipers at the front line of the War On Men.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Buick Enclave

Keeping up with the Joneses... America's favorite past-time. So Buick spices it up with a little coveting thy neighbor's husband as well. In this clever effort to sell some steel, husband lusts for the neighbor's car while his wife lusts for the neighbor's husband.

And notice the sterotyping of the males. The cuckold husband is a pale-skinned, weak-featured wimp that Hans and Frans couldn't pump up and who needs binoculars plus glasses to see even a short distance. The object-of-her-lust is a robust, Mediterranean type with more facial hair than body fat. Gotta love the wife's wishful, omg lip pursing at the end.

War On Men

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lousy, Good-for-Nothing, Two-Timers

When TV commercials aren't portraying men as pathetic wimps (see all the Progressive commercials below), they're portraying men as sex-crazed philanderers.

Three commercials are airing right now that play on the stereotype that men are relationally reckless and that no woman can trust any man. Pretty sickening that this is the message selected to sell donuts (Dunkin Donuts) to automobiles (Nissan, Cadillac).

[Sorry, as of Sep 27, 2015, these videos are not playing properly. It's not my fault.]

Oddly, in my last post on this blog, it is a woman who objectifies a man. Maybe if pretend-women didn't treat pretend-men as disposable, the men wouldn't always be on the look-out for their next mark. But this is all pretend, right?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Long John Silver's

In the latest ad from grease-merchant, Long John Silver's, a woman who owns no hairbrush calls her lunch guest by the wrong name.  He politely corrects her... and this is where it gets weird.  Watch:

In the 30 second commercial (provided above) the woman responds to her mistake with a brief moment of thoughtfulness.  In this scenario, she's simply forgetful that she actually hired her dinner guest into the company.  She almost seems delighted that her memory is refreshed.

But this is not the ad that most often runs on TV.  In the more often seen 15* second commercial, the woman makes the same mistake.  When corrected, she responds with abject dismissal, "Whatever" and she waves off her guest with a fried shrimp. The subliminal message is "men are social furniture - convenient, but anonymous".

It's odd, isn't it, that LJS edited down the rather innocent commercial to make it more dismissive of men?  I guess the message is, if you don't care about the identity of the man you travel and dine with, Long John Silver's is just your kind of place.

* Not sure why LJS does not post the 15sec version. Maybe they realize how offensive it it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Progressive Insurance (the whole company)

Usually, I focus the posts of this blog on specific advertisements that, in my view, diminish men unwarrantedly.  (I don’t mind teasing or even mocking things about men that are often true, such as “compartmentalization” or rambunctiousness.  I object to stereotyping men as problems which women must work around or other inherently negative connotations.)

I have cited a couple (1, 2) specific examples of how Progressive Insurance diminishes men.  Throughout their extensive series of commercials, men are stupid, dull, weak-kneed, effeminate, unreliable, etc.  Progressive seems committed to mocking men from every possible angle (even the ones who “live with their mother”).  Women, on the other hand, are portrayed as sensitive, pragmatic, kind, as well as wounded and needy.  (Are women not offended by how Progressive stereotypes them?)

There is one - and only one - exception to Progressive’s portrayal of men, The Messenger.  The eerily messianic Messenger has one role in life, doling out money to people.  Roll the tape…

(in New Orleans, no less! - great place to use as a backdrop to federal giveaways)

It is no subtle irony that Progressive Insurance would portray women as victims and men as victimizers (except for The Messenger).  These commercials reveal how Progressive sees the world – through a Socialist Progressive lens.  The Social Progressive movement is the Liberal branch of the Democratic Party (the bunch that wants to collectivize workers under statist autocracy).  Long-time Progressive Insurance CEO Peter Lewis is the son of the company’s founder.  Lewis has donated millions to progressive causes – many of which are also backed by megalomaniac socialist, George Soros.  Here’s a third-party confirmation of the progressive activities of Lewis.

On the whole, the collective (pun intended) message from Progressive Insurance is that women are victims who are to be taken care of… and oh, by the way, here’s a ruggedly handsome yet nameless figure in a buckskin coat who’ll do that “takin’ care” for you.  Who in the socialist-progressive world is both nameless and generous – GOVERNMENT? 

And only nameless until it comes election time, then Social Progress has a name.  The Named One even made a video about how he’ll take care of women – THE LIFE OF JULIA.  Be sure to note the theme of the video:  “Take a look at how President Obama's policies help one woman over her lifetime—and how Mitt Romney would change her story.”   This subtitle carries the clear implication, the only good man is one that gives you stuff (but doesn’t hang around to tell you how to live your life).

If I were a woman, I’d be insulted by Progressive Insurance’s stereotyping of males AND females.  If I were a Progressive Insurance insured, I’d be infuriated that profits from my premium dollars are funding the destruction of the American way of life.

I am neither a woman nor a Progressive customer.  I hope you’re not (a Progressive Insurance customer) either.  If you are a Progressive Customer in the KC metro area, after you read the blog, would you at least give "my people" a call? Sara and Scott Coffman at AHI Group are everything that makes America great and they'll do their best to set you up with reliable insurance.  I love 'em so much, I even gave a testimonial for 'em.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Citi Card

In a commercial called "The Ex", Citi Card illustrates the benefits of their credit cards through the story of a sad sack "boring, boring, boring" guy who's girlfriend breaks up with him.  This ad preys on the stereotype of men just wanting to sit at home and watch TV.

To be fair, I don't think this ad necessarily puts the ex-girlfriend in a great light.  It presents her as superficial and shallow, herself.  I know Citi needs a 'hook' for their commercials, but I don't think it is necessary to disparage people.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bud Light

You'd think guys would be safe in beer + football commercials.  Not so fast, Bud Light flips the script.  Take note at 24 secs when the cute blonde girlfriend brags that her beer "made him cry" - 'him' being the sad, sappy looking boyfriend pouting at her side.

Progressive Insurance, Part 2

I've previously pointed out how Progressive Insurance enjoys emasculating men.  Here's an even older commercial than the ones previously cited.  I simply can't figure out why a major insurance carrier relish mocking and diminishing man.  In this ad, a woman compels her male partner to carry a "European shoulder bag" which everyone else recognizes as a woman's purse.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Cottman Transmission

At the moment of the arrival of a Baby, Momma decides it's time to humiliate Poppa.
This commercial strikes me as particularly vile.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Black Widows

This e-poster is making the rounds on the internet.  Does it strike you as funny?

Every year in the US, about 3.2 million men are the victims of an assault by an intimate partner.
Is THAT funny?

Data from British Home Office statistical bulletins and the British Crime Survey show that men made up about 40% of domestic violence victims each year between 2004-05 and 2008-09.
Is THAT funny?

In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner, while 440 men were killed by an intimate partner.
Is THAT funny?

Why is it okay to joke about killing males?  Whatever happened to all those cries for "equality"?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


McDonald's is highlighting man's natural insecurity and bumbling attempts to fetch a damsel.  This commercial (ending edited) features a nerd anxious about his fading looks, and stretching to sound intelligent about a stupid park sculpture.  In the unedited version, the librarian mar'm catches him in his pretense which he plows ahead with anyway.  The commercial reminds me of the old M*A*S*H episode where Hawkeye coaches Radar on how to sound intelligent around cultured women.  "Any time she mentions music, just say 'Ah, Bach!'"  When did women seize all intellectual pursuits beyond  Nintendo and football?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

United Mileage Plus Credit Card

A man and woman walk through an airport on their way to vacation.  When the husband suggests a solution to baggage fees, the woman snipes incredulously, "You've got a plan?" (5secs) Moments later, the woman half-heartedly commends the man on his work by saying, "My mother was so wrong about you."  (11-13 seconds in.)  Note the look on the woman's face.  Is this adoration and acceptance?

Here's is a bootleg of the commercial.  For some reason United Airlines / Chase Bank don't want to make this one accessible on the internet.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ball Park Franks

While not completely demeaning to men, the advertiser even goes to the extreme of trademarking their hook line: "Men, easier fed than understood."(TM)  Historically, the 'joke' has been that women are more complex and inscrutable.  I'm not sure I understand how turning the tables advances the sale of hot dogs.  Somehow, I see a wife walking into the house, pulling a pack of franks out of the grocery* bag, throwing it at her husband, and shrugging, "I simply don't understand you."

*Why do I have the wife toting the grocery bags?  Because this commercial is addressed toward women (referring to men in the third person) and presumes that women will buy this brand because Ball Park realizes how incomprehensible men are.  This is a lousy commercial all the way around.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Progressive Insurance

Progressive Insurance is not about to let State Auto corner the market on demeaning men.  In this long-running series, Flo, a strong and capable female (a notion which I celebrate) encounters two bumbling, effeminate males who shill for a competitor.  Not only do the men represent a weaker competitor of Progressive, they also demonstrate themselves to be poor examples of competent males.

I'm going to be completely fair with my criticism.  Progressive is counter-balancing their emasculating Flo with a ruggedly handsome spokesMAN, oddly called "The Messenger".

State Auto Insurance

Denigrating men is especially contemptible when men participate in it, or in this case are spokesmen for the denigration.  If you're a State Auto customer, I hope you reconsider your patronage of a company that takes money from men while, at the same time, running them down.