I've been meaning for ages to post about this State Farm advert, which I see constantly, and makes my teeth grind every damn time. Thanks to Spudsy for reminding me:
On a residential city street, a young thin black man (named Mike) stands at the curb next to a wrecked car with his mobile phone in his hand. A young thin blonde white woman (who isn't given a name, but we'll call her Jane) walks up to him. Text onscreen: "State of Disbelief."Now there are all kinds of tired tropes in this advert: Blonde white women are stupid and/or gullible and/or shallow; women don't understand technology; everyone you meet on the internet is creepy; beautiful women never date "ugly" men; etc. But the thing I really hate about it is this moment, right here:
Jane: Oh hey, Mike! What're you up to?
Mike: [sighs] Ahhh just diagramming this accident with my State Farm pocket agent app. You can also get a quote and pay your premium with this thing.
Jane: I thought State Farm didn't have all those apps.
Mike: Where'd you hear that?
Jane: The internet.
Mike: And you believed it?
Jane: Yeah. They can't put anything on the internet that isn't true.
Mike: Where's you hear that?
In unison: The internet!
A young, schlubby white guy with an unkempt beard and eyeglasses, wearing a fanny pack, and in need of a haircut walks toward them.
Jane: Oh look—here's my date. I met him on the internet. He's a French model.
Dude: Uhhhhhh bon jour. [said without any hint of a French accent]
The guy puts his arm around Jane, grins at Mike, and then leads Jane away. Mike silently watches them go.
Blah blah voiceover about how awesome State Farms apps are.
At that moment, we know the man who has arrived to take Jane on a date is a liar who has manipulated her into a date with false information—and that the trusting Jane is evidently too naïve to detect nakedly fraudulent claims. And as he gives a skeevy grin to Mike, Jane's neighbor and apparent friend, that conveys his intentions, Mike merely gazes back at him nonchalantly.
Because that's what guys do, amirite? Bros before hos. I mean, shit, it's like the hugest violation of the Man Code ever to cockblock a total stranger who is almost certainly going to rape your friend.
All of this is played for laughs. And the context in which it is supposed to be funny is a rape culture that tells the damnable lies that coercive sex is not rape, that rape is vanishingly rare, that this scenario is absurd, that it is so far removed from any reality that it's okay to laugh at the creepy man who is luring Jane on a date under false pretenses.
Yeah. Somehow I'm not laughing.