Mollie Hemingway: Activists React To Doritos Ad About Babies With Twitter Rants – The Federalist


CK MacLeod

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65 Responses

  1. Avatar Elizabeth Picciuto says:

    Huh. I just thought it was gross.Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

      This is a problem, tho. There is a war within the soul going on here, with the pro-choice side adopting an image that’s the stuff of nightmares and folk tales, whose import the pro-choice activists seem determined and destined to deny, and in denying to intensify. The reaction against the “Super Bowl babies” ads, which the post goes on to describe, has a similar pattern.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      It was a silly commercial, and yeah, the clueless dad trope is tired as hell, but I’m not understanding the outrage.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        it seems to me there was a deliberate attempt by the NARAL social media team yesterday to maximize their brand(?) by taking on every commercial and either giving it their Imprimatur, or taking maximum offense.

        (e.g. the ‘offense’ over the audi astronaut ad) (who I thought was Scott Carpenter, but apparently is just an actor)(as I didn’t know till looking it up just now that Carpenter passed away about 3 years ago)Report

      • Avatar RTod says:

        I think I can explain it:

        1. The people who made the ad made it to be a little gross and edgy in the hopes that it would be talked bout, though maybe not in an abortion-y way.

        2. The people Hemingway at the Federalist identifies as writing/tweeting abut it (and also Hemingway and the Federalist) are people who are constantly churning out content they hope will make you click. If the Doritos commercial had never aired, they all would have been tweeting/writing their outrage about something else.

        3. It ended up trending for a huge variety of reasons, but now everyone can claim their pet passion was the real reason it trended.

        4. By Wed, no one will remember or care about any of this.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          Ah, yes, the outrage factory churns out more product for the masses.

          I’m not a fan of Doritos, but I have to admit, they are still healthier than the product of the outrage factory.Report

        • Avatar Autolukos says:

          So by not caring about this today, am I just an outrage hipster?Report

          • Only if you were apathetic before it was cool.Report

            • Avatar Glyph says:

              You’ve just identified the logical contradiction that will finally rid us of the Hipster Menace forever, making their heads explode like a Kirk-befuddled computer.

              Everyone knows it’s not cool to be early to a party – the phrase “fashionably late” was invented for a reason.

              If you were doing it before it was cool: you’re not cool.


        • Avatar Will H. says:

          All that rings true.

          However, it is now Wednesday, and I regret to inform you that I simply do not care.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        It was a silly commercial, and yeah, the clueless dad trope is tired as hell, but I’m not understanding the outrage.

        I didn’t think it was silly (or any sillier than every other effort by The Capitalists to manipulate consumer’s spending habits via subtle forms of indoctrination! (heh!)) but when I Iaughed at the ending I DID have to check in with my wife to see if she thought it was funny too.

        She didn’t.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          We had 4 toddlers & two infants in the house, I only caught the commercial out the corner of my eye because I was helping to negotiate some manner of child dispute. My reaction was pretty much “WTF did I just see?” I had to re-watch it later when the ‘outrage’ fired up.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I am opposed to Doritos because I am a vegan.Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    People need to save their bile for the right targets. People that in this day and age watch commercials when the ability to record programs and forward fast through them exists. Praise be oh Holy Forward Fast button, you truly make football watchable.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      That’s how we watched the SB: via recording so’s to be able to fast forward thru the mercials. I try to watch all sporting events that way, actually. The Doritos add was one of the few that we didn’t zip right past, actually. (And the Christopher Walken sock commercial!!)

      I also think we need a word to distinguish activism from its ugly little step-brother (is that sexist? sib-ist?): reactivism. I’d love for that term to take on devastatingly shameful connotations in popular discourse.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        Reactivism…not bad. It’s a shame NARAL hasn’t learned the basic lessons of history about never fighting land wars in asia or trying not to look doofy complaining about snack chip commercials.Report

    • Avatar Will H. says:

      People need to save their bile for the right targets.

      I’m waiting for Howard Stern to enter the presidential election as a Republican.

      It was difficult holding back after Trump though.Report

  4. Avatar Christopher Carr says:

    “humanizing fetuses” is a ridiculous phrase.

    I’m sure NARAL’s Twitter feed is managed by some young, ignorant SJW who doesn’t realize the absurdity of what they wrote.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      It’s like they are fetusizing humans.Report

    • Avatar Chris says:

      No doubt she’s read or spends her time around people who’ve read Debran Rowland, and knows that it’s not an uncommon phrase in the abortion debate, often applied to cases like this one.Report

      • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

        You got that from Vickers, ‘Work in Essex County,’ page 98, right?

        Chris, if I’m not mistaken, you have a biological sciences background to some degree, so you can see how the phrase “humanizing fetuses” might be a tad bit anti-science, despite its history of use by civil rights lawyers.

        Otherwise, anyone who uses the terms “anti-life”, “pro-death”, “anti-choice”, etc. loses me.Report

        • Avatar Chris says:

          I’m not sure how it’s anti-science, since “humanization” and “dehumanization” have particular, well-established meanings in this context that are ethical and psychological/sociological. But I’m open to hearing how it is anti-science.Report

          • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

            A fetus is a human despite ideology and semantics. What else would it be? That it is a human at uncertain stage of development is another discussion, and one that I have participated in extensively at this site.

            My beliefs about abortion are fairly analogous to my beliefs about the death penalty, at least in the sense that I find neither heroic. Both involve the taking of a human life, and we should own that before deciding whether or not to legally permit each activity, rather than pretending that what we’re doing is analogous to deciding between the chicken or the fish or simply pulling a bunch of levers and making chemical reactions happen or dressing up our language with various Latinate vagaries to feel better about ourselves and the horrible choices we have the responsibility of making.Report

            • Avatar Kim says:

              Of course it’s a human. It’s not alive yet, but will be soon, absent problems or other intervention.Report

            • Avatar Chris says:

              I won’t speak for the author of that Tweet, but I suspect that most “pro-choice” activists and regular ol’ folks recognize that a fetus is “human,” genetically, and even that it is alive, biologically/medically. “Humanization” doesn’t mean “make human,” it means “to give human qualities,” or something like that, which is perhaps more equivalent to saying, “make seem like a person,” which is precisely the nexus of the disagreement between “pro-choice” and “pro-life,” and not a question for science (though it can be heavily informed by it).

              If you don’t like the word, which again is consistent with common usage in other contexts, then perhaps we can promote the use of “personization” or “agentification,” though we’re going to have our work cut out for us.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Also, read the relevant chapter in the book I linked above to see the context in which the term is used (specifically, a contrast with the “dehumanization” of women by “pro-lifers”).

                By the way, if you’re going to accuse someone of ignorance because they don’t know what you think is relevant, when your ignorance of something they think might think is relevant is pointed out to you, it’s pretty slippery to then say, “Who would know that?!?!”Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

                Of course it’s about sexism! That way you don’t have to make an actual argument!Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Funny, there’s a book chapter using these exact terms that presents reasons for doing so, but if you say that using them means “you don’t have to make an actual argument,” it must be true, and you don’t “have to make an actual argument” yourself!Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

                I’m going to avoid getting entangled in any verbal gymnastics and go ahead and point out that in three years I will be among the very small percentage of people legally entitled to perform an abortion and go on record saying that there is no doubt as to the status of a developing fetus as a human and entity distinct from the mother despite whatever history of Orwellian word games has been played by civil rights lawyers. Nor have I ever heard the term “humanization” used in the context of any discussion of medical ethics surrounding abortion.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                Perhaps in 3 years you and I well be able to have an interesting conversation on the subject. Til then…Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

                “Personhood” is the well-defined, conventional term used in all medical ethics discussions.

                On the contrary, I imagine if you polled both pro-life and pro-choice ideologues on basic science, there would be basic misconceptions on both sides. In particular, at least in my anecdotal experience, pro-choice ideologues tend to believe that a fetus is not a distinct human life and that it is a part of the mother for at least part if not all of development.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                In particular, at least in my anecdotal experience, pro-choice ideologues tend to believe that a fetus is not a distinct human life and that it is a part of the mother for at least part if not all of development.

                Actually, if you polled the most extreme, you’d probably get a very different perspective: parasitic on, not part of.

                That said, I suspect if you polled any group of people who are not trained physicians/biologistist you’d find all sorts of misconceptions about medicine. Hell, there’s even a technical word for that: folk biology/medicine.Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

                A fetus being an unwelcome parasite that does significant harm to its host is at least medically accurate.

                The fact that most normal people are ignorant of the material medical facts surrounding development at best does not excuse a national organization dedicated to that one particular issue of the same sort of ignorance and at worst indicts it for trying to manipulate people into assuming its argument by intentionally misrepresenting or omitting said material medical facts.

                This also speaks to the pro-choice movement’s tendency to oppose patient education programs regarding said medical facts.Report

            • Avatar Francis says:

              “A fetus is a human”.

              well, that type of argument is frequently known “assuming your conclusion”. Or argument by tautology.

              What’s “a human”? Is a sperm cell “a human”? Is a fertilized egg “a human”? At what point in the development cycle does this thing develop humanity? Is “humanity” co-equal with the legal doctrine of “personhood”? If an IVF freezer suddenly caught on fire, would the local TV broadcaster cry out “Oh the humanity”? Why not?

              As to various names thrown at the anti-abortion community, neither side’s ideologues play nice. But looking strictly at the partisan politics of the situation, when a party concurrently advocates for increased restrictions on access to abortion providers and against Planned Parenthood funding and the PPACA, then ‘anti-choice’ looks like a perfectly fair description to me.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                I am pretty sure that by human, he means that the fetus is an individual member of the species homo sapien, which is generally true from zygote on. I don’t think this is controversial, though it is not particularly relevant to the term “humanization,” which essentially means “to make more identifiable as a human person/moral agent,” which, again, is the primary point of contention in the abortion debate.Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

                For the record, it may be the primary point of contention in the abortion debate in that it’s the one most people fixate on, but there are many other complex ethical issues at play, such as the invasion of the mother’s body that comes with pregnancy and the sacrifice that she must make, and what the outcomes would be at a societal scale if we were to change the law in one direction or another.Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

                Good, good! Let the hate flow through you. Use your aggressive feelings to strike down your straw man opponent, and your journey to thoughtless culture warrior will be complete!Report

              • Avatar Francis says:

                I see that the principal of charity in the interpretation of comments is in full force and effect.

                And my question as to why an IVF clinic on fire would not bring on cries about the loss of humanity remains unanswered.

                (yes, CC, we all see that you are the single standard-bearer for truth and fairness in all abortion discussions. Everyone else is trying to channel either Sith Lords or Big Brother. Not you, though. Your language is completely fair and above reproach.)Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

                Here we go then:

                “A fetus is a human”.

                well, that type of argument is frequently known “assuming your conclusion”. Or argument by tautology.

                I suppose so, if you believe in the modern synthesis and the existence of species.

                “What’s “a human”?

                A member of the species Homo sapiens.

                Is a sperm cell “a human”?


                Is a fertilized egg “a human”?


                At what point in the development cycle does this thing develop humanity?

                When an egg is fertilized by a sperm to become a distinct organism.

                Is “humanity” co-equal with the legal doctrine of “personhood”?

                No, as discussed above, by me.

                If an IVF freezer suddenly caught on fire, would the local TV broadcaster cry out “Oh the humanity”? Why not?

                I’ve written about this exhaustively, at this site, if you’d care to peruse:

                As to various names thrown at the anti-abortion community, neither side’s ideologues play nice.

                This is true. That is why we should ignore them or call them out for public shaming, as I have done in this thread.

                But looking strictly at the partisan politics of the situation, when a party concurrently advocates for increased restrictions on access to abortion providers and against Planned Parenthood funding and the PPACA, then ‘anti-choice’ looks like a perfectly fair description to me.

                I suppose that’s true, if you want to spend your time in the gutters and fight bums instead of contenders.

                Now, to add my own question: why is the distinction I’ve made above important?

                Because pro-choice activists routinely make statements along the lines of saying that a fertilized egg is just spit or just a bunch of cells or just tissue and also routinely oppose any medical education programs aimed at informing patients considering abortion procedures.

                This, for me, as someone deeply concerned with medical ethics, is far too cavalier, in a case where we should be especially cautious. Your reaction above reeks of outrage and revanchism, more than it does of caution. Hence the snark which you found unwelcome. Kindly prove me wrong by replying in a thoughtful manner if at all.Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

      The people ridiculing the use of the phrase are ridiculing it not just because they find it ridiculous, but because they consider it revelatory: The tweet taken literally rests openly on the presumption that “fetuses” are not “human” and cannot be “human,” and that to humanize them at all is to impose an at best arbitrary, ideological, if not simply false and reprehensible answer on a question that ought to be treated as, at minimum, in doubt. (If we could say that the fetus was certainly and absolutely “human,” then, presumably, we would be able to declare the willful termination of its life “murder.”)

      The problem for anyone embracing the NARAL position in this form would be that the vast majority of viewers will identify the fetus as human or human enough, and not just when it is responding to a Dorito just like its daddy. Perhaps worse for NARAL, the viewers or most of us will interpret the “ultrasound moment” as attached to one of the greatest goods of human life, the denial of which would equate, if anything could, with the “inhuman.”

      In other words “humanizing fetuses” is virtually synonymous with human life altogether, a description of the project of human society in general. Those who would set themselves against the project of “humanizing fetuses” would be placing themselves outside of possibly human society, against humanity concretely. It would be a position of anti-human nihilism, or sheer inhumanity, which is what the critics of pro-choice ideology believe to be its essence.

      Most of us reasonably believe that even the most extreme pro-choice ideologues are not that far gone – even if some of the more aggressive (or possibly emotionally disturbed) ones come close! – and so we choose to laugh at the tweet just as we choose to laugh at the commercial, the alternatives being quite unpleasant, especially on a Sunday afternoon devoted to mass communal entertainment.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I suspect this is the way most people will see it, but given the meaning of the terms — applying (humanizing) or depriving (dehumanizing) someone or something of human qualities — it seems both consistent with the general “pro-choice” position (not just a radical one) in which the fetus is human, technically, but not a person, or not fully an independent moral agent (“personifying the fetus” or “agentizing” the fetus” would probably work, but would be awkward and require redefining or newly defining terms). Granted, this position alone is unthinkable to many “pro-lifers,” but if one is aware of the meaning of commonly used words (and commonly used in other contexts, even by “pro-lifers”), then to imply that they are saying something more than the meanings of the terms is dishonest.Report

        • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

          The use of the term “anti-choice” was a tip of the hand even if “humanizing fetuses” was not.Report

          • Avatar Chris says:

            A tip of the hand that she disagreed with you, sure. Much of what you have said here has tipped your hand. I don’t think that’s an indictment, it’s just informative.

            Now, you could come up with a substantive criticism of “anti-choice” (Jaybird and I have had back-and-forths about this more than once, I believe), but “tip of the hand” seems silly when we’re talking about a Tweet from a pro-choice organization showing it’s pro-choice hand.Report

            • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

              Showing its utter lack of good faith and straw-manning of the argument it opposes. This is the equivalent of making leftists apologies for Stalin.Report

              • Avatar Chris says:

                There’s very little good faith in the abortion debate, as I’m sure you know. But “anti-choice” is certainly not a straw man, and is used to imply that the position to which it refers is not specifically about abortion, but about reproductive rights more generally (including things like contraception, abstinence, and even more controversial topics). You may dislike the term, and you may even think it’s inaccurate, but so far your argument against it is to invoke Stalin, which is as shitty as anything in that tweet.Report

              • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

                Read my comment again. You’re agreeing with me.

                Otherwise, I prefer the terminology “in favor of expanding abortion rights” and “in favor of restricting abortion rights” instead of the Red Sox versus Yankees that we have going right now.Report

      • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

        This is a brilliant commentary, actually.Report

      • Here’s a New Yorker review of a film that was criticized for humanizing terrorists. Which seems odd, because so far as I know, every terrorist in history has been human.Report

        • Avatar rexknobus says:

          You never met Mugget, my grannie’s cat…Report

        • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

          I’m not sure of any context where “humanizing” a human could really be considered a bad thing. Unless you’re trying to kill them of course, or incite others to kill them, without really taking ownership of it. Or if you’re trying to defend a position that is incoherent as you’ve conceived it.

          (pun intended for Mr. Schilling)Report

    • Avatar notme says:

      Yes, god forbid we humanize fetuses. Keeping them as less than human makes it easier to abort them.Report

  5. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    The outrage factory is right here. This is one of my least favorite parts of the Net.

    The ad was gross sophomoric humor and the dumb jocky dad trope is overplayed.Report

    • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

      I imagine Doritos target market probably doesn’t think that much about things.

      We’re talking about miniature cardboard shovels for fat and salt.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Be the OUTRAGE you wish to see in the world!!Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      People believed and voiced similar opinions long before the Internet, social media, and twitter existed. Its just that before social media, this would be limited to obscure magazines and conversations with people you know in real life. I could easily imagine a conversation along similar lines happening somewhere before the Internet. The Internet just allows these sorts of criticisms to be voiced loudly and encourages quick responses rather than sitting or thinking.

      As to the over play of tropes like the dumb jocky dad, I agree. A lot of people like this sort of humor though even if they should know better. One of my well-educated friends posted a “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” couple dialog on Facebook where the man was being dumb but the woman was overanalyzing everything. I thought it was dumb but many educated people had a “its funny because it was true” reaction. People like broad stereotypes in their comedy.Report

  6. Avatar greginak says:

    So there was a black panther homage that i blissfully missed along with every damn stupid commercial???

  7. Avatar aaron david says:

    So, are we transitioning to BroRitos?Report

  8. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Dude 1: Hey! You got your culture war in my Super Bowl!

    Dude 2: Oh yeah? Well, your pop culture provoked my cultural sensibilities!

    …Not everything meets the definition of “two great tastes that taste great together.”Report