A New Love

Vikram Bath

Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1.

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9 Responses

  1. Troublesome Frog says:

    There was a similar commercial about a lamp that I always liked.Report

    • Hee.

      I like the production value. It does seem to invite a conversation about why everyone needs new lamps, which is evidenced in the Youtube comments. But as long as it gets you to laugh in the first place, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

      It’s also interesting from the more-typical commercial you might expect: I love my IKEA lamp! Most brands try to convince us that they are selling things that are integral to our lives and part of our culture. IKEA, however, is trying get us to *not* get too attached to its products.

      That is very different than “I love what you do for me, Toyota!”Report

  2. J_A says:

    This is worthy of a much longer postReport

  3. J_A says:

    I dare not :-(.

    Is the dialogue on the TV movie relevant?Report

    • Vikram Bath in reply to J_A says:

      I don’t think you lose much from not having a translation. I think it’s
      Taller man: Does it hurt?
      Other man: It’s OK, I’m used to it.
      TM: [other stuff I don’t quite get including “It’s just colored pencil”, which is our first hint something is weird]
      OM: Do you love me?
      TM: Yes, I did. [extended hug]Report

      • J_A in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        Were I to write about this commercial, first I would have to ignore all the Asian text and subtext.

        I’m not fully ignorant of Asian culture, but my understanding is not deep enough to comment about the scene. For instance, is the dream scene wildly shocking -a taboo breaking behavior- or as an almost acceptable depiction of male bonding taken to an extreme?. Likewise, I’m sure there is important content in the fact that the dreamer is married with a child. Is he fulfilling a Confucian duty of begeting a new generation, or is he in love with his wife and this is just a depiction of attachment to material things? What about the wife? Did she marry with Western style romantic expectations that might be about to be shattered, or, like him, marriage and family are duties owed to past and future generations, against which the inner feelings of wife and husband are of little concern.

        Having talked at length about all I wouldn’t talk about, looking at the commercial with Western eyes, these are some of my thoughts, starting from the end backwards:

        – The punch line is great! To me it was completely unexpected and had me laughing (the lamp commercial on the other hand made me sad). It’s quite unforgettable, and makes me want to watch it again which is what any TV ad should aim for.

        – We have finally got to the point where we can laugh at a gay(ish) story because it’s funny. Twenty years ago people laughed at gays because gays were objects of derision and mocking (*) Ten years ago we couldn’t laugh at anything gay because it was a sensitive subject and only bigots would make fun of gays. Brokeback Mountain pathos was the only acceptable emotion. We now are arriving to the point where gay is normal enough that we can all laugh at something that is both gay and funny, not because it’s gay, but because it’s funny. This is fishing important, and to me it’s the most important takeout of the commercial.

        – We can talk about gay in Asia. This is also fishing important. Normalizing LGBT is not just a decadent Western European/American West and East coasts thing (and Latin American, social conservatives always seem to ignore how much gay rights have advanced in macho country Latin America). The largest, most populated part of the world is having this discussion. There is debate about gay marriage in China. Taiwan’s president might/might not be lesbian but she can talk about gay issues. There is debate in India (still not solved, but the issue is on the fore). I think this is progress.

        – Yay bisexuality. You can love your wife and at the same time have a pang at remembering your boyfriend and thinking what might have happened to him and if he is ok and still remembers you. I expect that as homosexuality becomes more normal people will accept that you can have feelings, sexual and romantic, for people your own sex and people of the opposite sex. There will be less pressure to either conform to the straight mold or stay fully homosexual.

        – Male bonding. Sometime/somewhere between the late XIX century and the end of WWI, male bonding, which had been a thing for centuries, became a taboo. Was it cause or effect of the distaste/condemnation Victorians had for homosexuality? Was it a consequence of raising the nuclear family as the only valid social arrangement, whereas male bonding was seen as a threat to the duties the man had towards his family (Prohibition’s origin is making sure working men did not spend their money with their cronies at the bar getting wasted, but took it to the missus)? In any case, male bonding because associated with homosexual attraction and thus taboo (except in some extremely hyper male contexts like cop partners, where the masculinity of the pair could not be doubted). The unacceptableness of male bonding in XX century society was a great loss. Acceptance of homosexuality is now allowing non sexual-non romantic male-male bonding to also reappear. If male-male love and so are ok, male-male deep friendship is ok too. Progress again.

        I think I’ve covered my thoughts about the commercial. I think there is a lot of food for thought in it, and hope someone will chime in it further.

        (*) Wild generalization here, totally inaccurate with respect to a lot of people(**) and probably off by a couple of decades one way or the other. Please nod and move on.

        (**) Have you noticed that the number of people that never laughed at gays in those days grows day by day? It’s like we are having people born retroactively.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to Vikram Bath says:

        “I’m sorry.”

        “Don’t worry about it. It’s just colored pencil.”

        Text at the end says: Admit it, you’ll like the new one better.

        Also, this appears to be from Taiwan.Report