By far, the most popular ad shown during the latest Super Bowl (trademarked name "Super Bowl" not used with the expressed written consent of the National Football League) was the Doritos "House Rules" ad. Tens of millions of Americans saw it as hilarious.
That is unfortunate. Anyone aware of the manifold social pathologies the ad depicted did not find much to laugh about.
Here is the ad:
A man knocks on a door. A pretty woman answers it. He hands her flowers and she thanks him. He has presumably come to take her out on a date. She introduces her young son to the man and excuses herself. She walks back to her room. The camera focuses on her shapely legs, quite visible given that she is wearing a miniskirt. The man stares, indeed leers, at her legs and makes a facial gesture suggesting, shall we say, sexual interest. The boy, who appears to be about 5 years old, sees this and drops his toy. The man sits on the couch and helps himself to a Dorito. The boy walks up to the man, smacks him hard across the face and says, "Keep your hands off my mama. Keep your hands off my Doritos."
Here are the major elements of dysfunction this ad depicts:
First, a child smacking an adult across the face is not funny. It is, in fact, one of the last things society should tolerate. I will deal with the widespread defense of the child's action -- "he was only protecting his mother" -- later.
In real life, a child who hits an adult needs to be disciplined. If a child did that to me, I would grab his offending arm and apply enough force to make it clear that he will never do that again.
After I mentioned this on my radio show, some psychotherapists sent me e-mails disagreeing with these views. They noted, for example, that "violence breeds violence."
Some cliches are true; I find this one meaningless. The truth is the opposite: Immoral violence breeds violence; moral violence (such as just wars, police work and appropriate parental discipline) reduces violence.