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Steinberg: Mmm, mmm good

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Campbell’s Soup is delicious. Right now, in our pantry are five cans of delicious Campbell’s Soup: Chicken Noodle, of course, Cream of Chicken, Chunky Manhattan Clam Chowder, Cream of Mushroom, vital for making green bean casserole at Thanksgiving, and my favorite — heck, everybody’s favorite — Tomato.

Still, five cans of delicious, economical Campbell’s Soup are not enough, and next time I’m at the grocery, I’ll have to stock up on even more delicious, economical, nutritious Campbell’s Soup … sorry, I was reading the website for One Million Moms, a fundamentalist hate group — whoops, a group that, to use its own words, is “fed up with the filth many segments of our society … are throwing at our children.”

An organization that, a few days back, called for one of its famously ineffective boycotts against Campbell’s Soup.

Why? This time, what they consider filth is a TV commercial that Campbell’s began airing last month to promote its Star Wars-themed cans. Here’s how One Million Moms describes it:

A homosexual “married” couple is featured prominently with a young boy (their son) in the new Campbell’s Soup advertisement. Campbell’s #RealRealLife campaign aims to change the face of the American family. It starts off with the first man feeding soup to the little boy and in a “Star Wars” Darth Vader voice says, “Cooper, I am your father.” Then the other man also feeds his son a spoonful of soup and says, “No, no, no, I am your father.”

A fairly accurate description, except for the contemptuous quotation marks — the couple, a pair of New York actors, aren’t “married,” quote unquote, they’re married, period, two real men actually married as is legal, thank merciful God, in every state in the United States. And the “aims to change the face of the American family” speaks volumes of the kind of person upset by this. Because — stop the presses — the face of the American family has changed already. Some people have not gotten the bulletin obviously. They wake up every day expecting Mayberry in 1962, if not Salem in 1692, and thus the world of 2015 must be an awful, daily shock to them, a stupefication they of course project.

OPINION

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“How confusing for this little boy and for all children viewing this commercial,” the One Million Mom website imagines. “Obviously, Campbell’s is sending the message that homosexual men are raising children.”

Umm, homosexual men are raising children. And Napoleon escaped from Elba. I’m sorry if I’m the one to tell you.

I’d credit Campbell’s for being pioneers, but they’re not. Mainstream companies were rushing to win the hearts of gay and lesbian consumers (not to mention people like me who are just patriotic Americans who like to see our country’s freedoms respected) last year. And if you want to point to the first gay couple in a television commercial for a major company you have to go back to — ready? — 1994. It was IKEA that focused on a gay couple buying one of their high-quality tables. The heartbreaking detail is the commercial ran only after 10 p.m. so children wouldn’t see it and — oh, I don’t know what was supposed to happen to them — be flabbergasted.

One Million Moms seem to think heterosexuality is so lightly held that a Campbell’s soup ad can shake its foundations. They also, I should point out, illustrate the fundamentalist betrayal of the faith that supposedly motivates them, since all major religions preach that we are formed in God’s image. By casting gay lives as sinful choices — as irrational as presenting left handedness as a sinful choice — and using it as a pretext to demonize certain people is a strategy that is not going away, no matter how much it fails, time and time again.

And fail it does. One Million Moms not only serves as de facto PR staff for companies like Campbell’s, publicizing the thing they hope to decry. J.C. Penney once created a TV commercial featuring a gay couple as a direct reaction to One Million Moms attempting to punish them for hiring Ellen DeGeneres as a spokeswoman.

Bottom line: Huge retailers like Campbell’s, IKEA, Procter & Gamble, Tylenol and Nabisco — all of which have featured gays and lesbians in commercials in recent years — do not lead society. They follow, tagging along, selling stuff. By the time Campbell’s Soup is running ads featuring the people you hate, you’ve already lost. Of course bigots — bigotry being a subcellar of ignorance — don’t realize this. Maybe they can’t. Their tragedy. And ours.

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