American Karma: Budweiser, “Typical American” (2020)

From this year’s Super Bowl ads, Heartwarmers division, I cite a Budweiser ad that is plenty sentimental and heavy-handed but nevertheless plays effectively with the positive behaviors that negative stereotypes of Americans could mask, like:

“Showing off his strength”
(firefighter heroically fighting a huge blaze)

“Always so competitive”
(differently-abled athlete winning a prize)

But you can be completely hip to this manipulation and still be overwhelmed – as I am every time – by this one at 0:37:

“Thinking they can save the world”
(young Black male wearing “Free Hugs” t-shirt hugs riot policeman)

Such is our American karma, and our undisavowable hope.

About Steve Smith

Emeritus Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Millsaps College
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