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I just love advertisements with cute kids in them!
Whether it’s the AT&T kids being quizzed about whether or not “now is better” by the charmingly dry, suit-and-tie clad Beck Bennett, or the little Darth Vader kid projecting the Force onto Mom and Dad’s new Volkswagen, or (my favorite) the E-Trade crib-boy showing off the latest trading app on his smart phone, I can’t get enough of cute kids selling stuff.
I don’t even have to like the product to enjoy the commercial. For the record (and in case there are any potential sponsors out there for knuckle-dragging, troglodyte bloggers) my phone service is Verizon, I drive a Mazda 6 (six-speed of course) and I trade through Interactive Brokers (much cheaper). But, product aside, even when I am trying to fast-forward to the next kickoff I will often be caught by a cute kid commercial, pause, and enjoy a chuckle with adorable kids trying to sell me a product or an idea that I may – or may not – want to buy.
So naturally when I heard that there was a video featuring cute Latino kids called “Trashing Trump” which tries to convince us that Donald Trump is wrong to call for a return to respect for our immigration laws and that Donald Trump is wrong to advocate sending those who had entered our country illegally back to their home countries and that Donald Trump is wrong to suggest that the sexual conduct of Mexican illegal immigrants was any different from that of legal American citizens – as I say, when I heard there was a new video with cute Latino kids – I said: “Hey! Sounds great! Maybe these Latino kids can convince me of something new as they take adorable to a whole new level!”
And indeed they did.
For those who have not seen “Trashing Trump” I highly recommend you do. (Fair warning: It is decidedly not compliant with Ricochet’s Code of Conduct.) The stars are Rosa and Ricardo (his friends call him “Rick” – evidently because it makes a convenient rhyme with another word). Rosa and Ricardo were born in the US to illegal alien parents but they object, in their cute, fun-loving way, to being called “anchor babies.” Rick has braces, Rosa has a bit of a lisp and they both have this bubbly, precocious way of using a vocabulary far beyond their tender age.
I don’t think this video is going to help the cause of illegal aliens or damage the Presidential prospects of Donald Trump.
This video is, to put it mildly, a public relations train wreck.
It is reminiscent of waving Mexican flags at an immigration protest. For fans of “The Onion,” it’s reminiscent of: “Gay-Pride Parade Sets Mainstream Acceptance Of Gays Back 50 Years.” When I saw this video my first thought was: “My God. The media guys at the Trump campaign are geniuses! But isn’t it going to come out that they did it?” It is difficult to imagine any short video piece that could more effectively reinforce the stereotype of “drug dealers and rapists” than this video does.
Because if cute kids in AT&T advertisements are playful, zany, out-of-control puppies, the Latino kids in this video are vulgar, snarling, red-eyed, mouth-flecked-with-foam rats. They are the repulsive antithesis of everything that the remnants of wholesome America look for and vainly yearn to return to in the innocence of childhood.
And why is that, exactly?
Yes, it is because the children in the video use profanity. But what of that? Adults use profanity all the time. What exactly is so objectionable about kids using profanity to express a passionately held point of view?
Most profanity (that does not involve God) – and indeed the profanity used in this video – involves human sexuality. Children by definition do not fully understand sexuality because their bodies and brains do not provide that experience until adolescence. Thus when children use sexual obscenities they are using words which they profoundly do not understand. They have been instructed, either deliberately by their elders or, more likely, by exposure to their culture, to employ certain words when expressing certain thoughts. And a frequent way that sexual terms are employed by adults – and the way that the Cute Latino Kids have obviously imbibed – is as an expression of anger, hatred and violence.
Part of the abhorrence that the Cute Latino Kids inspire is simply the idea that someone has allowed and even encouraged their children to learn to speak this way. Western Culture has progressed over the ages, in many ways, by extending the protection of the innocence of children. From the abolition of child labor to the institution of obscenity laws on television we have sought to shield children from learning at too early an age about the uglier side of adulthood (or, at the same time, about the more beautiful side of adulthood which they are not yet ready to grasp).
So the Cute Latino Kids exhibit a culture which in the first place tramples the idea of protecting the innocence of children and in the second place surrenders the primacy of meaning for the sexual act to one of violence.
What stereotype is this video reinforcing after all?