This Just In: Far Rockaway Ironically Proves Itself to be Dull and Humorless

Image from the NY Daily News
I try to keep Where fairly upbeat, but this one's got me too annoyed not to write about: apparently Far Rockaway's city councilman, James Sanders, threw such a spectacular snit fit about a McDonald's subway ad that he got the corp. to pull the campaign, which could not have been cheap. About the ad, Sanders whinnied (with stereotype-reinforcingly tone-deaf politician 'humor') that "clowning around at the expense of a community is not funny," and went so far as to demand an apology (which, sadly, he also got).

Here's the kicker: the ad does not actually poke fun at Far Rockaway at all. It features an image of a McDo's iced coffee being held up, cheers-style, by a disembodied hand, and reads "To not falling asleep and ending up in Far Rockaway. (Unless of course you live there)." Even in issuing their apology, the company rep explained what anyone with two brain cells to rub together could plainly see: "Our intention was to add humor to the situation of falling asleep on the subway, missing a local home stop and waking up at the end of the line." Because Far Rockaway? Is waaaay at the end of the line, in case you're not familiar. The punchline here is the hour-long ride back home, not the condition of the neighborhood that the last stop happens to be in.

In fact, the only disrespect I see here toward Far Rockaway is from this Councilman Sanders yahoo, whose own insecurity about his district is pretty blatant. If the person representing my district thought that their job was to run around looking so hard for opportunities to defend the 'nabe from people calling it boring that they'd go so far as to pull slights out of thin air, you can bet your ass I'd be on the phone letting them know that I'd much prefer they be looking for money to fund the subway rather than worrying about the ads inside the trains--much less getting them yanked! "What's your position on the recent fare hike, Councilman? What about reduced service? Oh, no, sorry -- you go ahead and finish your rant about that ad for coffee, first." Give me a freaking break.

The sad thing is, this guy's grandstanding cost all of the city's subway riders a clever ad that dealt with a shared urban experience (the fear of falling asleep and waking up at the end of the line). Even in a city like New York, one often encounters ads that reference the (imagined) national shared experience: back yards, apple pie, and cul-de-sacs. While I'm no great fan of McDonald's, I do appreciate it when major corporations tailor their ads to acknowledge the fact that, yes, we are in fact in a city. If we have to be bombarded with advertisements, at the very least they should reference a shared experience that we actually share.

But fear not, New York: Councilman Sanders will make sure that that doesn't happen.

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