I'm fascinated by the Groupon controversy, although to be honest I don't have strong feelings about whether Groupon's Super Bowl ads were particularly offensive or not. What fascinates me is why an ad seems to bug the hell out of a lot of people, even though I can think of about a million other global issues - including the actual atrocities in Tibet - that are about a billion times more pressing, and nobody (including me) seems to care about those at all. But an insensitive ad? Sure, we're willing to focus endless energy there.
The Groupon Super Bowl ads, or the unfortunate Kenneth Cole tweet that likened Egyptian protesters to fashion-crazed shoppers, seem to really catch in the collective conscience. Suddenly, the same people (including me) who are too apathetic to even read a news article that dares to delve deeper than a tweet, are suddenly all to happy to skewer Groupon as if their ads, tasteless or not, were the worst thing ever. For me, it just doesn't make sense. The outrage is out of proportion to the crime.
I thank God yet again for creating Twitter, because there Scott Henderson (@scottyhendo) pointed me towards socio-cultural etiologist Jason Moriber's (@jasonmoriber) thoughtful piece about these controversies in It's not Kenneth Cole. I'm the Problem. My Finger Points Back at Me.
I urge you to read it. And don't worry, it isn't any longer than this blog post.
Postscript: Groupon has pulled the controversial Super Bowl ads. Phew. Now everyone can sleep easy tonight!