In an effort to make up for the company’s disastrous sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Coca-Cola decided to run a feel-good, diversity-laden Super Bowl commercial, with lots of real Americans singing “America the Beautiful.”
And then a number of other not-god-d*mn-English languages.
Putting aside for a moment the fact that Olympic security are detaining gay dissidents in Russia, and handing them over to the Russian police, while sporting Coca-Cola’s logo all over their security uniforms, Coke’s ad isn’t bad. It’s actually quite nice (if you can ignore the fact that Coke has decided to sponsor, and then defend, the arrest of human rights activists outside of America the beautiful).
But it was a sure bet that America’s bigots would freak out over one of our national anthems (well, at the very least an unofficial one), being sung in other languages, including – dum dum DUM – Spanish.
UPDATE: Among conservatives now freaking out is none other than Glenn Beck, who appears to think that Coke designed the ad to make Republicans look bad. Of course, all of this has made conservatives look bad, but not for the reason they think.
You’ll recall that we had similar racist eruptions over an adorable Mexican-American boy singing the national anthem during the NBA finals, and when American singer Marc Anthony was lambasted for singing “God bless America” while Latino (it seems major league baseball fans were unfamiliar with the fact that Puerto Rico, while brown, is still part of the United States).
The only way things could have gone worse for Coke is if they had the national anthem sung by an inter-racial girl eating Cheerios.
Here’s a smattering of the racist response on – where else? – YouTube, land of the bigoted and home of the bravely intolerant:
Yeah, I’m pretty sure that, of all the reasons we went into Iraq and Afghanistan, and lost nearly 7,000 American lives do so, stopping “America the Beautiful” from being translated into Spanish was not one of them.
Because Americans don’t speak foreign languages?
Oh where to begin with this Mensa graduate?
Punctuation is your friend.
It should only be sang in proper English.
There were a lot of people who got the point of the ad, and sadness of the moment: