The average American sees 3,000 advertisements per day–each one telling us our lives are somehow lacking or insufficient. A perfect example is an ad by Pretzel Crisps that could recently be spotted on street furniture throughout Manhattan. In a cleverly worded phrase that plays on both the product’s physical appearance, as well as our inherent issues with body image, the ad declared: “You can never be too thin.”
This irked a local resident and blogger enough to embellish the ad with some facts about the dangers of anorexia and pictures of people who have died from the disease. NYC The Blog was on hand to film the defacing and soon after posting it, the video went viral. It even led to a favorable news segment on local station WPIX. Most importantly, however, it so embarassed Pretzel Crisps that its vice president of marketing issued an apology and promised to take down the ads. Barely a day later, the defaced ad had been replaced with a new, less offensive one.
As K-pop fans and Black organizers and artists are demonstrating, joyful, powerful movements draw more people in and reflect the kind of world we want to live in.
If soldiers train for armed combat, why wouldn’t activists train for toppling the political-economic structure that’s killing our chance for a just future? The stakes are just as high.
Uganda’s COVID-19 experience underscores the seemingly universal opportunism of authoritarians amidst crisis, as well as opportunities for resistance.