Bus Ads Take Offensive to the Max

Critics accuse ads of glorifying abuse

The people behind new movies publish creative advertisements in order to attract viewers. But one new movie's ads only succeeded in making people feel uncomfortable and disgusted.

The ad campaign for the new flick "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell" includes slogans like "Deaf Girls Can't Hear You Coming" and "Strippers Will Not Tolerate Disrespect (Just Kidding!)."

Is that supposed to be funny?

Based on the book of the same name, the movie is the biography of University of Chicago graduate and blogger Tucker Max, who chronicles his drunken and sexual encounters in the form of short stories on his website TuckerMax.com (warning: adult and immature language).

Promotional ads bearing the controversial slogans have appeared on billboards on the sides of CTA buses.

"I was appalled today at the ad..." Leah Pine wrote to several news outlets, including Eric Zorn's blog, Change of Subject. "I am outraged that this foul message is being endorsed and publicized by my city. It is not funny—it is abusive, and it must be removed from the buses. CTA authorities should be ashamed."

Leah is right. The ads are offensive ... but not to women. They insult everyone's intelligence.

We understand that there are different genres that please different people. There are chick flicks, big-explosion movies, and so-stupid-you-have-to-laugh comedies.

We also get that there are some guys—okay, a lot of guys—who are easy to please. They love any entertainment that involves fart jokes, obnoxious drunk behavior, and big breasts.

But these ads aren't any of those things. They're just not funny.

"Blind girls never see you coming," says one ad. What's the punchline here? Is it a juvenile double entendre? Is it supposed to be some kind of rape joke? Who would ever think rape is funny?

Whatever their purpose or punchline, the material is inappropriate for the CTA.

Fortunately, the CTA has acted quickly and will be removing the ads from 250 buses. The ads were sold and posted by an outside contractor who failed to submit them for CTA approval, agency spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney told the Tribune. Given the chance, Gaffney said, the CTA would have rejected the ads.

If the advertisements have already caused this much controversy, we can only imagine what the reaction will be when the movie finally releases on September 25.

Matt Bartosik, a "between blogs" blogger, is occasionally inappropriate for the CTA.

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