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Geico Caveman Commercials Irk Me | The Angry Black Woman

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Geico Caveman Commercials Irk Me


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I’ve gone back and forth about writing this post several times. There’s one part of me that says, “This is such a minor thing, why even bother?” Another part of me says, “If you don’t get it out of your system you’ll end up stabbing an advertising executive somewhere.” So I shall blog.

Who amongst us hasn’t seen the Geico Caveman commercials? The basic template is:

“Using Geico.com is so easy, a caveman could do it!”
[caveman gets upset]

Here’s a compendium of them on YouTube.

The first time I saw these commercials I didn’t think much of them. I got the joke, found it to be only slightly funny, but it didn’t piss me off so much. It’s a send-up of how easy it is for some commercials to unwittingly offend and also a send-up of folks who get overly offended at small things like stupid and ill-conceived commercials.

I fully realize that by talking about this at all I am taking a first class seat on the irony train.

But I really felt, as the commercials went on and got more elaborate, that they were making light of an actual problem in our society. And, I have to say, I’m really starting to feel like they’re a little bit racist.

In the world of the commercials, the cavemen are mostly well-educated, cosmopolitan people–no, no, Men, because we have yet to see a female cave person–who hold jobs and have plenty of money and seem middle or upper class. When they hear the line about ‘so easy a caveman could do it’ (or see posters about it) they become offended because the commercial insinuates that they are nothing but stupid, bipedal animals only capable of the simplest of tasks. No matter how they try to address this issue – by talking directly to Geico, by appearing on Bill O’Reilly-type cable news channel shows, or even by going to therapy – the message they get from everyone is that the commercials are valid because, well, cavemen are just simple, stupid bipeds barely above animals. There’s even a commercial where one caveman is disappointed in another caveman for ‘selling out’ by getting insurance through Geico.

If this isn’t clear to everyone by now, I think the Cavemen are really thinly veiled pastiches of black people! Their skin is even dark (but not too dark or else someone might get offended). They’re seen as simple, stupid creatures. They have a hard time getting white people to understand their feelings about the issue. In the end, the prevailing opinion is that the slogan is fair because the cavemen really are what others think they are, despite the evidence. And, let’s not forget, that the cavemen are really just being oversensitive to begin with.

If anyone out there doesn’t get how this is exactly the struggle black folks have been having with the white-dominated media since… well, since minstrel shows, let me know. I will school you.

Looking at these commercials and how very (detailed? accurate? historically-minded?) they are, I have to wonder if the advertisers are being racist or if they’re making a point about how far we have and haven’t come in terms of race relations and the media. Are they sending out a veiled message that people should stop being so damn sensitive about racism (or sexism or queerism or whatever) in commercials and making fun of people that are? Are they being subversive? Or are they just a bunch of people who are too stupid to understand the message they’re sending and just think it’s a funny, funny joke?

I honestly can’t tell.

Which is why the commercials irk me. I don’t know whether to be full-out angry or just annoyed or ignore the whole thing. What do you think, faithful readers?

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274 thoughts on “Geico Caveman Commercials Irk Me”

  1. CroMagnon says:

    In response to TheImmortal (Post # 100): Most of us would not dare laugh in public at a black person’s objection to the use of the “N” word – the consequences of laughing probably would be immediate and harsh. But, we can laugh at the caveman’s pain without fear of consequences. So the commercials let us exercise our worst impulses without suffering the consequences that polite society usually imposes. Now, that’s worth something, isn’t it? Doesn’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy toward Geico for providing us with that opportunity?

  2. the angry black woman says:

    Actually, Thel, you don’t seem to understand our thinking on this topic at all. In fact, you don’t seem to understand how racism works at all. Whether the marketing team who conceived and put together the caveman spots were conscious of the racial subtext or not, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that our culture has created a climate in which such a racist commercial can be aired, repeatedly, without challenge. Why? because people like you are everywhere. people who claim taht certainly NO company would EVER do something that is racist because they want to sell stuff to black people. Do you realize how ignorant that comment is? There are plenty of companies that have racist policies, be they overtly or subtly so, that people of color still give their business to for any number of reasons. Sometimes it’s that they don’t know about these policies. Sometimes it’s because they don’t pay attention to what’s said about those companies in the news or they never hear the news because it’s not national, it’s local, or it’s reported in news outlets they don’t listen to (NPR, say). Sometimes they may know, but they don’t care. (I’m reminded of that oil company.. was it Mobil?) Sometimes they know and care but can’t do much about it because they don’t have a lot of choice in where they get certain goods or services. Poorer people, usually, in cases like that.

    There are dozens of ways in which companies can get away with being racist, and the main one may be that white folks have the majority of power and the majority of money in America. So what if a few or a hundred or a thousand black people notice what’s up with those cavemen? there are plenty of white and maybe even Latin@ and Asian folks who are laughing their asses off and think the whole thing is cute. Why should Geico care?

    What you don’t seem to understand is that racism is subtler now and ten times more insidious. it’s not just Jim Crow and the KKK anymore. And, because of this, people and companies and governments are able to slide past the radar. people like you blow off any claims of racism because no one is being lynched. Maybe you should take a step back and consider that other people see the commercials differently than you. I’m willing to bet you’re white, considering your reaction. If so, you definitely don’t understand how racism works because it’s never, ever affected you.

    Think about that before you decide you understand what’s going on at Geico or their advertising firm’s offices.

  3. Hoodstar415 says:

    Yeah, I think that these commercial are racist.. In one of the commercials a black yuppie even passes by in the background.. No wonder everyone hates the United States.

  4. Anahata says:

    I agree with you. The commercials are thinly veiled racist humor. In any case, nobody will be buying auto insurance after peak oil has its effect (the thing we’re trying to forestall by invading/occupying Iraq). Now THAT, I will find funny =)

  5. CroMagnon says:

    ABW, I’m Latino, and, contrary to what you imply above, I don’t think the commercials are cute. I know from personal experience that as recently as the 1960’s you could still find some restaurants in Texas with signs saying, “No Dogs, Mexicans, or N—-rs Allowed.” Prejudice against Latinos is still pervasive in our society, although a bit less socially acceptable in polite circles. The commercials are structured so that you may substitute any race, ethnicity, religion, gender preference, or other minority characteristic for the caveman. “It’s so easy, even a ____ can do it.” So, any Latino, Asian, or other minority who thinks the commercials are funny doesn’t understand what is really going on there.

  6. J. Cooper says:

    Geico’s caveman commercials are blatantly offensive, associating the intellect of prospective customers with that of a Neanderthal. No thanks ! I’ll go with Allstate.

  7. B. Causey says:

    I’ve read nearly all of these comments and am trying to understand the concern. Is the Neanderthal the problem? If it were a cartoon animal would it be offensive? Please don’t think that I am trying to be funny. When my husband told me about the controversy, I called him a liar. That’s why I was looking on the Internet. Thank you for your time and help.

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  10. the angry black woman says:

    B. Causey, the problem isn’t the Neanderthal specifically, but the portrayal of a group of people. So no, it wouldn’t be okay if it was a cartoon animal. Remember those crows from Disney’s Dumbo? Those were racist, too. And weren’t any less offensive becuse it was a cartoon.

  11. Dr. GK says:

    I really enjoyed the comments of all who responded. It is obvious that there is a great pool of critical and subtle thinkers ready to address the issues of society.

    Perhaps we may channel this thought to address the more pressing issues of humanity?

    Media is simply what you make it. Ignore it and it goes away.

  12. the angry black woman says:

    Media is simply what you make it. Ignore it and it goes away.

    Um… no, I don’t think so. perhaps if everyone in the country ignored media it would go away, but that will never happen. Not without some serious mitigating factors. Media saturates our culture. It’s PART of our culture. therefore, we have to becoming critical and analytical consumers of it in order to determine how we can change it.

    I get your subtle dig that by talking about this issue here we’re not *doing* anything about it, but how many people have come to this conversation completely oblivious to this view of the commercials and gone away wiser and perhaps with the tools to analyze other commercials and media in the same way?

    It’s because people do not think deeply about media that this bullshit continues to happen. And it’s going to take a mass waking up before things change. How will we bring about this mass waking up? By talking about the issue in public forums. Like this one.

    Also, the whole addressing more pressing issues of humanity thing? Also beneath you. The idea that talking about commercials somehow obliterates my ability to deal with anything else in life is both paternal and short-sighted. Why don’t you go out and cure AIDS instead of commenting here, doctor? Obviously by doing one you cannot possibly be doing the other.

  13. CroMagnon says:

    Regarding Post 111, way to go, ABW! You nailed it. I would just like to add that not only is media PART of our culture, but it tends to SHAPE our culture. Movies, television, and commercials are powerful educational tools that can be, and often are, misused to nudge us into adopting behaviors that are not good for us. The Geico commercials are a perfect example of this misuse. If left unchallenged, the success of the Geico commercials could encourage other companies to make their own commercials suggesting that minority complaints are trivial and should be ridiculed. Before you know it, we would have a society where it is OK to laugh out loud in public at a black person’s objection to the use of the “N” word. Few things are more important than resisting the media when it attempts to guide is in the wrong direction.

  14. assumed says:

    The caveMEN are sort of off white. The caveWOMEN are not referenced. They are presumed stupid by foolish white people but the caveMEN seem to be well off. They have a fashion sense. They have a particular sensitivity, some would say excessive sensitivity. One orders Duck with the Mango Salsa and the other can’t seem to summon an appetite at all (this is a caveMAN trait is it?).

    It is clearly obvious that this has little to do with classic racism and everything to do with homosexual stereotypes. That no one has mentioned this obvious theme is stunning. I have found this whole Caveman thing offensive from the start.

  15. Draconisz says:

    B Causey, I am not sure what to say. The issue is that the “caveman” is supposed to represent a minority. And the joke is that he is “overracting” to a stereotype that is at least partially based on “truth”.

    Cavemen were supposed to be “dumb”. They supposedly had an inability to adapt. And saying “that even a caveman could do it” is supposed to be accurate.

    Now we can look at the mythology of race and find almost the same exact bullcrap.

    Moving onward from that point, it doesn’t matter if it is a cartoon, a comic book, stick figures, or what have you. It mocks the struggle of getting folks to see past race and racial supremacy.

  16. Andrew says:

    “Cavemen” employs the tactic of silencing the complaints of a minority group by depicting it as successful beyond its legitimate expectations. That’s how the model minority myth works against Asian Americans, in a nutshell.

  17. AB says:

    What an interesting discussion. We all really do look at these types of things from our own perspective. I can completely see your point on this. I am white an I didn’ look at these commercials as having anything to do with race but that is becasue I was too busy being offended as the sister of mentally challenged young woman. After all, it isn’t unusual at all to actually hear people say “it’s so easy a retard could do it” or, “How could you not understnad that, what are you, retarded?”

    I am so used to being on the look out for that type of prejudice since it is what I experienced every single day growing up with my sister that I often miss references to other groups. But I have heard how oversensative I am so many times that I always give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that there is a real experience behind the fact they are sensative to something. I’m curious to watch one of the commercials again through a different lense.

  18. Emmanuela says:

    I told my brother the same thing when the commercials first came out and I had the time to really listen to them. My brother didn’t believe me, he still laughs at it. He now says the N word and I believe it is b/c he was influenced by his girlfriend. He doesn’t care when I tell him to stop saying it.

    Isaac says:
    “We are all familiar with racial stereotypes, but movies and television also engage in negative stereotypes in their portrayals of people based on: gender, sexual preference, socioeconomic group, religion, age, etc.”

    That’s why I rarely watch American movies. I hate stereotypical movies or movies based on books b/c they are not original.I feel most of the time that America stifles the real creative out of the box thinker and only sees money. This movie made a lot of money lets make a similar movie and make a lot of money. Yay!! It’s stupid.

    Isaac says:
    “Very few people think of themselves as being racist or discriminatory, but we are all capable of being insensitive to some degree, often unintentionally. The ad exec thought he had a good ad, then was suprised that he had offended somebody.”

    Actually I did think I had a problem with white people a very small problem mind you, but I nipped that in the bud. I guess at times I think I am an angry black woman even though I feel for other people, recently I realized there are really no Asians on t.v. then a few appeared (I just want everyone to be represented). I’m going to a predominately white college and at first I was like I’m not going to find any friends or I will feel so awkward but then when I went to orientation I forgot about it in the first 10-15 minutes.

  19. John Gallagher says:

    Why can’t a cave man be a cave man?
    You people are out there
    I fount the commercials to be a crack up.
    But unlike your selves I took them at face value.
    I actually found this blog looking to leave a suggestion for the next commercial.
    My white boy cracker thoughts were to have the cave man and the gecko appear in the same commercial and have the cave man try to eat the lizard but im just a shallow white boy who doesn’t see the truth in the irony, and am subconsciously participating with my ideas because of my deep down bigotry past down from my whit cracker heritage.

  20. John Gallagher says:

    P.S. how many stupid, fat, lazy sexest, whit guys do you see on TV every day?

  21. the angry black woman says:

    Too many to count, actually.

  22. Right On says:

    Ok, so it’s not just me. I thought this was a thinly veiled attempt at racism from the beginnning. The “Sell Out” Comment topped it off. These guys think they’re slick, this was not a mistake.

    Out In the Open (CNN) is doing a segment on this tonight. 7PM Central/8PM Eastern. Check it out.

    Peace in The Middle East,
    Right On

  23. Right On says:

    Thanks for being honest John (aka Ross Perot). We also love the “You People” comment.

  24. Jose says:

    So the caveman is stupid, so what, they don’t even exist anymore, on the ads they seem to portray black people, I ask: is there no stupid black people? There are lots of stupid white ones, one is running the country. Stupidity has no color. The caveman does not exist, if you feel offended by the ads suit your self.

  25. Jon says:

    Tisk tisk tisk…

    I cannot believe how ANYONE could waste that much time on something as minor as a CAVEMAN, not CAVEPERSON…

    -QOUTE “the angry black woman”

    I think the Cavemen are really thinly veiled pastiches of black people!

    -End QUOTE

    Are you implying that African Americans are “stupid bipeds barely above animals”? Is this why you think African Americans and that damn Caveman have such a huge similarity?

    I however do not think black people are any different than a white man. A black man and a white man are EQUAL requardless of whatever and the hell you are thinking. If you can compare a black person to a caveman… That must also reflect what you think about your own self.

    Woman get real, there is no damn race anymore, it’s almost 2008 and your treating this as if it were 1950…

    Don’t you have anything better to do?

  26. pat says:

    Waaaaaaaaaa I need reparations. I am a victim of the man.
    Grow up and get over it.

  27. the angry black woman says:

    Well, leafboy, you’ve gotten yourself banned! Use of the word Nigger is strictly controlled around here. Thanks for playing.

  28. the angry black woman says:

    I cannot believe how ANYONE could waste that much time on something as minor as a CAVEMAN, not CAVEPERSON…

    Don’t you have anything better to do?

    Says the asshole that took the time to comment here.

    Grow up and get over it.

    Says the dickwad who took the time to comment here.

    Must have had a new link from looneyland.

  29. Jon says:

    Well, I’m terribly sorry that I’m an asshole for expressing my opinion on the matter, but if that makes me an asshole, this will make me a complete bitch. Get mad if you will, but I do believe that someone has to voice this and not be afraid to. I have you know, I am not a racsist against anyone; THERE IS NO RACE. I have nothing against you woman, because I have not met you, but take the time to understand what I have to say.

    -On another note, do not get offended by the words you are about to read, because I am not calling you or anyone else any of these words.

    You call me:

    “redneck”
    “Hillbilly”
    “Slaker”
    “Cracker”
    “Honkey”
    “Whitey”
    “Gringo”
    “Sage”
    and you think it’s OK.

    But if I call you:
    “jungle bunny”
    “spear chunker”
    “coon”
    “jiggaboo”
    “porch monkey”
    “Spook”
    or “Nigger”
    you call me a racist.

    –You have the United Negro College Fund.
    –You have Martin Luther King Day.
    –You have Black History Month.
    –You have the NAACP.
    –You have BET.

    –If we had WET(white entertainment television) …we’d be racist.
    –If we had a White Pride Day… you would call us racist.
    –If we had White History Month… we’d be racist.
    –If we had an organization for only whites to “advance” our lives… we’d be racist.
    –If we had a college fund that only gave white students scholarships…you know we’d be racist.
    –In the Million Man March, you believed that you were marching for your race and rights. If we marched for our race and rights…you would call us racist.

    –Did you know that some high school students decided to make a club for only the white students because the other ethnicities had them. They all got sent to court for being racist but the african-american, Latino, and Asia clubs were not even questioned.
    –You are proud to be black, brown, whatever and you’re not afraid to announce it. But when we announce our white pride, you call us racists.

    I am white.
    and
    I am proud.
    But, you call me a racist.

    Why is it that only whites can be racists?

    I say that if you are going to call someone a racsist you must also be one yourself.

    Thank you for your time and blogging space “Angry Black Woman.”

  30. Zholla says:

    I remember going to see Spielberg’s AI at the movies. I remember the scene where the mother takes David to the park. Everyone knew what was coming next…nobody wanted to hear it…nobody wanted to believe Spielberg would go there…it came anyway…
    and People lost their minds.
    For weeks afterwards…people who had seen the movie were talking about how the aliens had spoiled the movie at the end…and how the movie was okay except for the aliens…and I began to ask myself what movie had these people seen.
    I went on movie forums and it was the same wherever I went. While I was discussing how powerful the movie was and how it affected me…with someone else who got it….I was struck by an epiphany…or something close to one. As I began to discuss this with others who saw the movie…and were brought to tears as I was…I realised the validity of what it was I was seeing and feeling.
    There were no aliens at the end of AI. But that was not the point. We in our arrogance thought we were the only ones who got it. Saw the power on the story…understood what it is to look into the eyes of the goddess(mother) and not see our own reflection…understood what abandonment feels like. We were not the only ones. Many…too many of the people who were very vocal about their dislike for the film…got it too. And I fear they felt it far deeper than they would ever let on.
    AS I read the comments from many of the whites on this and other posts…I know that they get exactly what you are saying about race in general…and this commercial in particular. They get it. They just want you to believe otherwise. And the less you fall for the trap…the more vocal they become.
    And despite the colorful words they use…all I see is pain on the page.
    There is no question that Geico played the race card in order to get Americans to pay attention…and hope discussions like the ones going on here…will translate to people buying into their manipulation. No question. And a great many of the people trying to deny it are just not convincing at all.
    Behaviour is truth. My grandma always used to say “Throw a stone into a pack of dogs…the one who yelps…is the one who git hit.”

  31. Tim Jones-Yelvington says:

    Didn’t look at the comments before writing my own, so hopefully I’m not repeating anything.

    I definitely think they’re written from an anti-“political correctness,” “why are people so easily offended?” comedian’s perspective, and in that sense are quite problematic insomuch as they do invalidate people speaking out against genuinely offensive representations.

    But at the same time, they are one of those weird sort of postmodern, multi-meaning-ed texts that invite different interpretations from different viewers. I definitely find myself at times identifying with the caveman in his quest to be heard (as well as the Geico-buying caveman’s struggles around complicity), and while the commercials don’t exactly authorize these identifications, they don’t exactly prevent/dismiss them either.

  32. the angry black woman says:

    Dear Jon,

    You’re not an asshole for expressing your opinion. You’re an asshole for being an asshole while expressing your opinion. The tone of your comment clearly conveyed that you weren’t interested in intelligent dialogue but merely in insulting me and those who agree with me. If you want to be treated better, you need to act better.

    As to your assertion that there is no race, I think you need to sit down and read a book sometime. It might help you. Technically, yes, all people on this planet are of one race, the human race. Race is a social construct based on really minor surface differences between people. Skin color, hair type, shape of the eyes, etc. Only a tiny fraction o the DNA we all share goes in to making up those differences. From a biological standpoint, race is irrelevant. I know this and you seem to know this and, gosh, even Hitler knew that. But what I and most other people know is that this business about race being a social construct does not matter in the real world of interpersonal relations.

    People see differences. People categorize. It seems to be in our nature. Therefore, we have to address what happens when people categorize and label those categories “Race”. You cannot get around this process of categorization by whining “There is no Race” because, for most people, THERE IS.

    Also, I have no desire to take the time to understand what you have to say because your tone continues to be condescending and assholeish. If you want to take the time to modify your attitude, then I’ll take the time to hear you out. But, as it stands, I’m giving you a warning that further posting in this vein will earn you a spot on my blacklist.

    In answer to the rest of your long and tired-ass comment, I’ll refer you to the “Required Reading” link at the top of this and every page on my blog. There you will find some of the answers you seek. If you’re still confused, why not drop by the “Ask ABW a question about racism” thread on the front page.

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  34. km.t says:

    Jon, I’m not sure if you’ll ever get to read this, but I figured I would go ahead and post it anyway. It’s definitely not as eloquent a reponse as some of the other folks here might have given you, but I think it conveys my point just the same. I’m going to break down some of your points and address them individually, as that’ll be easier for the both of us.

    “You call me:
    “redneck”
    “Hillbilly”
    “Slaker”
    “Cracker”
    “Honkey”
    “Whitey”
    “Gringo”
    “Sage”
    and you think it’s OK.”

    I haven’t read anything on this site where ABW condones using *any* of those terms. I’ve only seen her use “honkey” in one of her titles, and if you truly knew what the word meant, you most certainly would see that there is no comparison between its definition and those of the pejoratives used towards blacks.

    “But if I call you:
    “jungle bunny”
    “spear chunker”
    “coon”
    “jiggaboo”
    “porch monkey”
    “Spook”
    or “Nigger”
    you call me a racist.”

    Because it *is* racist to call blacks those things. Those slurs were the bastard children of a racist mentality. There’s a dark and ugly history behind each and every one of them unlike any of the slurs ever used towards whites. To compare the two lists is illogical, nonsensical, and down-right stupid.

    “-You have the United Negro College Fund.
    -You have Martin Luther King Day.
    -You have Black History Month.
    -You have the NAACP.
    -You have BET.”

    -Whites have almost every other college fund.
    -Whites have tons of holidays devoted to their leaders and so forth.
    -11 months of the year are devoted to White History, and blacks get the shortest.
    -Whites don’t need an activist group like the NAACP. They run everything in this country. Who the hell do they need protection (and I use that term very loosely) from?
    -BET is owned by white people, and about 98% of television is WET.

    “-If we had WET(white entertainment television) …we’d be racist.
    -If we had a White Pride Day… you would call us racist.
    -If we had White History Month… we’d be racist.
    -If we had an organization for only whites to “advance” our lives… we’d be racist.
    -If we had a college fund that only gave white students scholarships…you know we’d be racist.
    -In the Million Man March, you believed that you were marching for your race and rights. If we marched for our race and rights…you would call us racist.”

    -I reiterate, about 98% of television is WET.
    – I reiterate, 11 months out of the year are devoted to White History. Blacks get the shortest.
    – I reiterate, there are a ton of scholarships out there that cater to whites. They’re the ones that don’t have “black” or “negro” or “color” or “asian”, “hispanic”, et cetera in their titles.
    – See above point.
    – What rights are you, as a white man, being denied?

    “-Did you know that some high school students decided to make a club for only the white students because the other ethnicities had them. They all got sent to court for being racist but the african-american, Latino, and Asia clubs were not even questioned.
    -You are proud to be black, brown, whatever and you’re not afraid to announce it. But when we announce our white pride, you call us racists.”

    – I read about that. White is the default, and there’s no need to put an emphasis on the default.
    – No one’s saying you can’t be proud to be white. It’s when your “pride” becomes a superiority-complex that the problems arise (and you’re tagged with “racist”).

    “I am white.
    and
    I am proud.
    But, you call me a racist.”

    I reiterate, no one’s saying you can’t be proud to be white. It’s when your “pride” becomes a superiority-complex that the problems arise (and you’re tagged with “racist”).

    “Why is it that only whites can be racists?”

    I believe ABW wrote a very good post on this. It might be under the “Required Reading” section she guided you towards.

    “I say that if you are going to call someone a racsist you must also be one yourself.”

    Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.

    Thank you for your time and blogging space “Angry Black Woman.”

    Don’t put her name in quotations. She’s not something for you to paraphrase.

  35. Michael says:

    YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT

    Offensive things today need to be coded to gain acceptance into the mainstream. They need to have plausible deniability, and a claim to innocence. This skit accomplishes this well.

    At a base level, this scenario depicts a big group lampooning a lesser group. There is a subversive and clever humor to this skit, but it takes a minority group that has assimilated, is visibly different, and at the same time, is comparatively invisible and belittles them.

    The idea that it’s ok to make fun of another group is what is offensive. In this case it only becomes sadistically funny when we see that this group still exists and takes offense.

    We also see the greater society tolerate their offense albeit with paternalistic tongue and cheek.

    That said, the only cure to this type of humor is to go the other way and laugh along.

    Seriously, it is empowering to show that such sadistic humor only has the power that you allow it to have. Just like the movie, “White Man Can’t Jump” seemed to diminish Caucasian athleticism, until it’s ability to do so was obliterated by dismissive laughter.

    More importantly, as long as we can have a dialog about such things without outrage and can be honest and reason together, we can have peace. Sincere desire to understand one another and and be able to laugh at our differences without malice, would be a nice goal.

    In the mean time, honest and open discussions like this serve to build bridges and inroads to peace.

    Thank you for having the courage to be brutally honest and I hope that you are able to gain some help and insight from my remarks as well.

  36. CroMagnon says:

    Michael,
    I guess it’s easy to “laugh along” when the joke is not on you. What if you lived in a society where white people were the minority and the commercial said, “It’s so easy even a clueless white boy can do it.” Would you find it easy to “laugh along” then, Michael? About the only “insight” I get from your remarks is that you have never experienced being on the receiving end of prejudice and so have no idea about what’s really at stake here. It offends me that you suggest I just “laugh along” when I am insulted. We can have peace when you get a clue about what it is like to live as a minority in this country. If I have guessed incorrectly and you are, in fact, a member of a minority group, then I feel very, very sorry for the way this society has warped your mind.

  37. DeeDee says:

    Think you’re reading way too much into this. I agree that the commercials are really dumb and annoying – but that’s it. All that talk about racism etc. is your own projection. It’s just a really dumb commercial – that’s all.

  38. bobfromutah says:

    S y hv blck ppl ngr tht th mght b cmprng th cv mn t thm nd wmn pst tht th r NT cmprng th cvmn t thm. S ‘m ffndd tht th hvn’t hd sn cv mn r Hspnc cv mn. nd wh hvn’t n f thm bn g? ‘m ffndd tht th Gc hsn’t cvrd vr thnct nd gndr n th plnt yt wth th fv r s cmmrcls th’v prdcd. Cm n rtrds… Y r th ptm f wht th cmmrcls r mckng.

  39. zman says:

    Qstn: Whch f th thr cmmnts s rcst: . “Stpd Mxcns” . “Stpd Cndns” . “Stpd Wht Ppl” nswr: nl # s rcst cmmnt. Thnks fr lrnng! zmn

  40. bobfromutah says:

    Hr r sm xmpls f prf tht Gc s nt smpl rplcng blck ctr wth cv mn. Th cv mn dn’t sg thr pnts, rll n mplls, bst cps, brn nghbrhds n prtst, t grts, cllct wlfr, cptlz n gvrnmnt hnd-ts, s “y” r “sp”, crr bsktbll, st n th frnt prch, t frd chckn, gt bt p b th plc r g t jl. S pls tll m whr y gt th d th r sbsttts fr blcks?

  41. zman says:

    Th Gc cvmn s clrl tln, NT BLCK. Th physcl mkp f th cvmn mstl prtrys n tln ml n hs md thrts whn y cnsdr th fcl hr nd fshn sns f th chrctr. Th skn tns r ls mr lng th lns f tln r Hspnc, nt blck. Y wld xpct tlns vrywhr t b ffndd b th dn’t sm t b. M thr s tht th rcgnz tht t s nl cmmrcl nd s ntndd t pk fn t th pltcl crrctnss f r r rthr thn prtclr rc. zmn

  42. zman says:

    Bb, gr tht th ctns f th chrctr d nthng t dfn th Gc cvmn s blck. Whn h’s wlkng thrgh th rprt y s hm crryng tnns rckt. Tnns sn’t xctl sprt tht mst blcks wld wnt t pl. f h wr rnnng thrgh th rprt wth stln wtrmln thn tht wld b dffrnt str. Thnks fr yr cmmnts. zmn

  43. the angry black woman says:

    Dear zman and bob at IP address 67.108.235.66, I know that you’re the same person and, if you’re check the Rules of Engagement, you’ll notice that sockpuppetry and anonymous trolling are strictly forbidden here. You’ve been banned and disemvoweled. Thanks for playing!

  44. RebelwithanAK says:

    It’s subtly racist. Not because the cavemen are necessarily a 1:1 markup on black people, but that there is one significant detail that separates them and real minorities fighting a struggle:

    They’re actually different.

    As such, you could feasibly draw up an argument that the ad men are (un)consciously subversive by having their cavemen characters doing and saying things indicative of minorities dealing with racism and racist attitudes, burdened with the irony that, yes, they’re really less evolved than everyone else.

  45. WTF says:

    thnk y nd t gt lf. r byfrnd. r myb rl bg vbrtr. Mk t wht n.

  46. CroMagnon says:

    ABW,

    I edited the Wikipedia page on the Geico Caveman to add a link to this discussion. Hope that’s OK with you?

  47. the angry black woman says:

    Yeah, that’s fine with me. If the comments start to get ridiculous again I’ll just shut them off :)

  48. Deby says:

    Less time being angry, more time being compassionate and caring.
    Not everything is racist. Somethings are simply for entertainment and enjoyment.
    Settle down or you’ll have an early trip to the grave!
    Wasting too much of your energy!

  49. Stephon says:

    I’m a black man who has just recieved his Ph.D and it really angers me to see other black people respond in this way to something so silly. I think the commercials are funny, and are not intended to offend anyone. People really need to stop trying to pull “the race card” so fast. People like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson try to put a racial spin on every situation. They are NOT the spokespeople of black people even though many people still percieve them to be. As a fan of older rap music, when the lyrics actually had meaning, I can say that today’s music is doing nothing but trying to glorify the “gantster image.” I grew up in a rough neighborhood, but I knew I wanted to do better myself and did so. People like the author of this article need to realize that while there are certain people of ALL races that still hold racist ideals, the majority of people are not as ignorant. Today’s generation of white people are not trying to hold us back and yet we still bring up wrongs that they had nothing to do with. People need to quit trying to turn everything into examples of discrimination or we will never truly rise up.

  50. GJ says:

    ABW,
    I’m white and male. I can’t be in your head, but I sense pain. I hope you’ll be able to work that out.

    Hey, the caveman is like a cliche. We never learned much about early humans in grade school, but I never once heard a reference to cavewoman. It just wasn’t part of the language. I guess it was like saying “mankind”. Isn’t it interesting how politically incorrect we were?

    Honestly, I never once thought of the caveman as black. I hadn’t thought about race until I read your blog. Now I’m thinking about it and I realize that I identify with the character as a white man. I guess you say tomato and I say tom-ah-to. I still have faith that we’ll work this one out.

  51. GJ says:

    By the way, congratulations on receiving your PhD Dr. Stephon !!

  52. CroMagnon says:

    Stephon,
    I suspect that you are neither black nor have a Ph.D. You sound like a white person who is trying to be funny. But, just in case you’re who you say you are, I would like you to know that the creator of the commercials has admitted that his intent was, in part, to comment on what he views as the excessively sensitive Politically Correct attitude of many people. See http://www.esquire.com/the-side/geico032007. The ads use humor to try to trivialize people’s reactions to mistreatment at the hands of the majority. The ads may not be intended to offend, but that aspect of the ads certainly does offend me, as it should offend any person who has been on the receiving end of prejudice.

  53. Angel H. says:

    I’m a black man who has just recieved his Ph.D…

    Welcome, Dr. Negro.

    …and it really angers me to see other black people respond in this way to something so silly.

    As for the rest of your post:

    You must really think we’re stupid don’t you? First of all, even if you really are a Black man it doesn’t your post any more credibility than anyone else’s. And if that wasn’t enough, you try to wave an “edjumacashun” – a doctorate, no less! – in our faces as if to validate your assholery.

    Wigga, please!

    CroMagnon’s right. I don’t believe a damn word you posted:

    1) A real Black man knows that there’s no such thing as a “race card”. How can we play something that we haven’t been dealt?

    2) You go off on some ridiculous tirade about rap music that has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. Vent your prejudices about the Black community somewhere else.

    3) This quote:

    Today’s generation of white people are not trying to hold us back and yet we still bring up wrongs that they had nothing to do with. People need to quit trying to turn everything into examples of discrimination or we will never truly rise up.

    What-the-fuck-ever.

  54. Angel H. says:

    oh pooh. The pic didn’t post! =P

  55. the angry black woman says:

    What they said.

  56. GJ says:

    Oh boy. It’ll be tough to get anywhere with those comments.

  57. rayo says:

    yes its encouraging to see a black person like stephon to respond in this manner. unfrotunately true or not blacks are portayed as being angry at the white man and most people dont get the view stephon withholds. If you are a black who is sensitive, the caveman issue would seem racist, it can be read into. fortnately people like stephon can see through it by self reliance and the opportunities there are for black people. Blacks have more opportunity than they know, they are self destructive. Morality plays a large role in it and also listening to the likes of sharpton and jackson.

  58. the angry black woman says:

    You mean all this time it’s been black people’s fault that racism still exists and if we just lifted ourselves up by our bootstraps everything would be magically better? OMG why didn’t I see this before!?

  59. Carole McDonnell says:

    Just finished reading Jon’s comment. I think the thing Jon fails to get is that if a group calls itself “white-only” it IS being racist because there is no one particular country called “white.” The United States is made up of whites from many different cultures. There is nothing holding these white groups together except for their whiteness. “White” is a collective name for ALL the white cultures in the United States. What do Italians or Danes or Irish people have in common except their whiteness? So if a group says it is whites-only, it is basically saying that all ethnic groups which share the trait of white skin are allowed. On the other hand, “Blacks” fall into one ethnic group: African-Americans.

    -C

  60. rayo says:

    racism exists, no one is that naive.I have experienced black people are more racist than whites and break the law more readily,because they can always shout racism . i have seen plenty of reverse racism .

  61. GJ says:

    Yeah, it seems to be a human condition. Maybe we’re all inherently insecure and it makes us feel better to put down on the “other”? Interestingly, we’re probably more alike than different!

  62. desertdetroiter says:

    Geez…and here i was thinking that it was just a commercial! who knew?

  63. Gordon says:

    In the commercials I see several intelligent, relatively sophisticated cavemen complaining about their treatment by the Geico commercials and subsequent news and therapy. I see them being dismissed because “historically, your people have struggled to adapt”, and then when they have an insightful rebuttal it is dismissed with a stereotype. The therapy session is even more telling; the therapist asserts that cavemen are stupid even though a very intelligent one is discussing the topic with her.

    This is ultimately the problem. Everybody should be treated exactly how they deserve, not based on their membership in a particular ethnic group. Nobody can reasonably deny that there are black people who fit the hip-hop, gangbangin’ gangster stereotype. They do exist, and they deserve to be treated the same way any person who behaved that way would be, regardless of their skin color. The problem is when we treat black people that way when they don’t deserve it, because there are way more people who do not fit that stereotype. The therapist telling the caveman that “cavemen are stupid” when he is clearly not so is the crux of the matter.

    When I see the commercials I tend to feel sympathy for the cavemen. All of the other characters are dismissive and condescending, while the cavemen are reasonable and trying earnestly but vainly to counter the negative stereotype that they are being painted with. Certainly the use of cavemen as an offended minority group is intended to be absurd, but I don’t see it as mocking minority groups. The portrayal of racism in the commercials is relatively nuanced and intelligent, and I think it contributes to public understanding.

    Ultimately the point of the whole thing is “trying to make a memorable commercial” which, given all this controversy, it has certainly succeeded in. But I don’t think they have done it at the expense of a minority group.

  64. CroMagnon says:

    Gordon,
    The commercials are supposed by funny. They’re memorable only to the extent that they make you laugh. But, if you feel sympathy for the cavemen, then where do you find the humor in the ads? What’s so funny about reasonable and earnest attempts to counter negative stereotypes being frustrated by the dismissive and condescending attitudes of the perpetrator? After having been an American “Caveman” for over 50 years, I, too, sympathize with the Geico cavemen. But, I don’t see anything funny about their frustrated attempts to counter social injustice. Seriously, Gordon. I’d really like to know. What’s so damn funny?

  65. Corby says:

    Gordon never said they funny. Why attack him?

    I agree with him, they make fun of the “establishment” which I think IS funny, and needs to be made fun of. They are showing how ridiculous institutionalized racism is, and how those who feel that way should be ridiculed out of society. They are funny in the way that Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” is funny.

    Satirically.

  66. the angry black woman says:

    And yet Corby is wrong, AGAIN, about the intent of the commercials. Corby is racking up the wrongness today.

  67. Whiteguy says:

    Gt yr rprtns, bld frggn brdg nd gt vr t. Dd m ncstrs nslv yrs? N. Th cm vr n bt frm rlnd r wr lrd hr s Ntv mrcns. Yt, shld fl bd bcs YR rc ws prsctd. Ds tht mn shld b xpctng n plg frm nglnd fr th xctns f nncnt rsh nd Cltc fmls? Ds tht mn tht th Rmn Cthlc Chrch shld p m fr m Pgn ncstrs wh wr slghtrd fr prctcng thr fth? Y knw wht? Nm sngl grp (rc, rlgn, crd) tht hs nt bn prsctd? Jws, Rssns, Jpns, Chrstns, Ntv mrcns, rsh(Clts), Mslm, rq, tc. Jn th frggn whnrs clb s yr jst lkng fr rsn t blm smn ls fr yr crpp lf

  68. the angry black woman says:

    *sigh* deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevowel!

  69. coco says:

    This is a very interesting blog.

    I haven’t seen the latest installments of the caveman commercials (no cable), but I have seen enough of them to get the underlying message.

    It’s just another tool racists/sexists/etc are using in their war against “political correctness” (because I guess for some people, not being a self-centered idiot is a chore). It appears we are now living in the postcivilrights/racismisgone/everyoneisequal days where the oppressor screams “oppressed” and acting out/laughing at stereotypes is now cool and edgy.

    People who don’t see this commericial and the myraid of other commercials, tv shows, movies, etc as offensive (or would rather see people stop “whining” or “being over-sensative” over it) usually fit one of these categories:

    – racists/sexists/over-all bigots who want validity for their moronic behavior
    – people in the majority who want to stay in the majority (same as above)
    – people in the minority who don’t want to “rock the boat” as to appease or attempt to assimilate into “majority” culture (enablers of the people mentioned above)
    – uncurably clueless people who live their life with blindfolds on.

    [quote]The United States is made up of whites from many different cultures. There is nothing holding these white groups together except for their whiteness. “White” is a collective name for ALL the white cultures in the United States. What do Italians or Danes or Irish people have in common except their whiteness? So if a group says it is whites-only, it is basically saying that all ethnic groups which share the trait of white skin are allowed. On the other hand, “Blacks” fall into one ethnic group: African-Americans.[/quote]

    I agree that there is nothing really holding whites together (except maybe for their desire for white supremacy) and that Blacks are united in a struggle for freedom from said oppression. But, I think it is a huge misconception that Blacks in the US are this hegemonious group with the same ethnic/cultural identity. The term “Black” (while unifying) can include as many (actually, more) ethnicities as the term “white” does. Blacks can be African American, Carribean (Jamaican, Haitian Trinidadian, etc.) or from one of the many countries (and even more tribes and cultures, since the “countries” borders where forced on them) of the continent of Africa. There are also Black cultures that have long ago settled in parts of Europe and would not identify themselves ethnically as African Americans.

  70. The guy says:

    You people are really being too oversensitive.

    Real cavemen probably had darkish skin from their living conditions.

  71. the angry black woman says:

    Today’s prize for most clueless and absolutely un-useful comment goes to:

    The Guy!

  72. the angry black woman says:

    Since it’s obvious no actual discussion is g0ing to happen on this page, I’m shutting down comments. If you want to rant at me about my opinions, go to the front page and look for the latest open thread. Thanks!

  73. Hoodstar415 says:

    I hear the show on NBC got confirmed.. Guess we’ll get to see how racist that shit really is.

  74. Saladin says:

    When the ads were 30-second spots pretty much in sympathy with the caveman, I enjoyed them (and I am a person who hates hates hates tv advertising). The one where he’s walking on the moving walkway and stops, looking at the poster…I had almost that exact moment looking at the poster for a ooh-scary terrorists movie once!

    But the more they go on, the more the commercials mock (and thus dismiss) the entire issue of sensitivity in media campaigns — a very real one. When I heard they were making a TV show, I knew something supid was afoot…

  75. Saladin says:

    Err, that would be ‘stupid’ in the last sentence of the last post. As in not checking one’s typing.

  76. Larry says:

    I actually think the commercials are more homophobic than anything. The cavemen are clearly gay based on their mannerisms & there’s a few double entendres in there that imply it too, (one caveman in the commercials is blackballed by the others because he was “outed” as switching to Geico – ironic considering that Geico doesn’t think they can do it!) Unless you see a lot of straight people walking around in powder blue & yellow outfits with a tennis racket sticking out of their backpacks, the ads suggest to gay-bash the cavemen. My wife thinks I’m reading too much into it so what do I know!

  77. Jerry J. says:

    Are you kidding me? You really have a problem. Quit complaining about everything under the sun and use your energy to look for the positive side of life. In the end you’ll be a better person.

  78. cliff says:

    well……my thoughts. The commercials are based on the saying “So easy a child can do it”. But something tells me that children don’t get offended at that…ergo…it must be changed to “caveman”. I didnt really read anything racist or sexist into it. I highly doubt that’s what the ads are going for as some suggested. Maybe the slogan should be changed to…

    “so easy a pothead can do it….well…maybe not.”

  79. Michael says:

    r myb..”s s rc hstlr cn d t” hmmm tht cld wrk

  80. Nate says:

    I seriously think that relations of race cannot move forward if people like the “angry black woman” keep looking too deeply into finding little things like this commercial to accuse white people of oppressing black people. It is very ignorant. Just look as it as a commercial for geiko, and be done with it!

  81. Matt Killeen says:

    I’m an advertising creative in the UK married to a New Yorker and spend a lot of time in the States over the course of the year. I therefore take a keen interest in this debate for several reasons.

    US advertising can often appear to be very basic and condescending to foreign eyes, and as such I viewed the caveman campaign as a breath of fresh air. Firstly it operates on more than one level. Furthermore it is proof positive that advertising in a product sector that is plagued by inane and jingle ridden, lowest common denominator commercials can be creative and entertaining.

    I have always believed that the commercials satirised a predominantly white male media, lampooning an industry repleat with stereotypes and patronising shorthand. The fictional media belittles their concerns, when the Cavemen are right. Their bitterness is natural and indicates multi-dimensional characterisation.

    Of course, there can be no definitive reading of television, as one’s interaction with it is dependent on personal experience. I see with white Irish liberal eyes, Angry Black Woman (sic) with what I assume to be angry, black ones and one has to suppose that the racist will probably get some form of reinforcment from it. This is unfortunate but not restricted to advertising

    It is perhaps a tribute to the campaign has sparked this debate. As for the sitcom however, the jury is still out.

  82. Gentri says:

    First of all, I think the creator’s of ALL of Geico’s commercials are rather talentless and simple-minded…their humor doesn’t elevate above the, “Pull my finger”, stage. That Gecko irks ME. I want it to STFU and go away forever. It’s like Chinese water torture watching those dull ass commercials with that rambling lizard.

    So, these same crackheads brainstormed the Caveman concept (and I sincerely wonder if the authors of these monstrosities aren’t all of 12 years old…in some mega-sized Manhattan ad agency penthouse, brainstorming these concepts (as they gnosh nachos and Dr, Pepper with Pop Rocks) in between their rollerblading and skateboarding.

    “The Geico Caveman is a thinly veiled pastiche of Black People”. I must admit that the thought had crossed my mind that Geico was making real-life racial aspersions to some ill-defined group….they look like Aboriginines, actually. Interesting….a Gecko with an Austrailian accent and Aboriginines. I really didn’t associate their campaign with any particular ethnic group at first, though… I mean, if you want to get real about it, IF they showed these Cavemen eating chicken and watermelon, playing basketball and getting “happy in their Caveman Church”, then I would be the first one to call Al Sharpton. Because, as you know, the vast majority of Black Americans DO love chicken and our males DO tend to dominate the sport of basketball… LOL… Black folks are more diverse than that, of course…but, it is my observation that we are cursed with the stereotype of the Slave Buck who liked his chicken, chitterlings, and watermelon and didn’t mind telling the Massa so. And when the Massa needed more field hands and asked Buck if he would help him out and knock up all the Negresses on the plantation that he could, Buck surely stated that he could bang with the best of them all night long… What else could he say? Hence, the stereotype of the Black Stud was born! So, when the Massa imperiously told the other slaves that he had figured them out and had decided that they ALL liked chicken and such and loved to have sex, just like Buck,of course they said, “Why yes indeed, Mr. Charlie!!!” (even though they may have been practicing vegans, or what not…and, unfortunately, they had no say over their bodies one way or the other ). Hence, racial bugaboos about sex,foods, and such where born. No one was going to tell the Massa, “No”, about any of his misconceptions…to stand apart from the stereotype was to stand alone and that surely illicited grave punishment.

    Anyway, I digress… Wanna know what irks me more than these Cavemen commercials?? It’s those Popeye’s commercials which will always provide a job to chicken loving, bug-eyed, out-of-work black actor! And there are other blatant media abuses of Black people out there which provoke my fury more than these Cavemen…. And, quite frankly, these Cavemen are more irritating than offensive. Irritating and annoying in the same dull, insipid way as the Gecko.

  83. Gentri says:

    Spelling correction:

    meant: “Aborigine”

  84. Gentri says:

    By the way, could someone explain the cryptic posts in this thread whereby folks are too lazy to spell out complete words?

  85. Rick says:

    I cannot believe (& perhaps I’m in denial) that people in this day & age are so earger to assume a Green lizzard with an “English” accent, is supposed to to be representive of any race, creed, or color.

    It seems rather people are eager to find ANY simialarity they can imag & take personnal offense to it.
    The same thing is true about the “Caveman.” If people want to make a parallel with themselves & a “Caveman” because they are insecure or afraid of something within themselves how can that be anyone’s fault but their own?

    I guess people see what they want to see no matter what a silly TV commecial is, says, od portrays.

    Seen the commercials & pretty sure there was no mention of any race.
    Come on people, please relax & see it for what it is.

  86. Jay says:

    I really think you’re looking too deeply into it, especially the female thing, which I will address first.

    When people think cavemen, they think caveMEN. I don’t think they need to diversify much, that would be pointless for a 30 second commercial.

    I like the Cavemen commercials. but I suppose when you don’t sympathise with the Cavemen, you would probably think they’re making fun,

    The commercials do sympathise with them, as they are done in their point of view. They have the most lines, are never shown as being stupid in any way, and are given just reasons to be offended.

    The sign, the insulting comments, and the fact that people are reprobate, even when the cavemen show greater intelligence. They usually outsmart the humans. The biggest thing is that they NEVER present what people claim them to be. If they did, then I could agree.

    It’s a satire, and a pretty good one, because who here ever thought about Cavemen “rights” before this. What this company has done was take something no one has ever sympathised with and probably has deemed lesser, and put them in a real life situation.

    I was not, nor will be offended by these commercials because I honestly don’t see any harm in them, mostly because the humans are the jerks in these commercials, and not the cavemen.

  87. Ico says:

    I haven’t seen much of the Geico commercials, but this does bother me:

    “When people think cavemen, they think caveMEN. I don’t think they need to diversify much, that would be pointless for a 30 second commercial.”

    This is exactly the problem. Women are consistently written out of history. In every era, the dominant narrative is a male one. Male = universal, female = Other. Why should a caveman represent prehistory and not a cavewoman? (“cavewoman” by the way, is not even a real word according to spellcheck. Apparently the spellchecker also sees the masculine as universal, the female as Other and misspelled :P )

    Perhaps further exploration of commercial mascots will make the problem more apparent. Think of every cereal commercial, fast food commercial, insurance commercial, etc., that you’ve ever seen. Think of all those mascots. Dozens of them, probably. COUNT THEM. Now out of all of them… how many are female?

  88. Ahem... says:

    Well, Yabba Dabba Doo!!

    First of all, how do you know that the Gecko has an English ; Cockney accent??

    Second, who said we were discussing the race of the GECKO????! These posts reminds me of that parlor game whereby you whisper in someone’s ear and they do the same and so on and so on and the message is completely muffed up by the time it gets to the end of the line!

    Third, perhaps you are right about the insecurity factor and our graphing our racial identities onto something as backward (LOL….) as a Caveman…but, then again, if the point is that the Caveman is NOT backward, I don’t get it!

    Fourth, ABW already stated that it’s not about male versus female CavePeople… or did you not read that??! That’s because this dumb ass society is stuck on slow and always assumes that the protagonists of any situation are male so she is not even going there in this thread! (Anyway, where the hell would Fred be without Wilma, that retard???)

    Fifth, you people are as pretentious as those Cavemen with your convuluted, self-satisfied takes on what is going on in this thread and in those dumb commercials. Roasted duck with Mango Salsa anyone??

  89. a says:

    The “joke” in these commercials is:

    “Jeez, whatever you say these days offends *somebody*– isn’t that ridiculous? Aren’t we *past* all this PC-race-bullshit?”

    Well, no, actually, we’re not past that. Read the news.

    Trivializing racism doesn’t make it go away. I absolutely agree that these ads, while not, perhaps, racist, stand in a context of trivializing racism. So there :)

  90. CroMagnon says:

    Kudos to “a,” above for his or her elegantly concise summary of the “joke” and the failed strategy behind it. “So there,” indeed! On a slightly different topic, ABC is trying to avoid this issue in its new Caveman TV show by downplaying the “joke.” But, the joke is the main reason for the show’s existence, as you can see from the original pilot. So, if they downplay the joke, they end up with a really lame show. If they don’t downplay it, they end up with a controversy similar to that created by the ads on which the show is based. I almost feel sorry for ABC. But, that’s what they get for backing a show that attempts to trivialize a serious issue.

  91. jonathan says:

    To me this is silly. as an african american male i was not offended by any of these commercials and didnt identify with any of the cavemen. why would i try to find ways to identify with a caveman? i dont really understand your argument and i think you are reading into a silly commercail too much. I think there are a lot more serious issues in the world than worrying if a commercial about cavemen is racist. I dont identify with the caveman and actually see them more as a portrayal of white men than of black men. I think your efforts would be better utilized worrying about real racism today, not whether or not black folks identify with cavemen. The show is gonna be cancelled in a few weeks anyway so i dont see what the big uproar is about .

  92. gwugluud says:

    In the very first paragraph, you threaten to stab someone.

  93. TierListE says:

    Jonathan

    Um, I don’t think the point is whether black people or any other race identifies with cave men. I think it’s the general philosophy that it’s OK to trivialize a group’s outcry of injustice via inferior/harmful stereotyping. It’s supposed to be ironic because it’s cavemen instead of another human, but unfortunately it could apply to othe people in RL as well, and possibly (probably) reflect majority sentiment.

    Now personally I haven’t given the commercials too much though beforhand either (though my family and I did go through a moment of “lol, that’s just like white people too”), but I still think ABW makes some valid points.

    But in any case, she disclaimed herself in the beginning of the post and I think it’s doing her a great disservice to simplify her into this one issue. I’m sure she gives a lot more of her time and energy into Jena Six and the like than this caveman show; I don’t like the vibe that she just sits on things like this and plays it up like it’s the biggest deal.

    For goodness sakes the titles says ‘irk’ not ‘righteous outrage of Injustice’.

  94. the angry black woman says:

    In the very first paragraph, you threaten to stab someone.

    actually, in the first paragraph I say to myself that I might stab someone if I don’t get this off my chest. Now that it’s off my chest, no one is in danger of being stabbed. Thus, not threatening.

    Not that this has anything to do with THE TOPIC.

    Also, the only reason I’m still even talking about this caveman business is because you people keep coming here and bringing it up. the comments on this post would be closed right now except closing them makes the entire thread disappear, and I think it’s important to keep the conversation up as well.

  95. Adam Sheehan says:

    I believe ABW would like to close this section, so I will be as brief as I can.

    I work for one of GEICO’s competitors. Our people saw through the veil and realized that this series of commericals could be interpreted in one of many negative ways. We believe they purposely left it open to create speculation. While it is slick ansd subtle, it is not necessarily the best route.

    Our marketing and advertising personnel is taking the approach that we are not going create any messages that leave people feeling ambiguous. When you see one of our commercials, it will be comical, but straight forward.

    -Adam

  96. Steven M (Atlanta) says:

    Hi,
    I think you are reading way too much into this whole thing. The world is full of people dying to be offended by something. Every race in the world is crying that another is doing them wrong. It’s the way the world is, and has been since….well, since the caveman let’s say.
    Everyone knows that the earliest known record of mankind was from Africa. They were “cavemen”, as we’ve come to call them.
    I think it’s a very comical, and cute storyline. I remember the first time I saw the commercial, I cracked up, because I could relate to it. It was funny, and still think it is. I never thought oh wow, they are making fun of Black people.

    Sure you can read anything you want into it, but that, sad to say seems to be what Blacks do with everything.

    If you know anything about evolution you know that “ALL” of us came from Africa. http://www.africawithin.com/black_history/overview_chapter1.htm

    Lighten Up. Nobody is holding Blacks down, except Blacks. We are all masters of our own destiny.

    And No, Michael Vick is not a caveman.

  97. Steven M (Atlanta) says:

    fnd t ntrstng tht yr wbst s clld th “ngryblckwmn”. f smn wht trd t crt sch st, : “thngrywhtmn” Rv. l Shrptn wld b tryng t hv t sht dwn.

  98. Allen says:

    “Nobody holds blacks down, except blacks…”

    This type fo logic is so stunningly stupid I’m amazed every time it comes up. It flies in the face of ever fact known to man, yet people actually believe it. Wow.

  99. Katie says:

    It’s a fun/upsetting little parlor game for me now to try to figure out what the disemvowelled posts originally said.

  100. littlem says:

    Katie – More upsetting than fun for me. Kind of like trying to decipher a serial killer’s note.

    Steven M — unwittingly, I’m sure — disembowels his own point at the end of his post by talking about Michael Vick.

    JW believes “funny” trumps “racist”. I’m sure he also believes it trumps “sexist” and other types of prejudice visited on those that “deviate” from the societal norm of being a White. Western. Male.

    There are studies as to how an oversupply of testosterone and vasopressin act upon the XY brain — on a continuum of sorts, of course — to such an extent that the lack of empathy to others’ pain and suffering borders on demonstrative autism. (I’d love to see the extent to which those hormone levels are additionally modulated by phenotype and/or socialization.) Despite the jokes that could be made — particularly in this context — about the questionable adaptiveness of such traits given the “evolution” of modern society from its original hunter/gatherer mode, I won’t bore you all with them here.

    The ads ARE funny. They’re also racist.

    Additionally, they’re sexist. At the Caveman parties, the ONLY women pictured, over whom the Cavemen do appear to be drooling and slavering to varying degrees (I won’t even get into that subtext), have idealized Anglo Saxon Caucasian-American features — straight hair, little nose, light eyes, skinny bones, all of it. With the concomitant simpering body language to boot.

    No Cavewomen anywhere. So WoCs, if you’re feeling half-invisible watching the commercials — depending on how much of a patriarchal apologist you feel you have to be based on racial loyalist pressure (after all, it’s a survival skill) — you’re not imagining it. (Anyone notice how here in the comments the “SPOKESPEOPLE FOR THE RACE” are always men?? Awwww, yeahhh.)

    I can only imagine what the commercial-makers could come up with trying to put the gender counterparts’ images on screen. I guess it could be comforting to realize that in some contexts, you’re just not even seen.

    I am happy to report that I heard a rumor that the “Cavemen” series is going to be cancelled.

    I didn’t know they’d displaced George Lopez’s show to put it on the air in the first place, though.

    We’re not exactly a nation of intellectuals, are we?

    In the larger global sphere, is anyone else worried about that at all?

    Oh, wait … I guess Steven M and JW and their ilk think we shuddnt taek it awl so srsly LOL

    *heer is mah aprehenshun let me show you it*

  101. Ico says:

    Bless you Littlem, you articulate so perfectly the problem I have with these commercials. :)

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