Talk about looking for excuses to assume umbrage!
In a television commercial for Samuel Adams beer, the bartender cites the Declaration of Independence. At the part where he recounts the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, he — get this — neglects to say that these rights have been endowed to people by their creator!
Here’s the commercial:
Some people get very, very upset if you don’t mention the imaginary friend upstairs.
Now, the commercial does not recite the entire Declaration. People seem OK with that. It’s just the omission of three words — by their creator — that makes them now want to avoid Samuel Adams beer forever.
A Facebook friend of mine posts this gem: “I just watched a Sam Adams commercial. The bartender quotes the Declaration of Independence and says all men are created equal and are endowed with certain unalienable rights. He left out ” by their creator”. Are we so politically correct that we are now editing the Declaration of Independence? Sam Adams signed the Declaration and I think he would be disappointed.”
There is plenty more of similar outrage going around, people vowing to shun Samuel Adams beers, lamenting the culture of PC, and invoking the sure disapproval of the Founding Fathers.
Honestly, this seems perfect tempest in a teapot material. The bartender cites the Declaration. Citing differs from quoting, and a gesture to the “creator” would be inappropriate when the main message is to champion the rights themselves and not their putative source. If people want to criticize the commercial, they have a stronger case against using the Declaration to hawk beer.
The PC angle also seems strange. On this account, the makers of the commercial felt that “by their creator” would have offended some people. I have a hard time seeing that fear of offending people would have been a factor. If I were directing or producing the commercial, I surely would have not used “by their creator” because it’s an irrelevant phrase that wastes precious seconds.
To the offended faithful, the lack of five syllables operates as a sign of moral waywardness and imperial decay. These folks love that story of decline: it reinforces the “better in the next life” trope.
As I said, using the Declaration at all smacks of cheap salesmanship. I understand why the brewers chose the strategy, but I don’t find it effective. On the other hand, focusing on three superfluous words seems even more cringe-worthy.