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Is it that bad?

While the teaser ad for a new Mercedes Benz commercial, aired before millions during the playoffs (and millions more online), was certainly and very dark, the actual commercial, which will air during the Super Bowl, at least ends on a "good" note: the young man tempted with the world but in the end deciding he can buy a Mercedes without the help of Satan.

The teaser -- playing the notorious song, "Sympathy for the Devil" (by the Rolling Stones) -- equated its luxury vehicles with the glamour of evil, promising that "something sinister" was coming.

In fact, the full-length commercial, unlike the teaser, actually has a moral lesson: rejecting that "glamour" (as we do during the Baptism ritual).

And so a sigh -- a bit of a sigh -- of relief. (It's not quite that up front.)

This isn't to excuse major parts of it, nor the playing of the song itself, which was from a group that also played with fire with an album called Their Satanic Majesties Requests.

Bad vibes. The song is profoundly unsettling. Also: a troublesome subliminal message remains.

The majority of Super Bowl ads, it seems, are troublesome (deeply).

And there is also that other major Mercedes Super Bowl ad, this one featuring a model posing in a horribly suggestive way we have never before watched on TV as men ogle her washing the automobile and implying an act of perversion that can be neither ignored nor justified. (A trophy girl and a trophy car.) This is nefarious. 

Does this mean driving a Mercedes is evil? It does not. No doubt, there are loyal Catholics who own one. If one were to eliminate every product with questionable advertising or questionable ingredients or questionable support of causes, the cupboard would be bare.

And in this time when evil (and materialism) are so up front (as exhibited in so many of the commercials), at least the young man in the other ad -- unlike too many others who go for luxury -- doesn't sign his soul to the devil and still gets the car (although he might further benefit if he put the "Jesus fish" on it; hopefully, he already had donated to the poor).

[Caution: decide on viewing Super Bowl ads only after prayer and with highest discretion]

[Print article]

[Feedback from viewer in Connecticut: "I agree completely with your evaluation of Mr. Tebowís  travails. And I would like to add the following:

"For thirty five  years I practiced law, principally as a patent attorney. However, for a  number of years during the 1980ís I worked as general corporate counsel for a publicly traded oil service company. This brought me into contact with  some very wealthy and powerful men and demonstrated to me first hand that most  were arrogant, greedy and dishonest.  My dealings with Halliburton were particularly revealing.

"I also have first hand accounts about a number of very wealthy men that relate astonishing stories of sexual promiscuity.  Iíll only mention that told by my godfather, an extraordinary Catholic man, husband to a paraplegic woman who bore him four daughters, and a very  wealthy and prominent banker. He served for only a year as a member of  the board of directors of a prominent NYC bank whose name anyone over the age  of 50 would readily recognize. He resigned after that year because he  was the only member of the board who did not have a mistress, and could not  endure the company of these men any longer.

"The point is that nearly  all of the NFL teams are owned by very wealthy men. I have no  information that these men are leading immoral lives, but from what Iíve seen and heard, it would surprise me if they did not.  The only wealthy man I  have ever encountered who lived an upright life was my godfather.

"To  such wealthy and worldly men, Mr. Tebow is a reproach. They likely would  enjoy spending a few million just to suppress his career and his  fame."]


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