Here's another ad for the Wisconsin Tourist Board from the reuniting of the ZAZ guys, this one again directed by David Zucker. And it too has a connection with their classic comedy, Airplane!, in that it stars that film's star, Robert Hays. He's having a very bad day at the fishing dock -- but then, since this is Wisconsin, it all turns out well, sort of.
As I've mentioned, I often like to skim some of the comments that videos get, at least until I feel my head might be about to explode. My favorite comment to this ad came from someone who wrote -- "Way to go Wisconsin. Get people here to kill animals. You should have been cruelty free in your ads."
While I know that this ad can be considered killing animals in the broad use of the term, that usually is considered hunting, with rifles and mammals involved. This is...well, fishing. And fisherman even have the tradition of throwing their catches back. (Hey, for all we know, Robert Hays does at the end here, too.) But the thing is, too -- I have a cousin who is a devout vegetarian and major animal lover, who has a big menagerie at home, went to New Orleans after Katrina to help with animal rescue, and boycotts Amazon because they sell a particular book that many animal lovers consider cruel to animals and have gotten other online booksellers to drop (and her daughter is a vegan), and even she eats fish! In fact, we got together for dinner this past weekend, and she had grilled salmon. Besides which, fishing is considered one of the major tourist attractions in the state. So, indeed, yes, Wisconsin would love people to come to the state to fish.
But there's a certain whimsy, too, of the person complaining about cruelty to fish, while being okay with (Plot Spoiler...) the main character in the ad getting knocked in the head, thrown into the water, dragged by a motor boat and almost drowned, and generally being brutalized. And the fish is even smacking him around at the end. No, that's not the same at all as getting killed. But if one is truly concerned with "cruelty" to animals, there's a big gap here in that perspective.
In the end, this is about fishing. And if someone has a problem with that in Wisconsin, they've got a whole lot of opportunities to complain....
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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