No, We’re Not Just Saying That

Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company - 1952

Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company – 1952
Scan credit: Fred’s AdverCity on Tumblr

It would be very easy for me to add a joke caption to this ad such as…

Don’t worry, dear, let’s just get drunk and then do it on the table.

Well, I’m not going to do that this time. Oh…I just did. Well…anyway…

Actually, I do want to be serious about this advertisement. Several times a year, some "news" or "infotainment" website will post an article about the most offensive ads of the 20th century. Quite often, this one is included.

Sure, I know why it gets picked. Certain people look at it and immediately assign the worst thoughts about 1950s marriage to it — a stereotypical, hapless Lucy-style housewife and the "perfect" husband that tolerates her.

The problem is, any stereotype leads down the wrong path. If one looks at this ad through a clearer lens, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. My wonderful Miss KoKo still gets weepy if she burns supper even though she’s past the the age of being a "young bride" as she loves me and wants me to be pleased with her cooking (and, just FYI, I am very pleased 99.9% of the time and the 0.1% is usually an experiment I willingly approved that just didn’t work out).

Then, look at the husband. While there are other ads of this era where he would be denigrating the wife or be seen running off to the local diner, here he is not only comforting her but not even worrying about supper. And, we all know comes next with a beer. No, not doing it on the table, but allowing it to help you relax and have a laugh over your foibles…exactly the right thing somebody should do for his or her upset partner.

There is nothing bad in this Schlitz ad — just one of the moments in the life of a couple of any type. I actually hold this up as an example of good behavior as I can only hope I am as understanding of Miss KoKo the next time she burns my bacon.

So…the next time you see this ad being included in a "bad" list, consider not falling for that site’s clickbait ever again. There’s plenty other truly misogynistic and racist ads to list in such an article and, yes, this website is full of them. While nobody should ever whitewash the past, let’s also remember that not everybody in the 50s was an asshole.

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