“We must build one house. We must build one family.” — Congressman John Lewis
COVID vaccination has reached levels where it may be possible during these summer months to see some family reunions around Agincourt. Technically, I’m having one right now; indeed, anywhere I happen to be is a reunion of my family of one. There is the family we get, of course, but then there is the family we make. I’ve recruited a pretty awesome one, but we could still get together in the corner booth at Mango’s. What’s a “cousin”?
Reunion reminded me of a subtle shift in advertising on TV; probably in print media, too, but I don’t see much of that. What now constitutes a “family” is no longer the 1950s model presented in “Pleasantville.” I’m seeing families that look a whole lot different and, in fact, more representative of who we are. Couples that are Black and White with bi-racial children might be expected in 21st century America. But now I’m also seeing a more representative percentage of Asian-Americans. And those couples are often same-sex — actually showing affection for one another and their children. Now this is making America great.
Commercials seem directed at a broader range of age, as well as race. In fact, holiday gatherings are opportunities to extend this idea generationally, too. I’d jump at the chance to lurk in the corner of a Madison Avenue ad agency as they strategize the casting call for a shoot. The Supreme Court (certainly not the current court) allowing me to marry my husband was a landmark day in modern culture but it wasn’t real until it was used to sell me insurance or corn flakes. Or make-up (not that I’m using eye shadow these days) but cosmetics constitute a huge and lucrative market, with a broader range of skin color and hair type. Products go where the money is and advertising dollars follow suit.
I’ve tried, in my halting, myopic, aging-White-guy way to broaden Agincourt’s base, who lives there, where they come from, how they relate. But I’ve got a long way to go. And not much time to do it. But is there a tent big enough; if not, we must build it.
[Appropriately, this is entry #1500]