Emily Irvine GRSJ 300 Culture Jam Assignment 2019

Analysis of Original Ad:

The advertisement I chose for my culture jam assignment is for Madison Square Garden Television Network. The advertising campaign was specifically for Knicks basketball games which the network aired on Friday nights, and this specific advertisement was photographed on a phone booth. The intended audience for this advertisement is men, the assumed audience for sporting events. I chose to analyze this ad because of the use of homophobic language and ideas of toxic masculinity employed to encourage men to watch basketball instead of a Broadway show. The slogan reads “It’s Friday night. You can either see a Broadway harness malfunction or watch real men fly.” This is an insensitive reference to stunt accidents that have occured in certain Broadway shows. The implication that Broadway performers are somehow not “real men” in the way professional basketball players are, is a use of toxic masculinity to shame men with interests in theatre. This further perpetuates the harmful idea that men have to be dominant and aggressive in order to be validated as real men. Furthermore, the reference to Broadway performers “flying” was about a member of the cast of the musical adaptation of Spiderman who had his harness malfunction during a flying stunt and was injured from the fall. There are also homophobic undertones in the language of this message. The idea that men who participate in theatre are somehow devalued in status in comparison to the heteronormative world of sports is problematic. This type of language only serves to encourage homophobia that runs rampant within sporting culture, making it an uncomfortable or even dangerous environment for queer athletes.

Explanation of Jamming Philosophy:

In my jamming of this advertisement, I changed the slogan to “It’s Friday night. You can either see a Broadway musical or watch basketball. Both are great!” I wanted to cover up the insensitive message that original ad portrayed and replace it with a neutral choice between both activities. Basketball players and Broadway performers should not be portrayed as being in competition with one another according to stereotypical gender roles, or linked to the false ideas of “real” and failed masculinity. I added the line “both are great!” to encourage the idea that neither is a superior choice for a man, or anyone of any gender to enjoy. Both activities require skill, practice and talent and are entertaining to many different people. I added a photo of Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator and former star of the extremely popular Broadway musical, Hamilton, next to the image of the Knicks basketball player. I wanted to show a balance of two men who succeed at their chosen career path. I chose Lin Manuel Miranda because I believe he is a representation of healthy masculinity and has shown this on many occasions, including the speech he gave at the 2016 Tony Awards after the deadly shooting in Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where 49 people lost their lives as result of homophobic violence. With my jamming of this ad I wanted to invoke the idea that healthy masculinity can take many forms and should not be linked to different forms of entertainment or policed by advertisements.


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