Fishermen as happy sadists: A new meme?

February 28th, 2009 5:04 pm by Kelly Garbato

Last month, I blogged about a series of ads for Hobie Kayaks, aimed at fishermen (“people,” I should say, except all the ads seem to depict men). The gist of the marketing concept is that the kayaks are so quiet that fishermen can stalk and overtake their prey with serial killer-like coldness and precision. Fittingly, shadowy fishermen in fedoras and trench coats are shown choking, knifing and shooting three very terrified fish. Fishermen as stone-cold killers, indeed.

As shocking as I initially found the ads, now I’m starting to wonder whether this is the beginning of a meme.

Take, for example, this ad series from Bass Pro Shops. The general concept actually isn’t all that objectionable; the three print ads are touting Bass Pro Shop’s camp sale with the slogan “Get the family ready. Bass Pro Shops camp sale.” (C’mon, who doesn’t love camping!?)

In the first ad, someone (Dad, presumably) has put some greenery around the toilet, in order to get the family ready to do their biz in the bushes:

Bass Pro Shops Camp Sale - Toilet

The next ad, which is also rather inoffensive, shows Mom and Dad bathing in a public fountain; I assume the fountain is a stand-in for a stream, river or a public showering facility:

Bass Pro Shops Camp Sale - Fountain

All fine and good so far, right? Well, this is Bass Pro Shops – a store which bills itself thusly: “Bass Pro Shops today isn’t just fishing. It is an outdoor retail leader in hunting, camping, nature gifts, outdoor cooking, and much more.” – so no ad campaign would be complete without a little gratuitous violence.

Which brings us to the last ad, in which Dad has murdered the family “pet” – a goldfish – much to Johnny, Jr.’s dismay:

Bass Pro Shops Camp Sale - Kid

Wow. Just, wow. Using animal abuse (i.e., suffocating and then carving up the family goldfish) and child abuse (i.e., psychologically abusing your son by murdering his “pet” right in front of him) to sell camping gear? That’s got to be a new low. I mean, it boggles. Since when does killing the family “pet” qualify as “humor”?

Especially when you stop to consider the connections between animal abuse and interpersonal violence: specifically, in cases of domestic and child abuse, it’s not uncommon for men to threaten, abuse or kill the family “pets” as a means of psychologically abusing their partners and children.

Sick, sick, sick.

On the bright side, at least they’re finally speaking the truth: fishermen delight in violence.

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2 Responses to “Fishermen as happy sadists: A new meme?”

  1. Gary Says:

    I guess I see your point about possibly a bad choice on the goldfish thing, assuming the fish was actually the companion animal of the child. I am a bit unclear, however, regarding the evidence you have for your statement that “Especially when you stop to consider the connections between animal abuse and interpersonal violence: specifically, in cases of domestic and child abuse, it’s not uncommon for men to threaten, abuse or kill the family “pets” as a means of psychologically abusing their partners and children.” I know of no empirical study that arrives at the conclusion that men commonly abuse companion animals as a means to abuse their partners and children in domestic violence. There are a few case studies that have been blown into sound bites by the eco-feminist left, but that is a far cry from an empirical study documenting your conclusion.

    Perhaps there is such a study. And to the extent that women also engage in that behavior, it is incumbent upon you to have mentioned that. Let’s not forget that women commit a great deal of domestic and other violence–against both sexes. I am very concerned about violence and hope for its reduction–regardless of the sexes of the victims and offenders and regardless of the technology employed.

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