My condolences to Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short

The United Nations brings us…The Three Amigos:

World’s Largest Behaviour Modification Programme Launched at UN

11 January 2005. UNITED NATIONS—The Three Amigos, a series of 20 short, world-class animated Public Service Announcements designed to entrench the use of condoms to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS throughout the world, is now available in 41 languages. Featuring three animated condom characters called Shaft, Stretch and Dick, these Public Service announcements (PSA’s) use comedy to deliver a serious message.

The launch today at the United Nations by Firdaus Kharas, Producer and Director of the series, signifies the start of the world’s largest integrated behaviour modification programme. Consisting of 820 PSA’s, this public awareness programme has a potential reach of approximately 80% of the world’s population. A complete list of the languages currently available is attached.

The Three Amigos is a groundbreaking HIV/AIDS prevention strategy, strongly supported by Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has called the PSA’s “a powerful communicating tool”, has written an open letter to broadcasters around the world which he calls “an impassioned plea” to “use these PSA’s. They cannot be played enough”. The series was created by volunteers.

The Three Amigos is currently playing continuously in South Africa, the Netherlands and Canada. As of today, an international roll-out will offer the PSA’s free to broadcasters, NGO’s and community groups in any country.

I took a look at the spots and didn’t think they were all that funny. It could be that my sense of humor, having not actually watched television for a few months now, might have come to expect actual humor before something is funny. The worst one was “Talk,” which has the three condom characters on a talk show with a female host. I transcribed it for you:

Host: And you never try for sex on the first date?

(The three condoms look surprised)

Condom One: Never! We just…talk. Huhuhuh. (The condom laughs as he tries to pass what he just said off as the truth. Audience boos.)

Condom Two: Ya, about stuff and…everything.

Condom Three: You see…manhood today, it’s like a…spiritual thing. (Audience boos, condoms look confused)

Host: Ya right! Evolved men?! Give me a break! (Audience cheers)

Voice over: Trust your instincts, not your date. Carry a condom. Stop the spread of AIDS.

Things I learned from the UN “Talk” spot:

1. The idea of a trustworthy man is foolish.

2. The idea of a man respecting a woman enough that he does not try to have sex with her on at least the first date is foolish.

3. The idea of a man perceiving anything spiritual about manhood or sexual union is foolish.

4. It’s ok to date men I don’t trust, as long as I carry a condom.

5. It’s ok to have sex with men I don’t trust, as long as I carry a condom.

6. The untrustworthy man that I date and have sex with is willing to intentionally or unintentionally infect me with AIDS, but it’s still ok, as long as I don’t trust him and carry a condom.

There are so many things wrong with these spots. They are tacky, trashy, and endorsing ethnic and gender stereotypes. You can see this spot and more here.

2 Responses to “My condolences to Steve Martin, Chevy Chase and Martin Short”

  1. Freelancer Says:

    I made it as far as, “Featuring three animated condom characters called Shaft, Stretch and Dick, these Public Service announcements (PSA’s) use comedy to deliver a serious message”

    …..(insert long, puzzled pause here)…..Who in their right mind would actually expect anyone to take this seriously?

    Now, after reading the rest of the post, I am wholly convinced that salvation doth lie within the UN.

    Thanks, Elle.

  2. Elle Says:

    Amen, brotha.

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