Somewhere between the coin toss and the Broncos getting destroyed during Sunday's Super Bowl, a race-charged controversy broke out on Twitter over Coca-Cola's minute-long "It's Beautiful" ad.
As you'll see, the ad above starts conventionally enough, with a voice singing "America the Beautiful" a cappella as a cowboy on horseback meanders through a beautiful Southwestern landscape.
With the second verse, a singer starts singing in Spanish, and then the song shifts among six other languages before returning to English for the closer. From cowboy country, Coke takes us through a diverse set of scenes, from sea to shining sea of this gorgeous country: surfers riding waves, break-dancers bouncing around on cardboard, a family's jubilant road trip to the Grand Canyon.
The ad goes to lengths to make bids for the sort of love that is hard-won—and worth fighting for. In the closing scene, two joyful gay men roller-skate with a young girl, and presumably the gay parents are doing a great job raising their daughter given the warmth of their embraces. In a scene that conjures the Arab-Israeli struggle for peace, two men in their respective religious skull caps—a yarmulke and a kufi—stand side by side, gazing out a window at a skyscraper in the distance. Theirs is a sweeter, quieter joy.
Though countless folks on Twitter voiced support of the ad's diverse message under the #AmericaIsBeautiful hashtag, the approach was unusual enough to elicit some fairly bigoted outrage—and because it's Twitter, that provoked even more counter-outrage that was anti-bigotry.
While some gingerly addressed the subject by being honest about their discomfort...
...an alarming number expressed anger that the song was sung in a language other than English. This, despite the fact all those voices and languages were singing their love for America.
You're gonna sing america the beautiful in a different language? #fuckCoke— amber (@amber_finney04) February 3, 2014
Then there's this tweet from a young man whose profile picture shows him wearing a Confederate flag as a cape and swigging from a bottle of liquor.
Fuck that commercial. I'm switching to Pepsi. #fuckcoke— Drunk SEC Guy (@Southrn_frat) February 3, 2014
Or this man who is growing increasingly choosy, favoring brands that don't highlight America's diversity. (Wonder what he'll do at Chick-fil-A, where Coke products are served.)
Some didn't even consider that the song might have been sung by bilingual Americans in the U.S.
What the fuck is this? Americas song sung in different countries. #fuckCoke— Nicholas (@NickGwinn) February 3, 2014
Luckily, in the hours that followed, it seemed that the pro-#AmericaIsBeautiful crowd outnumbered those against. And it's worth remembering that no one needs a license to get on Twitter.
Though some viewers did find one thing all the Twitter outrage over the ad was good for.