Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Comment of the Week: AJ on the Google Spot

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | May 08, 2011 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Site News
Tags: Blood money, Dan Savage, Google, Google Chrome, IGB, It Gets Better, It Gets Better Project

On Bil's post Blood Money: Google's Dan Savage Commercial, in which he criticizes this "It Gets Better" Google TV ad spot, aired on Glee, saying "it was actually an ad for a Google product and Dan Savage. They, literally, are trying to make dollars off of our children."

In response, many Projectors defended Savage and Google. I myself posted a comment saying that I liked the ad. Projector AJ had mixed feelings, but made what I thought was a telling point:

Now, this thing about Savage and Google exploiting suicidal gay teens: Marlo Thomas has taken over her Dad's work (Danny Thomas) raising money for St. Jude's Hospital network and research clinics. Would you accuse the Thomas's of furthering their reputations on the backs of children with cancer?

AJ's full comment is after the jump, and a surprising comment on this Google ad from the It Gets Better Project. On the other hand, as Bil said, "[Savage] makes his income by selling Dan Savage Inc. When Google closes the commercial with a tagline about Dan Savage instead of the IGB Project, you can easily see what's more important -- and it's not our children."

What say you, Projectors? Is this Google ad thumbs up or thumbs down?

The It Gets Better Project blog discusses the Google ad, saying "We're proud to share with you a VIDEO AD GOOGLE CHROME DEVELOPED for the It Gets Better Project..." It urges readers to check it out and "spread the word." Doesn't sound like the IGB Project has a problem with the Google ad.

AJ's full comment:

One reason why a modern individual human can build a global reputation, and then a global empire, is through unabashed self-promotion. Martha Stewart did it. Jon Stewart did it. Steve Jobs did it. Bill Gates did it. Madonna did it. P.Diddy did it. Even in a more passive way, Mother Teresa did it. And now Dan Savage is working on doing it. I despise self-promotion, especially when I set out to promote myself -- but others don't have that aversion, and that's one reason they get rich and I don't. It's the world we live in.

Now, this thing about Savage and Google exploiting suicidal gay teens: Marlo Thomas has taken over her Dad's work (Danny Thomas) raising money for St. Jude's Hospital network and research clinics. Would you accuse the Thomas's of furthering their reputations on the backs of children with cancer?

When an environmentalist writes a book about earth sustainability, do you criticize him because he keeps some or all of the profits? Would you accuse him of making a living on the backs of melting glaciers and polar bear cubs who have lost their mama's?
That's my brain talking ... it tells me that promotion and self-promotion is what the advertising world is all about. But when I watch this piece of crap, I react emotionally the same as you -- I want to puke.

I also want to puke every time I have to wait 20 minutes in a check-out line at Wal-Mart -- they are stealing 20 minutes out of my day just because they don't want to pay a few more needy workers minimum wage so that Wal-Mart can get my money that much faster. I feel like an idiot waiting there.

By the way, Bilerico management, when Bilerico runs one of those posts with lots of beefcake in them just to boost your hit-rate for the week, what's the difference? How much do you pay to the guys in those beefcake photos?

In defense of Bilerico, I think those beefcake guys like it as much as we do when they get lots of hits.

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I am asking this question???

How many teen/youths anyone has individually had in their home daily/weekly/monthly to have a freaking say?

Please... I am CHOMPING at the bit here in hearing what the LGBITQRXY and Z "community" are actually involved/doing, instead of posting/prostrating about NOTHING.

Because it's nothing.
Words on a blog/web page.


Until you have had a homeless young/teen in your home and wash their clothes, feed them, let them cry on your shoulder...

Keep on typing.
You are doing your part.

These kids are scared and alone.
They are so f**king scared.

When you experience that... then... then you have a freaking say in the matter.

Until then... a message of hope, no matter sexuality... is positive.

Then the words on a blog/web/commercial matter.

Trust me.
Even straight kids are "getting it".

These straight kids are going to grow up, survive and when they do... remember a few dykes/fags/straight politician/celebrities that took the time to make a video and tell them... IT GETS BETTER. When all the "good" straight people in their lives didn't.

Homeless/abandoned teens are not just about sexuality/gender/ID. What these kids are growing up w/in this time is BEYOND anything we ever dealt with.

Stop the freaking nonsense.
It would be GREAT to see "adults" gay or straight acting the freaking "part".

Except Google and St. Judes are very, very different in their goals and operations. Google is and always has been a for profit venture, its goal is to make money, first and foremost, whereas St. Judes is a children's hospital that gives out free to low cost treatment-its main goal is not to make money-its main goal is to treat and research childhood illness. Using the suffering of others for the purpose of gaining money and or fame for yourself is an asshole move-honestly trying to help others and gaining a positive reputation as a side effect is not. The question that comes to mind is "would you still care about/advocate for this issue if it would make you unpopular?" I am pretty damned sure that the answer for Google here is "hells no", but for St. Judes is "of course".

While St. Jude's is non-profit, they still bring in revenue that goes to pay for their salaries. While excess money is put back into the business or invested, rather than distributed to shareholders, it still allows them to grow, buy more stuff or have nicer offices, . I think the analogy is still valid.

OK a company/corporation sponsoring a PSA and saying ‘Company X is proud to sponsor this message’ to me is a non-issue. It’s not free to run any ad, let alone an ad on a top 10 show let alone nationwide. That ‘shameless plug’ cost MILLIONS.

Someone has to pay that bill with real money. A few seconds of a trademark flying across the screen during a commercial break of Glee…please. To me, yeah they targeted a show that is known to have a teenage gay character and has developed that character …the show has a community page where the kids openly discuss what’s going on in their lives right now.

Believe it or not, I do not like the empty promise that ‘It gets better’ lays out. It makes it seem that there’s this magic point where everything gets better for you. I know firsthand that to get thru those difficult years is a lot of hurt. Having someone to talk to, or someone to mentor you through those years helps. And the community pages for Glee…well, it looks like the kids are reaching out to each other, supporting each other, building a community.

Erm… so… I’m ok with Google, they’re an inclusive employer, running an ad.

Google is an incredibly inclusive employer -- and it's worth pointing out that unlike many "inclusive" employers, they are fully inclusive of out trans people and not just of "normal acting" cis gays.

I think you are right, Dieks. I volunteer with the Ali Forney Center for homeless LGBTQ youth on a weekly basis. The young people I work with are very capable and engaging, and it is devastating to see young people who have nowhere else to turn simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Personally, I think the Google Chrome ad is wonderful, and every little bit counts. I don't have a problem with the fact that Google Chrome is a money-making operation. In fact, I'm glad that Mammon understands the need for Spirit.

To be perfectly accurate, while Google is a profit-making entity, they give their browser, Google Chrome, away for free.

That's a good point, Dr. Randy. But don't they make money on ads they sell on Google Chrome?

The "hyperbole" regarding the Google/Savage add... from folks who are not actually physically involved at ALL w/youth needs to be addressed.

This is ridiculous.

Teen/Youth are totally ABOUT Google/Ipods/Amazon/Firefox/Youtube/FB... this is how they communicate/learn/read/express themselves.

Smack out of it!

Savage isn't the enemy.... if some folks googled, they would know that.

I don't think they were saying Savage is the enemy, Dieks, just that the commercial motive is questionable. Of course, "Blood Money" is a little over the top, just a teensy, weensy bit. And maybe there's a little professional jealously of Savage? Hmnh?

DennisNYC | May 9, 2011 1:27 AM

LOL! As the diplomatic doctor tippy-toes her way out the door...

"... a teensy, weensy bit"????

So when some teen/kid/youth/dyke/fag/tg/ts kid is being bullied, shamed, ran out out their home... it's just a "teensy, weensy bit"?

Adults in this "community" can't seem to get their sh*t together on any of this.

It's disgusting.
And I refuse to be a teensy, weensy bit polite about it anymore.

I'm dealing w/real kids/youths/teens... A google add w/Savage gives them some freaking hope, then until someone else in allllll those freaking LBGITQRXY and Z letters come up w/something better...

Step the F*ck off my petticoat.

I got something better, Dieks, Google could have taken the money they paid for the adspace and given it to queer youth or orgs that help them-like Ali Forney. Think of how many kids could be housed, fed, etc. on the money Google used to buy the adspace to sell itself on. This is not even an ordinary case of "talk is cheap", because Google's talk is damn expensive and that money certainly could be put to better use-if they actually gave a shit and were not just trying to manipulate people into buying their products.

"Dieks, Google could have taken the money they paid for the adspace and given it to queer youth..."

Cat you are obviously not into the bible, because Judas said this same thing!!

And I assure you the publicity was A LOT cheaper then 30pieces... and Christ still got a couple of millenniums out of it all.

I am an atheist, and put little stock in a book that thinks that bats are birds and forcing a victim to marry their rapist is an appropriate method of punishment in regards to rape. I seem to recall that same book including jewels of wisdom like this: "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them" (Leviticus 20:13).

Cat... you obviously mistook me for someone who gives shit about the bible.

But a good "Judas" story is still a good Judas story.

Aesops fables mean more to me... and you seem be holding a few "sour grapes" in your struggling fox jaw.

I believe this ad is also going to run during the NBA finals.

That really excites me. It means that my dad might see it. If only it had run 10 years ago it might have made coming out a little easier in rural NC.

Even today- I'm hoping he will see it. It will make him think- and maybe open up the door a little bit more for a better relationship.

Good point, capitalist piggy. A lot of people wouldn't look up except for the fact that it's Google saying it. A Google's worth a goggle.

Eric Payne | May 9, 2011 11:41 AM

A little over 35 years ago, one mid-winter's day after school, I was hidden in the hayloft of our barn, the 30-aught-six rifle that had been my parents' "big" Christmas present to me loaded and by my side. My intention was to blow my brains out before the start of the next school day.

That day, after school at rehersal for a junior class play, I had propositioned another boy in the cast. He not only turned me down, he did so treating the whole thing as a joke... until he realized I had been serious. Then the threats began, threats of not only violence against me, but of being outed to the entire school (a high school situated smack-dab in the middle of Pennsylvania Amish country, and extremely conservative).

I had no choice. Death was the only option.

I sat down in the hay and removed a shoe and sock. I put the end of the barrel right against the flesh of my chest, directly in line with my heart. I couldn't stop crying; I'd manage to stfle my tears for a few seconds, but then succumb to body-twisting sobs, re-opening the floodgates of my eyes.

I just couldn't do it. Not because I had any great revelation about God, or that in just a few year's time I'd be graduating and getting away from that place. Nope. I couldn't do it because I was too much of a wuss... Just too chicken shit to curl and flex my big toe.

Had the internet been around in 1975, the Trevor Project and the IGB videos could have meant a lot. My action that day, at scool, set in motion two hellish years - including "shock the queer right out of here 'therapy'" at Lebanon, PA's Philhaven Mental Health Clinic. I was the laughing stock of the school, and the second person the "regular" guys went to when they needed to beat something up - the first was a very overweight classmate who had begun wearing some of his sister's shirts and so was "obviously" a queer, because he wore womens' clothing... Of course, it never dawned on those clodhoppers that, perhaps, the guy's family was poor and that they just saw shirts as shirts, and perfectly hand-me-downable.

Ultimately what Google, San Savage and the "It Gets Better" videos do is not just provide a sliver of hope to an emotionally depressed gay teen, but to show the counselors, faculty and fellow students of that gay teen that even kids with a seeming diifference are just as much "regular" kids as everyone else.

If Google wants to spend millions of dollars getting that message out there - especially at a time when some "Christian" leaders are saying, very publicly, christian children have the God-given RIGHT to bully gay kids - good for them.

The question of either Google or Dan Savage benefitting from this ad should not even have been raised.

Every February, in recognition of Breast Cancer Month, many, many companies begin nebulously advertising that a portion of their sales will be donated to "finding a cure" for breast cancer.

For at least 40 years, every September, Jerry Lewis is given 20 hours of television air time for his MD telethon, which raises tens of millions of dollars.

Google buys some ad space on high ranking, demographically appealing shows. In a 30-second spot, twenty-nine seconds are devoted to one message: "It gets better, don't kill yourself over this pettiness."

Good for them.

But why was this even brought up again, anyway? Substantively, this posting was no different from Bil's original "blood money" posting a few days ago. Did you think more of the comments/replies would be mor favorable to Bil's view, if someone else asked the same question?

This what all these kids want to hear...
Please.... don't do it.

I give a shite.
I care.
You don't know me...
but I care if you are alive.

We will never meet.
I'm just an old dyke.

But the world is going "matter" because you got through it.

We need you.

Go over 30 yrs. in the past or 30 yrs. in the future.

Kids need to know... we give a shite.

Eric, thank you for your personal revelations. As the parent of a young man whom I love more than life itself, who happens to have the same name as yours, I choked up pretty hard while reading this. I give thanks that you didn't go through with it, and I'm sorry it was so hard.

Eric Payne | May 9, 2011 9:31 PM

Thank you, Jillian.

And I'm going to assume you're the parent of someone named "Eric," not "Eric Payne," as that would just be weird...


Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | May 9, 2011 10:42 AM

"If only it had run 10 years ago it might have made coming out a little easier in rural NC."

I resonate with that; when the spot aired, my first reaction was to marvel as how far thing have come concerning exposure of these types of issues in the national mainstream media. Not that there isn't quite a way to go. At the end when I realized it was part of a Google promo and not purely a Public Service Announcement, it knocked the halo off-center a bit, but overall quite negligibly. That's probably because, as an earlier commentor observes, Google's record on inclusinveness is very good.

There is such a thing as making the perfect the enemy of the good. There are people who are predisposed to hate Barak Obama and find no good in what he does no matter how strong any particular good might be. The above comment thread makes me think we have our share of that kind of thinking on this side of the cultural divide also.

Eric Payne | May 9, 2011 3:15 PM

This comment has been deleted for violation of the Terms of Service.

The editorial team in our sole discretion will delete a comment that is abusive, off-topic, LGBT-phobic, or is soliciting and/or advertising.

Just out of curiosity - how is it wrong for a company to want to make money off its product?

Yes, Google highlighted itself. So what? It also highlighted a project that has the potential to save lives, and the man who created that project (no matter what you think of him - he did create it), on a forum where lots and lots of folks would see it, at no little expense to the company itself.

When did it become evil to try to make money?

Eric Payne | May 9, 2011 9:37 PM

When a bunch of b*tchy, judgmental queens got a few cocktails into them at a group viewing of Glee.

Well I was just watching Gossip Girl (a guilty pleasure) and the google ad just played.

Looks like they are doing a considerable ad buy here.