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Multimodality & Lingerie

January 28th, 2009

As I was prepping to teach my senior seminar on The Illustrated Novel, I came across this. And since we’re talking about Gunther Kress’ article on “Literacy and Multimodality,” it seemed a natural fit.

Now, I know, I know, you guys are going to think that I’m Dr. All-PETA-All-The-Time, but I’m not. Really. It’s just that this rejected superbowl ad from PETA is practically awesome.


As I mentioned, in the seminar we’re reading and talking about multimodality — using more than one way of communicating in a single message. This ad, obviously, combines images with sounds (I know I’m supposed to think “generic hard-core sexiness, but I keep hearing the air-guitar riffs from Wayne’s World) and text (in a shaky, all-caps format that really tries to be more sext than text), to promote the vegetarian lifestyle.

Obviously, lingerie-wearing she-vegetarians are far too sexy to be broadcast on America’s favorite spectacle of big, beefy men trying to get good, solid, hard contact with each other in an ecstatic frenzy to get control of each other’s balls.

But come on, PETA. This is really, really, ridiculous. Where are the sexy underwear-ing he-vegetarians? And while the “Sexy Sausage” ad isn’t bad, it’s not the same thing. Especially as the chosen veggie delivery guy is … less than attractive. Even by bad 1970s porn standards. (Wait, how many ways is that last sentence fragment redundant and/or oxymoronic? I lost count.)

And if you check out the PETA site, be warned: the “Milk Gone Wild” ad is… pretty disturbing.

(X-posted to The Illustrated Novel)

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