January 26, 2010
As hot-button issues go, no button gets America hotter than abortion politics. As excessively fawning media hype goes, no feted athlete gets America to roll its eyes with as much impatience as Tim Tebow. Combine breathless Tebow hype and abortion in a 30-second, $3 million package -- as the Christian group Focus on the Family has in an anti-abortion ad starring Tebow and his mother that's been tentatively approved to run during the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 -- and naturally, America begins to lose it a little.
Consider first that a) Nobody outside of Focus on the Family has seen the commercial in question, including key decision-makers at CBS, who have only approved the script, and leading women's groups that began pressuring the network to scrap the ad on Monday. Then consider that b) The betting site Bodog.com actually posted odds on whether CBS would air the ad under its long list of random Super Bowl prop bets. Then consider that c) That's not even the craziest reaction to the ad in the last 12 hours.
No, that title clearly belongs to the woman in the following clip, who I understand is somewhat famous for co-hosting what I am led to believe is a popular network television show, and who responded to the ad this morning by conjecturing that Tebow (and I quote) "he could just as easily become some kind of a rapist pedophile." Take it away, Joy:
Introductions to the wider culture don't get much better than that: Tim Tebow, son of missionaries, determined virgin and earnest sower of his faith, might just as easily have grown up to become, say, John Wayne Gacy. Because, you know, it's 50:50 like that. (Obviously, Joy Behar is a big Freakonomics fan.)
I've been writing about Tebow for more than four years, and the odds of him associating with anything remotely controversial or politically incorrect enough to justify the reactions to the Super Bowl ad are about as good as him becoming the next clown killer. The ad is guaranteed to be generic and inoffensive -- in other words, for those of us more interested in the spectacle and sideshow than the politics, a letdown. But the next two weeks should be fun ones, anyway.