What You Will

Another Burma Shave billboard on the information superhighway. Random thoughts about arts, faith, culture, music, language, literature, and the shortcomings of the Hegelian dialectic. (OK, just kidding about that last bit.)

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Location: Edmonds, Washington, United States

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To Infiniti ... and beyond!

Because I'm a glutton for punishment, I follow Seattle professional sports now and then. At least, I follow the ones we have left. The Mariners are winding down the last few games of a wretched season in which they've explored nearly every possible way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. But I'm still listening to their games as broadcast on KOMO, and will listen till the bitter end, which cannot come too soon.

Several car dealerships sponsor Mariners broadcasts, including Infiniti of Kirkland, which uses Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck as a spokesman. And in an ad that I heard for the first time tonight, Matt brags about driving his Infiniti around while reading text messages from all his friends who drive Porsches.

Did I hear that right? Matt Hasselbeck is selling Infinitis by claiming that he reads text messages while driving? Shall we count the things that are wrong with this picture?

1. It's illegal. As reported widely in Seattle news media—including KOMO, the same news organization that broadcast the ad—a statewide ban on text messaging while driving went into effect on January 1 of this year. The Seahawks under Mike Holmgren are tough on players who break the law—they shipped off both Koren Robinson and Jerramy Stevens after their DUI arrests—so I can't imagine they'd be too pleased if they heard that their quarterback was getting paid by a car dealership to boast about illegal activity. I realize, of course, that Matt's words in the ad are probably the creation of an agency copywriter, and it's quite possible that Matt himself has never texted while driving at all. In that case, of course, the ad agency should see if it can find another job for that copywriter. In the mail room.

2. It's dangerous. Perhaps I'm more than usually sensitive about this at the moment, because I used to live in L.A. and commute to work on Metrolink. Enough said.

3. It's stupid. Is this really the image the Seahawks want their quarterback to project? Hey, Matt, if you text while driving, when else might you be texting? At practice? During timeouts? Team meetings? On the field while you're getting sacked? Does this have anything to do with starting the season 0-2?

Infiniti of Kirkland has several other radio spots with Matt as pitchman. They sure as heck don't need to run that one again, and if you want my opinion, it should be pulled immediately.