I, CJ Baker, am a hairy guy.
My arms are hairy.
My legs are hairy.
But truthfully, I'm ok with that; I'd much rather take flak for being a "hairy beast" or something than have to suffer an accusation of having "girly-looking legs." *That* would be too much to handle.
However, this past week, a line was crossed.
Allow me to first give you some background information.
I'm not sure if you're familiar with GEICO's latest advertising campaigns. One of their more recent advertising schemes has focused on "caveman discrimination." The premise of the ads is that GEICO's claim that their website is so easy to use, "even a caveman could do it," has offened various present-day cavemen. You can watch one of the ads here.
Now, the other day, I received in the mail a letter from a purported organization named "Up With Cavemen", supposedly created to bring attention to GEICO's offensive and blatant discrimination toward early man.
Unfortunately, I quickly realized that the only one who was to be insulted was myself.
Just look at this letter (click for full-size view):
Needless to say, I wasn't too happy with the group's ludicrous and detestable assertion that I'm a caveman; an assertion apparently based solely on my hairiness.
Surely you see it.
Lines like, "Just look at the types of things Geico is saying about us..." or "GEICO has been using language...that perpetuates a negaive stereotype...that we have inferior intelligence," make it clear that the writer of this letter clearly wants to label me as a fellow caveman.
Even the opening line betrays their attempts to brand me as some primitive man: "As you know, Cavemen are smart, thoughtful, intelligent, cognitive, ambitious, social beings." The implication here is obvious - how in the world would I know that cavemen possessed any of those attributes unless the organization believed I knew one on a deeply personal level?!
You might point to the last line and try to argue that I've got it all wrong: "Remember: we may not look like you, but we are just like you." However, it's clear to me that the meaning here is not, "You don't actually look like a caveman," but rather, "You may be a slightly better looking dude than most of us, but you're still pretty much just about as ugly we are."
Unconvinced that their letter was malicious in intent? Consider that 1) the letter was addressed specifically to Mr. Baker, not Mr. "Barker", and 2) to my knowledge, none of my less hairy friends received this letter. I find it hard to believe that it's just one big coincidence.
Some might blow off the letter as simply "a joke" or "harmless humor", but I believe an examination of the facts proves otherwise. At first glance I even was almost persuaded to believe that the whole thing was some prank. After all, the return address claims the letter originated from "Chevy Chase, MD."
However, further research will tell you this letter came not from Chevy Chase posing as a doctor, but rather an actual town in Maryland. When you couple this knowledge with the sign-off, "Seriously," you have a picture of a letter designed not to entertain, but to spitefully identify me as a caveman.
The question for me became, why would an organization that professes to seek an end toward offensive behavior risk offending others by labeling them as cavemen? I don't think it adds up; I suspect the whole thing is some mischevious GEICO ploy. And why would GEICO orchestrate such a scheme?
Some might make the argument that things have simply gone downhill since the abandonment of the light-hearted "I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance!" commercials. Others might argue that GEICO is simply made up of a lousy bunch of jerks. I however, am of the opinion that the GEICO gecko is simply trying to deal with feelings of jealously; I couldn't help but notice he doesn't have any manly leg hair.