Bushmaster Rifles Has Been Running The Most Evil Ads I’ve Ever Seen

How do you defend your fragile masculinity? With a gun! Prepare to throw up in your mouth.

The primary weapon used in the Newtown massacre was a .223 rifle manufactured by Bushmaster, and that is the last time I will mention the massacre for the next five paragraphs. Because if that had never happened, if NO mass shooting had ever happened, Bushmaster’s “Man Card” [site down at present, see screencaps and related images throughout this post] advertising and promotion series would still be indefensibly awful, grossly irresponsible, and plainly harmful.

I do not like asinine gender enforcement in advertising. I do not like it in my beer, I do not like it far or near. I do not like it on my soap: do I like it? Fucking nope. There is no time when any talk of a “man card”, or any implication that one’s entire gender hangs on a purchase, does NOT piss me off. But nowhere, EVER, have I seen it done so nasty, so viciously, dangerously stupid, as it is here.

Let me be clear: I’m a gun owner. I pack heat, I’ve got a roscoe, however you want to put it. And one of the criticisms gun owners face is that guns are just macho assholes buying lethal penis metaphors to cover up for their desperate insecurity. Responsible gun owners raise the counterargument that that’s not so, we are aware that these things are not toys or fashion accessories, they are deadly weapons and should be treated as such.

Well, except the indefensible assholes at Bushmaster, clearly. They’re explicitly selling rifles as toys, as fashion accessories, as a way to reassert your threatened masculinity. You think I’m kidding? The site they have up provides a list of ways to threaten your friends’ masculinity, and lets you inform them that they can have their masculinity back if they’ll consider purchasing some of Bushmaster’s line of firearms. If I were making up a parody commercial to INSULT American gun culture, I would consider that model way too on-the-nose to actually use, but Bushmaster just rolled with it.

This is not remotely okay. You sell weapons as weapons, because that’s what they damned well are. You do not sell them as some sort of cutesy little social one-upmanship dick-measuring thing, because that is not a good reason to buy a gun. Not saying there aren’t guys who buy guns for exactly that reason, just that they shouldn’t, nor should they be encouraged to.

Note, by the way, how fragile they’re assuming their customers’ masculinity is. When revoking your friends’ cards, you can’t make up your own reasons, no, you must choose from their preselected list, including such heinously genderbending offenses as doing pilates, being on a “short leash”, and feeling threatened by… fifth graders.

Your five paragraphs are up. A few days ago, kids that age got murdered for real, by yet another spree killer, another guy in the “danger age” between 15-35, another alienated, unhappy, fucked-up guy whose interior life was so far out of whack that the idea of shooting a bunch of children to death started to make sense to him.

We have enough of these cases now that we’re starting to see some patterns. Most of these guys felt alienated, felt humiliated, felt stripped of their power and their agency, and were also so damaged that the only way out they could imagine was cathartic, even redemptive violence, murder on an appalling scale. It’s still a bit early to say if Adam Lanza followed that pattern exactly, but it looks pretty likely that he did.

Imagine it. He felt powerless, impotent, unmanly, so what did he do? Why, he picked up a Bushmaster rifle to fix that feeling.

Just like the ad said he should.

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About Noah Brand

Noah Brand is an Editor-at-Large at Good Men Project, and possibly also a cartoon character from the 1930s. His life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. He is usually found in Portland, Oregon, directly underneath a very nice hat.

Comments

  1. It’s bullshit like this that makes me glad GMP exists. Feminists have (rightly) spent a great deal of time critiquing the messages that advertisements send about women. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the toxic gender stereotypes that are sold to men. That has to stop.

    One of the most insidious aspects of the sexism that men face is that it primarily comes from other men. Feminists have been helped, in a way, by the fact that most of the oppression they faced was external. By contrast, men are hedged in by a set of taboos and insecurities that are of our own making.

    To my mind, the worst part about this ad campaign is the way it invites men to belittle and intimidate each other, to accuse each other of not being real men. It’s so weird that we treat manhood as something that has to be earned, that can be lost or revoked. We certainly don’t talk about womanhood that way. Women might be accused of not looking or acting feminine enough, but it would be unusual to tell a woman that she wasn’t a real woman. We take that kind of talk for granted when it comes to men, though.

    • Morgan, I can find zero evidence that these ad panels or pages ever existed. None…..ever.

      • It use to be found at http://www.bushmaster.com/mancard as of a few hours ago. Maybe they decided to take it down.

      • Oh They Did – and they can be viewed via the wayback machine That’s h ttp://archive.org/ and copy in the URL for h ttp://bushmaster.com/mancard/

        The last snapshot was from June 2011 – but curiously nothing since – the wayback machine does normally re index at least once per year and the last entry is over a year. – June 2011.

        Google cacher indicates that there was a page present 17 Dec 2012 22:36:40 GMT. ..ot at least there was a page with flash content … and that would agree with what’s in the wayback machine.

      • … and it’s all a shocking poor quality regurgitation of so much else on the net h ttp://www.buzzfeed.com/scott/bushmasters-shockingly-awful-man-card-campaign the list is endless! It’s been doing the rounds for a couple of days

        • todd mauldin says:

          … which brings to mind the question, Rob: you thinking Noah made it all up?

          • Todd you don’t have to make things up to exploit them for self image. Just lying alongside, and even sneaking into bed late in the day can be effective. Band Waggons are like that – others walk more interesting and less crowded roads.

            • Mediahound, your focus here could not be more narrow and weirdly dismissive. You call the outrage I am currently feeling against these ads a “bandwagon” and you seem hellbent on implying Noah is late to the party due to the fact that these ads have been around a while. As if we are forbidden to take another look in light of recent events. Or take another look any time we damn well please, regardless of recent events. Either way, you are not the gatekeeper for who gets to speak and when.

              If your road is so much more interesting, please, be my guest to go walk it.

            • Mark – I’m not taking the Narrow View – I’m using Wide Angle Lenses! It does allow behaviour and views to be kept in perspective and not made into Micro Media gems to be profited from!

            • Noah wrote this article from a place of genuine disgust and outrage. To imply otherwise is very narrow minded.

            • I refer you to the wide angle lenses I spoke of some time ago.

            • Media Hound,
              Your dripping condescension always makes me want to start tossing around the furniture but I’ll resist the urge. LOL.

            • Oh I see your language got changed? Maybe it’s for the best and promotes intellectual honesty around the subject over other uses of language. Do keep up.

            • Hank Vandenburgh says:

              I think the ads are stupid too. But I’m not going to get excited about them. The strong, projective-like reactions to one side or another of feminist-like issues are not reactions to the problem. They are the problem. I think one thing that’s going on is men resisting redefinition of masculinity as something bad. Intuitively, the idiotic ad-writers tried to tap that. Besides, AR – 15 type weapon are dumb. For a nice rifle, get an M-14.

    • The system makes us all complicit to a certain extent though. I found this article fascinating, but there is a whole gender missing in it. Not that what I’m saying is about blame, certainly not. But about how do we break out of a system where dominance and then humiliation for “failing” that dominance cracks people.

      • This one as well. From Ms. Magazine. How do we see ourselves as women in this is part of the total issue. It’s all of us.

      • Yes Julie – so many things going missing in the frenzy – genders – facts – reality! Shocking the stuff that gets lost in the rush!

      • I think that Salon article does a pretty good job of framing the issue. In many ways, I think that male insecurity is the flip-side of male privilege. The article points to men’s loss of dominance in society as a cause of male insecurity, but I think it runs even deeper than that. Men were insecure about their place in the world even before the advent of feminism.

        It’s a little like a twisted version of Spider-Man’s maxim, “With great power comes great responsibility.” With male privilege, it’s more like, “With unfair power come unfair expectations.” Men have long been granted a greater degree of respect and freedom than women, and the way that we justified that to ourselves was by positing manhood as something greater than mere humanity. Real, true men are expected to be strong, brave, and taciturn to a superhuman degree.

        There’s been a lot of discussion of how male privilege is unhealthy, but less discussion of how the unrealistically high standards we hold men to are also unhealthy. I think that the privilege and high expectations reinforce each other. Some men believe they are entitled to preferential treatment for upholding a “superior” code of conduct, and the privileges that they receive as men blind them to the way that unreasonably high standards foster male insecurity.

        (I should note here that expectations of men are not unreasonably high across the board – one of the primary forms of male privilege is the way that male misdeeds are excused with the justification, “Boys will be boys.” )

        • Great comments, Morgan.

        • Indeed, very thoughtful and balanced commentary.

        • There’s been a lot of discussion of how male privilege is unhealthy, but less discussion of how the unrealistically high standards we hold men to are also unhealthy.
          Precisely. The expectations and standards that men are held to are usually either actively left out of the conversation (such as leaving the male experience out of body image discourse), they are minimized to the point that they may as well not have been brought up in the first place (such as being treated like one off anomalies instead of regular occurrences) , or at the worst are twisted until said expectations are no longer associated with men but with women (as in the fact that they harm men is only a side effect of the overall “real” purpose of keeping women down).

          (On a side note I think this is a big part of why people get so upset with the gender discourse.)

    • One of the most insidious aspects of the sexism that men face is that it primarily comes from other men.

      no it does not, not in my experience as a transvestite, or in the experience of a recent sahd article on gmp, when he talked about how women viewed him. women are equally culpable in this enforcement on men.

      • I didn’t mean to imply that women were entirely blameless. Our whole society is complicit in the establishment and policing of unhealthy gender norms.

        However, I do think that this particular problem is more the doing of men than of women. I can only speak for myself, but I would guess that for every time I’ve had my masculinity questioned by a woman, it’s been done ten times by men. Maybe I’ve simply been lucky and have known unusually reasonable women. There have certainly been a few who bought into sexist bullshit, but not very many. Most of the women that I know are mystified by the whole phenomenon of male insecurities.

        I don’t suppose it matters that much either way, though. Regardless of who started it, we’re all going to have to work to end it.

        • I do think that this particular problem is more the doing of men than of women. I can only speak for myself, but I would guess that for every time I’ve had my masculinity questioned by a woman, it’s been done ten times by men.

          being a sahp, sahd, or wearing what are now considered to be women’s clothing are just some of the things that are still ‘firmly feminine’
          do you do a ‘firmly feminine’ things in public? because if you dont, then what makes you believe that you have greater insight into who is enforcing gender limits onto we men who DO do what society still considers to be ‘firmly feminine’ things.

          At least this is one area where gay dads have an edge. Once I out myself, moms tend to get friendlier. Maybe their real fear is that I’ll be some suave male homewrecker like Patrick Wilson in Little Children.

          I suspect it’s something deeper and darker. Most women just don’t respect men who stay home with their kids. They see other women raising kids and think, sure, she’s a traditionalist or a post-modern feminist proving she doesn’t need a career to be a strong woman. Go, sister!

          When they see a man raising kids, they think he’s lazy. They can’t help imagining his poor wife busting her ass trying to make partner while he stays home wearing flip-flops and eating Fritos on the couch.
          http://goodmenproject.com/families/middle-class-white-guy-exposes-six-signs-of-dadscrimination

        • I do think that this particular problem is more the doing of men than of women. I can only speak for myself, but I would guess that for every time I’ve had my masculinity questioned by a woman, it’s been done ten times by men.

          being a sahp, sahd, or wearing what are now considered to be women’s clothing are just some of the things that are still ‘firmly feminine’
          do actually you do a ‘firmly feminine’ thing in public? because if you dont, then what makes you believe that you have greater insight into who is enforcing gender limits onto we men who DO breech the current gender limits and do what society still considers to be ‘firmly feminine’ things.

          At least this is one area where gay dads have an edge. Once I out myself, moms tend to get friendlier. Maybe their real fear is that I’ll be some suave male homewrecker like Patrick Wilson in Little Children.

          I suspect it’s something deeper and darker. Most women just don’t respect men who stay home with their kids. They see other women raising kids and think, sure, she’s a traditionalist or a post-modern feminist proving she doesn’t need a career to be a strong woman. Go, sister!

          When they see a man raising kids, they think he’s lazy. They can’t help imagining his poor wife busting her ass trying to make partner while he stays home wearing flip-flops and eating Fritos on the couch.
          Ht tp://goodmenproject.com/families/middle-class-white-guy-exposes-six-signs-of-dadscrimination

        • I agree that whoever started it may not matter but on a personal note I have to say that my own experiences differ very much from your own.

          Not only have I had more experiences of having my masculinity questioned by women than by men but women were the ones that would dig their heels into the ground and double down when I answered their challenge.

          Funny thing is standing my ground to men that question me works just fine. Standing my ground to women on the other hand, not so fine.

  2. We have enough of these cases now that we’re starting to see some patterns.

    Who is this “WE”? Sorry but anyone using the grief and damage to propagandise with crud Factoids build around a mythical we Don’t Get My Vote! The conduct is not only reprehensible and in very bad taste, it shows a lack of clarity in both mind and morality. If you need to have an emotional purge that’s fine, but purge and blog after is the rule!

    As a child of the net – I would ahve expected you to have gone to the wayback machine … and of course there it is easy to see that the whole mancard meme has been hanging about since at least 03 November 2009. So what took so long to look at reality and why does it take so little time to come up with bad facts – false realities and all hidden behind a great be Royal WE, so emotionaly expressed?

    We Are Not Amused!

  3. um…he didn’t pick a bushmaster. He NEVER picked a bushmaster, nor did he ever BUY a bushmaster… his mother did, LONG before he went berserk. So now what’s yer point?

    • todd mauldin says:

      what’s yours, Rob? That advertising didn’t cause the attack, or that he didn’t actually use the weapon to commit the attack, or that it’s the mom’s fault? Or what?

      • Rob, are you arguing that he never picked up a Bushmaster? That seems unlikely, considering that he fired it. That’s not really the point of the article though, that’s just a timely example. The point is that these ads are saying firearms are substitutes for self-esteem or self-awareness.

        Don’t feel manly? Here’s thirty rounds of manly, go spread your seed.

        Full disclosure: I am a gun owner.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I think the fact that a woman purchased the Bushmaster used at Newtown complicates the whole “definition of masculinity” thing. Perhaps the company is missing out on a whole sales opportunity by couching it as a manly product. Where is the gender outrage like with the Easy Bake Oven? Will there be calls for the company to market to women more? : – )

  4. uhm,, the post is really about the ads not “he”. And if anyone doesn’t believe the ads existed ask yourself where the screen caps came from, and why is it that part of the Bushmaster site, and the ONLY part of the Bushmaster site that is down is the mancard section ? You can dl a 109MB catalog if you dont believe me or take offense, big fella.

  5. Well done, Noah! This ad needed to be smashed somewhere and I was proud to see it done so beautifully here.

    ~Cameron

    • Sorry – I don’t think Noah or this site can take credit – it’s been an issue for a number of days, and other folks have done the heavy lifting. It’s appearance here is as Noah makes clear POST takedown.

    • We have enough of these cases now that we’re starting to see some patterns. Most of these guys felt alienated, felt humiliated, felt stripped of their power and their agency, and were also so damaged that the only way out they could imagine was cathartic, even redemptive violence, murder on an appalling scale. It’s still a bit early to say if Adam Lanza followed that pattern exactly, but it looks pretty likely that he did.

      Imagine it. He felt powerless, impotent, unmanly, so what did he do? Why, he picked up a Bushmaster rifle to fix that feeling.

      Just like the ad said he should.

      i agree cameron, and thats why i quoted the extremely powerful ending

  6. Oh, it was there all right, on their domain. I screen-captured the hell out of it because I couldn’t believe it was there, esp with the comment about 5th graders. Nauseating.

  7. OMG! The two black men of the DC Sniper case used a Bushmaster too. But as I recall, the press and libs focused on black-anger and a lifetime of unfairness…not enough hugs n such.

  8. Seriously?
    Why would any of you WASTE your time with something like this???

    Let it go.

    Spend time focusing efforts on something greater.

  9. It’s amazing to me that some of us are arguing the details when what we need is a full blown meta discussion. These ads go straight at the meta problems. They promote the crappiest of narratives that narrow men’s options about what a “real man” is. These f**king ads make me want to wear a pink bridemaid’s dress and dance in the town square. For the next twenty years. %$#!!@!%^%$$

  10. Lisa Hickey says:

    The thing I keep coming around to is this. It’s not just how harmful some male stereotypes — but it’s a real question of identity. To even say that you *have* to be a man. That your manhood can be taken away from you. As if it wasn’t yours all along. That’s just — I hate to say it — crazy.

    And there’s something awful about the thought that — if it were *actually* true — that your manhood could be taken away from you. “Revoked, as it were.” Don’t you see? Here’s my big insight……….when you don’t own your own identity……..isn’t that the definition of insanity?

    • But who is revoking it? Other men? Women? And does that mean they are buying into the system of the problem to begin with?

      • I think it’s whoever you’re worried about judging you, really. The guys in the locker room. Your wife/girlfriend. God. Anybody and everybody. It’s one of those beliefs that doesn’t make much sense when you look at it, but it’s taken so completely for granted that it rarely gets examined.

        The logic at work here is not too far removed from the penis-stealing witch panics that happen in some parts of sub-Saharan Africa. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but the fear of losing one’s identity is a very basic, primal fear.

        I’m reminded of a post that I saw on this site (I think) quite a while back. I’m not sure who wrote it – it was posted very shortly after I started reading GMP. The author talked about how boys (and men) insult each other by calling each other girls, and posed the question, “If being called a girl is such an unforgivable insult, what does that say about men’s attitudes towards girls and women?” I spent a lot of time thinking about that question, because I had the “girl” insult directed at me many times over the course of my childhood and adolescence, and I found it very hurtful and offensive. However, I’m about as far from misogynistic as a man can be – most of my close friends have been female, and I’ve gotten along better with women than with men for most of my life. I don’t view being female as a bad thing at all. However, being called a girl still really bothered me. I eventually came to the conclusion that what was so hurtful about it – for me, at least – was having part of my identity negated by someone else. Being told, in effect, “You’re not the person you believe you are.” I suspect it’s similar (although smaller in magnitude, I’m sure) to the way that a transgender person feels when being told that their biological sex determines their gender, regardless of how they feel about themselves.

        I think the effect is compounded by the fact that being a man is a privileged social status. So when men worry about not being men, they worry not just about losing their own identity, but about losing their place in society.

        • I eventually came to the conclusion that what was so hurtful about it – for me, at least – was having part of my identity negated by someone else. Being told, in effect, “You’re not the person you believe you are.” I suspect it’s similar (although smaller in magnitude, I’m sure) to the way that a transgender person feels when being told that their biological sex determines their gender, regardless of how they feel about themselves.
          I’ve been trying to get at this for a long time. These days in the gender discourse the questioning of a man’s identity has been (I think) falsely tied to the idea that it’s all about trying to “turn him into a woman” and from there making the entire conversation about “why is female seen as so bad?” when in my opinion it should be about “why are people so hell bent on trying to negate/undo a man’s identity that they are willing to employ such means to do it?”

          Don’t get me wrong the whole bit about likening a man to a woman in order to knock him down is terrible but there’s more to it than that. To say that it’s all about hatred/disregard for women is the same as saying that Al Queda is dangerous because they have access to bomb parts and the skills to use them. If we woke up tomorrow with a headline saying that Al Queda could no longer make bombs, would we say that they were no longer an issue?

    • Here’s my big insight……….when you don’t own your own identity……..isn’t that the definition of insanity?

      No It’s not an insight – It’s Piss Poor Use Of Language and Very bad Advertising as to what Insane means! a spectrum of behaviors characterized by certain abnormal mental or behavioural patterns. Try and tell a Narcissist that they don’t own their identity – they will laugh in your face because they own it 1000%.

      Insight NO – Hyperbole YES!

    • I’d say no one really owns their identity, not exactly. All identities have a certain element of qualification…of society accepting that the identity you put on is real. And so this how you end up with more desirable identities…more privileged identities. Passing privilege, so to speak…being able to pass as white, cis, straight, etc. Or even being able to pass as gay (being accepted as gay) as opposed to bi…being able to pass as black (as opposed to multiracial)…being able to pass as a man or woman (trans or cis) as opposed to genderqueer. Even with religious identities…being able to pass as Christian (as opposed to being labelled Mormon but not Christian). Every kind of social identity has an element of this…of requiring the world to accept that you fit into that category because you have performed your identity adequately and qualified for it.

      The problem here (with this ad) is how the emphasis put on that qualification and the way that qualifying is tied to violence. There is some flexibility in womanhood that allows for a greater variety of women. Manhood, on the other hand, is discussed in an extremely rigid and exclusionary way. A woman who engages in masculine things can still maintain her identity as a woman…but a man who does pilates (which is apparently feminine) is no longer a man according to this ad. It’s that lack of flex, that inability to allow for individual variation that makes current definitions of manhood so problematic. That, and the more obvious problem, of how it’s tied to violence as a way to reclaim your identity as a man.

  11. If you need a gun to feel masculine, consider your man card revoked.

  12. I think this “man card” campaign is repugnant, and I support tougher gun control legislation to at a minimum reduce access to assault weapons. At the same time, I find this analysis to be a gross mischaracterization of when and how the Bushmaster ads ran. In particular, I can find no evidence – and definitely none in this article – that the “Adam L” examples were added *by Bushmaster*, *after* the shooting. That would be such spectacularly bad judgment about how to cleverly market their product that I find it impossible to believe the company or it’s marketing dep’t would allow it.

    I did find other examples (meaning screencaps with other names) of the “avoids eye contact with tough-looking 5th graders” thing, so that’s apparently been part of the campaign since well before the shooting occurred. I can’t verify since that part of the Bushmaster site is down (which shows at least an ounce of good sense), but it looks to me like they had a quiz in very poor taste that users could interact with, so rather than some marketing idiot coming up with the idea to revoke Adam L’s man card with a horribly inappropriate comment about elementary-age kids, some idiot user took advantage of the existing poor-taste quiz to make it look like a stand-alone ad that was conceived and run specifically to “capitalize” on the Newtown shooting.

    The disgust with the campaign or the products it’s trying to sell seems well-founded to me, but absent any reason to believe Bushmaster knowingly and intentionally designed the “Adam L” examples after the shooting, I think it’s outrage-mongering to imply or encourage readers to assume that the grossest example – that of “Adam L” having his man card revoked for being nervous around 5th graders – was Bushmaster’s idea of clever marketing. This analysis doesn’t explicitly state whether it thinks Bushmaster composed this copy fresh off the tragedy, but the implication is there, because if that’s not what the reader is supposed to believe, this “most evil” of ads would only be as tasteless and offensive as it was a week ago or a year ago when the same copy and images existed for any asshole to enter a name to complete a quiz and take a screencap.

    • Wow, I didn’t even notice the name attached to that one. I don’t know what Noah’s intent was, but I didn’t read it as him trying to say that Bushmaster was capitalizing on the tragedy. What I found so offensive about that particular ad (as opposed to the rest of the ad campaign, which is pretty damned offensive to start with) is the way it implies conflict between gun-toting manhood and 5th-graders. “You can feel like more of a man around children by packing heat!” is a pretty terrible message, regardless of who it’s directed at.

      • I don’t know what Noah’s intent was, but I didn’t read it as him trying to say that Bushmaster was capitalizing on the tragedy.

        And yet, that’s exactly how I read it. So, either I’m an exceptional idiot for interpreting it that way, or even if that wasn’t his intent, or there are plenty of readers out there who would think the same thing, that Noah was responding to a campaign that was invented *after* Newton, as if that made the 5th grade line and reference to “Adam L” cooler and funnier. Honestly, it makes no sense to me how this could be the “most evil” ad he’s ever seen and provoke so much agreement unless people are drawing that connection. Do you honestly believe he could have written the same piece with the same impact before Newtown? I don’t, which means that between Bushmaster’s tasteless campaign, and this analysis of it, only the latter is taking direct advantage of the shooting.

        • Furthermore, if it was not Noah’s intent to specifically link the campaign to the shooting to emphasize how evil it was, then why the screenshot with “Adam L” on the revoked card with the line about 5th graders?

          • I read it that he was linking the ad and the shooting, but not in the sense of “Bushmaster made this ad to capitalize on the Newtown shooting”, but “This ad crystallizes the relationship between ‘guns = manly’ advertising and the Newtown shooting.”

        • Marcus I salute you – and I note that my earlier comment was so critical that It had to vanish! I read things the same as you, concerning who has been using what and how. Virorum Bonorum don’t do that and Coetus Virorum Bonorum should not suffer it either.

          Principes scriba boni viri habet exitibus – as they say in Chelsea.

    • These ads did NOT have to have come out this month for them to spark outrage. It’s ridiculous. They CAME AFTER COLUMBINE. They came in America. Where I grew up. AND had to go through my journey to manhood amidst this kind of crap. That’s more than enough. God, to even have to say this is infuriating.

      I’m sick of seeing perfectly intelligent people type the sentence “but the implication is there” and then proceed to correct the poster. You, sir, are splitting hairs strictly for the pleasure of “hearing” the sound of your own voice. Outrage mongering? Seriously?

      • Outrage mongering? Seriously?

        Very Much so – and it’s in very bad taste. It’s abusive and frankly offensive. It’s so Westboro. Taking the murder of a child an capitalising upon it is not only sickening – but falsely using it to twist reality to personal ends is beyond disgusting. It has nothing to do with being good … only manipulative.

        • I could not disagree more. Literally. It would not be humanly possible.

          Your comments here seem weirdly inline with those of a hired NRA spokesperson. Good luck with that.

          • So now if you are disagreed with I am a Hireling of The NRA? and you wonder about Outrage mongering? Seriously?

            You do need to check your outrage there cos it’s looking a lot like Privilege!

            • Media Hound,
              I did not say you are a hireling of the NRA. I said you sound like one. Let’s stay intellectually honest, shall we?

            • Well mark – I’m all for Intellectual honesty, but that also requires factual honesty. You are aware that I routinely call out errors, omission and deliberate misinterpretations, and yet you think it condescending. So hard to keep everyone happy, aint it.

              Odd how you attempt to pain me as pro gun when I’m 100% against guns. It’s just that I’m not reacting with knee jerks, but looking at facts and patterns which you can gain by unlimiting your vision and taking a true wider view.

              It’s like people saying mass killing. What does mass mean. Unless you are honest in that you can’t be honest with anything that follows. You see – I’m all for Intellectual honesty, even if others are far less honest.

              Calling the gun man insane is a poor way of shifting blame and stigmatising millions. Sorry if as a good guy I’m not willing to stand by for that – even if others do and want to! It’s Intellectual so dishonest and even abusive to play games with loaded language, even if people are going bang over loaded guns!

            • MediaHound, you are not calling out errors. That is your primary personal misconception.

      • These ads did NOT have to have come out this month for them to spark outrage.

        In theory, you’re right, but how many articles to do you see on GMP or around the ‘net heaping outrage on this campaign prior to Newtown? From what I could find, it looks as though Bushmaster’s “Man Card” campaign has been around since before GMP even came online, so if it was just as outrage-inducing and evil a week ago, there was nothing to keep the outrage from going viral for the last two years.

        This reminds me of the outrage many people expressed on learning that in the popular Microsoft Flight Simulator software, it was possible to fly planes into buildings, including the World Trade Center. Prior to 9/11, no one really thought anything of it, but after 9/11, it became so offensive and outrageous that MS wisely modified the app so that couldn’t be done anymore. I understand how a previously-innocuous feature or joke (or plot in a movie, or whatever) can become intolerably offensive in light of current events, but it’s an illusion to think they were that way all along.

        The outrage in *this* piece largely depends on holding Bushmaster’s feet to the fire for something a site visitor did using an interactive quiz they’ve had up for ages. That makes as much sense as treating every trollish comment you might find on GMP as though it came straight from the Editor-in-Chief’s keyboard.

        • Post hoc ergo propter hoc, – the phallacy of choice!

          It also helps with indignation and big pointy fingers doing the blame game.

        • Oh, dear. Is my outrage bothering you guys? Aw, shucks, I’m real sorry about that. Let’s forget the cynical manipulation of our entire country by millions of gun lobby dollars. I’m good and damned pissed off about all of it. Newtown is just one more horrible tragedy heaped on top.

          You may find the Bushmaster campaign to be a cheerful lark on the conceptual beach, but I do not. The underlying messages are the kind that get kids asses kicked in the locker room. Enough of this whole narrow bullshit view of what a man is supposed to be. Pandering to the narrow minded bullying mindset that looks the other way every time some kid takes a pounding. You want to dismiss the impact of advertising that glorifies alpha bullies? Well, tough luck. Cause not everyone does. And like it or not, the world is changing.

          • You may find the Bushmaster campaign to be a cheerful lark on the conceptual beach, but I do not.

            Mark you know that this is a totally false representation of both Marcus and myself, our views and our intent. If you are hurting I’m sorry, but it does not entitle you to keep attacking and misrepresenting others. When you use the events and child deaths to do that, you are not a good person.

            If you have personal pain and grief, address that, but dumping it about and on top of others is not good and makes you look bad.

          • I already said I find the Bushmaster campaign repugnant, so the cheerful lark jab is unfounded. I don’t think it would make the Bushmaster campaign more repugnant to falsely accuse them of also being into dog fighting if a big dog fighting story (like Michael Vick’s) had recently broken. In fact, that would undermine the legitimate criticism against them, because they could (and would) debunk that charge and say, “See, people are just making up BS about us,” and a lot of non-critical thinking people would give a lot less weight to the still-legitimate criticisms. That’s the kind of risk I see here. You just defended a bunch of well-founded outrage for reasons I agree with, going so far as to suggest I think the campaign is a hoot, while my actual criticism is of making shit up to make them look worse. I think that backfires.

            • Marcus,
              Noah is not saying these ads are post Newtown. The Michael Vick moment is not here.
              This article says that these ads limit the view of what a man is. That ads like these contribute to a culture wherein men are trapped in a narrow frame of what is “acceptable”. And that these ads are a particularly nasty version of that.

              That being said, Bushmaster has taken these ads down. Clearly, they see some relationship to current events. I’d be curious to know why they made that choice.

              And last but not least, MediaHound is posting that Noah or the GMP are in some way opportunistic in posting this article. Did I get that right? And whom do any of us on the internet contact in the future for approval before discussing the issues of the day? How is that done exactly? Noah’s outrage at this ad campaign is real and valid. He has every right to tear through the assumptions behind this campaign. And to do it right now.

            • The lead photo, with a screencap of “Adam L.” having his man card revoked for being nervous around 5th graders fosters the impression that this campaign is post-Newtwon, as does the “most evil” characterization. In failing to note that this most egregious example was the work of a troll, or that Bushmaster subsequently disabled the campaign, the impression is allowed to stand that this was all just a piece of deliberate marketing, complete with allusions to Newtown. That would be mind-blowingly outrageous. If it happened.

  13. Post hoc ergo propter hoc,/b> – the phallacy of choice!

  14. Kids use assault weapons all the time. Take a look at the video games they play.

    • Same is True in Switzerland where gun ownership is higher than the USA and Gun Crime lower than the UK. So why the differences?

      • Ellen Leemann says:

        My husband is Swiss and I lived there. The guns are provided by the army which all boys were required to join at 18 in the 1990′s (not sure now) . They train extensively the first year with a huge focus on gun safety and do a repetition course annually. You are given an extensive mental and health physical before you join the army and any mental problem or suspicious report from your school would disqualify you – so no gun. The guns are kept in locked up storage areas in your home or else in a provided lock up. By law, Swiss citizens have to have a fall out shelter with provisions in case of an emergency assigned to each resident family. Landlords have to provide this locked shelter when they rent apartments and Gemeindes for the Cantons provide them if your home doesn’t have one. When not serving in the army the guns are to be locked up and the ammunition is not kept in the home with it. Shelters can be searched and the law can be enforced if these shelters are not kept in order and the guns locked up. It is not some free for all as is commonly represented. Also Switzerland has a far superior education system that is world renown for teaching neutrality and tolerance – you see little hatred or bigotry and very neutral news coverage in the Swiss media. That is why Geneva is the world hub for global organizations to protect human rights. The country’s philosophy is very much in the same order of the US constitution insisting that an ORDERLY militia is the way to protect the nation. Never – Ever would the Swiss and their 7 Presidents (who work together democratically) approve of this gun chaos we have in America. By the way, the Swiss also have great Universal Healthcare and Mental Health is fully funded for everyone. Switzerland is in fact the home of Psychotherapy and most medical labs- Jung and Freud began their work there. If your neighbors suspect you are not right in the mind – believe me they will report it to the authorities and something will be done. I got a ticket for throwing a dirty diaper in a grocery store trash bin one time – you are always being watched! There is very little comparison to a country as big and unwieldy as the United States – so the comparisons are not very apt.

        • Ellen – I’m from Europe and have lived in Geneva. You didn’t mention if the Kids in Switzerland play video games. It’s a while since I’ve been there, but even The SPS2 – Nintendo Wii – - XBox and a few other bits of technology have made it into the country! P^) Kids love them!

          • MediaHound, I’m in no mood today to sit by and watch you keep doing this thing you do. Ellen posted a lot on information about the Swiss. And you don’t seem to have a response for a single word she has said. And she very clearly called you out on your Swiss point. Instead, you leap over the video games. If you’re going to post here and declare others to be disingenuous, then perhaps you should stop running away from your own arguments. It makes you seem a bit disingenuous yourself.

            • Mark – you really do need to keep up. I know all about Switzerland, but then again it’s easy when you have lived there! P^) Geneva is a lovely place and I adored Como! I have already addressed Swizzy guns and safety else where – i didn’t see it as necessary to fully recap for you as you missed class that day.

              I did question the views being expressed that Video games make people use guns with reference to Switzerland cos if it’s that simple, shouldn’t the Swiss also be going for mass killings over some Jagerschnitzel and with alpine meadows filled with bodies?

              Ellen joined in with a whole set of information I already know, and which other readers here have already addressed else where – so I did point out that whilst it was very good and full, it did not address the issue of Video Games.

              Now you accuse me of doing that thing, what ever it is. You have issues with people supposedly being intellectually honest or not – and yet you have issues concentrating and following a threaded communication.

              I understand that you may be getting stressed – you are showing signs of behaviour that I am familiar with concerning PTSD. I am also aware of how events, especially post 9/11 have been acting to activate low level PTSD in a number of Americans I have encountered both in the flesh and on-line. It is no joke when people say that 9/11 scarred the US Psyche, and events such as this seem to reactivate a great deal of it.

              I do fear that a great deal of the reactionary content and comments that keep getting thrown about – insane language – All men are mental health cases etc is due to so many having high level stress reactions. As I always make clear – each person with PTSD is responsible for their own Triggers and why from a professional view Object 100% to trigger warnings on-line. They are so often counter productive.

              Funny Too – been having to do some follow-up on PTSD and Suicide right here How to Help Someone Who Is Feeling Suicidal – but then again why would that matter – it would just be me going that thing you ahve an objection to, so please do come over and provide a Critique and comment on just how wrong some of us are when it comes to dealing with issues around mental health.

              Or maybe you are attempting to cope with the Stress reactions by seeing things and attempting to make all things fit what you are able to cope with. It is a very common form of adaptation in PTSD.

              You may also wish to consider that term Flashback is massively misleading. The correct term is Re-Experiencing. That can involve Visual, Auditory, Olfactory, Tactile, Somatic and Emotional Re-Experincing – so people can feel very crummy and stressed out and not n=know why. They are dealing with Emotional Flashbacks and failing to recognise the connections! Of course as I’m just doing my thing you can dismiss it – tell me I’m an Intellectual Fraud, Snob Charlatan or what ever suits you … But then again I’m used to massive defence systems that make the Patriot Missiles look like Child’s play and Lego!

              Funny how this advert which so few knew about is described as ” indefensibly awful, grossly irresponsible, and plainly harmful.” – but saying that the shooter was insane and that all men are insane and have mental health issues…. that’s fine! Intellectual Fraud – Or a Sign of Stress Imbalance and a loss of Equilibrium due to re-experiencing and disorientation?

              Some people have the Weirdest Priorities and can even start a fight in an empty room! Hope what have written may prove of value to you – however you judge that – but if not I have to ask – Should I Care?

            • Lord. I think I prefer the Latin.
              So, let me get this straight, because I am deeply annoyed by your critique of Noah’s article as “opportunistic” I have PTSD? And by the end of your comment, you’re talking about someone saying “all men are insane.” Who the hell said that? And why am I now having to address that comment?
              Hm. Well, I think I’d better call it a day. Not that it hasn’t been fun chasing your ever more widening argument all over the map…

            • So, let me get this straight, because I am deeply annoyed by your critique of Noah’s article as “opportunistic” I have PTSD?

              Mark – if you could manage to keep it straight, It would even shock me, and I’m the Queer Guy!

        • “world renown for teaching neutrality and tolerance” including tolerance for various dictators looking to hide funds looted from the public and neutrality vis other illicit transactions…

          • “world renown for teaching neutrality and tolerance” including tolerance for various dictators looking to hide funds looted from the public and neutrality vis other illicit transactions…

            Well no one’s perfect – but I thought the subject was guns and why people in the US keep blowing other people away. The Swiss issue of them mostly having guns and not Killing each other on mass is just a side issue and to provide a little balance and contrast. It does help in perspective and better vision.

          • Ellen Leemann says:

            Ha Ha! The Swiss have a lot more than infamous banking laws to be ashamed of – they did some REALLY dirty deals during the war. However, as the world has gone global over the last 20 years they have looked at themselves with a more critical eye and they admit their shame and their problem. Educated and Analytic they are and neutrality and tolerance have helped them see themselves as others see them and they have made changes. Accounts have been shut down and money sent back to the owners – no backs! We got a check for $40.00 in the mail several years ago for my daughter’s tiny Swiss savings account – (money made there and placed there before we moved here). The banking laws were set up many generations before us and served that time but in current times needed to be rethought and changes needed to happen in this conservative “well-respected institute”. This is what needs to happen with our gun laws. The laws were invisioned for a time that could not imagine the technology or populace we now have. Back to Man Cards!

  15. Aww come on guys…..
    Hand in your man cards if you can’t see the humor in these ads.
    Burn them if these really rub your tender egos that wrong.
    All advertising is about this, always has been & always will be.
    “Can’t be a man, cause he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me”
    When we became feminists did we have to lose our sense of humor?
    Being a man includes an ability to appreciate a bit of self deprecating humor.
    Now I’m going to finish my coffee- black no sugar, put on my Carhartt & walk back to work on my Red Wings.

    • PursuitAce says:

      One of the negatives of embracing progressive thought…check your funny bone at the door.
      When you’re always focused on the forest fires, you tend to miss out on the forest. The constant outrage is too draining for me. I wasn’t born with that much innate energy.

  16. AnonymousDog says:

    That rifle used in the Newtown shootings was actually owned by the shooter’s mother. You claiming that those ads had that effect on her?

  17. wellokaythen says:

    Aside from the morally reprehensible nature of the ad, it’s also deeply illogical to me. How does owning a big gun make you more of a man, really? There’s nothing to prevent a woman from arming herself with such a weapon. There’s no chromosome sensor on the trigger guard. It doesn’t depend on male secondary sexual characteristics to fire. In fact, an infant could probably squeeze the trigger.

    If anything, connecting my manhood to the size of my assault rifle looks a lot like compensating for a lack of manliness. As I’ve written on other occasions, there are eight year old girls in Africa today who are wielding AK-47’s, so I fail to see how your Bushmaster is really a sign of manhood.

    It also seems counterproductive to base my confidence on a machine that jams, has to be cleaned, and only gives me a sense of manliness when it’s in my hands. And, it’s really counterproductive when someone takes it from me and shoots me with my own weapon. If I shoot myself by accident, do I get my man card back?

  18. I came to read this article just so I could lambast you for being an unreasonable anti-gun Nancy-boy. You managed to put me in my place before I got out of it. Well done.
    The Bushmaster ads were akin to the “Real Men of Genius” or any other light hearted beer ad out there. Except this is not just some beer ad. And then when I get to thinking about it, saying you must drink beer, any kind of beer, to be a man, is just ludicrous.
    There are things you have to do to be a man though. Be responsible. Be stand up. Defend those who are weaker. Set proper examples for our youth. Be an advocate for the bullied and tormented. Step the hell up when need be. Do this, and not only will you be a man, you’ll be a gentleman.

  19. Ellen Leemann says:

    I was listening to the President speak the other night when he gave the beautiful eulogy for the Connecticut children. His voice, demeanor and bearing comforted me, particularly as he read the names. He gave each name the love and respect it deserved. It was a moment that was a true man moment. I’m not sure a woman saying the same words would have effected me as much? I was thinking at the time that no male leader or celebrity in my 50+ years has shown his capacity to soothe the heart with such a gentle strength. Obama at that moment reminded me of my favorite male literary hero, Atticus Finch. The strong father who could shoot a gun better than anyone in town to kill the mad dog, but is only a hero modestly and reluctant to gain that attention.I looked up guns in, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and found this quote from Atticus: “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” I love that and Atticus sets the bar for a “Man Card” in my book and I’m thinking Obama might as well if he keeps up the good fight.

    • wellokaythen says:

      I think Obama’s speech may set up the biggest political fight imaginable. In one corner is American culture’s obsession with children and childhood safety in particular. In the other corner is America’s obsession with guns. It’s the innocent angels versus the avenging angels, two indestructible mythologies set against each other. I’m not sure at this point which obsession will win if it comes down to a fight to the finish.

  20. Real men chew meat flavored chewing gum. Until chewing gum is lnked with tragedy, it is OK to laugh, imho.
    FWIW, a Bushmaster is to a gun what Porsche is to a car.They are very expensive with ultra high long range accuracy. They have zero intrinsic connections to this sort of affair.

  21. The AR15, Black Rifle, etc is one of the most intrinsically beautiful machines ever made…
    Out of the box they are renowned for their ease of use and intuitive kinesthetic fit.
    It is the only firearm I consider not needing a tear down & tweak as it comes from the dealer.
    I know of no other rifle, other than the AKs, that are so easy to train someone on.
    And Stoner’s rifle is much more accurate & elegant than the AKs
    The newer M4 derivatives are a gilding of the lily, truly the IPhone of firearms…

  22. Terry Washington says:

    First of all, why does the “man card” have a revocable status as opposed to a “permanent” one?

    Secondly, what happens if a male refuses (or more to the point) doesn’t want a man card to begin with(Personally I tend to think that if you need a gun to make you feel “manly”and or the need to kill something( wildlife like deer) or more likely SOMEBODY(as in a gang/organized crime/ outlaw motorcycle group/terrorist group- OMGs like the Hells Angels or OC groups like LCN call a murder carried out for the simple purpose of joining or at least associating “making/rolling one’s bones”), then you are precislely NOT the person I would care to associate with!

    Terry

  23. ManofReason says:

    I am not surprised to see such a vitriolic reaction from anyone here at the GMP. This is a rabidly politically correct group. The folks at Bushmaster have no reason to pander to PC people, the same ones who have called them and their products “evil”. A firearm has no will of its own, and companies are not responsible for the actions of deranged people. The ads you find so distasteful are a reaction (in a completely un-PC way) directly against the people who are attacking them. I have news for you. As distasteful as it is, it is great marketing. It resonates with their base of customers who have also been attacked by liberals for their gun ownership. Their disregard for who they offend is a sign of the extreme polarization on this issue. If you take offense at the black humor, you were probably not going to buy their products anyway. They love getting a reaction like this article because it generates buzz for them. You fell right into their trap, Buttercup!

    • So your argument is that Bushmaster are, in effect, trolls?

      Well sure, I’d agree with that.

      But “YOU MAD” isn’t exactly a compelling argument in favor of repressive gender norms or against gun control. Bushmaster may be winning the battle, but if they keep this shit up they’re going to lose the war.

      The problem with being a successful troll is that, at the end of the day, you’re still just a troll.

      • ManofReason says:

        No, the point is that both companies which produce firearms and gun owners in general have been attacked inappropriately, and the attackers are being stereotyped just as they were. It is a normal human psychological reaction and defense mechanism and is to be expected… You could try to demonize them for reacting, but it is in fact, A REACTION. They didn’t start this fight. They manufactured a legal product which 99.99% of their customer base uses in a responsible and safe manner. Its to be expected they would push back rhetorically and in a way that that their customers can relate to. I may also ruffle some feathers here, but the people who are attacking the ownership of AR-15′s are by and large people who have never touched or fired one and are from a cultural group whose political indoctrination prevents them from even opening their minds to any possibility of legitimacy of ownership of these very versatile and useful tools. Those people are not difficult to pick out. They, by dress, mannerism, and actions simply scream “liberalism”! Bushmaster in these ads is simply poking fun at them in a way that its customers find amusing. They are not endorsing anyone shooting up a school. If you take genuine offense at someone questioning your masculinity (because you don’t own an AR-15) instead of laughing it off as a normal SECURE person would, you probably need to see a heathcare profession about your insecurity and persecution issues.

    • What Bushmaster is TRYING to call lost-card guys, (tongue-in-cheek) is “pussy.” But they chose not to use the actual word. NBD

  24. Hank Vandenburgh says:

    M-14 is the schitz. AR-15 is fer p______.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] ONLY way to get that manhood back was to get a gun, as Noah Brand so brilliantly argued in his post “Bushmaster Rifles has been running the most evil ads I’ve ever seen.” [...]

  2. [...] We live in a culture where ‘manliness’ and ‘guns’ go hand in hand, where the company who manufactures the same rifle that was used in the brutal murder of innocent children can boast an add campaign that suggests [...]

  3. [...] at the goodmenproject.com, a writer notes [...]

  4. [...] This is a comment by Morgan on the post “Bushmaster Rifles Has Been Running The Most Evil Ads I’ve Ever Seen“. [...]

  5. [...] Read more: Bushmaster Rifles Has Been Running The Most Evil Ads I’ve Ever Seen [...]

  6. [...] Using a man-made product to “prove” your masculinity reminds us of the equally heinous ads by Bushmaster, which suggest that all you have to do if your man card gets taken away is to buy a [...]

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