17 November 2011

Even Angels Fall

Before you read this entry, take the time to watch this advert which was recently banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The sky is falling cried Chicken Little and all the animals in the tale were swept into mass hysteria. A few weeks ago the Advertising Standards Authority Declared the same thing; the heavens are falling and an advert was banned to prevent this imminent Armageddon.

In case you have not been up to date with all the hullabaloo, which in itself testifies to your extreme luck, Axe released an ad which featured female angels falling from heaven seemingly unable to resist the charms of a man who had sprayed a new brand of Axe deodorant. A South African viewer complained that the ad featured angels behaving in a manner incompatible with his belief, ASA ruled in his favour, stating:

The problem is not so much that angels are used in the commercial, but rather that the angels are seen to forfeit, or perhaps forego their heavenly status for mortal desires…

And that was that. Or should have been that except that I took the time to watch the advert on Youtube (along with five hundred thousand other curious people) and the first thought that came to my mind was Chicken Little.

You see, there is a slight problem with the ruling given by the ASA, besides the lack of humour on their part. There is the ever slight issue that the Bible documents in detail: angels have fallen from heaven before. The beginning of Genesis chapter 6 describes angels who not only were enamoured by the beauty of the daughters of Eve, that not only did they fall from heaven, they beget children who became giants. I dare the ASA to take the issue to the Vatican and get them to remove the offending passages for being incompatible with ‘Christian’ belief. And lest we forget Lucifer, that most famous of retrenched angels, fell from heaven to earth.

And that is exactly where my problem lies, this temptation to fall into the trap of labelling every little thing in the world as good or bad, black or white, safe for work or not safe for work, ANC or DA, us or them. Two little neat categories into which we like to squeeze the world as if it fits. Osama Bin Laden was Muslim therefore Muslims are bad and must be stopped and searched at airports. Whites once colonised Africa so they must all be bad. Christianity is good therefore it is all good. This is not only an inaccurate, simplistic, small minded view but a dangerous one as well. Intolerance has roots in a lack of understanding, in a failure to appreciate the view of the other, to refuse to leave the confines of one’s comfort zone, to label every “other” as bad.

It is a dangerous mind-set that fails to appreciate the complexity, the variety, the sheer stunning range of human beings. That fails to appreciate that the everyday is rooted both in the simple and the complex, that fails to reach out to the ‘other’ and prefers to sit, solidly rooted in its ignorance, refusing to accept that even angels can fall, that the portrait of the world we choose to see is often not the whole story.


  1. interesting,ignorance u say.But what will life be without margins and boundaries to seperate gud from bad.yes its wrong to blame the rest for sins of few like u say ' Whites once colonised Africa so they must all be bad',this would be wrong but u have to understand that there is a very thick boundary between whats good and bad,between whose bad or good and it all evident in the intention of the mind.its not so much about the advert itself but about the thought that created it,wat r the implications? what is it supposed to achieve?,we complicate life by thinking there is more to it when it is all just a simple good or bad,a yes or no! you made a judgement before u wrote this article and it is evident because you are defending the maker of the ad but what is your truth,what is simple to you?think about that maybe you can understand that some of us cannot watch mockery destroy the things that define us.

  2. My defense of the ad lies with the flawed and dishonest ruling: angels cannot fall they say. If the ad had broken a biblical command then that would be a different matter all together but the ad actually takes something in the bible and makes light of it. Being insulted by that is,,,interesting for lack of a better word, and dishonest on the part of the ASA.

  3. its the 'making it light' part that is realy insulting sir,hav u ever heard some1 make a joke out of something that is important to you?if you have then you would understand that its not that you dont get thr joke but its why joke about it.Just because the world has made it ok to take anything and make it an advertising platform like 'sex' among other things it doesnt make it ok.Here i am expressing how provoking this advert is,is because i lack intelligence no,is it because i am religous def not,its al because i know the power of defending what is a great deal to me before like everything loses its value.m glad the ruling went the way it did because it will now be a message to others who step into places they shouldnt just to make a dollar,they should do it without demeanishing other people's beliefs.

  4. What of the description in Genesis that describes angels coming down from heaven to sleep with women? It's the high & mighty position that irks me. It's a thin line from refusing to see the lighter side to bombing offices...