Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Sorry, Smartwater, Sexual Violence is Not Funny


 As we begin Pride Month...


Hey Smartwater™: your recent “stunt double” ad is seriously f*cked -up.


Dramatis Personae:

Actor, sitting next to

Stunt Double: Clothes and hair like actor's, but actor is plain and short; stunt double is tall and handsome.




Medical Clinic, Waiting Room


Actor: I'm smart. I let my stunt double do the dangerous stuff.

(Actor and stunt double take simultaneous swigs of Smartwater.)

Doctor: (Approaches from behind.) Mr. ___?

(Doctor flourishes clamp of the type used to castrate male animals. Close-up of clamp.)

(Stunt double looks dubious, but gets up and follows doctor.)

Actor: (Calls out to doctor, not looking) Do we get a lollipop after?


Well, ha-dee ha ha.

I'll leave aside the numerous examples of stereotyping going on in this ad.

(The castrating doctor is a woman. She's also Asian. The good-looking guy is dumb....I could go on.)

Surely we can all agree that sexual violence against women is intolerable, not to mention unsuitable for an ad meant to sell a product. How, then, is sexual violence against men any different?

On top of which, we're supposed to find sexual violence against a man's body funny? He's cute and dumb; therefore, he deserves it?

As we all know, men never experience sexual violence. Therefore, it's OK to laugh about, right?


The sheer absurdity of the scenario is no excuse. Sexual violence against anyone is simply not acceptable, ever.

It's not something to use to market a product. It's certainly not something to laugh at.

Consider the crassness at the heart of this ad. What does that tell you about the brand?

Shame, Smartwater.









Last modified on
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Saturday, 04 June 2022

    I recently saw that add for the first time. Good to know I'm not the only one offended by it. Wasn't planning to buy Smartwater to begin with, now determined that I will not.

  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch Tuesday, 07 June 2022

    Considering--as a friend and colleague recently pointed out to me--how much "recyclable" plastic never gets recycled (Gods help us all, I've heard that it pushes 95%), "bottled" water seems to me an anti-ecological and anti-pagan indulgence.

    I sent Coke (they own Smartwater) a link to this post, much good may it do. But, being a tea-drinker, I never buy any of their other products either. So I don't expect much.

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