Monday, June 24, 2013

I heard that! Actually, you didn't

Tampa Bay (well, Sarasota) is home of the infamous 1-800ASKGARY, the reviled accident lawyer referral service whose ads infest daytime and late-night TV as well as radio around the clock. They're everywhere. They even had their name on the local amphitheater for a while.

They're in your face all the time, offering their service of pairing accident victims up with lawyers. I guess it's a valuable service, but the way it's presented makes it seem really sleazy, distasteful and kind of embarrassing. As such a lot of people make fun of it all the time, and that often takes the form of ridiculing the company's commercial spokesperson Roz, who refers to the company as "1-800AXGARY" and says things like don't be skurrred and confruzed." It's as if to say, "The company is so ghetto, they hired a spokesperson who can't even speak English correctly! Ha ha!"
That IS funny but the only problem with it is it isn't true.

"What?", you might be saying right now. "Of course it's true! She does it all the time!" If you sincerely believe that, it's because you have a false memory created by the negative aspects of a racial stereotype repeated over and over again. If you don't believe me, watch this commercial and listen to her.

See? She pronounces "ask", "scared" and "confused" along with every other word she speaks properly. But, and this may say something about you and your enlightened, sensitive, tolerant self that you don't want to admit, the stereotype of black people mispronouncing certain words, or speaking "Ebonics", somehow kicked in just because you heard a black woman's voice. This is very similar to how you might remember Will Smith saying "Welcome to ERF!" when he punches the alien in the face in "Independence Day". Yeah, that didn't happen either.

There are a lot of reasons to loathe 1-800ASKGARY but Roz's diction and elocution aren't part of them.

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