Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A kiss is not a kiss

Are standards from other countries relevant to New Zealand, which has its own culture, including a unique sense of humour?

The above video is a flight safety video for Air New Zealand domestic flights. I saw it on an American site where a couple people were kind of put out by the scene around 2:40 onwards (context matters), specifically reacting to what they saw to be a grimace. I see it as just innocent Kiwi humour, nothing more. But I’m not saying any more so as not to overly prejudice anyone who watches the video.

I’d love to know what you think. Is this harmless fun, as I think, or borderline offensive? And, do the standards of other countries even matter for something that’s not intended for them? Do you agree with me that some Americans need to lighten up? Or, do you think we need to change our way of thinking? Yep, it’s an open forum, so say what you think about this and even cultural relativity generally.

Addendum: YouTube also has an earlier Air New Zealand flight safety video with everyone wearing body paint from the airline's "Nothing to Hide" series.


Mark from Slap said...

What, that was it? It wouldn't have even crossed my mind. It's cute, not a grimace.

That said, I found the whole thing kind of irritating. It reminds me of WestJet (a Canadian airline) staff. They try to be funny and joke around about everything, but travelling is stressful and by the time I've finally sat down, ready for a long flight, I'm rarely in the mood to put up with their nonsense. ;)

Considering that I've practically memorized the zen-like Air Canada saftey video by now (in both languages), I'd want to rip the video screen out of the seat in front of me the 50th time I've seen this one. No matter how how some of those rugby players are. ;)

Ninure said...

I thought it was cute,,

But some people are humor deprived, so I rhink those types could be offended.

epilonious said...

1: Delta (I'm pretty sure) did it first: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MgpzUo_kbFY

2: The Air New Zealand bit was brilliant in my eyes. It seems like a cheekier, more delightful version of what Delta started. But I can see how the "Humor deprived" as Ninure put it... could get pissy.

3: The very likely gay Flight Attendant was named Coxhead *cackle*

4: Mark from Slap: Flighty and funny is always better than business-like. If anything because the passengers that HAVEN'T traveled a bunch are disarmed and are less likely to have whiny arguments with them.

CondoBlogger said...

I thought it was very cute... and it is kind of funny that the cute male flight attendant was named Coxhead... seriously how could he have not ended up gay?

I do think however that these lighthearted videos (Delta has something kind of similar...) take some of the gravity (no pun intended) out of air travel safety. I used to work at a radio station that had a musical version of the Emergency Broadcast System test. It was legal and all because the exact script was read, or sung, as written, but ultimately it made light of something that could be a life or death thing and so we scrapped it.

Then again, maybe people will pay MORE attention to a video that is entertaining.

Either way, it was cute and I was glad to see that family was so well represented.

Frogboy said...

It would have been funnier if the rugby guy kissed the flight attendant... HARD!

Just sayin'.

WVRed said...

Speaking as an American, still in America; many, many people need to lighten up here.
This in engaging and honestly I haven't watched or listened to a complete safety information lecture in years. On the AirNZ flights I watched them because humor is a better attention getter than monotone drone.

Some of My Best Friends Are said...

Wait what? Ooohhh! It took me way longer to figure this out than I care to admit. See I was totally laughing at the wrong thing. I was laughing at the rugby player being made uncomfortable by an unwanted sexual advance. (It's a standard comedy trope. It was pretty much the theme for every episode of Three's Company.)
Anyway I still couldn't wrap my head around what someone might find offensive. So I searched around and found the site you referred to. It was only then that I learned that I was supposed to be laughing at the caricature of the gay flight attendant. And I must say I can see how that would be offensive - if it were about that!
Oh, and by the way it is totally a grimace. Wouldn't have been funny if it weren't. (Imagine if the rugby player said no thank you and they shook hands, instead.) A grimace is perfectly appropriate to the situation. We all do it when confronted with something that makes us uncomfortable. Imagine this:
You get off work early. You rent a romantic comedy and head home to surprise your partner. Coming in through the back you hear something in the guest bedroom. You open the door. "Mom? Dad? I didn't know you were visi... What are you doing mom? Is dad's zipper stuck? OMG!!!"
There you probably just grimaced. Maybe you even shuddered.

Arthur Schenck said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone—and I'm glad to see that we people agree about this, as do most of the folks on the site where I originally saw the video (which, btw, I didn't name because it wasn't the point—the video was). To be honest, I'm kind of relieved that it ended up being only a couple who disagreed with us.

Mark: I'm sure that this video won't be used for long. Air New Zealand has a history of doing these light-hearted videos, too.

Ninure: Yep, there are some people who just search for reasons to be outraged. I suppose everyone should have a hobby… ;-)

epilonious: Please note the time and date: I completely agree with you! ;-) My favourite part of that Delta video is when the main lady scolds against smoking.

CondoBlogger: Yep, I agree. And I find that I'm more likely to to pay attention to videos of they're entertaining, too, because it captures my attention.

When I was in University, the radio station I listed to had a song version of the Emergency broadcast message, and I always listened, something I didn't do with the spoken word version. But, then, I've always said that if my life were set to jingles, I'd never forget anything!

Frogboy: Well, in the "making of" video, he chases the player… ;-)

WVRed03: Yeah, humour is in short supply all around, I think. I watch the air safety videos for exactly the same reason as you do.

Some of My Best Friends Are: Okay, them I'll take "grimace" with YOU definition! It wasn't originally meant that way, but yours is so much more honest to the video, I think.

d said...

I love it! I've always loved Air New Zealand's way of treating travel.

Someone above mentioned that travel is stressful - but it just isn't here. It's completely different (and every time I travel to the US, I start writing a blog post about the differences in my head - one day I'll actually write it!)

I've never seen the Delta one, but to me, this video goes along with the entire flight experience in New Zealand: the pilots are more casual and accessible, most people are more relaxed, and it's fun!