• Thu, Jun 7 2012

Tasteful Bookstore Ad Implies That Reading Lolita Will Turn Men Into Pedophiles

A Slovakian bookstore has drawn some negative attention for an ad campaign about “the power of books” to transform people into well-read, thoughtful individuals sex criminals. Because nothing makes people want to frequent a store like jokes about child rape!

As you can see above, the ad features an older businessman who, following a tragic misreading of Lolita, decides to turn to a life of pedophilia and (probably) murder. The power of books, indeed.

I’m not sure what the appropriate reaction here is. My first impulse is to write a post along the lines of “WTF, NOT COOL,” but that’s obviously what the ad wants me to do. In a world where people are increasingly difficult to shock, you have to resort to talking about the worst shit to get any attention at all, positive or negative, right? Jokes about pedophilia work because it’s such an absurdly unthinkable act that your brain goes on the fritz and responds with nervous laughter. You could say the same thing about jokes about murder, genocide, etc. I’ve even made a few of these dark kinds of jokes myself, so I really have no right to be mad about this. Then again, these kinds of jokes might require a little more finesse than I see here.

Also, I think their other ad is more clever:

…Even if I had to do some Googling in order to understand it. (I’m guessing the Slovakian people are more knowledgeable about anti-Stalinist critiques than we are.)

And this one is borderline offensive, too, but also somewhat cute in its faux-naiive conceit that if only suicide bombers knew about all the cool things they hadn’t seen yet, they’d halt their plans to suicide bomb things immediately:

(Via Buzzfeed)

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  • MM

    The other ones are in awful taste but I think the second one is brilliant.

  • porkchop

    Having read a good amount of Nabokov and Solzhenitsyn, I’m not sure I understand any of these. Are they supposed to make me think, or is this just a great idea executed by illiterate people?

    • MM

      Well, the idea behind the second one is presumably that having understood the horrors of communism, he won’t think his Che shirt is so badass anymore.

      First one is just awful, I think?

    • porkchop

      Yeah, but in an ad that’s almost 100% imagery, they took away Che but left the red. Isn’t that weird? It’s like he probably got turned off by the book, but there’s a small chance he’s become a true believer! Sure, your prison boat got icelocked on your way to the Gulag, and you all froze/starved to death, but you deserved it because you were a capitalist pigdog who conspired against the state!

      I think the third one is the worst. Are we supposed to imagine an insane person being diverted with this pseudo travel guide? or is this some coerced victim whose family is going to be executed if he doesn’t sacrifice himself saying “f*** ‘em. I want to go on a glacier cruise”?

      The ads are like a journey that takes you to a place that’s surprisingly worse than child rape.

  • Sarah!

    I can’t tell what the pedophile guy is holding. Is that a bag of candy??

    • Jennifer Wright

      I cannot tell either and it is making me feel uncool, strangely? What is that?

    • Fabel

      Yeah, my immediate reaction was to wonder how the portrayl of the guy to the right was pedophile-ish in any way. I guess it’s supposed to be candy? But if that’s what they were going for, could they not have made it more ~**CANDY**~ looking? (Not that this ad was a good idea in any way…)

  • BeccaTheCyborg

    Piling in with the others on loving the second one.

  • Holden

    Can I just point out that, um.. Che Guevara was from Argentina, had nothing to do with the Soviet union and actually publicly spoke out against them for apparently betraying Marxist values several times, that virtually all of the soviet labor camps had been shut down years before he even came to attention in Cuba and thus had absolutely nothing to the do with the Gulag whatsoever?

    Yeeaaauuerp. Just thought I’d throw that one out there.

    • Jamie Peck

      My commie boyfriend tells me that Che Guevara used Stalinist tactics, so a critique of Stalinism could still apply to him.

  • Margaux

    So, having an old businessman read lolita will make him want to give out candy? Not that it looks like candy though…