Our moms always told us that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Sometimes, however, if you take that vinegar and mix it with a bit of olive oil and then drizzle it over some thickly-sliced ripe tomatoes adorned with rings of sweet Vidalia onions, and then sprinkle all that with a few pinches of crushed pepper and sea salt, well, you've got yourself a pretty tasty salad. We raise this culinary quandary to ask this: Is it ever okay to say horribly nasty things about people – or, in this case, a company, which is made of people – to make a good point?
Oil Change International has just released a satirical ad called "Exxon Hates your Children" and is seeking donations to have it broadcast on television. The video make the argument that oil conglomerate Exxon couldn't care less about the welfare of (your) children because it is dedicated to making short-term profits in the face of the long-term climate catastrophe that its products have been linked to. The graphics that accompany the ad bolsters the child-hating claim with graphics that connote the association of asthma with air pollution.
Is it all too much or is there just enough seasoning in there to make the message palatable? Can this kind of gut-punch negative ad produce positive results? Of course, it's not likely that the people who run oil companies really hate your children but, at the same time, the health of the planet – and everyone who lives there – is a serious issue. So, what to do? Should individuals support this kind of activism, or are there better, more constructive, alternatives?
Scroll down to watch the ad for yourself and answer the poll that follows. If you have your own ideas about a more productive approach to the problem, feel free to drop some knowledge in Comments.