There’s a heck of a row brewing over an anti-abortion advert scheduled to be flighted during Super Bowl Sunday.
The offending spot will reportedly feature star quarterback Tim Tebow and his mom, who fell ill when she was pregnant with him and at the time rejected medical advice to have an abortion.
As a pro-choicer myself, I have always believed in the right of free speech and choice, so I find it odd that supposedly liberal-minded people are objecting to the advert. Even if the advert is being funded by a conservative lobby, it still raises an important issue that constantly needs to be debated.
Some of those objecting to the advert say it shouldn’t be aired during a major sporting event. Why not? Nobody complained when Arsenal players William Gallas and Bacary Sagna displayed a t-shirt on the field highlighting the Haiti earthquake disaster.
Why not use the opportunity of the Super Bowl? After all, it’s watched by millions of people, all of whom will have to return to real-life issues the moment the match ends (admittedly they won’t all be abortion-related).
So where does one draw the line? I would argue that we should draw it at blatant misinformation, which Two Oceans wines appear to be doing.
On Saturday night I happened to see a tv advert for the company. The volume on the set was down (we do that in the advert breaks), so I couldn’t hear what was being said. But they did show the Cape Peninsula growing out of the sea.
For me, this risks perpetuating the myth that the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet at Cape Point, the southern most tip of the Peninsula – when in fact they meet at Cape Agulhas, the southern most tip of Africa.
What are Two Oceans wines trying to do? Make the population stupid? Surely their product can do that to customers who overindulge without the additional burden of having Cape Town propaganda rammed down their throats?
Anyway, I went onto the Two Oceans wines website and found they have a whole blurb on the “debate” over where the oceans meet, adding that they believe the oceans come together in the Western Cape (so why do they feature pictures of Cape Point with their product?).
Let me tell you now that there is no debate. Over the years I have spoken to two professors at the University of Cape Town’s oceanography department (to settle arguments I have had with misinformed people), and they clearly stated – without any of the ambiguity that Two Oceans claim to exist – that the oceans meet at the latitude that runs through Agulhas. And if you still don’t believe me, go check out Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Think about it – oceans are man-made concepts, comprising many, many seas and currents etc. It makes sense that where they meet is man-made too. The Atlantic and Indian oceans meet at Cape Agulhas, or rather, along that latitude.
Likewise, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet at Cape Horn, the southern most tip of South America. As far as I know, there’s no debate about that.
Mind you, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some Capetonians who would love the chance of adding the Pacific into a three-way meeting spot at Cape Point. It is the ignorant – or is it the disingenuous? – of Cape Town who probably created the myth: perhaps that explains why we have the inaptly named Two Oceans Marathon. That’s probably why a teacher in junior school told my class that we have two oceans there.
Luckily my parents and grandparents – all Capetonians through and through – happened to know better, but I wonder how many of my classmates from 1977 still incorrectly believe Cape Point to be the meeting point? It would be a bummer if any of them got that question while playing Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
By the way, some Cape tourism companies are also stretching the length of the Garden Route, which I grew up being told runs from Swellendam to Tsitsikamma. But I’ve heard some Capetonians say it extends as far west as Somerset West! Others, showing a tad more restraint, insist it’s Hermanus. That sounds more anus than Hermanus to me, although I must admit that I haven’t contacted any academics to ask their advice on this one.
The two oceans issue is a personal bugbear of mine, and while many people may not care, I take a dim view of the manner in which Two Oceans wines are confusing the issue.
For now I’d rather watch Tim Tebow’s anti-abortion advert – even in prime sports time – unless it turns out to contain misinformation.
Entries for the 2010 Two Oceans Marathon have opened (you can get the form here or log onto www.twooceansmarathon.org.za).
I know it’s a grand old race – the country’s biggest, say the organisers – but I still hate the fact that it’s called the Two Oceans.
Why? Because the Atlantic and Indian oceans don’t meet at Cape Point, but some 300km to the east along the longitude that runs though Cape Agulhas.
The truth is that the only ocean that touches the shores of the Cape Peninsula is the Atlantic. It doesn’t matter whether you’re at Fish Hoek or Sandy Bay.
I really don’t expect them to change the name of the race, but I do like to bust Cape Town’s great myth from time to time.
I do wish, however, that the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront would change its name – its supposed to aid education, not misinformation!
Three runners died during the Detroit Marathon in the US this weekend. The oldest of the trio was reportedly 65, the second 36 and the youngest just 26 (he collapsed after finishing the half-marathon).
The causes of death have yet to be confirmed, although in the case of the oldest entrant, it was apparently the result of head injuries after he fell.
Either way, three deaths in one race is unacceptable and hopefully we can learn from this to prevent similar tragedies in the future.