Benedictions: The Pope in America

Bobblehad.jpgThe pope is very green–as in eco-minded–but his zucchetto, or skullcap, has to be white. That’s one lesson the Washington metro authority learned, the hard way, when it had to yank a YouTube promo video encouraging people to take the Metro to Nationals Stadium to see the papal mass next week. The video featured a popular Bobblehead doll of the pope riding o the subway (as we call it in NYC). According to the Washington Post, the archdiocese of Washington wasn’t happy that “Our concern is that this was a bad bobblehead,” said Susan Gibbs, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Washington told the Post. “You had unauthorized merchandise, and you had a misdressed pope.” The bobblehead in the Metro video wears a red skull cap and a red cape. “Popes don’t wear red skull caps,” and they don’t wear red capes, only white ones.My favorite part is that the bobblehead rides the train next to a man reading “Car and Pontiff” magazine. The mock-up of the magazine was also done by Metro media relations. In the video (which has unfortunately been yanked from YouTube) the man reading “Car and Pontiff” turns to the bobblehead and asks in Latin, “Car in shop?” Then he flips to the last page, which shows an ad about taking Metro to the Mass. “Thank Heaven for Metro,” the man intones, according to the Post piece. Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said “this was all part of our tongue-in-cheek attempt at humor,” but the trasit folks voluntarily pulled the ad. The Washington archdiocese has done great work leading up to the visit, both in getting news out to the media and in arranging fun and tasteful contests and promos to generate excitement in the church. It’s a huge undertaking. But I think they could have given the Bobblehead ad a pass. All for a good cause, you know. UPDATE: The YouTube video lives! Watch it. After viewing it, I’m even more confused as to the problem. It’s actually a very sensible public service ad. IMHO.

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