The video: A new Budweiser commercial has stirred debate over whether its soldier protagonist is gay. (Watch it below.) In the spot, a military man serving overseas calls another man and says "Hey, man. It's me. I'm coming home." Cut to the soldiers' friends and family preparing a beer-centric surprise party for his homecoming — at which he vigorously embraces his telephone pal. On April 25, Michael Jensen at After Elton, a gay-themed pop-culture website, suggested that the commercial comes off as "pretty gay." Was Budweiser intending a pro-gay message?
The reaction: "Budweiser doesn't launch an ad without a lot of corporate handwringing, so the ambiguities — and their multiple readings — are likely intentional," says Adam Weinstein at Mother Jones. And that's a milestone. The fact that we can even "posit... the ambiguous possibility of a gay-soldier relationship as a selling-point for domestic beer" is a sign that "we've turned a corner culturally (and economically)." The ad's mystery, says Jim Edwards at BNET, might be a good thing. "The worst thing that Budweiser could do is make any statement about the ad at all," he says. "If it denies the two men are gay, that would be homophobic. If it confirms they are gay, that will anger conservatives who are the beer’s base." Whereas if the company remains silent, "everybody wins." Judge for yourself below: