“Things are getting interesting…” This ad campaign FASCINATES me. The image to the right graces a billboard in Jersey City that I see all the time. Commuters from Jersey to NYC see it just before they get to the Holland Tunnel. The first time I saw it, the message blew my mind. It seems to be saying, “These girls might kiss…or at least touch each other. You know why? They’re DRUNK!” The message is clarified (and made weirder) by the ad that plays, animation style, on the wall of the PATH on the way into the city. Two women get closer and closer, grabbing each other’s necklaces, and generally acting like they’re about to tear each other’s clothes off. This ad features a creepy guy, hanging in the background, watching the proceedings. “Things are getting interesting…because these girls are DRUNK!”

So what is going on here? Are there theological ramifications here? Does it have human nature implications? I had a friend in college who suggested to me that drunkenness brings out the true nature of the drinker. I argued, at the time, that one’s self-control, one’s ability to censor oneself, is integral to one’s “self.” I’ve changed my mind about that.

Michael Richards and Mel Gibson, who both went on racist rants while drunk, claimed that they’re “not really like that.” They don’t really have those feelings, etc. However, the rest of us suspect differently: we suspect that Richards and Gibson are actually racists, or at least harbor some racist feelings, and that the drunkenness lowered their ordinary defenses against the “real” them.
So this begs the question: who is the real you? Is the real you the one that you hide from the world? Billy Joel’s Stranger? Or is the hiding process, the self-censorship, an important part of the real you? As a minister, and a Christian, I feel compelled to ask about the theological implications. It goes a long way toward showing you my mania that I begin thinking theologically about a billboard on the highway. Christian theology suggests that the real you is the stranger that you keep hidden from the rest of the world.

Romans 3:10-12 says, “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

Jesus talks about this, too: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean” (Matt 23:27).

As stringent as this sounds, all it’s really saying (for our pithy purposes) is that the drunk you might be the real you. There are good reasons to cover it up, but Remy Martin seems to be encouraging you to let it out. Remy Martin is appealing to Freud’s id, to the basest part of all of us, the part that wants to see what two attractive people will do to each other when too drunk to stop themselves.