There was an article a year or so ago, perhaps Haggis linked to it here on the bulletin board, about how we've lost the ability to use ridicule as a weapon in this war. Our over-consciousness to sensitivity has left us incapable of using a powerful tool.
The article notes that, with the exception of The Onion's September 2001 article about Hijackers surprised to find themselves in Hell, published in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, we have been unwilling to poke fun at the terrorists, out of fear either of offending Islam or out of fear of reprisals as in the Danish cartoon incident. Other than a handful of e-mail jokes that we snicker at in private and forward to people in our circle, we are unwilling to joke about the war or the terrorists, and that is a bad thing. It leaves the impression that we are more afraid of them than we have been of other threats in our past: Hitler, Mussolini, Hirohito, the Soviet Union, all have been ridiculed in cartoons, newspaper columns, and advertising, but not Islamic terrorists.
Are we now so afraid that we've lost our sense of humour? I think the car ad is clever. I'm sure they know they run the risk of offending some, even of losing some customer base as a result of it, but I assume they've weighed that risk.
As it stands, they'll probably get the advertising value as a result of the newspaper articles, even if the ad never airs. The ad will probably slip into the e-mail circuit, and will be able to be seen there. Political correctness will have won another round, and terror will have won another victory, proving that we are so terrified of them that we can't make fun at their expense.
Quod scripsi, scripsi.