Whittle: Supporting male greatness

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Some TV commercials are so stupid, I instantly click to the weather.

But there's a current one I like, to wit, the "Jockey" brand men's underwear commercial that closes its television spot with this robust manly claim: "Supporting Greatness!"

I think most men can identify with male under garments that claim to be "supporting greatness," whether it's true or not.

And I believe in the value of advertising that paid my mostly-modest media salary the past 50 years.
That recent TV commercial about male drawers made by the "Jockey" Co. takes me back to 1993, when as a foreign war correspondent, I caught some personal flack over a protective flak jacket while flying on U.S. military war machines over war-torn Bosnia.

My assignment for the hometown newspaper back in Tennessee was to cover the Tennessee Air National Guard and brave C-130 flight crews, flying relief missions of food, medicine and water to starving war refugees in Europe's latest holocaust where one brand of people, the Bosnian Serbs, were attempting genocide of folks not of their ethnic, political and religious persuasion.

You might get an understanding of my liking the recent TV commercial uplifting male undergarments "supporting greatness" by reading what now retired Lt. Col. Guard Public Information Officer Hooper Penuel of Lascassas penned as a chapter in my first published book: "Canalou: People, Culture, Bootheel Town."

As I said before, I believe in marketing.

But, Penuel best tells the story: "During our most dangerous missions over Sarajevo and Srebrenica, Bosnia, where our aircraft was hit multiple times by Serbian ground fire, Whittle decided to promote by attaching "Canalou" and "Toot's Restaurant" T-shirts to food and medicine parcels going out of our Guard C-130 aircraft to starving and wounded civil war refugees. I still wouldn't be surprised to see one of those T-shirts on CNN."

But now, as the late great radio Paul Harvey liked to say: "The Rest of the Story."

Penuel shares the details: "Before our flights into combat zones, we were issued flak jackets and Kevlar helmets for protection against possible enemy fire over Bosnia.

"Well, Whittle, the wonder boy from Canalou, Mo., knew what to do with his flak jacket. Lo and behold, we found him sitting on not one, but two flak jackets.

"When asked for an explanation, Whittle replied thusly: 'The Serbs don't have an air force. They're shooting from the ground up at our relief-flying planes. So in case I want to have a family one day, well, I'm sitting on my flak jackets ... you know, protecting the family jewels.' We took that to be some Canalou-inspired country boy logic, Whittle-style."

That analogy should help explain why I like male underwear Jockey brand TV commercial's claim of their male underwear: "Supporting Greatness."

And that's all I have to say about that!!

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Dan Whittle
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