The president has challenged us to be more civil.
I know just where to start -- I'm canceling Sprint.
My reason: three commercials that beat the drum for incivility.
Each of these commercials features two characters -- a jerk and a decent person cast as a schmuck.
And in every case, the Sprint customer is the jerk.
Let me give you the tour.
First: the "holiday" commercial that Sprint ran in December. It's no longer accessible on the Web, but here's the scene. Location: an All-American suburb. Two characters: The Jerk and the Schmuck. The Jerk stands in the street. The Schmuck stands in front of his house, which he has decorated with holiday lights. The Jerk has just texted the Schmuck: Your house is an eyesore. Then he e-mails the Schmuck to tell him his holiday card is ho-ho-rendous.
Clearly, the Jerk cares nothing about civil relations with his neighbor.
He has only one concern: Sprint gives him one low price for lots of features.
The other commercials dramatize the same idea.
In one, a phone-obsessed doctor ignores a professional football player who's suffered a season-ending injury. (Kudos to Sprint for overriding any concern for correctness -- the heartless doctor is white, the player he couldn't care less about is African-American.)
And then there's the bitch who breaks up with her boyfriend by e-mail -- even though they're sitting across the table from one another.
The message of this campaign: Sprint cherishes customers who are socially inept.
No, that's too mild.
It's more like this: Sprint craves customers who are pathologically hostile -- indeed, given the Jerk's inability to look his neighbor in the eye, you might wonder if he has guns in his house, and what kind, and if he's capable of spraying the block with bullets.
Sprint, I'm sure, finds these commercials funny. And maybe 100 focus groups agreed. No matter. This is snarky, nasty, offensive work.
In all our years with this service, Sprint never dropped calls, sent phony bills, peppered us with offers to upgrade. But we get the message: our personalities are too good for this carrier. So... we're outta here.
I'm feeling more civil already.