Culture

Danica Patrick sniffs at animal activists for getting GoDaddy puppy ad pulled

Technically Incorrect: The GoDaddy Super Bowl ad, which mocked Budweiser's puppy ads, should have aired, says the famous driver and GoDaddy spokeswoman.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Danica Patrick and recently sold dog in GoDaddy ad. GoDaddy/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Thin is the line between activism and an utter lack of humor.

Danica Patrick seems a little resigned to the idea that the line is so marginal that sometimes it's invisible to the human eye.

Patrick, you see, is the longtime face of GoDaddy. She appeared in the company's Super Bowl ad this year. Yes, the one that never ran during the Super Bowl.

It mocked Budweiser's puppy ads. In this case, the little white pooch was lost, but desperate to get home. We wept tears of relief and joy, as it finally made it. Tears of laughter then coursed down us when the puppy's owner revealed: "Look, it's Buddy. I'm so glad you made it home. Because I just sold you on this website I built with GoDaddy."

No sooner had the "Today Show" featured the ad than some with an animal-obsessed bent railed that this was cruel. One commenter on the GoDaddy blog said: "You spit in the face of rescue."

To which Patrick would like to sing Aretha's "Rescue Me," with the words "from this lack of a funny bone."

Speaking before this weekend's Daytona 500, she said, according to USA Today: "I don't think anything in this culture surprises me anymore."

And why should it? We're a society fascinated by cats going round and round a hamster wheel, as well as cars going round and round a track.

Still, explaining her opposition to such activist screeching, she added: "People have opinions about everything and especially when you get into that world of animal rights or tree rights or whatever rights, they all have an opinion."

It's not hard to fancy that some -- or even many -- of those who get bees in their bonnets about wasps and cats were also among the first to slap a #JeSuisCharlie hashtag on their Twitter feeds.

Too often, the definition of freedom of speech seems to be: Say what you like, as long as I don't really hate it.

Perhaps life has marinated me excessively, but I saw no cruelty in this ad. There's surely been far more in YouTube videos in which dogs are made to push shopping carts.

Still, GoDaddy offered profuse apologies and ran a blessedly forgettable ad during the big game. Patrick praised Blake Irving, the company's CEO in how he handled the situation.

She tossed out, though, another potentially tasty morsel for the activists to seize upon and mercilessly chew up until it dissolves: Patrick admitted that she, too, had bought her dog online.

Will she face opposition at Daytona this weekend? Will activists attempt to drag her by her hair from her car, in order to protest in the strongest terms? Will they demand that she wear plastic leathers?

Anyway, I always thought a touch of inherent cruelty was a prerequisite for a Nascar driver.