In theory, the MTA’s new campaign urging passengers to be more courteous to one another is hard to argue with: Yes, definitely, you should give up your seat if there’s a person standing up nearby who is pregnant/elderly/on crutches/etc. It shouldn’t take an ad campaign to remind people that this sort of thing is basic human decency (even Keanu knows to do it!), but this is where we are at as a society.
But that campaign, however well-intentioned it may be, is still a bit preachy. Telling passengers to “stand up for what’s right” is a curious value-judgment to hear from a disembodied announcer on the train–and in this comedy short, directed by Andy Zou and written by comedians Megan Sass and Gianmarco Soresi, the voice gets even more specific about what sort of behaviors are officially endorsed by the MTA.
The video, called “MTA Shames NYC,” starts off with a real announcement regarding offering a seat to a person who may have difficulty standing. From there, the voice gets decidedly more controversial vis-a-vis what it considers right and wrong: Racial profiling (wrong), litter (wrong), recycling (right), war (wrong), dogs (right), soy chai lattes (wrong), and more. The short was filmed on the A train, the writers told CityLab, in the corner of a car that the cast and crew rode to the end of the line. Which, when you think about it, is actually kind of discourteous–maybe an announcement that public transportation isn’t just for people making hilarious short films is in order?