Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.



A friend pointed me to this political "video mashup" that uses the old Ridley Scott Apple ad as its basis. First the video:

I don't spend a lot of time cruising YouTube myself though I do visit when pointed to a good video by someone else, so I had totally missed this until yesterday. I also don't watch TV news or talk shows so I missed the media coverage, missed Obama on Larry King being asked about it and so forth.

I haven't seen a lot of feedback from the "moms of 11 year olds" crowd but but the few who have commented seem to be much more inclined to see the ad as a negative, as a "disturbing" trend because of the anonymousness of the creator. The couple of news reports that I've seen have at least been much more balanced than the comments on the YouTube video itself. I find myself in agreement with this quote:

The ad is proof that "anybody can do powerful emotional ads ... and the campaigns are no longer in control," Rosenberg said. "It will no longer be a top-down candidate message; that's a 20th century broadcast model."

You definitely hear the bewilderment and bitterness from some of the old school political types. In another quote 'Gardner said the success of "Hillary 1984" means that now "every candidate will have to worry about some guy with a video camera and a Mac being able to do whatever he or she wants."'

How funny it is that "every candidate" will have to worry about empowered citizens making full use of their constitutional rights. Unregulated free speech, political parody, how dare "some guy" make a powerful political statement all on his own... surely that's the domain of corporate sponsors or those Swift Boat Veterans-type groups alone. Reminds me of the bitterness you hear from the mainstream media over the influence of bloggers. Generally, I say hooray for an empowered, passionate, active citizenry! I think the internet is such a fantastic tool for empowering individuals. The fact that we can even have this conversation (over the internet!) is inspirational. At the founding of our country, we would have had to own and operate a printing press to have this kind of opportunity.

So, do you think the Apple/Obama thing qualifies as an attack ad? I didn't take it that way at all. It shows preference for one candidate over another, it uses powerful images by putting Clinton in the role of the bad guy from the famous commercial... but it doesn't make false claims against her, doesn't call her names, even her running commentary throughout the commercial isn't inflammatory or anything (shoot, she's talking about jump starting the conversation about the direction of the country... hardly the ravings of a mad woman or something she couldn't stand behind regardless of the anti-Clinton tone of the ad). Compare that to the despicable attack ads against Harold Ford, Jr. during the recent mid-term elections: funded by the RNC themselves! The true "attack ad" enthusiasts are already out there and are already totally dominating political discourse outside of the internet.

How about the idea that Obama is somehow responsible or obligated to disavow the ad and it's "message" because it's pro-Obama and anti-Clinton? I've seen some pretty vitriolic commentary along those lines. Another quote from those articles I linked to "In some ways, it's the democratization of the campaign process, but it's not something that we had anything to do with or were aware of and that, frankly, given what it looks like, we don't have the technical capacity to create something like this. It's pretty extraordinary," Obama told Larry King. Personally, I think that suffices.



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Blogger Elaine Vigneault Says:

I have mixed feelings about this ad and also about the notion that the Internet empowers us. Regardless though, I enjoyed reading your post and thinking about your thoughts on the subject. :)


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