Monday, August 11, 2008

A Apolitical Blues

Telephone is ringin', they told me it was Chairman Mao
Telephone is ringin', they told me it was Chairman Mao
Well, I don't care who it is
I just don't want to talk to him now
-- Little Feat, "A Apolitical Blues"

Over the weekend, while I was at my mother-in-law's funeral, I saw that the McCain campaign had launched an ad comparing Barack Obama to the Antichrist. We have reached a whole new level of surreal absurdity. I hear Barack has "333" tattooed on the backs of both wrists. Put 'em together, and what have you got?

I hate politics. How in God's name did we ever reach a point where these kinds of ads could be launched, and where people might actually take them seriously? What next? Barack with devil's horns? I hear you can do amazing things with Photoshop. Not that I was particularly tempted, but remind me not to vote for John McCain. Just out of general principle.

I think I'll watch the Olympics instead.


John McCollum said...



Now that don't even make no sense.

Andy Whitman said...

You add the "333" on his left wrist with the "333" on his right wrist, and you've got Hell to pay. But the analogy is perhaps too subtle for the McCain camp. Just give Barack horns and a pitchfork, I say.

Anonymous said...

It is at least worth pointing out that the "Anti-Christ" ad is tongue-in-cheek, presumably a reductio ad absurdam of the effusive praise heaped on Obama. They are playing along in the honoured role of court jester.

It may still be a stupid ad -- I think that it is -- but it isn't quite as stupid as it would be if it were serious.

Andy Whitman said...

M. Stephen Lamb wrote:

"...presumably a reductio ad absurdam of the effusive praise heaped on Obama."

Thin-skinned Obama-loving bloggers obviously don't get it. Even the slightest critical word of the New Jesus (admit it, he's got big ears!) seems to set them rolling across the floor on a tantrum that would make even a four-year old brat blush.

Gee, can't we all just get along? Gag me, man.


Sorry to offend you. I'd love to get along.

I certainly agree that the McCain ad is absurd. In fact, that's precisely the word that came to mind when I viewed the commercial.

Merriam-Webster defines the word thusly:

1: ridiculously unreasonable, unsound, or incongruous (e.g., an absurd argument)
2: having no rational or orderly relationship to human life : meaningless (e.g., an absurd universe); also : lacking order or value (e.g., an absurd existence)
3: dealing with the absurd or with absurdism (e.g., absurd theater)

Definition #1 certainly applies to the ad, and #2 applies tangentially, so I'm not sure we disagree too much.

Of course, "absurd" doesn't necessarily indicate "funny," and that's where I think we might disagree. Videos featuring apocalyptic imagery that links the end of the world with a particular political candidate don't really get me rolling in the aisles. They do prey on fear, which is I suspect their purpose. Forty-four million people read those "Left Behind" books. Fear sells. And it probably sells in that McCain ad, as well. It's just kind of a cynical, manipulative and untrue game to play, don't you think?

anchors said...

and talking about it ad nauseum isn't just promoting it more?

Andy Whitman said...

"Ad nauseum"? Two posts? Sure, whatever.

anchors said...

I guess what I meant Andy is that the more its talked about, the more it pisses you off, then I guess I would say they are succeeding. You know, at being all-around douchebags. Maybe its time to talk about the good of Obama, instead of the dipshitness of the McCain campaign. And I know based on how good of a writer you are, that it should be pretty easy for ya :)

Joe Koch said...

Let's also not forget that Obama is absurd himself. I certainly can't stand McCain, but is Obama any better? Sure, he takes the high road (a.k.a. the "not stupid" road) as far as campaign advertising is concerned, but his empty rhetoric sounds like an Aretha song (change, change, change...chain of fools...). I won't be voting this year. In the word of Stan Marsh: "Why should I be forced to decide between a giant douche and a turd sandwich?"

Darren said...

The world needs Lowell George. Now more than ever.


Anonymous said...

"Sorry to offend you. I'd love to get along.

Sorry to disappoint, but not only was no offense taken, I am well pleased to see it now. I am quite sure the American voter is learning more each and every day that Obama's ultra thin skin is a sure disqualification for the job of President. Polls seems to bearing this out, too.

Hey, better we see the real Obama now than later, eh? I think it'll make getting along in the future a lot easier, if we choose the right SOB today.

Andy Whitman said...

Well, Stephen, I guess I interpreted statements like "thin-skinned Obama-loving bloggers obviously don't get it" and "a tantrum that would make even a four-year-old brat blush" as, perhaps, just a smidgen harsh and judgmental. What do you think?

I'm commenting about John McCain's campaign tactics, not his or Obama's overall presidential qualifications. And I'll stand by my earlier statements. His last two major ad campaigns, which have compared Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears on one hand, and to the Anti-Christ on the other, are as outlandish and over-the-top as any ads in campaign history. Let's see, on one hand McCain compares a young Senator to two non-talents best known for their partying lifestyles, and who appear to have the critical thinking abilities of acorn squash. And on the other hand he compares him to the single most repulsive and alarming figure in the Christian Bible. Can Hitler be far behind? Yeah, it's a joke, I know. That's funny. Did you hear the hilarious story about the black man lynched by good ol' white boys? Maybe that one should come before the Hitler references.

In contrast, I will simply note that Barack Obama has launched an ad campaign where he focuses on his own qualifications without denigrating or insulting his opponent. Neither strategy is, in itself, sufficient reason to vote for either candidate. But one strategy tells me a whole lot more about one candidate than I suspect he really wanted to communicate.

anchors said...

I forgot to ask, where can I find this ad?

Andy Whitman said...

Scott, you can watch it right here:

anchors said...

Thanks for the link Andy. I watched it. Maybe I've become too cynical or I just don't care about the two major parties anymore and will pursue the 3rd-party route again, cause I didn't have much of a reaction besides a shrug.

Anonymous said...

"Did you hear the hilarious story about the black man lynched by good ol' white boys? Maybe that one should come before the Hitler references."

Ah, the race-card cometh! Just "a smidgen harsh and judgmental," perhaps? Tit for tat, eh?

Nah, I don't think so. Demonstrating absurdity with absurdity is a very clever tactic, if you can pull it off. The fact that it bugs you all so much only suggests that it worked just as the McCainiacs intended.

I mean, McCain used Moses in his Hilton ad, too. What? Comparing Obama to Hilton & Moses in the same ad isn't funny? Or is being funny a sure sign that McCain must be in the same league as racist lynchers and Adolf Hitler?

Yer more than a bit off, dude, and it shows. Take a break from the Kool-aid for a while. Better yet, take a long cold shower and click on yer own link.

Watch it again and again until ya laugh out loud. Then maybe you can pull the Obama lever with a little smile on you face instead of the ugly "No! No! No! God damn America!" frown.

MSL :)

Andy Whitman said...

We apparently see the world differently. And have very different senses of humor. Fearmongering and scaring all the fundies with threats of a false Messiah doesn't make me laugh. Sorry. It's just dirty politics as usual. I'm not going to waste any more time here.