Saturday, March 08, 2008

MANUFACTURING INSPIRATION. I was alerted by Ann Althouse to this attempted viral vid for McCain. Althouse thinks it's brilliant:
We see images from the past (intercut with views of the galaxy). Images of Churchill and Roosevelt seem to embody a mystical sense of tradition. Even though I was trying to look at this ad with a critical eye, I kept getting chills. At one point — TR looking out onto a crowd — I thought: This is the feeling of being conservative — it is a deep emotional sense that the past matters and flows into the present and makes sense out of the future.
The problem -- well, one of the problems -- with the video is that "being conservative" apparently means attempting the inspirational charge of Obama videos with some of the same technology but none of the actual inspiration.

I am sympathetic to the McCainiacs in this instance, as my own world view would be best represented by quotes from Carlyle's History of the French Revolution and Celine's Journey to the End of the Night, and the music of Roky Erickson. The McCain vid is no less hallucinogenic and hopeless as a firestarter.

It attempts to marry Churchill's "We will fight them on the beaches" and Theodore Roosevelt's "Man in the Arena" speeches with McCain's noble Vietnam sacrifice. But what gives Althouse "chills" will probably get a chilly reception from voters taught a mere four years ago by the then-powerful Republican Party to disregard John Kerry's Vietnam service. However much conservatives complain about disrespect for our fighting men, their 2004 Swift Boat campaign (and its dry-run, the 2002 campaign against Max Cleland) fatally closed a circle on Vietnam veterans: if liberals made their cause suspect, conservatives -- perhaps never suspecting that they would one day need to cash the chips -- made its servants untrustworthy for electoral purposes.

Conservatives have been aggressive about trying to dispel the smoke and smash the mirrors of the Obama media enterprise. I suppose they think that, because disillusionment has been so successful a part of their stock in trade for years, they will win with it one more time. Maybe so. But when they try to use for their own purposes the kind of media magic they've spent years debunking, they shouldn't be surprised when it doesn't go over.

They will be surprised, of course, or will profess to be. For them, media tricks are something only the other side uses, and when they appear to work, it's outright fascism. But their own media machine cannot be crying "fascist" all the time, and must attempt, when votes are needed, to manufacture inspiration. No wonder their efforts are so feeble. In the real world, when a client has cut its ad agency off at the knees, the commercials always turn out to be crap.

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