Monday, April 2, 2007

Am I the only one tired of the "Hillary/1984" hype?

Okay, for anyone who's missed it, here's the clip that's had its viral 15 minutes of fame, and then some.

There are those out there--including people whose opinion on many topics I respect--who think this is the future of political communication.

I'm not one of them.

I have no beef with the technical expertise it demonstrates but, substantively, I think the Hillary/Big Brother metaphor is silly and doesn't connect. So--Hillary is Big Brother? Or is it that Obama is the Mac? (Probably not the latter--market share's too small.) Does anyone but the most ferociously partisan Obama supporter think that Hillary's "conversation" theme puts her in the same league with an icon of global totalitarianism (or with IBM/Windows, whichever is worse)?


If we're going to praise that digital non sequitur, why don't we go ga-ga over these yet-to-be-digitized pop-culture references, while we're at it?

Obama digitized as Rick Blaine, Clinton digitized as Ilsa Lund:
Obama: But I've got a job to do, too. I'm going to be President. In the White House. Where I'm going, you can't follow.

Obama digitized as Rhett Butler, Clinton digitized as Scarlett O'Hara:
Clinton: Barak, Barack . . . Barack, if you go to the White House, where shall I go? What shall I do?
Obama: Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

Obama digitized as Ross Geller, Clinton digitized as Rachael Green:
Obama: We were on a break!

Obama digitized as a young girl, sitting in a meadow pulling petals off a daisy; Clinton digitized as a mushroom cloud rising from a nuclear explosion:
Obama: Ten . . . nine . . . eight . . . seven . . . six . . . five . . . four . . . three . . . two . . . one . . .

[nuclear detonation, mushroom cloud rises, Clinton's face appears out of the center]

Clinton: These are the stakes--you must vote for me, or you must die.

In each case, if you're an Obama fan, the point is obvious and in your guy's favor (and, one imagines, you'll forgive and forget how little sense it makes). If you're not, its meaning is totally obscure--but, in this conversation, who cares what you think?

It's really not much more than an old Diet Coke commercial amped up to the next level--the latest gee-whiz technology linking pop-culturally cool images with a product to which they otherwise have no obvious connection, simply because the technology lets you do it. If it's that technologically sophisticated, so the thinking goes, it must mean something, right?

Let's move on, shall we?


Torrid said...

I didn't get it either. She's an Ice Queen, sure--but when did she become the Iron Hand of The Man (or Woman?)

I was shocked that people actually believed Obama's camp put that out. What, in quest of the Obscurist Political Attack award?

Do I think that political advertising has gone stale, and that in the near future this kind of mash-up treatment will be copied and extended, sometimes for good and many times for ill? No doubt.

Nothstine said...

I'm afraid you're right. The downhill slide probably began the day some genius decided to "re-make" the famous 1964 Johnson re-elect "daisy ad."

<Check out the story if you were spared the first time around.)

Remaking the "daisy ad" has to be right up there with remaking "Psycho" on the list of things that just didn't need to be done. Remaking the Mac/1984 ad can't be very far behind.