Monday, March 10, 2008

The Medium is the Monster, Part 2

The more that comes out about Hillary Clinton's "3 A. M." ad, the less likely I am to in any way support her continuing political career at any level. Within its soft yet sinister storybook implications, it is a prime product of desperation and fear-mongering. It is a deftly composed yet stodgily old-fashioned dose of anti-hope, anti-bravery. And Hillary Clinton approved this message. She said so herself.

This ad looks like one of those ads on TV for a drug, where the side-effects are summarily buried behind Utopian pictures of soft ecstasy and rampant, even rapturous pleasure, as if the only real side-effect is a world in which everyone is smiling and making even the most mundane everyday tasks child's play... all in slow motion.

Friday, I said the medium is the monster. Or I should say media, plural. The media are the monsters. And then I was referring to the media outside the campaigns. But the media hired by the campaigns are monsters of a sort as well. They, like the pharmaceutical ads, are not meant to be informative. They are drug pushers, ripe not with information but with propaganda. Anyone who forms their options or decides their vote in any way swayed by a television ad is a victim. These ads are designed to victimize voters.

And so, once again, I've got to offer up my suggestion that all political campaign ads be limited to the candidate speaking into a camera, point blank, with no voice overs, no sentimental images, no slow mo, no flags, no pep rallies, no ad agency gimmicks, whether mundane or monstrous. Just the candidate facing the viewer, face to face. And then we'd see the candidates taking more responsibility for what's out there. At least they'd be speaking every word themselves, not just signing off on the work of others.


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