Image courtesy of FunnyorDie.com
I wasn’t going to say anything, as a resident of Los Angeles, but someone has to stand up to defend the integrity of Tinseltown. It’s really an outrage that John McCain’s latest campaign ad puts Barack Obama in the same category as our local heroes Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, who provide one of our city’s most sustainable and renewable exports–pictures of themselves in compromising positions. If every American child can’t grow up aspiring to become famous for doing nothing, this country may one day be saddled with a horrible deficit of material for reality TV.
But just when my outrage over this ad was getting the best of me, I was given an assignment from CNN to review the political ads of campaigns past. I’d like to recommend this to everyone as a very useful exercise in perspective.
Up until now, I have remained immune to the supposed charms of YouTube, so whenever someone e-mails me a note inviting me to see the video of a cat on fire or the guy doing the evolution of dance (something that has been viewed an astounding 94 million times), I remain unseduced. However, buried between the weird and the tangential are the seminal ads of past election seasons, which really are deserving of a second look.
You could simply hole up and watch the them until E-Day on November 4, something to consider if you’ve been laid off and are trying to spend less on gas. But to save time, I’ve picked out a few winners to review.
Remember that Morning in America Reagan ad?
Shot in what I like to call Old-Timey Time (O-TT), the ad reflects an apocryphal era in America when everyone looked forward to getting up the morning. Personally, I have never had a morning that resembles anything like the one depicted in this spot. Where’s the desperate caffeine consumption? Where’s the frantic search for the car keys? Where are the whining children? And where are the black people? Yes, one lone black child sneaks in near the last frame of the spot and watches a flag being raised, but that’s it. And if you think those days have disappeared from political ads, take a gander at Chris Dodd’s Senate ad, made only last year. Nothing says Old-Timey Time more than a WASPy barber in a bowtie; it’s a good measure of how far we haven’t come. I’m willing to bet we see more O-TT ads as the election gets closer.