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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

CRUDITY AT THE TOP

"My first time voting was amazing. It was this line in the sand. Before I was a girl, now I was a woman. I went to the polling station, I pulled back the curtain, I voted for Barack Obama."

There's a topic about politics right now I'd really like to write about, but I can't on this blog because it would almost require me to post videos and quotes that I'd either have to censor until it looked like a cartoon sailor swearing or post directly and violate one of my personal rules about the blog's content.
I am not really sure how to go about it, but basically the topic is this: The Democrats, in particular the Obama reelection effort, are continually using the most crass, crude, and low of tone to try to reach out to young voters and seem fresh.  The use of swear words - from the president himself, even - sexual themes, and shock value tone has become petty strong lately.
  • The vice president asked a man at his son's funeral about the size of his son's testicles.
  • The president referred to Romney's speeches in terms of bovine excrement.
  • A video put out by the Obama reelection team compared voting for Obama with having sex for the first time, based on a Russian ad for Putin (and, apparently that was based on an Australian ad).
  • Michael Moore put out an ad filled with older people swearing continually about physical attacks on Mitt Romney.
It actually goes on and on, with example after example of crudity and the kind of humor and approach a Middle Schooler would take.  Literally.  I can't forget when my 8th grade social studies teachers tried to put on a debate in which they had one class take the side of the Spartans and one class the Greeks and have a debate about which was better.
I learned a lot in my study, but what happened with the debate was that 8th grade boys were in charge, so it ended up a giggling match over the use of the word "fag" and homosexual behavior in both communities and the entire debate fell to pieces.
And that's what this whole campaign reminds me of.  Not only do these ads and comments often not make a lot of sense, but they feel like they were put together by children, nasty children.  The entire tone of the president's campaign has a nasty feel to it, like someone you wouldn't want around your kids.
There's a lot wrong with this, but it reminds me most of advertisers who run bizarre, shocking, or uncomfortable ads not to get their product sold so much as to go "viral" and get mentioned a lot and passed around online.  The idea is that an ad shows only once and tends to get ignored on TV but  viral videos and images get passed around and looked at voluntarily, so you get better exposure - and a higher profile as an ad company.
Does that sell more product?  I don't know.  But it appears the Obama campaign is following the same principle: TV ads get skipped, nobody is buying bumper stickers and yard signs much these days, and people don't care for the calls or block them.  But if you can get Obama to go viral its a win!
The problem is, viral videos are watched and laughed at because they're ridiculous and fun, and I am not convinced that necessarily translates into purchases.  Just because you have fun watching Chester Cheetah or whatever doesn't mean you then want to go buy Cheetos.  We know for certain that the "Breakfast with the King" creepy ads didn't help Burger King's sales at all, but they were hugely popular and won lots of awards.
And what's worse is that in an attempt to go viral, the ads are scraping the bottom of the barrel, they're the lowest appeal, the kind of thing drunk, fat, and stupid frat boys guffaw over like the latest Jack Black or Will Farrell movie.  These efforts are an appeal to undignified, immature, and slightly sleazy people, directed at people who think a girl moussing her hair with semen (There's Something About Mary) is the funniest thing ever.
Its the sort of approach to life that mocks any propriety, believes the word "appropriate" is wicked and intolerant, that reaches for the lowest common denominator, and believes immaturity and childish giggles at sex are the best we can hope for.
There's just no dignity in this approach, no honor, and no gravity.  A president who engages in this kind of thing can't be taken seriously.  Vladimir Putin's continual faux macho posing with his shirt off holding a deer someone shot for him or President Obama with a baseball bat by the resolute desk is the same kind of idea, its a man who wants to be liked and considered cool, not respected and considered capable.
It reflects a cartoonish, childish view of the world, and worse of the American people, a president who truly seems to believe that comparing voting for him is like a girl losing her virginity, and its hilarious and edgy to riff on that.
Small wonder President Obama didn't even consider giving Bill Maher back his million dollars despite his outrageously crude and disgusting statements about Republican women.  He was probably giggling and nodding along.  We already knew the president had a sophomoric tendency to flip people off "accidentally" when he thinks he's won but this has gone too open and above board.
I know most of the left's defense of this is just knee-jerk, after all it wasn't that long ago they were shocked shocked by Vice President Cheney growling at Patrick Leahy to "F--- off,"  all in vapors that a man a heartbeat from the presidency would consider using such language!  Much fluttering of fans and fainting was involved then.  Now they giggle and thumbs up as the president calls Mitt Romney a "bullsh**er."  Why?  Because its their dude and now its cool!
But at the same time it does betray a certain loss of elegance, dignity, respectability, and reverence for the office an public interaction.  You can hear swearing regularly on the streets, yelling out loud without shame or restraint.  Ad campaigns use profanity bleeped out to be funny (Frank's Red Hot).  You can hardly hear a sentence from most movies without at least one swear word, and its become standard to think that unless people swear constantly they aren't "real" or "genuine."
I'm just shocked that such an approach is even being considered, let alone engaged in so openly and gleefully.  Its as if the drunken frat boy with his hand on the cardboard breast of a Hillary Clinton cutout in the infamous 2008 picture has taken over the White House.
Gone are Hope and Change and soaring, idealistic rhetoric and concepts, and in its place we have giggling middle schoolers flipping off the teacher and looking at porn on their smart phone.  And this man wants your vote?
If women want to be truly mature, if you really want to be less a girl and more a woman, you move away from guys like that.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not too put off when an occasional profanity escape's someones lips when they are worked up. I'm guilty of that myself, but it is nonetheless rather rude.
When it's more than occasional it reflects a limited intellect and lack of maturity. At that point it neither intimidates, nor shocks; it only arouses disgust. People that act that way lose all respect in my eyes.
HK

11:41 AM, October 30, 2012  
Blogger Arkadiy said...

In the interest of fairness, "I cannot do that to myself" from Clint Eastwood at Republican National Convention should also be mentioned. Both parties do it.

2:17 PM, November 05, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't tell a difference between one comment by an actor and continual use by the president of the US and others at the White House? Seriously?

7:37 AM, August 07, 2013  

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