Chill Out About the Half Time Shout Out

Half time at the Super Bowl brought us Half Time in America. Half-way through the ad we get a glimpse of the Madison protests. And some people are more than half mad about it.

Alright, all my liberal, leftist, progressive buddies...I think this may be a case in which I have to say...let's take it down a notch. 

I suppose I should start from the beginning...

A long, long time ago...in a political galaxy far, far away, I wrote about a kid and his videos. His name was Matt Wisniewski (still is I imagine, it would be super weird for him to change it) and the date I became fixated on his talent was February 20, 2011.

Last February and March, I spent a considerable amount of time in Madison. I didn't sleep in the tents like many others....I guess I wasn't quite that dedicated. But we made it there when we could and it will forever be a part of my life in which I will take pride and fond nostalgia. 

I suppose that is why the two videos made by this young man made such an impression. The videos were made in a very short time (I know this because I watched them on my computer a short time after having BEEN there during their conception). Anyway, I was pretty impressed so I had to blog about it and even contacted him with my praises. He responded most gratefully and was a nice young fella indeed.

So, let us fast forward to last night. Apparently there was some football game everyone was all excited about…well, semi-excited if you are from Wisconsin. If the Packers aren’t playin’…it's more like watching a little league game. At least, that is what I sensed from my football Facebook friends. Personally, if I am not pinned down or lured with chicken wings and taco dip, I spend Super Bowl Sundays in the bedroom watching Lifetime movies and folding laundry.

Well, as we are all aware, the commercials during this chest thumping sporting event are as almost as popular as the game itself. A 30 second ad runs for 100s of thousands and the creatives behind them spare no expense when trying to get the most approval. Having the best Super Bowl commercial is quite the accolade.

This year, a top contender was a Chrysler commercial narrated by none other than the ultimate of bad asses, Clint Eastwood. He could narrate the instructions on a package of Raman noodles and make it bone chilling. The ad, which can be see HERE, was entitled Halftime in America. It was a montage of pictures and videos of a struggling Detroit and America. And as it went on, it became more of an underdog fight song  - more positive and triumphant in its approach.

The dialogue went from, “People are out of work and they’re hurting” to “We all pulled together” to “We find a way through tough times and if we can’t find a way then we make one.” BAM!! Bad ass, right?

It goes on to give us the message that we will prevail and will do it like heroes. As a city. As a country. As Americans (insert shivers and goosebumps).

At the 49 to 51 second mark in the ad, there is a clip from one of Wisniewski’s brilliant protest videos. If you look at the split shot (which I found on Facebook) you will see that the signs have been edited. It is not clear (to an outsider) that this part of the commercial was from the Madison protests, was union specific or progressive in nature. And boy are people pissed. I mean, WE could tell because we were there. But any reference to our specific fight was changed or morphed from the original.

Many protesters and their supporters have taken this as a big ole diss. They see that their battle, one they have been living for a year now, being commercialized and taken out of context. They see it as a slap in the face from corporate America.

I say…take it easy and calm down.

What did I see when I watched that ad? I saw an obvious Obama nod, that’s what I saw. They (Chrysler) can deny it all they want. Hell, maybe they really didn’t even mean to make it read that way…but guess what, folks? It did. Half way? Better times are coming? Pulling together??? Did you LISTEN to the State of the Union address? I almost wonder if the President didn’t see this ad before giving that speech. Right or wrong, like it or not…that ad was a subliminal (at the very least) campaign endorsement for President Obama’s re-election. And for that, I had to smile.

What else did I see? I saw a commercial giving props to American workers. UNION WORKERS mind you. I saw an ad that didn’t show boobs. I saw an ad that wasn’t focused on guzzling beer. I saw an ad that was positive, encouraging and like I said before….kinda bad ass.

Madison did get it’s shout out, people. More than we would have expected. Wisniewski got his deserved recognition. This was not a slap in the face just because it wasn’t IN our face. They have a product to sell. They need to appeal to a very large base and alienating half of their audience promoting something not everyone understands or supports would not have been the way to do that.

Let us remember, we are not against success and profit. We are against greed and irresponsibility. This ad supported American union workers, it gave a glimpse into that Madison movement that meant so much too many of us and it gave some Obama lovin’. Let the haters on the right get their undies in a bundle. You should be sitting comfortably, my progressive friends.

C. Sanders February 07, 2012 at 03:28 PM
So nice to see an Italian-owned automobile company [Fiat, no less] spearheading the 2nd half comeback of America. While watching the video, went ahead and disassociated myself from the fact that all the good news is coming from the Detroit area with murders up only 20% and unemployment running only 9.8%. Did feel that tingle going up my leg that things are getting better, and that our fair share of everything is just ahead. I must admit, I thoroughly enjoyed the Fiat ad: "Man sees stunning Italian woman — but she’s a car! Perhaps the best illustration of the relationship between buying a car and testosterone I’ve seen in a while."
Heather Rayne Geyer February 07, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Fiat also owns Case in Racine which employs a good portion of our neighbors. As much as I would like to see everything American owned, that just ins't the case right now. And at least the Italians don't have employees jumping to their deaths due to employee abuses. Hell, they have a vacation every other week!!
C. Sanders February 07, 2012 at 03:50 PM
At one time, the Italians did enjoy their "bunga bunga parties" at the highest level of government, I have heard. :~)
Heather Rayne Geyer February 07, 2012 at 03:55 PM
LOL - what's that?
patchreader 123 February 07, 2012 at 04:03 PM
HRG: I was working all day Sunday and missed both the big game and all of the commercials. With regard to the edited sign, can you please post what the sign originally said vs. what it said after being edited? Try as I may, I cannot read all of the text of the signs in the photos you posted. Thanks.
Heather Rayne Geyer February 07, 2012 at 04:10 PM
In the original the sign in the circle says "No to the bill, yes to children" I cannot make out what the edited one says....but I am still searching to see if anyone else has figured it out...will let you know if/when I find it.
patchreader 123 February 07, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Two other, smaller signs appear to be edited as well. One just left of the statue and one at the left border of the photos. What did they say "before and after?" Just curious.
Heather Rayne Geyer February 07, 2012 at 04:15 PM
I did find this... The images from Madison were taken from a historic video by Matt Wisniewski, a Madison photographer whose chronicling of the protests drew international attention and praise. Wisniewski’s original video, from an evening rally at the King Street entrance to the Wisconsin Capitol, features images (at the 2:17 mark in last video) of signs raised by members of Madison Teachers Inc. (MTI), the local education union that played a pivotal role in the protests. One sign features the MTI logo, another reads: “Care About Educators Like They Care for Your Child.” In the Chrysler ad, the MTI logo is missing and the “Care About Educators…” sign is replaced with one featuring an image of an alarm clock. Several other union signs are simply whited out. This is from - http://blog.sfgate.com/hottopics/2012/02/06/chrysler-edits-protesters%E2%80%99-signs-in-super-bowl-ad/
patchreader 123 February 07, 2012 at 04:23 PM
I'm guessing the "MTI" logo was edited out to show no official connection between that organization and Chrysler. Official endorsements can be tricky, and are usually hashed out via contractual agreements. Chrysler was just playing it safe to perhaps avoid any controversy, or maybe litigation (in our litigious world).
Heather Rayne Geyer February 07, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Agreed. It was in their best interest to do it, they had Wisniewski's permission and it really hurt no one.
James R Hoffa February 07, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Personally, I thought the Fiat ad sucked.
James R Hoffa February 07, 2012 at 08:20 PM
I loved the Chrysler ad! It was an American ad, pure and simple. With the Eminem add last year, Chrysler's been on quite the role lately. I personally see the whole 'Imported from Detroit' theme as being one of the best of the previous decade, if not the best, as it's really catching on. Those who read a partisan message into it are over-politicizing the intent of the message. After all, partisan politics divide - certainly now more than ever. The ad was clearly about coming together, not dividing even further.
James R Hoffa February 07, 2012 at 08:24 PM
As far as the auto bailouts are concerned - I agreed with the necessity of them, but not the way in which Obama did it. Obama's way included crony deals with campaign supporters and backers such as Fiat and the UAW and a 'car czar' that attempted to micro-manage things from behind a desk in DC. It was way too nationalized and represented the worst of dirty politics in my honest opinion, despite Obama's promise of hope, change, and transparency. Not to mention that under Obama's deal, the taxpayers had to eat billions of dollars that will never be paid back. How the bailouts should have been handled was the way that Carter did it with Chrysler and Lee Iacocca back in 1979 - a straight up interest bearing loan, period. No crony backroom deals, no hanky panky, no trying to control the company with a czar, no getting in bed with a foreign competitor, etc. Carter ran a successful bailout, as Chrysler emerged strong than ever under Iacocca and every penny of the loans were paid back with interest and ahead of schedule. So, could someone tell me why Obama couldn't have just kept the bailout simple and free from shenanigans, like Carter did? Like I said before, and I'll continue to say until I die - I'll take Carter over Obama any day of the week!
mau February 07, 2012 at 10:52 PM
So now you sit back in your cozy little chair, dreaming about all you accomplished protesting in Madison over public sector unions rights, watching a Chrsyler ad about your "fellow" union workers in Michigan. Where were you and your union buddies when Chrysler closed their doors in Kenosha and GM closed their doors in Janesville. Were you out protesting, waving your flags, filming your films, in support of all those union auto workers who were standing to lose their jobs. Jobs that will never come back to Wisconsin, jobs that they will never be called back to again. How smug. You were nowhere to be seen because if it doesn't involve public sector unions, especially teachers, nobody cares.
Heather Rayne Geyer February 07, 2012 at 11:03 PM
If that is directed to me...it shows how little you truly know. I have no connection to public unions. I have stated time and time again that my issues with Walker and his administration is not based on unions. While that did START it...I would never be fighting this hard or speaking up this loudly if it were just about unions. Oh hell no. I am not in any union. No family member is in any public union. I am not a teacher. I have no dog in this union fight. Talk about smug.
mau February 07, 2012 at 11:37 PM
It is directed at you and everybody else who were out protesting and now oohing and aahing about the Chrysler ad. The protests and Chrysler are all about unions. If it wasn't all about the unions why did the public sector workers go protesting and pushing for a recall. If it wasn't about the unions they would have been completely satisfied when they lost most, not all, of their negotiating rights. Your own words: What else did I see? I saw a commercial giving props to American workers. UNION WORKERS mind you. I saw an ad that didn’t show boobs. I saw an ad that wasn’t focused on guzzling beer. I saw an ad that was positive, encouraging and like I said before….kinda bad ass. Plus how many here own Chrysler products, went out of their way to purchase Chrysler products when they were sinking, and are intending to buy Chrysler products in the future. Same goes for GM and Ford.
Heather Rayne Geyer February 07, 2012 at 11:40 PM
You are very angry and bitter to those with whom you do not agree. Sad, really. We own 2 Jeeps. Those are our only cars and have been for quite some time. Not that I have to justify ANYTHING to you or anyone else.
mau February 08, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Wow, look who's calling the kettle black.
patchreader 123 February 08, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Per the video (0:49): "...the fog of division, discord and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead." Nothing could be truer. However, as evidenced by the comments to many of these blogs, the fog of division, discord and blame does not look to be clearing soon. How unfortunate.
mau February 08, 2012 at 01:28 AM
The division, discord and blame have always been there. It is just more visible because now everything is out in the open for all to see and voice their opinion. Unlike my grandfather and his immigrant friends and family, I never got into a fist fight over politics and religion. They had no problem getting drunk, getting into a brawl, and getting drunk some more. Just because I don't agree with someone's views or politics, and voice my opinion about them, doesn't mean I hate them. We can agree to disagree.
patchreader 123 February 08, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Mau: My comment was not directed at you. Instead, it was merely a general observation that I have always had, brought to light by the language of the video. Just read some of the 300+ posts to the "signed by felons" blog to understand my perspective. Both unfortunate and absurd.
mau February 08, 2012 at 02:16 AM
I didn't take it personally. I was making a general statement because of the fact that we have always been a divided nation and world. I agree with your assessment. I'm on the verge of quitting following "signed by felons" because both sides are overboard.
James R Hoffa February 08, 2012 at 03:46 AM
I already did quit following that specific board, as well as the "Walker Backers Mount Effort to Write In Governor's Name in Democratic Recall Primary" board - nothing but giant flame wars, so what's the point?
Heather Asiyanbi (Editor) February 08, 2012 at 04:18 AM
I liked the Chrysler ad immensely and actually did get goosebumps! No joke.


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