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.