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06 February 2012

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The Most Very Reverend Dr Onan Agitprop, DD

Adam,
My own take on the ad was it a competent work of commercial appeal wrapped up with a subtle dose of jingoism. As far as ads go, I thought it was well done, but ultimately, it was in the service of a car company. The fact it was an American car company that was bailed out by the US Government (ie us, the taxpayers) makes little difference to me. Perhaps I am taking the whole Super Bowl extravaganza a bit too seriously, but the entire event was designed to sell something (3.5 million dollars for 30 second ad, I would say this is obvious).
Whether it's Dorito's, really bad beer, Pick up trucks or the President of the United States, Ad Men treat the Super Bowl like it's New Years, the 4th of July and Christmas, all rolled into one. Unfortunately, it is all in the service of selling us stuff we don't need, a pastime that I think it going to be a very difficult sell in itself as things progress. The whole time I was watching the show I kept thinking "Is this what is was like toward the end of the Roman Empire?"

Morocco Bama

I thought the ad was pathetic....and ironic. Ironic, because Fiat, an Italian Co., owns a greater than 50% stake in Chrylser. Pathetic, because Clint is obviously past the autumn of his years and is fast approaching his dirt nap. Poor choice. It's like contracting The Duke in his his latter stages of cancer to do Marlboro commercials. Also, the views of the U.S. were awful. It looked dingy and worn....polluted and uninspiring.

Tim Vincent

Italian car company makes ad for Obama.

Jake

OUTSTANDING!

Lars

I was not watching any of the ads, being busy trying to finish a book also. I did watch most of the game, which I thought was rather exciting. I do remember glimpsing Clint Eastwood's face, but not registering why it was there.

I think the Obama slogan is going to be: bin Laden is dead and GM is alive. Hard to argue about those results.

optimax

MB, "Also, the views of the U.S. were awful. It looked dingy and worn....polluted and uninspiring. "

Have you ever been to Detroit? The problem is most people don't know about the Rust Belt or care about it. Eastwood is still making great movies and Betty White is still a sex kitten. Get over the ageism.

A human friend at the dog park this morning and I both thought it was an Obama campaign ad at first. I liked it. Eastwood considers it pro-American and the fact Karl "The Turd" Rove is offended makes it even better. The more we offend the neocons, the better.

TWit

First, it's pathetic that the best mainstream cultural artifact so far on the Great Recession is a piece of corporate advertising. Second, so what if it's political? Saving GM was good policy, even if Obama has failed in pretty much every other regard.

And Tim Vincent, out of curiosity, what did you think about all those Belgian-Brazilian beer commercials?

steve

"First, it's pathetic that the best mainstream cultural artifact so far on the Great Recession is a piece of corporate advertising."

Interesting observation. There's certainly been some terrific non-fiction analysis of this recession over the past few years, but as yet--and it's early still--there's not much of a cultural reaction to the social upheaval, at least in terms of film, novels, art, and so on, even when compared relatively to the great depression.

Maybe I don't see it because I'm getting older and out of the loop.

Tim Vincent

Those ads weren't paid for by my tax dollars.

E L

Two points: 1. Eastwood didn't do it for the money. 2. Eastwood knew perfectly well the political implications of the ad, because he has run for political office and served in political office. You can draw your own conclusions about Eastwood.

Adam L Silverman

Mr. Vincent,

Since Chrysler repaid its outstanding loans to the US government over the summer, your tax payer dollars did NOT pay for the add. In fact Chrysler posted its first profitable year in a very long time (links below). Finally, given that FIAT, who is now the majority share holder, worked with the UAW to rework contracts, kept factories open, and kept people in their jobs, does it really matter that Chrysler is majority owned by an Italian company? They have kept Americans at work and actually producing something at a time when that is rare outside of the weapons sector. By forcing a controlled bankruptcy by Chrysler and GM, and by back stopping them, the Obama Administration and the new investors they helped to line up for Chrysler and GM, kept Americans on the job and off of unemployment, medicaid, and WIC (that's food stamps - stands for Women, Infants, and Children, and yes, Orwell is spinning somewhere...). So we had two choices: 1) invest the money and keep people at work or 2) do nothing, let Chrysler and GM go into a non-controlled bankruptcy, and see thousands of Americans loose their jobs and wind up on tax payer supported unemployment, medicaid, and WIC.

Here's some links:
http://news.businessweek.com/article.asp?documentKey=1376-LTN4XE1A1I4H01-02OL8HLJTPFV4FICCGECICSGGJ
http://www.torquenews.com/106/chrysler-posts-131-billion-revenue-q3-212-million-profit
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/business/03chrysler.html

Adam L Silverman

EL,

Actually Mr. Eastwood had opposed the government managed bankruptcy and refinancing of Chrysler and GM:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-chrysler-spokesman-eastwood-was-critic-of-auto-bailout-20120206,0,354221.story
So...

Fred

Adam,

Don't forget that the big 3 liquidated the corporate jets, (unlike the banks) and not the pension plans, either.

Twit

It is the cynic who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing

Fred

A political ad for Obama? Before and during the game we got the politically correct billionaire song and dance commentary on behalf of Robert Kraft (Patriots) and New York's owners Steve Tisch and John Mara. Just regular Joes, really. What actual working family can afford a Superbowl ticket, roughly $3,400?

The ad was perfect, though, for the 'got mine' crowd, like those in attendance. America will be great again! Yep, got mine, now the rest of you get to work fixing 'America'. Taxes, who needs to pay those? Certainly not those in attendance, or those who paid Karl Rove's salary while he made himself a millionaire political 'consultant'. (I wonder how much Enron's tax breaks were worth over all the years convicted felon Ken Lay was running the place - and funding that Texas pol who preceded Perry as Governor?) Nothing helped the big bank rip-off (ongoing) of the tax-payers more than the timely (and much needed) bail out of the auto industry. Best blame game bait and switch ever.

What was your cultural take on the half-time show?

greg0

I'm surprised so many ideologues have gotten so excited about Super Bowl entertainment and advertising. Has 'political correctness' been officially adopted by the neonuts?

anna missed

The real strength of the add comes from re-awakening the forgotten or long dormant notion that America, or Americans, is something larger than simply a collection of self centered individuals. More than anything on the current media humdrum, the add harkened back to WWII "greatest generation" ideals where great and magnificent things were accomplished through self sacrifice and collective effort.

Of course, this is an image that is often mined in the interest of political expediency (the Reagan version) or war making (the Bush version) that somehow always fails at conveying the social(ist) underpinnings that informed the countries consciousness from 1929 until the Reagan administration - and so usually rings hollow.

There's something unusually refreshing about being reminded with such a convincing voice as Eastwood's carefully crafted prose, that a government of the people, by the people, for the people can actually do something to be proud of.

No wonder the republicans (like Karl Rove) are insulted by it.

ex-PFC Chuck

According to a piece in the Daily Mirror, the ad was not shot in The Motor City but in L.A. and New Orleans. http://bit.ly/zfKAhe

Twit

I would be interested in knowing why exactly mining our national ideals and memories for profit is any less cynical than mining them for political ends?

The Twisted Genius

I was moved by the ad and found the message inspiring. Of course I've always like Clint and almost all his movies. I'm even more of a fan now that he has a pet rabbit, August, that he rescued from his local SPCA shelter. I also agree with statements he made in a recent GQ Magazine interview. He's a trip. Here's two of them.

"These people who are making a big deal about gay marriage? I don't give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We're making a big deal out of things we shouldn't be making a deal out of ... Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want."

"I was an Eisenhower Republican when I started out at 21, because he promised to get us out of the Korean War. And over the years, I realized there was a Republican philosophy that I liked. And then they lost it. And libertarians had more of it. Because what I really believe is, let's spend a little more time leaving everybody alone."

Ramojus

I thought the "The Chrysler 200 has arrived. Imported from Detroit" Eminem commercial shown during last year's Superbowl was superior to Clint's commercial, and I am a huge Clint Eastwood admirer.

Showing the scenes from Detroit in the Eminem commercial, including the Diego Rivera mural, along with the dignified African-American males was more inspirational. That could definitively be an Obama campaign ad.

I also liked the dog on the VW ad this year!

optimax

The ad accomplished both ends. I would never fall for that crap; I'm getting a Fiat.

Roy G.

I'm surprised this ad didn't play during the game:

Israeli Ad Jokes About Attacking Iranian Nuclear Facilities

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/02/jokes-about-iran-attacks/

Mark Logan

Just my anecdotal experience with it:

I had no idea it would offend anyone when I saw it. I just thought it was a well crafted version of the ol' "by our products and be a patriot" schtick.

Now, I wonder if the people who are raising a ruckus have considered carefully if there is any political benefit in being anti-Clint Eastwood. I wonder if they "have a grip" too.

Amileoj

It's easy to understand the heated reaction from the Right. That reaction is almost certainly rooted in political fear.

This was not a political ad for the Obama campaign. But if it had been, it would have been one of the most effective political ads since the famous 'Morning in America' spot that helped get Ronald Reagan reelected in 1984--and that this ad consciously echoes.

Moreover, it *could easily* have been an ad for the Obama Campaign, with a simple change of closing title card and the addition of an obligatory 'this ad paid for...' voiceover by BHO.

Obama's stewardship of the economy has disappointed a great many people. This was partly his own doing (a badly mistimed caution in policy making, coupled with an apparent distaste for partisan struggle). Part of it was the fecklessness of his own party (in failing to see around the corners of its cultural prejudices and stand up for its deepest-and-best commitments). And part of it was a deeply cynical obstructionism on the part of the GOP.

But the rescue of the domestic auto industry (villified at the time by the Right), and its subsequent revival-in-the-making, is one of the few unalloyed successes of Obama's first term. And this ad shows the emotional, even patriotic resonance that a (very) skilled film maker can achieve in highlighting that success.

If I were Rove, I'd be worried too.

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