March 6, 2008

A PICTURE OF THE FUTURE:

'We Are The Chosen Ones': A new hymn to Barack Obama: Simon Woods, a volunteer for Hillary Clinton, explains how music reveals the strength and weakness of Barack Obama's campaign (Simon Woods, 3/06/08, Daily Telegraph)

A few weeks ago, covered in Hillary badges, I approached a young couple in California and, as I was about to offer up my pearls of electoral wisdom, they just began singing at me. And they were singing Yes We Can, the song by Black Eyed Peas' Will.I.Am, whose video has become a phenomenon on YouTube.

That first video, which took as its text Obama's victory speech in Iowa, was an internet sensation, garnering millions of hits, and solidifying Obama's support among students and young people all across America. It featured glossy stars such as Scarlett Johansson and John Legend, and encapsulated all that is best about Obama's campaign - his soaring language, his ability to bring young people into the political process, and to inspire.

But this week, the musician has put out another singalong. The new video captures a different side to supporting Obama: its fanaticism, its breathless, quasi-religious excitement, and its inherent problems. Instead of the text of a speech, the refrain has simply become "Obama", and its message: "We are the ones."

Supporting an intelligent and articulate senator from Illinois is, of course, not some kind of cultish mass-delusion, but nor is the evangelical zeal of his supporters a spontaneous or inexplicable phenomenon. It has been created deliberately, systematically, and very successfully.

The Obama campaign uses a religious calling as its central rhetorical trope: "I'm asking you to believe," reads the banner across the top of barackobama.com. His appeal to voters is an archetype of religious conversion: instead of being asked for support, Americans are exhorted to "join the movement".


You have to wonder if part of the reason for the disconnect here--that young people think these cultish ads cool but their elders are repelled by them--doesn't trace to their being so young that they not only don't know "1984" but not even the Apple ad that played off of it. That, after all, was almost 25 years ago now.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 6, 2008 6:27 PM
Comments

It couldn't have anything to do with the contentless drivel in public school or how those schools actively endorse the mindlessness that prepares generations to buy Obama's schtick.

Nah.

Couple that mindlessness with Obama's better than average delivery, and you could have a problem on your hands.

Around here, it is the adults who worship him.

Posted by: Bruno at March 6, 2008 7:02 PM

The short attention span of the young, large population of retirees, and the nothingness of the campaign, will sink the Obama.

Posted by: KRS at March 6, 2008 7:28 PM

Ironic detachment is so last century OJ.

Posted by: Benny at March 6, 2008 7:51 PM

None of these young people will be able to locate their precinct on election day. Most of them don't know what a precinct is, or why they exist.

Plus, Rove should have some video game company release a new Halo, or X-box for Christmas, that conveniently gets released on election day.

Posted by: Stormy70 at March 6, 2008 10:08 PM

If your chief propagandist goes by a name that refers almost openly to Leni Riefenstahl's most infamous movie, you pretty much know what to expect.

May there soon be a movie about Obama in a bunker, passing orders to imaginary legions of supporters, al the while screaming hysterically at his last remaining subordinates.

Posted by: Peter at March 7, 2008 3:24 AM

Have the nerve to get Effendi Obama nominated, such as by counselling Pennsylvania conservatives to raid the Democrat primary. Not only is he easy to beat, his candidacy will energize all the folk-enemies and culture-traitors, getting them out from under their rocks. We welcome this, for their treason and enmity cannot bear the light of day.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 7, 2008 5:18 AM

Perhaps Clinton can run an ad where she takes the place of the woman in the 1984 commercial.

Posted by: Brandon at March 7, 2008 11:02 AM

That's just creepy.

Posted by: ted welter at March 7, 2008 6:57 PM
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