Fox Nation called the ad posted below "jaw-dropping." RedState promoted it with a headline that sounds like a repurposed metal lyric: "The Left feasts upon the blood of youth." Just about everyone else -- The Atlantic, Time, Mashable, The Washington Times, Think Progress -- uses the word "creepy." The ad, from a Koch-funded right-wing group called Generation Opportunity, is aimed at young people.
All of which led m to expect something in the vein of Seven, the Saw films, the Nine Inch Nails "Closer" video, or at least Paranormal Activity and Insidious -- y'know, jolty scares, unsettlingly grainy visuals, a genuinely gruesome concept, scratchy/warped music that harks back to industrial.
What century is this? The music is pure 1967 public service ad. The acting ranges from mediocre to awful. The Uncle Sam scare isn't unsettling even by pre-George Romero standards. (It certainly won't make you squirm the way scenes in David Cronenberg's nasty-gynecologists thriller Dead Ringers makes you squirm.) And it's not funny, either.
There's a companion ad, involving a young man and a rectal exam, that's no better:
As The Atlantic's Garance Franke-Ruta says of that ad:
What is with the obsession with anal penetration?Yup, and there's wingnut governor Paul LePage of Maine, who invoked forced anal sex in reference to a Democratic foe a few months ago:
Rush Limbaugh is famous for his talk of "anal poisoning" and as long ago as January 2009 said of the new administration: "We are being told that we have to hope [Obama] succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles." It's something you hear all too often in the political arena as the ultimate description of political submission. There's even a "Bend Over" anti-Obama bumper sticker.
Gov. Paul LePage on Thursday said a Democratic lawmaker, Sen. Troy Jackson of Aroostook County, "claims to be for the people but he's the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline."My response to both ads is: what is with the obsession with penetration of all kinds? Maybe I'm naive, but I think this message works only if you're already a right-winger: the government is evil and sadistic and wants to harm you -- violate you -- for the sheer joy of it. I think lot of people, including the young, think the government is inept, or cumbersome, or uncaring, but that view of the government as gleefully malign is pretty much limited to the right (and the drone-obsessed parts of the left).
But really, it's the style of these ads that's all wrong. They're in a style that was contemporary before their target audience was even born. They're not grim, they're not snarky, they're not even dated in a way that seems "ironic" and referential. Not impressed.