Monday, August 07, 2006

Sporty notes that The Wall Street Journal has exposed a YouTube video that mocks Al Gore's movie as almostly certainly the work of a GOP lobbying and PR firm, rather than a 29-year-old named "Toutsmith" (read the WSJ article free here):

Everyone knows Al Gore stars in the global warming documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." But who created "Al Gore's Penguin Army," a two-minute video now playing on

In the video, Mr. Gore appears as a sinister figure who brainwashes penguins and bores movie audiences by blaming the Mideast crisis and starlet Lindsay Lohan's shrinking waist size on global warming. Like other videos on the popular YouTube site, it has a home-made, humorous quality. The video's maker is listed as "Toutsmith," a 29-year-old who identifies himself as being from Beverly Hills in an Internet profile.

In an email exchange with The Wall Street Journal, Toutsmith didn't answer when asked who he was or why he made the video, which has just over 59,000 views on YouTube. However, computer routing information contained in an email sent from Toutsmith's Yahoo account indicate it didn't come from an amateur working out of his basement.

Instead, the email originated from a computer registered to DCI Group, a Washington, D.C., public relations and lobbying firm whose clients include oil company Exxon Mobil Corp.....

"Like other videos on the popular YouTube site, it has a home-made, humorous quality." Well, perhaps it has a humorous quality, but it's not funny. Or clever. Or genuinely amateur-looking. It's phony and it's confusing

And it makes no sense -- I didn't realize it was possible to have multiple plot holes in a movie that lasts two minutes.

Gore is Evil Dangerous Sinister Guy, yet he can't get anyone to like his movie, including the penguins. He hypnotizes the penguins, and you expect they'll do his evil bidding, but all they do is fall asleep at the movie theater. And they're called his "penguin army" -- why? Not even don't they do his bidding, what is it they're supposed to do that they fail to do? I'm baffled. Yeah, I get the part about X-Men 3 being more fun than Gore's movie, but everything to do with the penguins is incomprehensible.

Then again, this is how the Right regularly demonizes Democrats. Democrats are portrayed (a) as evil brainiacs who have the power to destroy the world with dangerous crackpot Ivy League notions and (b) as pathetic geeks who are weak, ineffectual and impotent. Somehow you're supposed to fear all the horrible things Democrats will do when they gain power even though you're also supposed to believe that Democrats can't really manage to do anything ever. The Democrat is Evil Hapless Omnipotent Geek Guy.

Kerry was Evil Hapless Omnipotent Geek Guy. Gore was and is Evil Hapless Omnipotent Geek Guy. Dukakis was Evil Hapless Omnipotent Geek Guy. The lawyers and other civilians who dared to challenge Ollie North in the Iran-contra hearings were Evil Hapless Omnipotent Geek Guys.

So, to a hardcore Republican, this video makes sense -- the Democrat is impotent and also omnipotent. And, alas, this video makes sense to far too many voters outside the GOP hard core.

(Any resemblance between this and anti-Semitic propaganda -- the powerful evil Jew who's also pathetic -- is not a coincidence.)*

Sourcewatch has more on DCI.


*UPDATE: I need to qualify this. We're not in or on the verge of anything resembling the Nazi era; Democrats aren't subject to genuine repression or violent attacks. But even under the present circumstances, similar techniques can be used to turn a group into "the Other."

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