While I was stalking Katy DB Tizzle on Facebook, I found this video. (And, by the way, she informs me she was the Homecoming Queen not the Prom Queen, and she never saved any kittens, but she did read books to the elderly at nursing homes.)
Now this video irks me. I'm not anti-Obama or pro-McCain, so stick that behind your ear as you listen. (On a side note, isn't "irk" a great word? Say it over and over again. Irk. Irk. Irk. Irk. Irk. Irk. Irk.)
This video is beautifully made (Time magazine called it "brilliant"); it has a catchy tune; it has cool-looking celebrities. It makes you want to jump up at the end and throw your fist in the air and say, "Yes! We Can!" (Unless you already don't like Obama, in which case you're probably just annoyed.)
But what is it exactly that we can do? No actual information is transferred. It's purely an emotional appeal to make the viewer associate certain things with certain other things (namely Obama.) It appeals to people's perceptions of a particular star--nudging them to ascribe the hipness of that particular celebrity to Obama. It gives the viewers a feeling while listening to the tune--one of hope and empowerment--so that they will ascribe the feeling of the song to Obama. It nudges the voter to make up their minds through their associations with words, images, and celebrities. Do you want hope? Yes, of course I want hope! Yea Obama!
Over 12 million people have watched this video and are now potentially swaying along with B.O. in their good feelings. No mention of policies or stances need be made.
When did we make celebrities our political lighthouses? And why in the world did we? I guess I'd rather look at Kareem Abdul-Jabbar than this guy, but I'd rather hear what this guy's got to say. I know Scarlett Johansson is flippin' gorgeous and that guy playing the violin looks pretty cool and, hey, that's Ashley Banks from the Fresh Prince!...but what's that got to do with how I vote?
If I was going into the prosthetic leg shop to choose my new, shiny prosthetic leg, I really wouldn't care which one Ashton Kutcher endorsed. Because I just have no reason to think Ashton knows any more than I do about prosthetics. We all like to shake it to "My Humps," but should the fact that the Black Eyed Peas think Obama is swell have anything to do with how we vote?
And I am really left with no information.
OK, so if on the ballot, there's a vote for Hope, I know Obama will color in the little bubble next to Hope with his Number 2. Dreams? Yep, he's coloring that one in too. Change? He's so there.
But I have no idea how he responds to issues on immigration or free trade or foreign policy. I know that Obama's campaign didn't make this video, but it's being used nonetheless to sway voters for no real reason other than it's hip, and therefore Obama is hip.
Thank you for sticking through my political post. Now, as a reward, here's the dessert. This is why I was totally going to vote or Hillary if she was nominated, and I'm pretty bummed that it will never come to pass.