Alan adds a layer of interpretation:
I would go further. The child in question is shown just when the voice-over asks whom we would want in the White House when that crucial phone callcomes through. I think he's meant to represent Obama.The sleeping child is black, so I would agree that if the image was deliberately created, this was part of the idea.
Who would we want in the WH? A sleeping (lazy) black (good nig) child (inexperienced)? Or Hillary Clinton?
Theo Boehm wrote:
That's what my lizard brain saw when I looked at that commercial full-sized on a 19" computer screen.
Seeing it on a better screen is important, since it is meant to show on television, and the YouTube version has much poorer resolution. Note that Theo is still watching the YouTube version, and what goes on TV will be clearer. He goes on:
I saved it from YouTube and watched it repeatedly. I tried to forget about the image and imagine I was looking at it with fresh eyes. I'm sorry, but it was pretty blatant to me. The letters from the word "good" above begin to look like "ero" in this context, at least to my brain, conditioned as it was in the days of blatant racism in this country.(I've added the link to the Sir Archy comment.)
First of all, the image is visible for nearly three seconds. It starts at second 10 and fades at the end of second 13. This is hardly some single frame flash measured in milliseconds. This image sinks in.
We are friends with a mixed-race couple who have a couple of kids, one of whom looks (or at least used to look) quite a bit like the child in the commercial. If I were truly paranoid, I'd say Hillary's campaign is at once infantalizing a possibly bi-racial kid by showing him depending on the National Parent Hillary for protection, and at the same time fear-mongering about blacks, as dissected ad nauseum upthread. Looks like a double-whammy to me: Here's little Obama asleep in his wittew beddy-bye needing a grown-up to protect him; but at the same time you gotta watch out for those pickaninnies.
I think Alan has just beat me to it with this interpretation.
In any event, I agree with Althouse. This is either incredibly foul or unbelievably stupid. I know a lot of people won't see it that way, including my wife, but my kids picked up on it instantly. I showed them the commercial after dinner and asked what they saw. My youngest piped up immediately, "That kid had the N-word on his pajamas." They then had a lot of fun making up variants, thankfully all non-racist. Not trying to congratulate ourselves too much, but my kids have NEVER heard the N-word in this house outside of watching "Roots," "Glory," and possibly a few other movies, but they know what it represents. FWIW, they have also NEVER said it themselves to my hearing.
In his most recent comment in a thread about shoe shopping, Sir Archy called the Presidential candidates, "Wretches." It thought that was a cute faux-18th century rhetorical flourish, but in reality going too far.
I'm now beginning to think he's on to something.
Ralph asks 2 questions:
Can you imagine the response someone would get if they suggested this in a campaign strategy meeting?On the second question, I think McCain would be pilloried.
Can you imagine the response if this were a McCain ad in October? I suspect few of the commenters above would dismiss it as coincidence.
Let me vary the first question. Assume the lettering has found its way into the footage either intentionally or quite by accident. (As some commenters are saying, it could be stock footage.) Then, campaign strategists are reviewing the ad and deciding whether to approve it or have it re-edited. Wouldn't they notice the lettering and freeze frame it to make sure it doesn't say anything that might be used to hurt the candidate? And once you do that and try to read it, aren't you going to see "NIG"? Now, try to imagine the scenario at this point.
Scenario #1: They feel a little guilty, but they know their candidate is desperate, and they think they might stimulate the anti-Obama vote and decide to run with it. If anyone tries to talk about it, we'll trash them. They're crazy!
Scenario #2: Great! Let it go out like this. It's bait. If the Obama campaign says we're going racial, we'll paint him as one of those nuts who sees racism in nothing. He's staring at a kid's pajamas? Shouldn't he be looking at the real problems in this world? Either it will have no effect, it will have a subliminal effect, or it will create opportunities for attack.
Scenario #3: ???
IN THE COMMENTS: I love this, from ace commenter Meade:
Great! Let it go out like this. It's bait. If the Obama campaign says we're going racial, we'll paint him as one of those nuts who sees racism in nothing. He's staring at a kid's pajamas? Shouldn't he be looking at the real problems in this world? Either it will have no effect, it will have a subliminal effect, or it will create opportunities for attack.
No effect? Can we really afford to take that chance?
Good point, "Tom." Say, that gives me an idea. You know a few things about those - what do they call them... blogs? - don't you? What if you were to plant a comment here or there? Whaddaya think? Doable?
LOL. I've thought that the commenter who prompted me to write the first post could be a campaign insider. His name, "Tom," doesn't connect to a profile page.