August 26, 2008

"American Prayer" of the damned.

I was just complaining about some annoying web video with low production values, but right after I posted that, I watched this new Obama-promoting video, which has the glossiest production values, and I found it impossible to watch... and I knew I wanted to blog about it so I kept forcing myself, but I had to click stop after a minute and a half:



What made it so insufferable? I admit that I came to it from the Corner, which primed me with the line "Personality on steroids: Obama as the coming, secular Messiah," but I don't think it was that.

It was the the insane discontinuity between the sad-sack dreariness of the photographs and those Hollywood celebrities who were made to look as though they belonged in settings of economic despair. They were photographed in black and white. They made sad faces. There's the normally smarmy Jason Alexander, pressing his hands together in mournful prayer. Jason Alexander! Do you think we will take you seriously because you have that serioso look on your face? The repetition of the word "prayer," with one praying celebrity after another, when you know you're going to be told that the answer to their prayers is Obama.... horrible.

And that miserable song. That vehicle for Hollywood celebrities to express their mourning, depressing, hopeful quasi-religiosity. Am I supposed to know it? I Google and find it described in Wired as "Dave Stewart's 'American Prayer,' featuring the former Eurythmic trying to come off like some sort of cut-rate Bono, as he strums a guitar that's not even audible in the song."
Adding to the video's cringe-worthy nature are celebrity appearances by Forrest Whittaker, Barry Manilow, Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg and others, who join forces with on overwhelming level of "We Are The World"-type smugness.

Certain shots are so deeply embarrassing that we had to hit pause a few times just to make it all the way through. Watch at your own risk, and don't say we didn't warn you.
There's a vote over there to ascertain whether it's "the worst Obama song yet?" and it's winning, though not by all that much, which makes you wonder what cringe-inducing, celebrity-infested swill the "no" voters have in mind.

"We Are The World." We had evolved to the point where we all laughed at it, and now, have we suddenly slipped back into that 80s subordination of art to sanctimony? Then, it was for the sake of feeding starving children. Now, that aesthetic has returned in service of a politician. Yet, surely, it's true that we will look back on this election kitsch and laugh. Soon. Like right now.

ADDED: I'm watching this to the end now, and I'm just shaking my head at how counterproductive this is for Obama. These celebrities are so wrapped up in what they appear to perceive as the poignant beauty of their emotions that they don't see that they are beating us over the head with the idea that America is a terrible place. That is: This video is anti-American. That is not the message Obama wants right now!

Also, at 1:35, you can see the display of crosses that I happen to know is on the beach in Santa Monica. I was just there and took this photograph from the amusement pier:

Santa Monica pier

I made it to the end. This video isn't merely terrible. It's a testament to tone-deafness. It resonates in all the wrong ways with the Obama campaign, amplifying the very things that Obama is trying to mute.

127 comments:

vbspurs said...

I couldn't get past "to finish what you started" being strummed on the guitar.

"This is the time to finish what you started" is an allusion not just to the Civil Rights era, but to the foundation of this country, when slavery was not outlawed in the Constitution. It allowed a nation to live, as slaves were forced to die.

This pact was rent assunder by a Civil War, and cemented in hatred by Jim Crow. The Civil Rights movement helped to cleanse our national soul, but I'm guessing that this song means we're not going to be rehabilitated as a nation, really and truly, until a black man is elected president.

People really think like this, don't they?

Their country is nothing but a Petri dish to them.

Sorry to inform, but this lab rat recuses herself from experimentation for the sake of experimentation.

Salamandyr said...

"We Are The World." We had evolved to the point where we all laughed at it, and now, have we suddenly slipped back into that 80s subordination of art to sanctimony? Then, it was for the sake of feeding starving children. Now, that aesthetic has returned in service of a politician. Yet, surely, it's true that we will look back on this election kitsch and laugh. Soon. Like right now.

Ann, this may be the best thing I've ever read of yours. "80's subordination of art to sanctimony" beautiful.

mcg said...

Who's the dork with the guitar? Oh, wait, it's Dave Stewart, a Brit.

Oh man this is going to make for GREAT celebrity-status-bashing material for McCain. Delicious.

I've seen more convincing fake spirituality from Robert Tilton.

By the way, you can hear Dave Stewart's guitar near the end of the song. Yes, I did you the favor of listening to it all :)

Ron said...

The video is bad enough, but what adds high creep value for me is thinking of what the people who made this actually think of their fellow citizens! Ugh! Double Ugh! I can understand that you have soap to sell, but don't promise me you'll clean up the whole world.

Eclecticity said...

I liked the song. I would have liked it more separate and apart from O!bama.

If I had no way of knowing it was connected to O, it would be a pretty good song.

Can I see a show of hands who might agree with this sad-sack contrarian?

SteveR said...

Best McCain ad yet.

mcg said...

Eclecticity, I tried to honestly ask myself if I could like this song divorced from the horrible video and its political motives. I don't know if I succeeded on the honest part, but the answer was "no friggin' way". Melodrama like this simply can't be pulled off by everyone; add Dave Stewart and his Spiritual Cowboys to the list. For what it's worth.

MadisonMan said...

I am so glad this got a celebritney tag. Jason Alexander? Barry Manilow (who I notice could barely move his face 'cause of the botox)? Dreadful.

I think I'll go watch the Sarah Silverman and Matt Damon video to cleanse the palate.

chickenlittle said...

vbspurs said:
I'm guessing that this song means we're not going to be rehabilitated as a nation, really and truly, until a black man is elected president.

Pretty black and white choice huh? And if you even try to raise another issue, it just keeps coming back.

mcg said...

We Are The World?
How about I Am The Surge.

vbspurs said...

Pretty black and white choice huh? And if you even try to raise another issue, it just keeps coming back.

Yes, chickenlittle. Identity politics morphed into the ultimate moral choice.

Curiously, after scrolling through the clip a little more, I was not happy to see Forest Whitacker in prayerful stance -- almost as if he's begging his fellow Americans for wisdom and courage in making the "right choice".

I can't believe that Obama, after the celebritney McCain video knocked him to the ground, allows himself anywhere near celebs.

Sure, he can't prevent people to come to the convention, to raise money for him, to stump for him. That's natural and not preachy.

But combining entertainment and Obama is not a good thing right now. It comes off as condenscending.

"Yeah, like Whoopi really can't afford 4.99 per gallon for her Hummer"

Ron said...

Idle thought...has anyone seen Oprah around the campaign lately? Or is she distancing herself?

vbspurs said...

Ron, I mentioned in the Day 1 thread below that I think the Michelle part of the night had a Harpo Productions stamp.

So, though I haven't seen her for a while in person (maybe someone else has), but maybe she's behind the scenes?

Joe said...

Besides the awful song, the celebrities look either bored out of their minds, clueless or stoned.

chickenlittle said...

Speaking of celebrities, when did Ann dump Warren Beatty for Arnold Schwartzenegger?

Cruel neutrality?

chickenlittle said...

@mcg: I guess that tune will play next week. Have patience.

Peter V. Bella said...

vbspurs said...
People really think like this, don't they?

Unfortunately, yes, though, I would not call it thinking. Thinking requires the use of intellect. Oh, and yes Victoria, there is a Santa Claus.

Ron said...
…what adds high creep value for me is thinking of what the people who made this actually think of their fellow citizens!

Using the subordination of art to sanctimony through the use of symbolism- a very Democartic Party technique- I will try to answer your question. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Bottom line it is all about the kachingos.

m00se said...

I just wish the right wing would stop making these baseless accusations about Obama's messianic complex!

This video clearly demonstrates that it is a lie!

vbspurs said...

Having accepted Eclecticity's challenge to divorce the song from the intent, I am sad to report that I still don't like it on its own merits.

It's just too maudlin. One gets a feeling that Radiohead would've hit it out of the park.

LonewackoDotCom said...

The video is hilarious; I think they got the idea after watching this over and over.

All joking aside, it's vitally important that we show how unqualified BHO is now rather than later. The way to do that is to get out there and ask him real questions on video and then upload those to Youtube. A question that he can't answer is going to get far more hits than this one.

ricpic said...

Please. Please. Please. Keep coming at us you lefty shits. Please utterly totally revolt ordinary normal decent Americans who don't hate their country. Please let there be a counter wave of total revulsion against your darkness that drowns you forever!!!

MadisonMan said...

I wonder who the target audience is for this ad. I try to think how this might change the mind of an undecided. I fail.

There is some Gung-ho Obama backer out there who thought this was a great idea. Too bad they didn't ask themselves how this would convince a more skeptical voter.

Wait! Jason Alexander is for Obama?! Well, that clinches it!

former law student said...

When I first saw this, it was described as the will.i.am's Yes We Can for the middle-aged and older.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fZHou18Cdk

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I can't believe that Obama, after the celebritney McCain video knocked him to the ground, allows himself anywhere near celebs.

Just an observation, but it seems to me that Obama's campaign is being run by 20 to 27 year old urban yuppie types who don't know anyone or anything outside of their own liberal echo chamber. They can't imagine a world of middle class working stiffs who don't have time to self indulgently navel gaze, wallow in 'white guilt' over something that happened hundreds of years ago or wear trendy expressions of bohemian angst. They can't conceive of an America that doesn't have a Starbucks or Whole Foods on every corner.

They have no idea how to, nor any desire to connect with the lesser beings outside of their narrow narrow elitist little world. It's as if you went to a foreign country and didn't bother to learn the language or any of the customes. You could insult the 'natives'. The Obama campaign is completely clueless and oh so young.

Triangle Man said...

God bless you Ann Althouse for providing another opportunity to link to "We Are the World - in Japan".

nrn312 said...

Just an observation, but it seems to me that Obama's campaign is being run by 20 to 27 year old urban yuppie types who don't know anyone or anything outside of their own liberal echo chamber.

Ho-hum.

David Axelrod (political consultant)

Axelrod was born to Jewish parents in 1955 in the Lower East Side of New York City.... Axelrod currently serves as the chief strategist and media adviser for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

nrn312 said...

Please. Please. Please. Keep coming at us you lefty shits. Please utterly totally revolt ordinary normal decent Americans who don't hate their country. Please let there be a counter wave of total revulsion against your darkness that drowns you forever!!!

You sound like a very level-headed individual.

Palladian said...

"Axelrod was born to Jewish parents in 1955 in the Lower East Side of New York City...."

Yes, with that pedigree, he sure sounds like a middle-American, salt-of-the-earth, down on the farm, non-urban regular guy, doesn't he?

nrn312 said...

Yes, with that pedigree, he sure sounds like a middle-American, salt-of-the-earth, down on the farm, non-urban regular guy, doesn't he?

You have something against Jews?

Palladian said...

"You have something against Jews?"

Yes, usually myself if they're hot enough.

Triangle Man said...

After my enthusiasm for getting to link "We Are the World in Japan" wore off, I took a look at the video. As someone who is maintaining somewhat-less-than-cruel neutrality, I think it sucks on many levels. Others on this thread have captured this sentiment in more detail and more eloquently.

nrn312 said...

Yes, usually myself if they're hot enough.

Good luck with that.

Richard Dolan said...

Bizarre. Given the 'American Prayer' title, I was a bit surprised when the lyric was intoning something about a church you can't see, and the image morphed from a horizon line of a prairie town into a bunch of windmills. Must be some kind of Druid church where windmills are a powerful totem. We don't have one of those in Brooklyn.

Methadras said...

What a self-indulgent piece of garbage. Arrogance and annoyance all at the same time while trying to proselytize the plight of the unwashed masses, the downtrodden, and the civil rights movement as a function of finishing the job by electing Mr. Barely as the savior of it all via a drech of a music video.

Ron said...

Maybe McCain can do a video with Jon Voight: My supporter,my body double, that kind of thing...

sydney said...

Makes me long for Johnny Cash.

chickenlittle said...


Another American Prayer

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Axelrod was born to Jewish parents in 1955 in the Lower East Side of New York City

So, except for the age thingy, I'm basically correct.

Echo Chamber. New York City, which thinks that it is the center of the world and looks at everyone outside the concrete jungle as a bunch of rubes.

Left Wing Elitist. (Axelrod's father was a psychologist .... His mother worked as a journalist at PM, a left-wing 1940s newspaper.)

Completely clueless about the 'natives' that live outside of his narrow little clique of other elitists.

This advertisement isn't trying to aquire new voters or persuade those on the fence....it's just an exercise in video onanism.

rhhardin said...

I liked it.

God knows who the people are, but the music is very good.

Interesting rhythm and cadences.

I don't know that it would stand months of replaying, but it's nice once or twice.

I hear the human voice as an instrument, musically. Maybe that helps.

That makes most opera unlistenable, where the singer tries to prevent it usually. But this isn't forced at all.

UWS guy said...

I couldn't listen to more than 5 sec. of it before turning it off. Embarrassingly bad.

and I loved the first one "yes we can".

bearbee said...

re: Oprah

Chip Ahoy said...

They're not just playing, not just praying, they're preying on your emotions, Bitches, it's what they do. It's all they've got.

Oh, how I would love to see these people lose.

Chip, who has discovered his inner sadist. Bwa ha ha ha ha ha. HA HA Ha ha ha ha aaaaaah.

nrn312 said...

So, except for the age thingy, I'm basically correct.

Yes, the Lower East Side has always been a bastion of elitism with wall-to-wall Whole Foods and Starbucks.

Echo Chamber. New York City, which thinks that it is the center of the world and looks at everyone outside the concrete jungle as a bunch of rubes.

Good thing he's lived in Chicago for thirty-five years or so.

Left Wing Elitist. (Axelrod's father was a psychologist .... His mother worked as a journalist at PM, a left-wing 1940s newspaper.)

Well, you know how those Jews are.

Completely clueless about the 'natives' that live outside of his narrow little clique of other elitists.

You just heard about the guy, right?

bearbee said...

After my enthusiasm for getting to link "We Are the World in Japan" wore off, I took a look at the video. As someone who is maintaining somewhat-less-than-cruel neutrality, I think it sucks on many levels.

I thought it was pretty good considering that, what, 4 billion or so Asians finally were represented as being part of the world.

Chip Ahoy said...

Triangle, that Japanese We Are the World, is excellence on a whole 'nuther magnitude of order of excellence. Japanese imitating Americans crack me up. But all the people in the audience being swept away adds so much. I nearly pissed myself.

Chip Ahoy said...

Wired has a "see also" list with a bunch of other Obama songs at the end of their article. That must be what others are voting on. It's 59% to 41% right now.

I can not watch any of them. My brain said, "No."

paul a'barge said...

That was Quincy Jones, right? I'm pretty sure that was Quincy Jones.

Who was the pregger babe with the guy holding his head on her big belly? I didn't recognize those celebrities.

Oh yeah, Joan Baez, natch. Could not leave her out.

Palladian said...

"What a self-indulgent piece of garbage. Arrogance and annoyance all at the same time"

There's a bit of Marie Antoinette to limousine liberals, isn't there?

People wonder why Tom Cruise could be so taken over by Scientology or why Michael Jackson is the tawed skin-bag of psychosis he is but the answer is simple: celebrities (and to a certain extent celebrity politicians) get to a point that they never have contact with "normal" people anymore. They become isolated from the world, every action is mediated by layers of assistants and advisers, they are escorted in armored vehicles with bodyguards ensuring that they never have the same sort of "chance" encounters and random observations that "normal" people have. And if they're famous enough, they can't, because everyone recognizes them everywhere they go so they have to constantly perform themselves in a way that "normal" people can't understand. After a couple years of living like that, you forget what living any other way is like. You assume that everyone is just like you and your friends, that poverty, misery, happiness, sorrow are all performed and can be understood through performance. When people like Jason Alexander and Morgan Freeman "perform" normalcy, they probably genuinely believe that their performance will be accepted and understood by the people who live it rather than perform it. Some celebrities are not like this, however. There are some that know exactly what game they're playing, and who perform cynically as a con. I'd put people like Michael Moore in this category.

To some extent this sort of smallness of worldview affects everyone, but I think it's particularly strong and pernicious among the wealthy and privileged, who will never know hardship and believe that their mediated view of life is the solution to everyone's problems. The Republican party (specifically George W. Bush as he went on) makes these mistakes and suffers for it (the mid-term elections). The Democratic party has made this mistake before and seems to be making it again with Obama's cynically stage-managed campaign. America was founded and flourished under people who did not respond kindly to being ruled by distant, disdainful elite with a sense of entitlement.

Sanctimonious celebrities can be ignored. But sheltered, sanctimonious politicians are dangerous because they can assume the reins of government and carry out their whims with the full force and threat of violence inherent in all government power. Whether it's sheltered, clueless Bush's mismanagement of the Iraq war until the "Surge" or whether it's "we're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good" or "Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed." - all of them should give people pause when they kneel down to pray for a political savior.

AJ Lynch said...

Catchy tune IMO.

Regarding "tired masses", everyone tends to use old old old pictures from depression era. Why is that?

Can't anyone locate tired masses from the present? Or are they unphotographable?

Freeman Hunt said...

Yay! This was the video I emailed to you. I've been dying for you to blog about this.

Worst video ever. My husband described it to me, and I didn't believe him. To my horror, he had not exaggerated.

Amanda69 said...

You know what I thought of when I saw this? The South Park episode where everyone was smelling their own farts and loving it, and expecting everyone to them. Even though this video sucks ass, I was still smiling!

Pogo said...

The moments with celebs putting together their hands as if in prayer were to me cynical, acid, and demeaning. I was shocked as if I'd been slapped. Really.

They struck a pose, being both ironic ("I'm not really religious, wink-wink") and blaspheming ("Obama is the One True Savior").


If I had a rocket launcher...

William said...

Further elaboration on Palladian's interesting post: Joseph Haydn was at one time a liveried servant in some Hapsburg Court. Mozart made a living but was never anyone to envy in worldly terms. Jerome Kern and George Gershwin were successful, but they never dreamed of the wealth that Barry Manilow possesses. Jason Alexander was a second, perhaps, third banana. He is worth tens of millions. Compare his wealth to that of a first banana like Phil Silvers. His yearly income is more than the lifetime earnings of Larry, Moe, and Curly combined....Why shouldn't these people with their exaggerated incomes have an exaggerated sense of their talent and wisdom.....Much is made--justifiably in my view--of the wealth of CEO's relative to that of their workers. Shouldn't something be made of the wealth of Barry Manilow relative to that of Jerome Kern.

Peter V. Bella said...

Pogo said...
If I had a rocket launcher...


Pssst! Hey, you. Shhhhhhhh. Yeah you. Pogo. Over here.

chickenlittle said...

Pogo said: If I had a rocket launcher...

Isn't that SOB back in Canada?

Freeman Hunt said...

I asked this on my blog, but I want to ask over here:

Is it possible to parody this video? Is there an absolute limit to how far you can take an idea? If so, does this video reach it and make parody impossible?

Methadras said...

I made it to the end. This video isn't merely terrible. It's a testament to tone-deafness.

Ann. This video is abysmal in it's message. That in all the hard work that people have put together over the years, the world is still the same, dark, and engrossed in a miasma of injustice. Oh woe is us. I don't think characterizing it as tone-deaf is doing it much justice. Putting it up against a Russian funeral dirge may be an exercise in futility.

It resonates in all the wrong ways with the Obama campaign, amplifying the very things that Obama is trying to mute.

Trying to mute as in, he believes in the same message as well, but in order to get elected he must repress or depress the same urges to speak about things the same way this video characterizes the plight of Americans if not the world? So in other words, this could really be the true voice of Mr. Barely, as a mechanism for his vision of hope and change that ends up being more of the same?

Simon said...

Ann said...
"These celebrities are so wrapped up in what they appear to perceive as the poignant beauty of their emotions..."

Remember when you mocked Tom Coburn for moving himself to tears with his own eloquence?

AJ Lynch said...

William:

Please repeat after me ....only if Manilow is a Republican.... only if Manilow is a Republican.

Afterall we have rules in this country.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I for one loved it! They should make more, just like this one. And next time, more Forest Whitaker, please. He's easy on the eye. Oops, I mean, eyes.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

I actually liked "We Are the World"...

But yes, the celebs just have a total lack of self-awareness.

Palladian said...

"I for one loved it!"

Therein lies the entire problem with it. Appealing to people like you should be the touchstone for bad political moves.


"They should make more, just like this one."

For once we agree. They should make tons more of these and play them as often as possible.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

How about a celebrity video for McCain? Would that be acceptable for any of you? I'm thinking if we got enough famous Republican celebrities together, it would be truly beautiful. I'm thinking Gary Sinise, Jon Voight, Britney Spears, Angie Harmon, Dean Cain, Patricia Heaton, Tom Selleck, Victoria Jackson, and Heidi Montag & Spencer Pratt.

All of them are natural singers and look great (better) in black and white, so this would be a good format for them. Even though I know you all don't like celebrities getting involved in politics, I hope you will be open minded enough to give this video a chance.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I just can't stop watching this great video, thank you for posting it Ann. That opening shot with Dave Stewart and Macy Gray gave me the fucking chills.

ricpic said...

Although I agree with your whole post, why the scare quotes around normal, Palladian?

The struggle going on right now is all about normal versus abnormal. There is no humility on the Left. None. They know what's best for us and by God they're going to ram it down our throats. For our own good, of course. This means the death of individual liberty: the most precious thing in the world. And it all comes out of a terrible abnormality. Which is total arrogance.

I put it to you that a normal person cannot, simply cannot reach adulthood without having acquired a little humility. A modicum of modesty about his grasp of...everything. And yet these freaks KNOW. They know what's perfect, they know what's imperfect (the rest of us) and they know just how to knead us into perfect replicas of...them.

I repeat: they're freaks. They're arrogant freaks who must be stopped. And the only ones who can stop them are us normal imperfects, who with all our faults have at least made an imperfect but livable world; not a perfect hell.

Palladian said...

"That opening shot with Dave Stewart and Macy Gray gave me the fucking chills."

Sex with you must be a Kafka-esque experience.

"Although I agree with your whole post, why the scare quotes around normal, Palladian?"

Because I don't really know what "normal" people are. There are a lot of different types of normalcy and I didn't want to imply that there was some consistent definition of normalcy. I used "normal people" as an opposite to rich celebrities.

Pastafarian said...

You know, I really don't see much of a difference between this video and "Yes We Can", which Althouse gushed over, and which actually seemed to win Althouse's vote for Obama in the WI primary.

A bunch of self-important B-list celebrities posing and lip-syncing, dramatic lighting and high production value, crappy song. Maybe the celebrities in the first video were a little more popular; that seems to be the biggest difference.

Palladian said...

And I agree with Ann- the cynical, arrogant, negative statement of this video is the kind of thing that Obama is trying to avoid. But I agree with several others here that the tone of the video is the perfect summation of what Obama is and believes. He just hopes he can hide the fact and slip by in November.

Ben (The Tiger) said...

Pastafarian --

Here's the difference -- six months.

Thank goodness for the long campaign season. It lets fads work their way through one's system.

Cedarford said...

nrn312 - "So, except for the age thingy, I'm basically correct."

Yes, the Lower East Side has always been a bastion of elitism with wall-to-wall Whole Foods and Starbucks.


Try as you might to say that Jews represent mainstream American thought and anyone who believes otherwise is anti-Semitic, the facts don't bear you out, particularly with the history of NYC radical Jewish progressivism.

Which is a rich history of Jewish anarchism, providing half the leaders of the American Communist Party, the 30s and 40s loyalists to the Soviet Union and the manpower for it's spy rings and propagandists going from Hollywood through Los Almos through NYC publishing houses and newspapers.

NYC Jews were instrumental in the 60s progressivism that still damages America - radical feminism, leadership of the ACLU since the early 60s, black radical movements, "crime reform", criminal & prisoner rights, moving affirmative action to all corners of society, the SDS and weathermen movement, Herbert Marcuse's movement to violent confrontation and shoutdown to negate "free speech being used to challenge progressivism". Among other matters of "change" where Jews were the prime movers.

Yes, not all Jews, not all NYC Jews, certainly not all East Side Jews were communists or Black Panther supporters or gay agenda leaders.

Yes, not all SDS, communists, Kunstler-type lawyers, spies for Russia, critical studies academics, or anti-American journalists were Jews.

But a disproportionate number were, and an even larger number proudly look to Jewish folks like Soros, Ira Glasser, David Geffen, the Jews that ran the NAACP up to the mid-60s, David Axelrod as accomplished people working nobly to bring "social justice". As exemplars of the Jewish tradition of seeking to reshape societies they are a minority in, to gain disproportionate clout on the levers of power and propaganda to manipulate the culture to be more of their choosing.

History shows that the general pattern in nations where Jews try reordering society to their beliefs through the clout of disproportionate wealth, influence - is that the majority does not reward their activism with gratitude, but resentment.

Or worse.

Part of the 60s movement, for example, boomeranged on the radical or progressive Jews with the black leaders. Who rose up against Jewish leaders of their movements, their schools, their local courts who said blacks were not ready mentally to do what the Jews were doing in "best guiding blacks" to better days. So blacks tossed out the Jews running the NAACP, CORE, black unions, and serving as the school board people, school principals, heads of welfare offices and social services professionals, elected representatives and Dem Party wardmen in black neighborhoods. Along with black boycotts against Jewish landlords and businesses dominating black communities economically.

This movement where the black majority rebelled against being run by Jewish elites was particularly angry and confrontational in NYC, and well-covered by media. The distrust and bitterness and both groups watching out for their self-interest and against encroachment by the other persists to this day in many cities and in the Democratic Party.

Palladian said...

The "Yes We Can" video was different in that it pretended to be something other than cynical and negative about America. For that it was much more repugnant than this embarrassing piece of dross.

I don't like partisan propaganda of any sort.

Revenant said...

Gary Sinise, Jon Voight, Britney Spears, Angie Harmon, Dean Cain, Patricia Heaton, Tom Selleck, Victoria Jackson, and Heidi Montag & Spencer Pratt.

What, no Arnie?

XWL said...

Wow, this vid not only Recreates 68 (with the black and white, and old TV set, and general wailing and gnashing of teeth about the awfulness of America), but also Recreates 88, too (with the celebrities coming together for a cause thing, though that was already kind of over by 88, work with me here, the sense of it is true).

The only one of those 80s 'cause' songs that was any good was Free Nelson Mandela (probably cause it was one band instead of a 'supergroup')

Sun City wasn't too bad, either (though they slipped in a bit of the usual anti-americanism).

The rest, pure treacle, as is this current example.

Funny nobody's organizing a "Russia, Keep Your Hands Off Georgia" celebrity singing spectacular.

Any bets as to whether Georgia even gets mentioned at this convention?

(it's a sure thing that at the GOP convention Georgia will get mentioned more than once)

montana urban legend said...

Oh me! Oh my! I forgot! Celebrities are toxic to political viability.

As if. Celebrities are irrelevant to political viability. If the production value of a campaign or presidential administration is good, then they're not going to hurt that and could enhance it. But they don't intrinsically make or break a politician, regardless of how focused some are on the supposed spectacle of their participation.

Which leads me to... Steven Baldwin, Charlton Heston, John Voigt, Dennis Miller, and all those other self-serving egomaniacs who think they matter. Oh, and Tim Robbins... not! Gotcha!

I see that Zachary Paul Sire beat me to the punch on Victoria Jackson. Ha! Victoria Jackson. As if Britney Spears wasn't bad enough. Jackson wasn't even viable as an entertainer... and still she's compelled to do all she can to bring the "tard" into the definition of celebutard.

vbspurs said...

"You are getting very sleepy. Sleepy. SLEEPY. When you wake up, you will vote for Obama."

- Forest Whitaker as screencaptured on Youtube

Hoosier Daddy said...

Give me a fucking break.

Ok Obama fans, you have officially jumped the shark. Talk about the cult of personality.

vbspurs said...

Oh snap, yo. Victoria Jackson is a Republican? Sweet.

Her dad was stationed briefly at Homestead Air Force Base, and she's remembered fondly locally.

Trust a military brat to appreciate the Party of Lincoln.

vbspurs said...

And Chuck Heston is dead.

That won't prevent him from giving a speech at the RNC, though.

vet66 said...

Dust Bunny;

You know what is worse than being a self-absorbed elitist in New York? Being a hardworking Republican in Rochester, New York, where property tax is a whopping $2,000 a month paying for some yutz' entitlement in SOHO.

We moved...

EnigmatiCore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

Geez, what a video.

But I thought the Circle Jerks broke up a long time ago.

EnigmatiCore said...

I think a much better song would have been "Miracles" by Jefferson Airplane. It riffs off of the whole "The One" motif, and holy hell is that a steamy song.

They probably would have to change the words for a campaign, though. I doubt voters would really go for

"I got a taste of the real world (just a drop of it)
When I went down on you, girl (never stop it)"

If only you believed like I believe...

mcg said...

The only one of those 80s 'cause' songs that was any good was Free Nelson Mandela (probably cause it was one band instead of a 'supergroup')

Oh, thanks for that clip! That really was a toe tapper. (That is, being a white & nerdy, about all I can muster.)

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Victoria Jackson is a Republican? Sweet.

I don't think she's a Republican so much as she is a complete and utter fundie whackjob.

Trust a military brat to appreciate the Party of Lincoln.

LOL. Victoria, you are officially funnier than Victoria Jackson.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Victoria Jackson:

"I don't want a political label, but Obama bears traits that resemble the anti- Christ and I'm scared to death that un- educated people will ignorantly vote him into office. My mom likes him because his children are well dressed!

You see, what bothers me most, besides being a Communist, and a racist is that he is a LIAR.

He pretends to be a Christian and he incriminates himself everytime he speaks about Christianity. To lie about being a believer in Christ is very dangerous. Lightning could strike him at any minute! But seriously, he doesn't have a clue what the Bible says and yet he pretends to be a church- going Christian to win votes. That is sooooo evil.

Just today I heard a quote from Obama where he was mocking the Old Testament (The 10 Commandments)and the Sermon on the Mount. I wouldn't want to be Obama on Judgement Day, but I especially don't want him to be the leader of my country."

montana urban legend said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Triangle Man said...

I thought it was pretty good considering that, what, 4 billion or so Asians finally were represented as being part of the world.

Bearbee just pointed out that my comment was truly horribly constructed. I meant to communicate that the "American Prayer" video sucked, but ended up saying something else.

So, let me be absolutely clear, "We Are the World in Japan" is absolutely one of my favorite things on Teh Internets, hands down.

Palladian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
montana urban legend said...

Of course, McCain's "I walked uphill to school both ways in a Vietnamese prison camp in the snow" story isn't overdone at all. Especially when he tells it to that serious war correspondent Jay Leno. Private Ryan should realize that idealizing his previous standard of living is a pretty ineffective deflection, and reminiscent of the same tactic complained about here. Just in a much more subtle way. People don't glorify war, or even war heros, as much as they used to. Are there any other lessons that McCain needs to learn from John Kerry?

vbspurs said...

LOL. Victoria, you are officially funnier than Victoria Jackson.

Yay!

...BTW, I know a Democratic lady who likes the way Obama dresses and presents himself, and that's why she's voting for him.

I don't have a conniption over stuff like this, because I believe in what James Surowieki calls "The Wisdom of the Crowds".

montana urban legend said...

The funny thing is, vb, even that lady is probably smarter, in some way, than Victoria Jackson.

I'm actually intrigued enough to take a look at the book you reference - even if only for the fact that it is so contrarian to this one. The cover alone is priceless.

Palladian said...

"Shorter palladian: I'm a red-state loser with an inferioity complex."

I live in Brooklyn, douche-bag. But keep talking and calling people "red-state losers", preferably while mentioning Obama. It's a winner!

Palladian said...

To add further intrigue to this stupid "red-state loser" thing:

Harvard's color: red (excuse me, crimson

Yale's color: blue.

So you're a red-school loser!

Jim Hu said...

I couldn't help comparing this to Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in Last King of Scotland.

montana urban legend said...

Actually Palladian, if you study any political science, you'd realize that the incumbent's party, by virtue of the conditions it heralded, is the loser. It's not a very subjective thing at all.

Palladian said...

"High IQ -> Harvard (etc.) -> i-banking -> hedge fund -> winner."

Oh, you're just some lame financial vapor-ware peddler, and not actually an intellectual at all. Actually, you sound like the classic stereotype of the arrogant, rapacious Republican, though I think you're actually full of shit.

Anyway, good luck buying and selling me, princess. I own, I'm rich and the price will be very, very high. And good luck if Obama wins. As a (purportedly) high earner, you're going to get your ass royally fucked. And not in a good way, either.

knox said...

barf x100

somefeller said...

MEMORANDUM

To: Dave Stewart
From: Somefeller, Democratic Activist
Date: 26 August 2008
Re: Your video for Obama

You're not helping. Please cease and desist from this activity immediately.

Peter V. Bella said...

Harvard said...
High IQ -> Harvard (etc.) -> i-banking -> hedge fund -> winner.



Harvard has been a bastion of superfluous mediocrity for over thirty years. It all started when they actually lowered standards so the legacy students who never did anything except be born to Harvard grads could get in. Harvard has no standards. It is like all the other Ivies. If you can afford the tuition or have aid you get in. Harvard=High IQ, bah. High IQ=Harvard, bull.

As to the rest of your drivel, it does not take a high IQ to make money nor does it take a Harvard degree. I know people who could buy and sell you ten times over and they never graduated from high school. Then we have the famous- Bill Gates and Larry Ellison, college drop outs. So spare us your intellectual inferiority and your bovine excrement.

As to your insulting our host; I’ll bet your mommy and daddy never taught you proper manners and probably raised you like a wild animal. You are living proof that we should have never outlawed corporal punishment and we should legalize post natal abortion. If you feel so strongly go find some blog or site that will tolerate your supercilious childish behavior; KOS, MYDD, etc. You give adults a bad name.

John Stodder said...

What's the legal status of this video, per campaign finance rules. If Obama can sic the feds after that rich guy in Texas who's paying for all the Ayers ads, what's to stop McCain from pulling this one down?

Obama's move hasn't led anyone to worry about the future of the first amendment. It will take a right-winger oppressing a left-winger for anyone to notice what these goo-goo laws have done to our Constitution.

Anyway...the message of this video seems to be: "Celebrities are suffering. Vote for Obama."

And I agree with whoever said the video fails to take into account the fact that this country is unrecognizable from the standpoint of the Bull Connor days. Racism was public policy then. It's a pathology now. Californians voted down an open housing law in the mid-60s. They're about to ratify gay marriage. If this was ever a "mean country," it isn't mean anymore.

The celebs behind this kind of video ought to read David Brook's column today. Obama's appeal isn't as a social justice advocate. He's got no record to speak of in that arena. His appeal is as a man connected with the possibilities that technology and globalization have given us, possibilities that Bush has scarcely explored and McCain is unlikely to explore either. That's my damn Obama, not this bathos crap.

David said...

Did they pull this video?

You click and it says "no longer available."

Is Obama listening to Althouse?

He should.

MadisonMan said...

Isn't is so appropriate that George Constanza is in this video? So like George -- to do something he thinks is so cool, so hip, so today. And the effect is the total opposite of the intent.

I can just hear George: But I thought this would help! It has Barry Manilow! Joan Baez! I thought this was so fun!

Joe Hogan said...

I am agast at this video. All ye who enter here abandon all rational thought, for we have entered the realm of the true believers of the left. From a rationalists point of view, there is not a shred of difference between these airheaded knee-bending fools and the bible belt literalists. A pox on both their houses.

And by the way, I would have never dreamed of advising the British people to vote for Tony Blair, who I happened to like. Why should we pay a second's attention to Brits like Dave Stewart and Joss Stone. I think that I also spotted two shots of Sergio Mendes of "Brazil 66" of ancient fame. (He is the bespecticled bald man with a goatee.) Wouldn't the Brazilian government better benefit from his wise counsel? As for me, I don't care what he thinks.

As may be obvious, all this video does is make me angry. Me, who wants very much to vote for Obama if he seems as sound in November as he has occasionally over the past few months. It is not encouraging that his campaign let this piece of dreck loose on the world.

XWL said...

Dave Stewart must be getting YouTube to pull it from any non-Dave Stewarts who uploaded his video.

At the above link, it's still there, and it still sucks.

(but I'll cut him a ton of slack, cause Eurythmics were fantastic)

I'd rag on him for being a Brit sticking his nose in our business, but according to his wiki, he's been living in Hollywood for the past four years.

Seems like if you want to find an older successful Brit, your best bet is to start your search in LA County.

(I doubt he's bothered becoming a citizen, though, so he should still butt out, unless he's taken the oath)

Fen said...

As may be obvious, all this video does is make me angry. Me, who wants very much to vote for Obama if he seems as sound in November as he has occasionally over the past few months

Team McCain ought to pick up this ad and use it. It reinforces their Obama the Celeb meme. Americans find cults creepy.

rhhardin said...

The harmony never uses the tonic chord, except in the first measure of the chorus (and its repeat).

That gives it a very interesting unresolved quality.

The soaring violins overproduction at the end is a mistake, and also it starts repeating the tonic chord, which makes it dull at that point through ordinariness.

Nice tune.

David said...

Booooooring!

mcg said...

You know, when I first heard the song I thought that it was a poor attempt to do a plaintive U2. Earlier when I said that few people could pull of this kind of melodrama---well, I actually had Bono and U2 in mind as one of those few.

Well, according to "More Info" on the original YouTube page, it was indeed co-written with Bono. Dave Stewart remarks:

When we were originally writing the song, Bono was crafting the words in a way that would make people think about the fact that 'America' as a concept was a truly great idea, based on the bedrock of equality.

I think that if U2 performed this song, and it had been done before this campaign, I might have liked it, sort of. In fact it might fit in as one of the lesser tracks on the album All That You Can't Leave Behind, except perhaps for the Amy Keys part (the sort-of-soaring repetition of "This is my American prayer" line).

Paul Zrimsek said...

These are the hands / What are we gonna build with them?

I'm guessing it will be at least 10,000 square feet, probably on the Vineyard.

TmjUtah said...

If you don't have cool, faking it just entertains the people around you.

If patriotism is an alien emotion, (or you simply can't get over yourself) you best just keep on walking, then, because laughter isn't even close to what people will feel when they watch your act.

Synova said...

"If Obama can sic the feds after that rich guy in Texas who's paying for all the Ayers ads, what's to stop McCain from pulling this one down?"

A brain with more than one neuron?

If it weren't for the particular celebs mentioned I'd put money on it being a fake. Like that "Harvard" guy. Though the funny thing there is that the video isn't a fake and "Harvard" very well may not be fake (sock-puppetry possibilities aside). Certainly no more tone deaf than the celebs. Certainly as sanctimonious and self-involved. Why is it, really, that certain lib sorts insist on the class-warfare type economic and cultural accusations of inferiority when they look for ways to insult someone. That and "fat". Yet the party, and liberal thought, is supposed to be about human dignity and equality.

I have to conclude that it's because they aren't actually liberal anymore.

Liberal thought and liberal ideas are the realm of conservatives... the progressives have moved on.

Guesst said...

No longer available.......

Now why has it been pulled?

Palladian said...

"These are the hands / What are we gonna build with them?"

Take a look at these hands. The hand speaks. The hand of a Government Man.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm deleting all of Harvard's comments, and I'll probably delete those of anyone who responds to him. Apologies to anyone I had to delete, other than Harvard.

Palladian said...

"Palladian said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator. 7:17 PM"

I never thought I'd read those words. Cry.

XWL said...

Watching Larry King on CNN and he has on a musician who wrote a Raising McCain song.

Needless to say, fiddling is involved (and big hats).

XWL said...

And one other thing about Raising McCain, Unlike Dave Stewart and Bono, I'm dead certain that John Rich is an actual US citizen who can cast a vote for the candidate he supports.

mcg said...

Other differences: just about everyone in the video is happy, and it's got a bunch of hot chicks in it, including one who plays fiddle.

Not a country fan though.

mcg said...

OK, that song is lousy, in a way Dave Stewart's is not. And the video is too, but in a completely different way.

And like I said, hot chicks, which works for half of us.

bearbee said...

montana urban legend said... I'm actually intrigued enough to take a look at the book you reference - even if only for the fact that it is so contrarian to this one. The cover alone is priceless.

re: The Myth of the Rational Voter, you can listen to author Caplan here and here discussing his book

Pogo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pogo said...

I finally watched it all the way through. Every few seconds I was saying what the hell?!?!

A revolting mix of euphoria and smarminess, ecstacy and smugness, it was a secular canonization by people of no particular merit or intelligence who have undue social prominence in the US simply because they appear on TV or sell CDs.

They quite remind me of the earnest if short-lived Jesus freaks of the late 60s, and the song like an off-off Broadway reprise for Godspell 2: Obama Raised Up.

ALL GOOD GIFTS
We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land..
But it is fed and watered by Barack's almighty hand...
He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain...
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain...

All good gifts around us
Come from Washington
So thank Barack, oh thank Barack for all his love...

We thank thee then, Obama, for all things bright and good,
The seedtime and the harvest, our life, our health, our food,
No gifts have we to offer for all comes from the State
But that which thou desirest, to tax all our estate!

I really wanna thank you O!

nrn312 said...

I live in Brooklyn, douche-bag.

Elitist.

Guesst said...

The video is no longer available.

Does anyone know why?

mcg said...

The original is still there. It would seem that Dave Stewart is clamping down on copies.

SGT Ted said...

Why is it, really, that certain lib sorts insist on the class-warfare type economic and cultural accusations of inferiority when they look for ways to insult someone. That and "fat". Yet the party, and liberal thought, is supposed to be about human dignity and equality.

DOn't forget the homophobia. Get a lefturd going and you can always count on being called gay or that you like dick up your wazoo at some point. NTTAWWT.

Republican said...

I found it at youtube.

Is Dave Stewart even an American citizen?

WTF does he give a rat's ass?