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.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.
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.
"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:
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.