Political kitch as a musical video: Obama Girl vs. Guiliana Girl . See also Hot for Hillary. RX of course was the pioneer of this format with his song Dick is a Killer. I remember Tom Tomorrow’s prediction that the reelection of George W. Bush would make it easier for him to make a living.
This campaign seems carefully orchestrated. In the last election Moveon’s amazing Bush in 30 seconds contest produced great results, but had little effect on voters (Republicans of course were able to spin the competition because one of the entries made some Nazi reference). With the latest Supreme Court decision, expect to see a lot more issue advocacy ads.
One good thing about turning politics into youtube controversies is that most Americans won’t have to sit through the insulting barrage of last minute commercials on TV.
Frankly, I’ve always felt the Republican Party and its advocates have generally lacked taste in things artistic. I shudder to think of the kitsch music videos that Republicans will create.
Second thoughts: This was a clever and interesting music video, but it illustrates the blinding effect of young female beauty on the reptilian brains of viewers. Doesn’t it seem like all of mass media is plastered with gorgeous girls bopping away? Rest assured that if a great dictator were to arise in this age, his propaganda videos would look less like Leni Riefenstahl and more like this. Or maybe not. Great political propaganda in the past has been so earnest –look at Bush’s 9/11 election commercials (Even Eminem’s flirting with politics in the Mosh video seemed depressing and manipulative in a way that the Guiliana/Obama music videos was not). Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda films were much-macho, with not a female in sight. It was clearly meant to inspire men to go to war. Soviet propaganda didn’t have this same bellicosity, but the romanticization of peasant life and factory life gave new opportunities (see the intriguing documentary of Communist musicals East Side Story.) The singing/dancing female is a far more effective propaganda tool. Fortunately, in modern consumer society, the most effective commercials come not from politicians but shampoo and investment companies. And satirical shows like SNL or Simpsons or Jon Stewart (where the aim is not proselytization but simply humor).
Finally, I use the loaded word propaganda, but there are contexts where persuasive multimedia is perfectly appropriate. Raising money for charity; commercials right before an election, etc. Even the U.S. produced propaganda of its own sort during WW2 (it had to maintain morale of people back home). I guess I really don’t have a problem with political commercials as long as citizens don’t use it as the sole basis of forming an opinion. At best it should raise an issue which voters should learn more about in more reputable sources.