FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Busty Bimbettes, Bombs and Brand Obama

“It’s obvious, the point of advertising is to delude people with the imagery and, you know, tales of a football player, sexy actress, who, you know, drives to the moon in a car or something like that.. The goal of advertising is to create uninformed consumers who will make irrational choices.”

–Professor Noam Chomsky, 11/19/08

In the cold light of late November, as the Clinton redux crew prepares to re-enter the White House, rational people might wonder, “Is this the change people voted for?” Actually, as argued several times in this space, anyone who expected anything different simply wasn’t paying attention.

Still, not paying attention is what we’re all about these days. Historian Gabriel Kolko described it well back in 1976:

“With apathy and infantilism two of the main characteristics of American political campaigns … concern for the ephemeral rather than the candid fundamentals is … a constant in American political dialogue; … It (has) created a nationally underdeveloped politics…. Apathy and infantilism aid political hegemony and the stability of machines… By linking political issues to the extraneous concerns for race, glamour, religion, or experience, and avoiding central questions of power and purpose in society, the real intellectual and ideological questions of the social order have been wholly obscured and the mass capacity to respond to the problems of that order seriously reduced.”

The main work of the American constitutional regime is to keep what the framers called the “majority faction” from ever gaining power. Any casual observer would have to admit that, except for a couple of rude democratic eruptions in the 30s and the 60s, the system has functioned largely as intended. Its most recent poisonous flowering is the selection of Barack Hussein Obama as corporate-guy-in-chief.

His rapid-fire appointments of Rahm ( “He’s no Arab”) Emmanuel, Larry ( “Africa is under-polluted / Women can’t cut it intellectually”) Summers, Hillary ( “Let’s eradicate hopes for single-payer, a sovereign Yugoslavia, Palestine, and Iraq”) Clinton, and the rest of the ghoulish shysters from Team Willy are but the cruel prelude to Four More Years of the same.

BHO’s announced his sales strategy in “The Audacity of Hope”: “I serve as a blank screen, on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views.”

If folks wanted to believe that he was “anti-war,” or pro-labor, he didn’t try to disillusion them. He smiled a lot and pushed his wife and kids to the front while sentimental dream consumers teared-up. On the stump he cooed to his fans, “This isn’t about me. This is about you.”

Say what?

Oh, and by the way, he raised more corporate money than the grizzled McCain and marketed himself to a distracted public like so much plastic ware. Even before the election took place, the leading PR trade publication reported that BHO had “won over the nation’s brand builders…(being) named Advertising Age’ s marketer of the year for 2008.”

“Mr. Obama won the vote of hundreds of marketers, agency heads and marketing-services vendors gathered … at the Association of National Advertisers’ annual conference. He edged out runners-up Apple and Zappos.com… (as well as) megabrand Nike, turnaround story Coors, and Mr. Obama’s rival, Sen. John McCain,” the spin mag reported.

Business Week’s Jon Fine enthused , “It’s the f***in’ Web 2.0 thing.”

High f***in’ praise indeed.

But, consider the source, because advertising and the “brand” development of defective products like the president-elect, is a manipulative process, unworthy of a great people and a hindrance to social/political progress. The consumer of advertising images, Neil Postman observed, is a weak and pathetic creature; merely “a patient assured by psycho-dramas.” Ad campaigns encourage distracted people to “feel” good about things that really aren’t good for them. It’s not about logic and rational argument. In his Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985), Postman wrote, “Today, on television commercials, propositions are as scarce as unattractive people. The truth or falsity of an advertiser’s claim is simply not an issue. A McDonald’s commercial, for example, is not a series of testable, logically ordered assertions. It’s a drama — a mythology, if you will — of handsome people selling, buying, and eating hamburgers, and being driven to near ecstasy by their good fortune. No claims are made, except those the viewer projects onto or infers from the drama. One can like or dislike a television commercial of course. But one cannot refute it.”

Despite actual evidence to the contrary, a great many desperate people bought Brand Obama as a new and improved presidential candidate. Some are now getting a bit apprehensive as he surrounds himself with a ghastly retinue of comers, con-men, war criminals, Clintonian creeps, and cudgel wielders.

There’s worse to come — much worse. His VP elect, the heinously corrupt “Senator from Mastercard” Joe Biden, instructed high-roller Ds at a Seattle fundraiser (10/19/08), that Brand Obama was destined to soon seriously distress his fans. Biden began with a biblical metaphor, “ Let’s not be, for those of a different faith remember St. Peter denied Christ thrice, you know? We don’t need anybody denying us, this is gonna be tough. There are gonna be a lot of you who want to go ‘whoa, wait a minute, yo, whoa, whoa, I don’t know about that decision.’ …. (These decisions are) not likely to be as popular as they are sound. Because if they’re popular, they’re probably not sound.” (Matthew Jaffe, ABC News)

The jackals and empire camp-followers in America’s pundit and chattering classes are richly cheered by Brand Obama’s “pragmatism” and his supposed “move to the center.” But anyone who regarded the “Yes-we-can-man” as a lefty or as having any serious beef with the Bush/Clinton/Bush consensus is likely to be badly disappointed.

Maybe Inauguration Day ceremonies will soothe the anxious by retreading the Fleetwood Mac chestnut, “Don’t stop thinkin’ about tomorrow,” again.

More appropriate, would be Public Enemy’s “Don’t Believe the Hype.”

RICHARD RHAMES is a dirt-farmer in Biddeford, Maine (just north of the Kennebunkport town line).

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

RICHARD RHAMES is a dirt-farmer in Biddeford, Maine (just north of the Kennebunkport town line). He can be reached at: rrhames@xpressamerica.net

Weekend Edition
July 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Atwood
Peace or Armageddon: Take Your Pick
Paul Street
No Liberal Rallies Yet for the Children of Yemen
Nick Pemberton
The Bipartisan War on Central and South American Women
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Are You Putin Me On?
Andrew Levine
Sovereignty: What Is It Good For? 
Brian Cloughley
The Trump/NATO Debacle and the Profit Motive
David Rosen
Trump’s Supreme Pick Escalates America’s War on Sex 
Melvin Goodman
Montenegro and the “Manchurian Candidate”
Salvador Rangel
“These Are Not Our Kids”: The Racial Capitalism of Caging Children at the Border
Matthew Stevenson
Going Home Again to Trump’s America
Louis Proyect
Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders and the Dilemmas of the Left
Patrick Cockburn
Iraqi Protests: “Bad Government, Bad Roads, Bad Weather, Bad People”
Robert Fantina
Has It Really Come to This?
Russell Mokhiber
Kristin Lawless on the Corporate Takeover of the American Kitchen
John W. Whitehead
It’s All Fake: Reality TV That Masquerades as American Politics
Patrick Bobilin
In Your Period Piece, I Would be the Help
Ramzy Baroud
The Massacre of Inn Din: How Rohingya Are Lynched and Held Responsible
Robert Fisk
How Weapons Made in Bosnia Fueled Syria’s Bleak Civil War
Gary Leupp
Trump’s Helsinki Press Conference and Public Disgrace
Josh Hoxie
Our Missing $10 Trillion
Martha Rosenberg
Pharma “Screening” Is a Ploy to Seize More Patients
Basav Sen
Brett Kavanaugh Would be a Disaster for the Climate
David Lau
The Origins of Local AFT 4400: a Profile of Julie Olsen Edwards
Rohullah Naderi
The Elusive Pursuit of Peace by Afghanistan
Binoy Kampmark
Shaking Establishments: The Ocasio-Cortez Effect
John Laforge
18 Protesters Cut Into German Air Base to Protest US Nuclear Weapons Deployment
Christopher Brauchli
Trump and the Swedish Question
Chia-Chia Wang
Local Police Shouldn’t Collaborate With ICE
Paul Lyons
YouTube’s Content ID – A Case Study
Jill Richardson
Soon You Won’t be Able to Use Food Stamps at Farmers’ Markets, But That’s Not the Half of It
Kevin MacKay
Climate Change is Proving Worse Than We Imagined, So Why Aren’t We Confronting its Root Cause?
Thomas Knapp
Elections: More than Half of Americans Believe Fairy Tales are Real
Ralph Nader
Warner Slack—Doctor for the People Forever
Lee Ballinger
Soccer, Baseball and Immigration
Louis Yako
Celebrating the Wounds of Exile with Poetry
Ron Jacobs
Working Class Fiction—Not Just Surplus Value
Perry Hoberman
You Can’t Vote Out Fascism… You Have to Drive It From Power!
Robert Koehler
Guns and Racism, on the Rocks
Nyla Ali Khan
Kashmir: Implementation with Integrity and Will to Resolve
Justin Anderson
Elon Musk vs. the Media
Graham Peebles
A Time of Hope for Ethiopia
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Homophobia in the Service of Anti-Trumpism is Still Homophobic (Even When it’s the New York Times)
Martin Billheimer
Childhood, Ferocious Sleep
David Yearsley
The Glories of the Grammophone
Tom Clark
Gameplanning the Patriotic Retributive Attack on Montenegro
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail