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

April 19, 2018
Ramzy Baroud
Media Cover-up: Shielding Israel is a Matter of Policy
Vijay Prashad
Undermining Brazilian Democracy: the Curious Saga of Lula
Steve Fraser
Class Dismissed: Class Conflict in Red State America
John W. Whitehead
Crimes of a Monster: Your Tax Dollars at Work
Kenn Orphan
Whistling Past the Graveyard
Karl Grossman - TJ Coles
Opening Pandora’s Box: Karl Grossman on Trump and the Weaponization of Space
Colin Todhunter
Behind Theresa May’s ‘Humanitarian Hysterics’: The Ideology of Empire and Conquest
Jesse Jackson
Syrian Strikes is One More step Toward a Lawless Presidency
Michael Welton
Confronting Militarism is Early Twentieth Century Canada: the Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Alycee Lane
On David S. Buckel and Setting Ourselves on Fire
Jennifer Matsui
Our Overlords Reveal Their Top ‘To Do’s: Are YOU Next On Their Kill List?
George Ochenski
Jive Talkin’: On the Campaign Trail With Montana Republicans
Kary Love
Is It Time for A Nice, “Little” Nuclear War?
April 18, 2018
Alan Nasser
Could Student Loans Lead to Debt Prison? The Handwriting on the Wall
Susan Roberts
Uses for the Poor
Alvaro Huerta
I Am Not Your “Wetback”
Jonah Raskin
Napa County, California: the Clash of Oligarchy & Democracy
Robert Hunziker
America’s Dystopian Future
Geoffrey McDonald
“America First!” as Economic War
Jonathan Cook
Robert Fisk’s Douma Report Rips Away Excuses for Air Strike on Syria
Jeff Berg
WW III This Ain’t
Binoy Kampmark
Macron’s Syria Game
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
Katie Fite
Chaos in Urban Canyons – Air Force Efforts to Carve a Civilian Population War Game Range across Southern Idaho
Robby Sherwin
Facebook: This Is Where I Leave You
April 17, 2018
Paul Street
Eight Takeaways on Boss Tweet’s Latest Syrian Missile Spasm
Robert Fisk
The Search for the Truth in Douma
Eric Mann
The Historic 1968 Struggle Against Columbia University
Roy Eidelson
The 1%’s Mind Games: Psychology Gone Bad
John Steppling
The Sleep of Civilization
Patrick Cockburn
Syria Bombing Reveals Weakness of Theresa May
Dave Lindorff
No Indication in the US That the Country is at War Again
W. T. Whitney
Colombia and Cuba:  a Tale of Two Countries
Dean Baker
Why Isn’t the Median Wage for Black Workers Rising?
Linn Washington Jr.
Philadelphia’s Top Cop Defends Indefensible Prejudice in Starbucks Arrest Incident
C. L. Cook
Man in the Glass
Kary Love
“The Mob Boss Orders a Hit and a Pardon”
Lawrence Wittner
Which Nations Are the Happiest―and Why
Dr. Hakim
Where on Earth is the Just Economy that Works for All, Including Afghan Children?
April 16, 2018
Dave Lindorff
President Trump’s War Crime is Worse than the One He Accuses Assad of
Ron Jacobs
War is Just F**kin’ Wrong
John Laforge
Nuclear Keeps on Polluting, Long After Shutdown
Norman Solomon
Missile Attack on Syria Is a Salute to “Russiagate” Enthusiasts, Whether They Like It or Not
Uri Avnery
Eyeless in Gaza   
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Then, Syria Now
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail