Wednesday, August 27, 2008

the most horrifying propaganda i’ve ever seen

i am disgusted. i have never seen a more offensive ad, political or not, in my life time.

whatever genius created/authorized this ad at least had the foresight not to run it on national television. and yet, i think it has more power slightly below the radar. had they tried to run it on national television, it would have been subject to the criticism it sorely needs. as it is, this ad runs online and on christian radio- where it potentially does the most damage.

mccain has an ad out which his people say is supposed to be "funny" - a satirical look at obama's rhetoric. like the ad that ran on tv, comparing obama to female celebrities who don't wear panties and who have been arrested, this ad tries to use obama's popularity against it's most benign reading, the add uses his "chosen one" status, but questions if he is "ready" to be president. but this is no benign ad.

the ad, brilliantly terrible, capitalizes on the imagery and the rhetoric of the most popular christian popular culture item- the best selling "Left Behind" book series. the series uses scripture as a jumping off point to tell the story of the rise of the AntiChrist following the Rapture of the faithful. in the books the Anti Christ is a captivating leader, who rises meteorically through the political process till eventually he becomes president of the world-- he is so likable and awe inspiring, the nations change their laws to let him rule. after the Rapture, people compare him to the Messiah, indeed, when disasters strike- floods, massive earthquakes, power outages, war, etc (nothing we know about now. ha) they believe he IS the chosen one.

beyond the visual imagery and the blasphemous taglines, the ad uses obama's own words, clips from interviews and speeches in which he seems to compare himself to the messiah and unfortunately suggests we will have epiphanies and "see the light" about him. for a left behind reader, this is the most damning, as the AntiChrist will be so engaging even as he implies to us all that he is the messiah. we can't see his evil deeds, only the cheerful fanfare and eloquent speeches.

The Times ran an article about this comparison. An AntiChrist Obama in McCain ad?

Is this just a simple satire? Is it satire to say a man is remarkably similar to a popular description of the antichrist?

At Duke, I once wrote a long paper, a good 20 pages, on the usage of poster propaganda during the fight for suffrage, especially during and after the war. I'm still rather proud of that paper and the hours spent in special collections analyzing posters and magazine ads. the image of the "suffragist" is truly awful, ugly and misformed, like exaggerated harpies and yet these images were all over popular culture.

the evil undercurrent of this ad is very easily missed if you have not read the Left Behind series. but for the millions of christians who have, and for the many that believe them to be based on fact--what is this ad?

the authors of the series are some of the many who see these books as fact/foretelling. at least they have announced they do not believe obama to be the antichrist. why? well:

Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, the authors of the hugely popular Left Behind books, a series that imagines the End Times, have issued an official statement saying they don't think Barack Obama is the Antichrist. As quoted in Christian Newswire:

"I can see by the language he uses why people think he could be the antichrist," adds LaHaye, "but from my reading of scripture, he doesn't meet the criteria. There is no indication in the Bible that the antichrist will be an American."
Left Behind authors fact check

Out Ra Geous 

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