The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Carla Marinucci wants to know who created this anti-Hillary Apple mash-up, uploaded by one “ParkRidge47.” There are little clues as to the user’s identity. Aside from Marinucci, Michah Sifry has also tried to answer this question, receiving a response from ParkRidge47 that declared the video “a bold statement about the Democratic primary race.” But since ParkRidge47 would prefer to remain anonymous, I’m wondering if this might be a replay of “Al Gore’s Penguin Army,” whereby the Wall Street Journal determined that the anti-Gore video was the work of an oil lobbying firm. Is it possible that the Hillary 1984 commercial is a more clever and elaborate version of this ruse from a similar pro-Democrat lobbying firm? Until ParkRidge47 reveals his true identity, I can’t pay a lot of credence to this viral video, however entertaining it might be. If ParkRidge47’s concern is Apple’s legal team going after him, I should note that even a performance artist like Banksy had the temerity to reveal that he was the one who tampered with hundreds of Paris Hilton albums in record stores.
I am deeply suspicious of this ad.
The soundbites seem to be completely wrong for the ad. I realize there is a certain irony in the original, which juxtaposes “we shall prevail” with the throwing of the hammer. But in the original, the voice has an obviously evil quality to it. These soundbites are Hillary’s explicit attempt to come across as a regular person, having a “conversation” with each of us individually, whereas the original ad speaks of “one people, one will, one resolve, one cause,” and “a garden of pure ideology where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests of any contradictory thoughts.” Meanwhile, the Hillary soundbite says “I don’t want people who agree with me.” Also, the image of big brother is dark, and blends in with the dark wall in the original commercial, while the imagine of Clinton is bright white, an aberration in the monolithic room
If I had to guess at the source of this video, I would bet it came from the Clinton campaign. Imagine seeing it without any knowledge of the original. Most people probably don’t remember the original all that well. Here is an alternative interpretation of the Clinton video: Clinton is trying to awaken people who have become used to politics as a competitive sport, or partisan war, rather than a discussion, an exchange of ideas, about how to make everyone better off. Hillary says that it’s “really good” that “so far, we haven’t stopped talking.” However, some evil forces don’t want you to keep talking. Right before the hammer is thrown, the text on the screen over Hillary reads, “this is our conversation.” The next time we see the screen, a smiling Hillary again says she “hopes to keep this conversation going,” just before the sledge hammer smashes into the screen. In the original ad, following the initial explosion as the sledgehammer crashes into the screen, we hear a light, cool breeze, suggesting freedom. This sound appears to have been slowed down in the Clinton video, lowering the pitch and suggesting the cold wind of emptiness and despair. By this point we are really wondering who would be so evil as to want to end “our conversation.” We then see a bright white screen which says, “On January 14th, the Democratic primary will begin. And you’ll see why 2008 won’t be like ‘1984.’” Note that 1984 has a significance in presidential politics quite apart from Orwell’s book. 1984 was the year Walter Mondale, running as an unabashed liberal, lost every state in the nation except Minnesota. The white screen, associated with Clinton, promises a different outcome in 2008, until it is covered over by a pitch black screen bearing Barack Obama’s web address. It must be he who wishes to end the conversation.
That’s a possibility — considering the high-quality of the commercials. I mean, other examples of UGC (such as the recent panned Dove commercial) haven’t been nearly that good.
As I just wrote here, the charge that Hillary Clinton has a totalitarian agenda is completely random. Great filmmaking, but this is some sly propaganda.