when you listen closely, you hear whatever it is you want to hear. if you listen for "cranberry sauce," there's no mistaking it. if you have "paul is dead" in your mind, well, there it is.
this, to me, is a perfect example of people going over the edge. spending too much time mired in all the talk. staying too long at the fair.
hillary clinton's "3 a.m. / red phone" ad has garnered tons of attention. you can watch it here. barack obama responded to it immediately with his own version (here.) it's been talked about and discussed and debated over and over again. one of the sleeping girls from the stock footage used in the ad is now an obama supporter, a fact that every cable news channel will tell you a zillion times a day.
the ad was even lampooned on saturday night live, in a sketch that both clinton and obama supporters are claiming shows their candidate as the strong one. (in the sketch, a president obama is the one making the 3 a.m. phone call -- to clinton, to ask for her help. that would seem to show clinton as the smart one, the strong leader. except the whole premise is that it's a clinton produced political ad, with hillary herself saying "i approved this unfair and deceptive message.")
now, according to orlando patterson, it's a racist ad. in his op-ed column in the new york times today he says:
"The danger implicit in the phone ad — as I see it — is that the person answering the phone might be a black man, someone who could not be trusted to protect us from this threat."patterson goes on to say that this implicit racism could have been easily removed, had the children or the parents in the ad been black. instead, we first see a snoozing blond girl. the second two children, according to patterson, are "vaguely latino." i actually have several friends who are vaguely latino, so i know what he's talking about.
patterson goes on:
"Finally, Hillary Clinton appears, wearing a business suit at 3 a.m., answering the phone. The message: our loved ones are in grave danger and only Mrs. Clinton can save them. An Obama presidency would be dangerous — and not just because of his lack of experience. In my reading, the ad, in the insidious language of symbolism, says that Mr. Obama is himself the danger, the outsider within."what's apparent to me, is that this is patterson's "i buried paul" moment:
"I have spent my life studying the pictures and symbols of racism and slavery, and when I saw the Clinton ad’s central image — innocent sleeping children and a mother in the middle of the night at risk of mortal danger — it brought to my mind scenes from the past. I couldn’t help but think of D. W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation,” the racist movie epic that helped revive the Ku Klux Klan, with its portrayal of black men lurking in the bushes around white society."sheesh. now we're linking clinton with the klan. is this the backlash from the "obama is a muslim" nonsense?
look, i'm all about subliminal messages. you haven't noticed, but there are plenty of them hidden in this blog (aren't you craving a goo-covered apple fritter? see.) but sometimes i think we all get a little too close to that "i've gone a little crazy" line, you know?
and sometimes we pole-vault right over it.
UPDATE 1:39 p.m. -- huh. turns out one of the kids in the ad is african-american. oops!