I think we are really being played if — in analyzing “Celeb,” the McCain Obama-attack video — we go so far as unearth the racist sexual stereotypes but overlook the possible allusions to violence itself.
Here’s where I think this video is most insidious….
At the surface level, the message is that Obama is nothing but a celebrity, an idol, a cultural phenomenon. In fixing the viewer absolutely on that premise, however, we are prompted to see the incessant flashes in this video as exclusively attributable to Obama the paparazzi magnet and Kodak moment. As well, Obama’s walk down that impressively long entry ramp at the Tiergarten also compliments his juxtaposition with photo icons Britney and Paris as a lens-loving runway model.
But then, watching the video without the sound, and looking at it slowly, bit-by-bit (lessening the “distraction” of the celebrity meme, and considering the subliminal allusions hitting the brain as fast as the scenery from a speeding train), the imagery starts to suggest other inferences.
Beginning with a sequence of flashes paired with isolated hands, followed immediately by a sequence (above) from what looks like the last Democratic Convention (where Obama made his first major jolt, but where the scene itself bears next-to-no direct connection to Obama having his picture taken), now all the “pop-pop-pop” and the violently-sensory “flash-flash-flash” seem indistinguishable from explosions.
With those fireworks serving as a (possible Denver) table setting, and just on-the-other-side of the seductive Britney/Paris segment, we arrive at this chronological sequence in which Obama is mingling with the Berlin crowd, a single nervous-looking Secret Service agent fixed off the candidate’s left shoulder:
Again, following the Rovian admonition to block out the words (removing and freeing up the fuller visual value of the imagery from the advertisement’s oral/textual envelope), I don’t even want to think what this looks like to me — except to say that, I wouldn’t count Hillary as Obama’s only political assailant with the instinct to turn off the electricity.
(screen grabs: McCain For President)