October 30, 2012

Subliminals: Romney's Ohio Jeep Ad Demonizes Obama?

Plenty of people are shaking their heads and their hands (and specific digits) over Romney’s deeply cynical and patently false ad reframing the auto bailout. In the part where it falsely alleges Jeep is shifting production to China, you see a Jeep, in what looks like the heartland, speeding away from us.

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The weirdest and most subliminal part of the ad, however, is the scene which features Detroit legend, Lee Iacocca, who endorsed Romney two weeks ago. In the background, past the former auto executive and a pair of blonde women, one perhaps Iacocca’s wife, is a sign that looks to have been photoshopped in. In an orange glow and just off Lee’s shoulder we see an Obama-like figure harshly staring in a look of anger and, perhaps, paranoia. Echoing the intent of the ad, Obama looks like the Devil himself.

Update: The element that didn’t make sense to me about the “Obama” figure was that extended sideburn on the left which, when you look at it closely, seems particularly darker and thicker.

I’m not a Photoshop guy, but it now makes me wonder if the guy with the curly hair “under Obama’s nose” was added in to make it seem (actually from three sides) if “Obama has a beard.” Perhaps the idea here was not just a demonic vibe but the look of a terrorist?

That is Iacocca’s wife by the way, and what’s curious, too, is “the demonic woman” just above her head — as if “Obama’s” demon female partner.

Besides the demon couple framing/wedging in Iacocca, there are other dynamics to consider here, such as “Obama” partnered with a demon version of Iacocca’s wife (which would play on two racist stereotypes, the hypersexual black man coveting women beyond his own wife, and a white woman besides.)  Finally, notice that “the words on high” in the frame refer to the Wall Street Journal.  This is not to say that my analysis or imagination is reaching, but the fact the Romney campaign has been playing with pictures lately — and the background here is quite bizarre — only lends to my going in that direction.

Video: Who will do more?/Mitt Romney YouTube channel

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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