June 5, 2014

The Tell in that Rosy, "Make it all Better" Assad Campaign Video

Like other observers, I was interested in how this Team Assad campaign video mirrored the look and feel of American-style campaign PR. Its the depth of the denial that makes it so perverse and blasphemous, however, akin to a homicidal maniac handing out lollipops. As twisted as all that rebar is the Syrian government painting the rosiest vision of reconstruction … from their own bombing attacks. (Robert Mackey at the NYT has an excellent video sampling of the Assad soft-focus campaign here.)

Reflecting on the disconnect, there is a quick element in the clip that doesn’t seem to square with the overwhelming vision of peace, love and undoing. The detail I’m talking about is at the :30 second mark, where the worker is pulling on his glove. Lingering slightly too long, there’s a bit of a feeling, a reminder, perhaps, that the fantasy is coming from, well … an iron hand.

From a clinical standpoint, it’s equivalent to that stage in the cycle of an abusive relationship in which the abuser, after the violence, promises that everything is going to be all better now. Of course, what you have to understand is how conditional the vision is, that “you’ll see, or else.”

(video/clip: SAWA.Bashar.Alassad/YouTube)

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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