Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Halfwits in America



Having originally attained fame as "The Man with No Name," iconic film star Clint Eastwood made a big impression during the Superbowl by appearing as "The Man with No Clue" in a two minute political ad for Barack Obama which was pretending to sell Chryslers. Not that either Obama or buying cars was specifically mentioned.

The same liberal mainstream media that has embraced the idea of "dog whistle racism" (in which words like "Founding Fathers" or "Constitution" are considered racist) are ridiculing the idea that the alleged car commercial had any political content. But the script tells another story.

Over a montage of photos of hollow-eyed people who look like extras from "The Grapes of Wrath," Clint growls, "It’s halftime in America. People are out of work and they’re hurting. And they’re all wondering what they’re going to do to make a comeback. And we’re all scared, because this isn’t a game."

Want to buy a new car yet? No? Okay, maybe this is Clint's sales pitch: "I’ve seen a lot of tough eras, a lot of downturns in my life. And times when we didn’t understand each other. It seems like we’ve lost our heart at times. When the fog of division, discord, and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead. "

Oh, that's why Chryslers stopped selling - because we didn't understand each other in the fog of division and discord! Or, um, not.

So hey, Clint, what about the great new features in the latest Chryslers? Tell us about those!

"After those trials, we all rallied around what was right and acted as one," snarls Clint while ignoring our pleas to hear about crash safety, road-hugging driving satisfaction, and superduper government mandated gas mileage. "Because that’s what we do. We find a way through tough times, and if we can’t find a way, then we’ll make one. All that matters now is what’s ahead. How do we come from behind? How do we come together? And, how do we win?"

That's odd. When we hear "winning," we think of contests like elections - not auto manufacturing. And just what do cars have to do with all of us "coming together?"

Theoretically, the spot was intended to show the resurrection of Detroit's auto industry (even though the new shots of a revitalized "Detroit" were actually filmed in Los Angeles and New Orleans) and the fact that the script was written by an ad agency with connections to the Obama campaign is purely coincidental.

Sort of like the way it's purely coincidental that Chrysler received so much taxpayer money from Barack Obama (over a billion dollars of which hasn't been paid back)...and their Superbowl commercial just happens to be making the case to give him a second term.

Frankly, the commercial made us want to do anything but buy a car from Government Motors.

But just maybe, if we watch Clint in "Gran Torino" again, we'll change our minds.



It's Halfwits in America...and they're down 4 trillion to nothing.

Equal Time Reply...
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Okay - to be perfectly fair, this DOES look an awful lot like America these days.

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35 comments:

Angry Hoosier Dad said...

Not so outraged at this thinly veiled reelection pitch for Turdboy. His entire first term has been a taxpayer subsidized reelection campaign. But for Eastwood to deny what is so painfully obvious is laughable. Still, there are many who will buy into his denial. After all, he's a famous actor. He wouldn't lie, would he? Eww, the irony is dripping all over my keyboard. Gotta go get a sponge.

Christopher Ross said...

@Angry Hoosier Dad

Well then lets all hope that plan fails as badly as any of his others then.

I suppose none of his advisors had thought to tell him that the best re-election campaign would be to do a good job while he's had his first crack at office.

Of course, I suppose it's not their fault. Half his "advisors" hadn't heard a word from him in his first two years as president. If I were them, having been snubbed for the first couple years of my job as advisor, the first piece of advice I'd have sitting in the back of my mind would be for Obama to go jump off a cliff.

Anonymous said...

Shame Clint has hit senility. I used to enjoy his movies.

MAJ Mike

Coon Tasty said...

Clint, I Am Disappoint.

I still think Gran Torino should have won the Academy Award for Best Film, though.

Earl said...

The only thing missing? "I am Barack Obama, and I approve this ad."

Pete(Detroit) said...

I think I heard it was Jay Leno (or his writers) who said "Yeah, half time in America, and China's winning $4B to nothing"

Emmentaler Limburger said...

Oddly, from what I can recall, Eastwood has been a predominantly Republican-leaning independent. Makes me wonder if he just "didn't get" the script - though I find that hard to believe. This is going to sound like I'm an "age-ist", but he is going to be 82 this year. Maybe the ol' thought-factory is being shuttered by its management? Pity, but nobody remains sentient forever...

Mike Porter said...

I read an article where Mr. Eastwood denied any support for, or connection with Obama as concerns that advertisement. It seems to me that he would surely have known that it was a commercial for Chrysler, and I find it hard to believe that he was unaware of any connection between this company and the current toolset on the beltway workbench. Perhaps he was naïve enough to believe that the message was not so open-ended as to be immune to any usurpation by the Opportunist in Chief. The Eastwood fan in me would like very much to give the guy a pass, but the realist in me says no damn way. We live in very dicey times, and if you're not a staunch defender of the founding principles of this nation, then you are a tool in the hands of the enemies of freedom. So I can only say to Mr. Eastwood, if you find yourself unable to connect these simple dots, then perhaps you should keep your mouth shut and let your legacy do the talking from here on out.

SPON said...

Eastwood said that any money he made went to charity. Which one?

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Angry Hoosier Dad- I can see how Clint would have been fooled into doing a "pro-America" spot without asking himself just WHY a recently bailed-out car company would drop a boatload of money making a commercial that's about fixing our discordant nation instead of "hey, we fixed our cars."

@Christopher Ross- I've also heard that Obama doesn't really consult with his advisors very much, except for a few like Valerie Jarret who are 100% political schemers.

@MAJ Mike- I'm not holding this against Clint and I still like his movies (whether he's in them, or behind the camera). The overall message seemed like a good one for America...it's only when you see the final assembled product with all of the images (which he wouldn't have) and consider the context that you realize what the game is.

And by the way, isn't it interesting that Obama and Axelrod just coincidentally announced their support (after years of attacks) of SuperPAC political ads in case any well-funded third parties want to give the Bamster free advertising. I think it's safe to assume we just saw the first such spot.

@Coon Tasty- "Gran Torino" is a great film, and anyone who is disappointed in this "Halftime" nonsense should watch that film again for some cleansing, inspiring, politically incorrect, and patriotic Eastwood manliness. Clint is still okay in my book.

@Earl- I've got to admit that when I first saw this commercial, that was what I was waiting to hear at the end - and I fully expected to do so.

@Pete(Detroit)- I just did a Google search, and apparently Leno said "China has the ball and we're down by 16 trillion." I like that version - I was a little too kind by only using a $4 trillion figure, because I was only counting what Barry has personally added to the debt between golf outings.

@Emmentaler- It's my understanding that Clint is a long-standing Libertarian and not a Lefty. I think he did this spot for the right reasons, believing the message to be a good one for America and not thinking about the politics at all.

Let me be very clear that today's cartoon/commentary is in NO way an attack on Eastwood (who at 82 could still doubtlessly kick my ass), but rather on the backroom machinations and manipulations of the political spinmeisters.

@Mike Porter- As somebody who worked in advertising for years, I can say that it would be pretty easy for a busy guy like Clint to hear the pitch from the agency, do a quick read of the script, and be told that the whole shoot will only take an hour of his time for X number of dollars - and then think no more about it.

I believe Clint's assertion that he didn't (and doesn't) think the commercial was political. But he's wrong...and he's been wronged by those who used him.

Put another way, failing further offenses I'll continue to enjoy Mr. Eastwood's past, present, and future works...unlike those of the Dixie Chicks whose previously well-played CDs I threw out when they turned into loudmouthed political idiots.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Spon- I hadn't heard that, but I don't doubt it at all. (I mentioned that Clint could still kick my ass, right?)

John the Econ said...

America did vote. With their dollars. The free marketplace is the purest form of Democracy in existence. If a product or service sucks, we don't buy it. Pretty simple, really. And people tend to vote far more carefully with their dollars than they do at the ballot box. Clearly, people voted against Detroit, both the city and the products it produced for a reason.

Over the 60 years or so, few cities have embraced the Progressive social/economic agenda more than Detroit. By the the 21st century, unions, economic and social engineering, and other government meddling had succeeded in chasing nearly 2/3rds of its population elsewhere seeking a better life, or just a life; 25% of that just within the last decade. That people would wish that same agenda applied to the rest of America is simply sheer insanity.

And I can't think of anything more diametrically opposed than the rugged, individualistic gets-stuff-done characters that Clint Eastwood is most famous for, and the micromanaging nanny-statism of the Obama agenda.

That the commercial that was basically funded by us (or the Chinese Communists we borrowed the money from) wasn't even filmed in Detroit only ads to the irony.

John the Econ said...

When I saw the ad, I was also a bit surprised because Eastwood was always a "Ford" guy. If you look that the majority of the movies he's made, it's almost always a Ford he's driving. That would have seemed more appropriate, being the one domestic manufacturer that did not need or take a bailout...

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@John the Econ- Great analysis. Detroit's auto industry was not the victim of America's failure to "understand each other" or "the fog of division, discord, and blame."

Americans didn't stop buying cars - they stopped buying cars that were overpriced and unreliable. Although you'll never convince me that America couldn't build the best cars in the world if the incestuous relationship between the unions and government was ended.

I'm currently (and reluctantly) in the market for a new car...but I'm not even considering anything from Government Motors. And maybe I'm overlooking some fine cars or fine deals - but with an investment this size, I have to deal with someone whose promises and history mean something. And that's not either Washington or the UAW.

txGreg said...

@AHD,

"...he's a famous actor. He wouldn't lie, would he?"

It's sadly funny how many people actually do think this way. They hear some actor spouting off and think it means something. They don't realize that by definition, good actors are professional liars. That's their job (if they were worse at it, they'd be politicians).

John the Econ said...

@txGreg said "They don't realize that by definition, good actors are professional liars."

Actually, it's their job to say what other people have written for them to say. That's why most of them sound like complete idiots when they speak for themselves without a script...

SC said...

Where does Chrysler get off spending millions on that ad when they still owe the American taxpayers for their bailout?

JustaJeepGuy said...

I bought a Jeep Wrangler in 1989; it was made by Chrysler. I'm still driving it. Chrysler made a good one in 1989. If they had continued to make good ones, they wouldn't have had to be bailed out. Clint got suckered by the Obamunists. It's sad. It doesn't make me like Clint any less, it just makes me hate the Obamunists more.

Emmentaler Limburger said...

Actually, it's their job to say what other people have written for them to say. That's why most of them sound like complete idiots when they speak for themselves without a script...

Soooooo then Øbama is just an actor?

John the Econ said...

Actor, idiot, or both.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@txGreg- "if they were worse at it (lying) they'd be politicians." Great line!

@John the Econ- On behalf of writers everywhere, I'm glad to see you giving credit to the writers who make actors sound smart even if they're blitheringly stupid.

@SC- Let's just say that if Chrysler does favors for Obama with ads like this, their worries about paying back what they owe taxpayers may "go away."

@JustaJeepGuy- Like you, I still like Clint. And here's a true story: when I was a callow youth about a century ago, I worked at a Ford plant assembling steering columns. Every man on the line was capable of doing his own job, and that of the man standing next to him. Which is why one man would clock in every morning and do both jobs, then leave at lunchtime when the other guy came in to do both jobs. Both worked a half day, and received a full day's wage.

But a couple of guys decided that even THAT was too much work, and stopped coming in altogether (but had others punch their timecards). This subterfuge wasn't noticed by their (alleged) supervisors until people driving Fords started dying in car crashes because the parts that were SUPPOSED to be installed were missing.

The men responsible were fired, and Ford had to do a recall which cost millions of dollars (and settle lawsuits with the families of the dead).

BUT...

The UAW fought the case, and got the men their jobs back...including back pay.

This is why in later years, I've preferred cars assembled by people who will commit Hara-kiri if they screw up.

@Emmentaler- Good observation. Yes, Obama IS just an actor who reads scripts written by others.

@John the Econ- I vote "both."

Pete(Detroit) said...

Stilt - my PT Cruiser is coming up on 12 yr old, 210k miles. Got a good one there. Then again, it was made in Mexico, where people still see good paying jobs as a privilege, not a right..
Ford quality (until they started mucking things up w/ stupid gimmicks - I mean link up w/ MSoft? a company who's name is synonymous w/ "crash" - the hell were they THINKING?) anyway, quality was / is edging Toyota. THAT being said, I totally hear you on the UAW issue. One would think they would see it's in their interest to kick the junkies and slackers out, but no, not them! Asshats.

Coon Tasty said...

@SJ - Were I in the market for a new vehicle, I would be looking very hard at what Honda has to offer. Sure, the Japanese ones > than the US-made models but, still, Honda has a reputation for quality and reliability that is pretty much unmatched.
Sadly, Honda don't sell their trucks in Australia or I'd be driving one of them already. However, my TDi SR5 Hilux creates a nice big carbon footprint, so I'm happy with that.

John the Econ said...

@Stilton, reminds me of that expose' back during the meltdown where the reporters were following all the assembly workers to local parks where they spent their lunch hour(s) getting wasted, then driving back to work to assemble more crappy cars. I think their defense was that they didn't need to be sober to do their jobs (and drive back and forth).

It was pretty much symbolic of the dysfunction that we taxpayers were currently bailing out. No doubt, most of these guys are now working "green" jobs building subsidized solar panels that will be filling landfills in a year or two...

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Pete(Detroit)- I'll definitely be looking at what Ford has to offer because I like the notion of "buying American" when the products can stand up to scrutiny. And I'll also be checking out some Japanese cars, because I've had good experience with Honda, Toyota, and Nissan in the last 30 years.

@Coon Tasty- The Honda CRV is on my shortlist to look at.

@John the Econ- My short time at Ford was pretty eye-opening. The pay was sky high, and the workload light to (occasionally) non-existent. For awhile I worked the nightshift driving a forklift. There was usually no more than an hour or two of work to do, after which the foreman ordered me to "find a palette back in the warehouse where you can't be seen and go to sleep like everyone else." Fortunately, America's engines weren't "roaring" at the time to disturb anyone's slumber.

John the Econ said...

@Stilton, all a story I've heard many times before. Perhaps that's why the "Jobs Bank", where laid-off workers were sent to "retrain" or just loaf-around was so popular; it really wasn't much different than being at work.

The really sad part is the corrosive effect what such an environment has upon people's self-esteem: There is none. Deep inside, every one of those knows they're a slacker. It's quite difficult (albeit not impossible) to be so deluded as to believe otherwise...

Pete(Detroit) said...

John, just as worse it's convinced a LOT of people that they don't need an education to get a decent job w/ high pay. Which is simply not the case. In terms of 'what's wrong w/ Detroit schools', a large part is kids who work at it, study / learn are persecuted for 'acting too white'...

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@John the Econ- This kind of a situation is murderous to self-esteem and creates an unhealthy sense of servitude to the unions who believe the only way to show power is to abuse it.

@Pete(Detroit)- The world is changing, and there aren't going to be well-paying jobs for kids who don't get educations. And mind you, I'm not limiting "education" to the three R's...I have all the respect in the world for people who attend trade schools and master a craft. And I wish there would be more emphasis on such training these days - no matter what, you'll never outsource the job of fixing your toilet to someone at a call center in India.

Emmentaler Limburger said...

...but, on the other hand, "higher education" is highly overrated - and WAY overpriced. There's a bubble there-a-comin'. Also if the libs get their way, we'll be a service-only economy, and I really don't see a college professor's role in instructing one in the methods of properly constructing and delivering a burger and an order of fries...

As a society, we have handicapped ourselves - and enslaved countless to indebtedness, low self-esteem, and failure - by over-emphasizing the value of a college degree. Worse, we told them that we value ANY college degree. As a result, the unemployment numbers (and Wall Street) are occupied by myriad "educated" folk having absolutely worthless backgrounds in such fields as "Women's Studies", "African-American Studies", and a thousand other "Studies" that hold no bearing on society, and no hope of employment - except within the establishment that produced them in the first place. (It's like academic incest, if you ask me.) Still others got into the system, and couldn't hack it. Now they're the "walking wounded", wandering around wondering why "everyone else is better than they are".

Don't get me wrong on the value I put on education: I have two masters degrees (thankfully, they're relevant to wonderful career options, both within and outside of my current field of practice), and hope to one day obtain a doctorate (so I can milk academia as a "perfessor" in my dotage). Yes, clearly: there is a such thing as a good education. But there're also those totally unsuited for both ends of the education system involved today, and there's also the continued need for those who use more brawn than brain. A society so hell-bent on everyone getting a degree is a society will soon find that none of her own want to do the menial tasks, but there aren't enough high paying, high cerebrum positions available to all. Couple that with the "living wage" and minimum wage arguments, and...

Huh! Sounds familiar.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Emmentaler- spectacular post and exactly right. The only thing I'll add about the problem of steering everyone into abstract and or informational disciplines (besides the fact that not everyone is suited for these areas) is that these are exactly the sorts of skills which are easily outsourced to other countries - which any company that wants to stay in business is going to be forced to do competitively.

Per my earlier remark, right now I think a good plumber has a better chance of staying employed than an engineer. And both of them have a better chance than a Philosophy Major.

John the Econ said...

The biggest mistake we've made is purging "shop class" from the high schools in favor of "computer class". So now we have millions of somewhat educated people who are capable of writing a Word document and perhaps even building a spreadsheet, but little beyond that. Meanwhile, we have fewer people in America actually capable of physically doing anything. The irony of today's employment situation is that there are actually good jobs out there, but few people skilled enough in basic mechanical trades to actually fill them.

As for education: The "education bubble" is entirely the result of government regulation. As both laws and the courts effectively outlawed most forms of "intelligence" testing used by employers by the 1970, colleges & universities became the new filter, as they are not limited as to how they evaluate prospective students like employers now are. For a time, a college degree inferred that you had a certain amount of intelligence, and were capable of following instruction and fulfilling requirements. Meanwhile, governments were happy to subsidize college tuitions both directly, and via guaranteed student loans.

Of course, as generations since the 60s now consider a college education nearly a "right" and the money available to make it seem so, nearly everyone goes. The ultimate result is that a BS degree today is barely worth what a high school diploma was a few generations ago. I'm embarrassed to say that my alma-mater pushed out exponentially more "grievance studies" diplomas than for real majors.

DonSurber said...

Gran Torino. Ford product.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@John the Econ- I'm going to have to limit myself to saying "great post" because otherwise I'd need to write a LOT more (in agreement and expansion of your points) than I have energy for right now.

@DonSurber- Quandry solved! I'll buy a Gran Torino!

Anonymous said...

To those who want to avoid Government Motors and UAW...

Look into the VW Passat. Made in Tennessee by nearly 3000 non-union workers.

Won Motor Trend's 2012 Car of the Year. Base price just under $20K.

THAT's the kind of place we need to support with our business.

John the Econ said...

Learned to drive in a Gran Torino.