January 17, 2011

"Just remember, amid all these new calls for civility, no one on the left thought this ad was over the top — even though it advocated murdering global warming skeptics."



Bryan Preston (via Instapundit).

I remember a lot of criticism of that ad though, and I'm skeptical of the assertion that "no one on the left thought this ad was over the top." Anyone who liked the ad, I assume, would say that because it's so exaggerated, everyone understands that it's a joke. If that's true, then it's wrong to assert that it "advocated murdering" anybody. But I think some people on the left did criticize it:
[The ad] elicited a furious reaction from some environmentalists. Bill McKibben of 350.org felt moved to write on the popular Climate Progress blog that the film was "noxious":
The climate skeptics can crow. It's the kind of stupidity that hurts our side, reinforcing in people's minds a series of preconceived notions, not the least of which is that we're out-of-control and out of touch — not to mention off the wall, and also with completely misplaced sense of humor.
Under a blogpost titled 'That 10:10 video... not in my name', Rob Hopkins of the Transition Town movement for more sustainble communities, wrote:
I have to say I am shocked, and appalled by this, and I'm on their side!...
More at the link.
Nevertheless, it's still fair to say that there are a lot of extreme and uncivil graphic depictions and statements that come from the left. The existence of that ad shows that it was believed — by people with the resources to make a very high-quality short film — that they could reach the general public with communication like that. I don't think a right-wing group with a serious intention to reach ordinary people would concoct such a thing.

Maybe I'm wrong about that. I don't like to see the power of violence exploited to sell political messages, but it is an easy way to get people's attention. That ad became viral — and I'm carrying the virus now — because it was so extreme. At some point, extremism backfires, but it's natural for the manufacturers of advertising to push it as far as they can.

What are the other ways to get our attention? Sex? It's hard to get that just right in a political setting. You'll irritate too many women before you do anything interesting. So, you can see why they go for violence. It's a psychological button just waiting to be pushed, and they've got to push something.

Try making ads that sell candidates or policies using the "civility" theme. I mean... try convincing your political opponents that they ought to try to sell their candidates and policies using the "civility" theme.

55 comments:

Pogo said...

Its funny until someone gets hurt, then its:

1) uncivil.
2) the GOP's fault.
3) proof that Sarah Palin is evil.
4) hilarious!

shoutingthomas said...

The sanctimony is what really astonishes me. The left has become so damned sanctimonious.

On the one hand, the left is always mocking people for being religious. On the other hand, the left has developed this goofball "people are vermin over-runing the earth" religion.

So, the incessant lecture that we useless bags of shit are heedlessly consuming the earth, which would be a much better place if it were reserved for spotted owls and hedgehogs.

Scott M said...

What are the other ways to get our attention?

Apparently all you need to do to drive up sales, regardless of product, is show the woman/wife as wise, intelligent, and practical, while showing the man/husband as lazy and/or so stupid they would get trapped in the air if it weren't for their better half. At least, that's what the preponderance of advertising would lead one to believe.

I don't remember a cacophony of outrage from the left over this short. I do remember a lot of boiler plate "oh, lighten up. It's just satire" which is the left's go-to excuse for anything of the sort. As AA points out, though, I do remember a few voices embroiled in the subject matter that were concerned it would harm more than help.

Florida said...

" ... there are a lot of extreme and uncivil graphic depictions and statements that come from the left."

Correction ... virtually all of the extreme and uncivil graphic depictions and statements are coming from the left. Not to mention the actual incivility that occurred during town hall meetings where Democrat Party union thugees were brought in to silence people.

It was Barack Obama himself who said "I want people mad."

It was Barack Obama himself who urged his followers that "if they bring a knife, we bring a gun." Gee, I wonder where Jared got the idea to bring a gun?

It was Barack Obama himself who urged his followers to get in Republicans faces and "punch them back twice as hard."

It was Barack Obama who urged his followers to "punish your enemies and reward your friends." Gee, I wonder where Jared got the idea to punish his enemies?

Barack Obama likened House Republicans to terorrist "hostage takers" for Christ sakes for merely wanting to slow spending. Civility? They now want civility?

Virtually all uncivil discourse is sourcing solely from one place: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.

MrBuddwing said...

All this talk about Left vs. Right is, in a way, futile; if you're a hardcore leftist, you will believe that leftists are morally superior to right-wingers, and that even if the Left acts exactly the same way as the Right, it's still different. Left-wing vitriol is bracing but harmless; right-wing vitriol is an incitement to violence. Or something like that.

Word verification: derie.

Pogo said...

"What are the other ways to get our attention?"

I imagine this formula still works:

a) A fishtank full of urine
b) Insert revered icon from target group
c) Film/photograph/YouTube

Scott M said...

Calls for civility are simply another way of saying, "we've lost the initiative". Hopefully the GOP in the House will realize this is the case (how can they not?) and never cede the initiative under the guise of bipartisanship.

The touchyfeelymulticultism that pervaded most of my life and education, but which never seemed to make much sense to me, seems to be somewhere near the beginning of it's end.

MadisonMan said...

This ad came up on the blog last week and I'll re-state what I said then: I have a very hard time believing anyone takes this ad seriously.

It has that Lookatme!Lookatme!Lookatme! vibe that is far too ridiculous for selling anything.

TosaGuy said...

If the ad was meant to be humorous.....do remember that the best humor carries a grain of truth.

Phil 3:14 said...

Was that seriously put together by people FOR environmentalism?

And I thought the Audi Green Police ad was "over the top" and unintentionally hurt environmentalists.

MadisonMan said...

I'm not sure if the ad was meant to be humorous. It could've been made by people steeped in sanctimony. In either case, however, why would anyone take it seriously?

Skyler said...

They weren't even Americans that made it so it shouldn't really count.

Pogo said...

"...why would anyone take it seriously?"

Because sometimes history repeats itself, first as farce, second as tragedy.

Fen said...

Welcome to our world, MM...

MrBuddwing said...

I'm not sure if the ad was meant to be humorous. It could've been made by people steeped in sanctimony. In either case, however, why would anyone take it seriously?

Well, gee, if you're a delusional paranoid-schizophrenic, who knows?

(Since when are we supposed to temper everything because of all those delusional paranoid-schizophrenics out there? Since right now, of course!)

Word verification: mistasta.

Phil 3:14 said...

Recently I asked my son what he thought of a (?)growing trend in TV ads: the apparent antagonist (or at least the obnoxious character) is "for" the product/service.

I asked if it made sense. He didn't seem bothered by it, so maybe this is a generational thing.

Fen said...

Anyone who liked the ad, I assume, would say that because it's so exaggerated, everyone understands that it's a joke

The Leftists like the ad because of its conformity message, ie. this is what happens to those of you who make waves.

Ambrose said...

Some issues are just too important for civilty. Guess which side of the aisle supports those issues?

traditionalguy said...

Since losing the last 50 matches in the Media War to Palin, they have decided to try the "we are the civil ones Who never fight like crude Sarah" trick. But they lose again. It's now 51/love in tennis scoring.

bagoh20 said...

I doubt that ad had the intended effect on anyone. Who went from skeptic to AGW proponent because of that. It doesn't matter what the subject of the ad was, you naturally feel for the victims being blown up. The button pushers just seem to represent evil with power. Only a leftist mind would see such people as the good guys. "At any cost".

Florida said...

"In either case, however, why would anyone take it seriously?"

No, this cop out isn't working any longer.

You can't call people racist and then when called out for your incivility claim you were only "joking."

Similarly you can't produce toxic murder-fantasy videos of this ilk and then when called out for your incivility claim "oh well, nobody could possibly take us seriously."

Won't wash.

You were serious.

The left wants to scare impressionable children into accepting their orthodoxy by threat and intimidation to murder by their teachers if necessary.

They're only claiming this was a joke now because it backfired on them. But the fact that it was produced at all lets a lot of cats out of the bag.

William said...

I see a lot of adorable kids and puppies in commercials. They even use puppies to sell cars. Still, a pretty woman unbuttoning her blouse is hard to beat as an attention grabber.....We should all remember that liberals have greater intelligence and a more delicate sense of nuance than conservatives. They are able to seperate the wheat from the chaff.....The excesses of the various Marxist revolutionaries and third world nationalist leaders have nothing to do with rhetoric aimed at capitalists and imperialists. That's a common mistake made by conservatives and shows their profound anti-egalitarian biases. As Paul Krugman pointed out, there's nothing to do for such people but rip out their entraiils and beat their children to death. He was speaking metaphorically of course.

Pogo said...

It seems oxymoronic to "sell" socialism.

Fen said...

The left wants to scare impressionable children into accepting their orthodoxy by threat and intimidation to murder by their teachers if necessary.

This.

MadisonMan said...

If you don't care for the latest exhortations to be civil, and you think this ad is horrible, do you see the contradiction? Why can't this ad be horrible if you want to be uncivil?

Bleatings that The other side is doing it too bring out the parent in me: If they jumped off a cliff, would you?

The claim that no one on the left thought this ad was over the top is demonstrably false. You can have your own opinions, but you can't have your own facts.

John said...

The ends always justify the means.

Kill millions of people? It is OK if it is to get that EEEEVIL!!! DDT banned.

Kill 100 million people? No problem as long as it is in the service of advancing socialism (national and otherwise)

The ends always justify the means.

Or at least some think so.

John Henry

WV - fulated: What I hope to get sometime soon.

Comrade X said...

why would anyone take it seriously?

because of all the fucking omlettes

Florida said...

"The claim that no one on the left thought this ad was over the top is demonstrably false. "

No, it's not.

Can you find one or two obscure people via Google who wrote about it in grudging tones? Sure ... but nobody of any stature on the left denounced this abominable murder-flick because the vast majority of the leftist intelligencia quietly support the killing of "global warming deniers" in whispered tones when they're certain nobody from the "enemy camp" is listening in on their Journolist conversations.

edutcher said...

Remember how Moyers got everybody to freak out over Goldwater's line, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice", and then did the ad of the little girl with the nuke going off behind her?

The Lefties have always thought over the top was OK, as long as it was on their side.

shoutingthomas said...

The sanctimony is what really astonishes me. The left has become so damned sanctimonious.

Nothing new. Remember the Vietnam War?

Calypso Facto said...

Did this ad play in the US? I never saw it until now and I hope it did not.

I wanted to joke about the innate humor to be found in blood-spattered children, but I'm actually just too grossed out by it.

Crimso said...

"the vast majority of the leftist intelligencia quietly support the killing of "global warming deniers" in whispered tones"

Hansen may or may not support their being killed, but he has been open about wanting them to be put on trial.

Big Mike said...

The left has become so damned sanctimonious.

@shoutingthomas, I came of age in the 1960's, and I mean to assure you that the Left has always been "damned sanctimonious." Not to mention hypocritical.

I agree with Scott, in that I don't remember any significant member of the Left denouncing the ad as being just plain wrong, only that it might be counterproductive.

JM Hanes said...

"[T]ry convincing your political opponents that they ought to try to sell their candidates and policies using the 'civility' theme."

Try selling a movie using the civility theme.

Big Mike said...

@MadMan, your side picked the fight. Now you're losing. Now you don't want to fight anymore.

It's you who are running short of facts. Did Keith Olbermann take some TV time to denounce the ad? How about Nina Totenberg? Can you link to editorials in the WaPo or Times denouncing the ad on grounds other than the possibility that it would be counterproductive?

Sofa King said...

If you don't care for the latest exhortations to be civil, and you think this ad is horrible, do you see the contradiction? Why can't this ad be horrible if you want to be uncivil?

No, what is the contradiction? Normal people found it horrible because it shows people being gorily murdered and was offensive, not because the lack of "civility" would cause people to actually go out and blow up others.

Fr Martin Fox said...

The ad let the mask slip.

There are voices on the left who say that the problem is too many people; people are a problem.

Thus, Planned "Parenthood" with its aggressive campaign of people-control.

And then you have folks who explicitly endorse abortion as a way to control undesirable population. (To be fair, on this point I think folks who are more on the right will buy this argument too--hence the divide in the GOP between "social issues" folks and "country club" types. But the "social issues" left caucus that cares about legally protecting the unborn could have its annual meeting in a phone booth.)

Thus, China's forced-abortion policy that generates objections from some on the left, but others say things like, regrettably necessary. Good ole Thomas Friedman of the NY Times thinks we need more Chinese-style fascism to get things done.

Thus, environmental-advocates who talk about radical reductions in population. Politely skipping over exactly how.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Friendship! Unity! Caring! Kindness!

Cedarford said...

The Greenies tried foisting a blood libel on BP over the oil spill this summer.

1. Billions of baby shrimp will die!
2. The noble turtle-killing shrimp boaters who kill shrimp so we can eat them will suffer, so evil BP and the oil drilling anywhere must stop.
3. Upon realizing no one cares much about baby shrimp, the noble Shrimpers the Greens normally try shutting down for murdering baby sea turtles, or oil smeared trashdump seagulls - they escalated to the mass death of baby Sperm whales. And the Gulf being a Sea of Death for 1,000 years from oil spillage and use ofCorexit, the Dispersant of Doom.

Meanwhile, the same Greenies and liberals are raging that one of the Givers of Green Jobs, the 3rd largest maker of Blessed Solar panels in America and recipient of 34 million from Massachusetts for creating great green jobs - announced that they are shutting down all their US manufacturing jobs.

The factory is closing, all the firm's solar panel manufacturing jobs to be transferred to China, henceforth.

Times and WP readers accuse the firm of being blind to the Green Future and great green jobs grown here in America.
The owner casually notes that cheap China labor is destroying most solar panel, windmill making jobs elsewhere. The CHinese do the work well, and 40-60% cheaper than American workers can hope to do.


Another indicator that Obama and his green minions destroying the oil, gas, and coal industries will not be accompanied by a flood of green jobs. Just destruction of American jobs, while exciting green jobs are done by 2.00 an hour China workers in factory-barracks consortia.

Conservatives are also parties to our destruction.

Repeat Reagan dogma, as conservative free traders share in the blame. "Our Gods Hayek and Ricardo have proven free trade is always a win-win for Freedom Lovers. It always causes mutual prosperity!"

MadisonMan said...

@MadMan, your side picked the fight.

What side am I on?

Calypso Facto said...

@ MM: near-West is my guess.

bgates said...

do you see the contradiction?

We saw and pointed out the contradiction that you seem unable to understand: that the current pleas for civility come from people who enjoy elaborate fantasies about murdering their political opponents, including children who voice opposition to the party line.

Big Mike said...

@MadMan, you're a drooling at the mouth, eyes bugged out, hair on fire, hard core and unrepentant member of the left wing lunatic fringe.

The only reason why you don't recognize the fact is that, coming from Madison, there are lots of people way further left than you are.

8-)

MadisonMan said...

CalypsoFactor gets it in 1. I'm a little farther west than Althouse. 3 blocks maybe.

Kirby Olson said...

NPR was squeaking on this theme all morning, pretending to be even-handed on the topic, but only citing Palin Palin Palin Palin Palin, and never once citing the Obama remark on guns and knives. Everything bad that has happened since the beginning of time is Palin's fault. And then of course there is Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

That's all they cited. Not one remark from the left.

Which proves again how one-sided NPR is, and why their funding should be removed.

kent said...

O/T: Jared Loughner: Bush Hater

"He became intrigued by antigovernment conspiracy theories, including that the Sept. 11 attacks were perpetrated by the government and that the country’s central banking system was enslaving its citizens. His anger would well up at the sight of President George W. Bush, or in discussing what he considered to be the nefarious designs of government."

Paul Krugman, Andrew Sullivan and Markos Moulitsas are all going to bed early today, with sick headaches.

furious_a said...

Depicting the murder of a child in front of other children is bringing teh funny...

...how?

As someone elsewhere astutely noted, the "you're next" understone may have been aimed at wavering True Believers rather than Deniers, maintain discipline in the ranks. Revolutions do tend to eat their own.

Illustrative, in an unintended way, the metaphorical murder of the class non-conformist occurs in a(n English) state-run school.

dbp said...

bagoh20 said...
I doubt that ad had the intended effect on anyone. Who went from skeptic to AGW proponent because of that.

I don't think the target was skeptics at all. Their thinking process probably went something like:

Let's make an ad which is aimed at AGW believers and encourages us to shame deniers since is to so obvious we are right. Naturally, there should be a huge amount of exageration which is common in commercials.

Presto! This abomination!

Based upon the production values, this thing cost a bundle to make and there was nobody in the process to say, "Wait a minute, this is not going to be well received!" Maybe there wasn't someone like that because everyone in the process really does fantasize about murdering "deniers".

Methadras said...

Only leftards could come up with something like this and do it properly. If you are an green/AGW denier to denying any other leftist sacred cow they will kill you in the most heinous way possible. They will turn you into a human bomb at the push of a button. Brilliant!!!

wv = skruster = guess who gets skruwed?

Methadras said...

Scott M said...

Apparently all you need to do to drive up sales, regardless of product, is show the woman/wife as wise, intelligent, and practical, while showing the man/husband as lazy and/or so stupid they would get trapped in the air if it weren't for their better half. At least, that's what the preponderance of advertising would lead one to believe.

I don't remember a cacophony of outrage from the left over this short. I do remember a lot of boiler plate "oh, lighten up. It's just satire" which is the left's go-to excuse for anything of the sort. As AA points out, though, I do remember a few voices embroiled in the subject matter that were concerned it would harm more than help.


Thank you for agreeing with what I've been saying on here and in general for a long, long time. Misandry in media is replete with this nonsense. Finally someone else sees it.

Scott M said...

There are entire websites devoted to it, Methandras and, no, I'm not referring to Crack's.

davidpsummers said...

I'm sympathetic with concern that "civility" means to some "muzzle the right" and I don't think the right need to change the points it makes.

However, I would like to suggest that the right (and the left as well) would benefit politically if they changed their tone, even if they did it unilaterally.

The reason the current attempt to blame the Republican for the tragedy in Arizona and for the nasty tone of politics is because the center didn't buy into it. Why not? It is because they have actually heard what the left has said and it has alienated them. And, of course alienation of the center has cost each party, in turn, in the last two election.

What would happen if the right made their points, but just changed their tone? They will alienate the center less and, IMO, cause them to pay more attention to the points they are making. If the left doesn't follow suit, they will only alienate the center further.

I can say that, as a swing voter, when someone launches into a vilification of either party, I have pretty much started automatically tuning them out. Such things don't actually sway the center (on the partisans already agree or disagree) so they do little more than hurt you politcally.

Synova said...

"The left wants to scare impressionable children into accepting their orthodoxy by threat and intimidation to murder by their teachers if necessary."

I think it's more direct. Or rather, more personal.

It's not intimidation from teachers or authority, it's that the OTHER KIDS watching the video with you are laughing at the exploding kids who share your feelings. Har har har, very funny, isn't that funny? And at what point does a person, particularly a child, identify themselves as the ridiculed person?

The intimidation isn't coming from some stranger in a video, it's coming from your chum sitting next to you in real life.

Synova said...

"What would happen if the right made their points, but just changed their tone?"

Changed their tone from what to what?

Because it seems to me that policy disagreement, no matter how it is expressed, gets one called a racist. Pointing out that the government is getting pretty darn socialist, that maybe owning GM is wrong, and that government controlling health care is inimical to freedom, gets you called names or accused of racism.

I'd like someone to *demonstrate* the proper *tone* to express these things without getting accused of racism.

"I hope he fails." "I hope his policies fail."

How can the *tone* of this be improved except by abandoning opposition all together?

How about an example? Gov. Christie is a rude fellow, so rude and uncivil as to actually expect a sincere apology and actual, real, censure of a teacher's union official who circulated an email praying for his death. I don't know if he's gotten it yet.

But that's the reality. And I wonder how Christie ought to moderate his *tone* in this situation?

"Thank you, sir, may I have another?"

kent said...

policy disagreement, no matter how it is expressed, gets one called a racist.

This, + ∞

davidpsummers said...

Change their tone from the personal attacks and vilification to the issues. The left is wrong to say the left doesn't do it, but the right would be wrong to say the right doesn't to it. Anne is pretty on issue, and as someone in the middle I find that it makes it influential to me. And some politicians already avoid such attacks. But it wouldn't hurt if people here asked for similar approaches on other blogs and from other commentators.

Yes, I have little doubt the use of accusations of racism will continue. But I think that if you call out the gratuitous use of charges of racism, and don't respond in kind, it will work.

I also agree that nasty rhetoric from the left will continue. But if you don't respond in kind I think the left will see that they are loosing the debate as they alienate the middle.

And, this idea that you shouldn't "take it lying down" is a dead end. Responding in kind will just leave the middle ignoring what both sides say.