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Phallic Fallacy: McCain’s “Celeb” Ad Broken-down On The Low Road


You probably saw/heard about Sen. John McCain’s anti-Obama ad “Celeb,” which links Sen. Barack Obama to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. (If not, watch below.) Immediately upon its release, the political blogs and the networks lit up, complaining reporting that McCain actually took the $4,600 maximum from Paris’s parents — her mother later called the ad “frivolous.” And that’s saying something, coming from someone who most likely has a bigger doggy toy budget than your entire annual salary.

But Saturday, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote an Op-Ed piece pointing out the (now) very obvious, big, black phallic symbols conveniently included in the 30-second spot — Obama with a darkened Leaning Tower of Pisa background and a shadowy shot of the Washington Monument.

The envy-evoking innuendo, along with the “sexually provocative white women” (Paris and Britney), Herbert argues, combine for an extremely racist attack against Obama, aimed at those frightened and enraged by interracial coitus. (Sometimes referred to as “rape.”)

And this changed the talking points.

Now all the talking heads blather about who “played the race card” first. Every single 24-hour “news” show I saw yesterday evening talked about it. And of course, it’s spattered endlessly across the Web. Regardless of all that, I think this thing needs a little more breaking down to figure out exactly who this ad is meant to target in the first place.

Let’s start with the “celebrity” aspect. Sure, Britney and Paris aren’t exactly known for their “substance,” unless you count crazy and easy as substance, which some of us do. Fact is, most American’s think being rich and famous is a good thing–on some level…..It’s not overtly bad, that’s all I’m sayin’. At worst, people might conclude Obama is an idiot, a point I wouldn’t want to have to argue.

So maybe Herbert’s correct in his discovery of racist subliminal propaganda in McCain’s advertisement. Maybe that sh*t works gangbusters, and he’s just trying to frighten…who? Easily scared dudes with tiny peckers? Well, maybe that’s a good strategy, maybe it’s not. But something tells me it doesn’t make for the best campaign slogan.

And if that’s who they’re targeting, how do they even know who these people are? Getting a guy to admit he has a small penis is as difficult as getting some voters to admit they’re afraid of black people. While it might be true, I wouldn’t count on them turning out at the polls for that reason alone.

The other thing is, usually the most accurate way to tell who drew a short straw is to look at whoever’s trying to divert the most attention away from himself, and saying that your opponent is the “biggest celebrity in the world” (and the second coming of Christ, btw) fits that category. But John McCain is an F’ing war hero, so I’m not going to go there…kinda.

In the end, it’s all true, what he’s saying about Barack Obama — on the outside, at least. He really is the World’s biggest celebrity (not the Jesus thing). Say what you will about Obama, but he is certainly not at the front of world consciousness because he’s filthy rich, blonde, slutty, or even a loose-canon teen star with a parenting handicap and some addiction issues. He’s there because of his political skills, speaking ability, campaign management, politics, story, leadership, ideas, hope and “funny name.” If McCain wants to win this thing, he’s going to have to appeal to another part of the electorate.

COED Writer