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10/22/2004

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j pinson

Hi Mark,

You might want to read this piece on Riney from the SF Chronicle a few months back:
http://tinyurl.com/4sj9m

Not surprisingly for a San Francisco writer, Riney wrote the Bear ad, Morning in America and one other in a bar on Battery street.

Chris Andersen

Check out the DNC response called "Eagle". It does a much better job of using metaphorical imagery to get its point across. It never explicitly mentions Bush or the Republicans, but its obvious to any casual observer who the Ostrich is supposed to be.

fastback

As an analogy, the wolves ad fails. A bear can be a formidible threat to a human wandering in woods (they climb trees for one thing) whereas wolves usually give humans a wide berth. Bush's pack look like they just spotted a lamb. Followed immediately with the jarring juxtaposition of a smiling, ad approving Bush, it's the only truth in the ad: Bush thinks American voters are sheep.

john

http://www.wolfpacksfortruth.org/

'we were told they were shooting a Greenpeace commercial'

Someone in Bush Central must be c--pping themselves.

End justifies the means, indeed.

cw

I think you overplay the uncertainty in the finale of the bear ad by focusing only on the words. The narrator pauses and says "if there is a bear" just as the bear wanders up face to face with a man.

The joke is that if this man was claming there was no bear, he's in deep shit now. It's a very subtle way of sliding the knife deeper into peaceniks while sounding ironic and gentle. Masterful.

Kennedy

Though the swift boat bit was brilliant, Karl Rove is no artist; he's a hitman at heart.

Chris

I agree with fastback above. Wolves aren't that scarey, but the GOP, being the party of American weakness (i.e., every kind of threat under the Sun can destroy Our Way of Life), want them to be. What's next--rattlesnakes? A rabid St. Bernard? Sasquach bin Laden? That ad just seemed cheesy in an age over overly violent TV, movies, and video games.

C Mas

Reagan's "Bear in the woods" was the first thing I thought of when I watched this ad. I was continually astonished to see no one catch the imitation until now.

The "Wolves" piece isn't a fraction as effective as Reagan's piece, in part because the Reagan ad was puely metaphoric. It didn't mention Mondale. It didn't mention Russia. It didn't even mention Reagan. By screening out any references to the concrete political world, the ad's argument was raised to the purely symbolic level. That makes for a powerful statement.

When you talk about John Kerry while you're showing wolves, or when you're talking about terrorists when you're showing wolves, the subconscious mind will then ask the question: "John Kerry is a wolf?" and produce a silly reaction. When you show a wolf by itself - accompanied by ominous music - you get the impression that Danger Exists. Sicne you understand that the context is a political ad, you understand that the politician (Bush) is meant to protect you from danger. Since the narrative of "Bush Strong, Kerry Weak" has been drummed into swing staters' heads for months now - complete with his eighty squillion votes to disband the Defense Department - trotting out the specific campaign line, rather than simply parroting the Bear ad, simply makes for a weak statement. Mexed missages, as our president would say.

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