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Winner: creepiest use of a child in politics.
March 4, 2012 7:10 PM   Subscribe

Republican candidate for the US Senate Barry Hinckley doesn't mind using his cute five year old son on the campaign trail. But things got a little weird when father and son were interviewed on Fox News.
posted by wilful (64 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
The first and best example of the father mouthing the son's words is early on in the video. After that, young Hudson is quite cute for a while, pulling faces while dad blathers on. Then, oh dear, he makes a mistake (which I fear he'll pay for later!) and dad has to backpedal severely.
posted by wilful at 7:17 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


That is one of the most lifelike ventriloquist dummies I've ever seen. Like Jeff Dunham meets Damien from The Omen, I swear.
posted by spoobnooble II: electric bugaboo at 7:17 PM on March 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, using your 5 year old offspring as a human shield is pretty despicable. Proving, once again, that there is NOTHING that these weasels won't stoop to.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:18 PM on March 4, 2012 [11 favorites]


I dunno, this is hard to beat in creepiness.
posted by Bromius at 7:21 PM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Bromius, that's blocked
posted by wilful at 7:23 PM on March 4, 2012


No animal abuse? Boring.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:25 PM on March 4, 2012


Bromius' link worked for me.
posted by spoobnooble II: electric bugaboo at 7:25 PM on March 4, 2012


Using your child as a prop is absolutely disgusting. It's in the worst possible taste. Worse than pretentiously naming your kid after a polluted river. I hope Barry feels satisfied in 13 years when Hudson goes to college and joins the International Socialist Organization just to piss off his narcissist dad.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:25 PM on March 4, 2012 [12 favorites]


No animal abuse? Boring.

OTOH, once you realize Republican economic theory was developed by a sadist five year old it all makes a lot more sense.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:28 PM on March 4, 2012 [17 favorites]


I saw this a few days ago. I'm still not sure which one is the puppet and which is the puppet master. Another nice touch is that Neil Cavuto comes off as a dick even when talking to a five-year-old.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:45 PM on March 4, 2012 [17 favorites]


Somewhere, somehow, without even realizing it, your father is involuntarily mouthing every word you say.
posted by bicyclefish at 7:46 PM on March 4, 2012 [11 favorites]


The guy's just an utter creep. Trust a Republican to display the family value of controlling a child.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:46 PM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can someone clarify this for me please? Why is the father mouthing the words as his son speaks? It's pretty obvious that this ad was supposed to have been scripted, but why did the dad need to mouth the words too?
posted by astapasta24 at 7:54 PM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's fascinating that Hinckley thinks this was a good idea. Not just the putting his own kid in a commercial or on tv for his campaign, but that he thinks it'll help him get elected. Either he's brilliant or a complete idiot and while I have my suspicions on which, it'll be interesting to see how he does in the race for the Senate.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:54 PM on March 4, 2012


I wonder if the dad thought the camera was doing a closeup on his son. Which makes me further wonder if at one point they were, then saw the clown mouthing his son's dialogue, and figured, eh, let's keep it on the wide shot for shits and giggles.
posted by ian1977 at 7:55 PM on March 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


I kinda became meta when Hudson brought up his hand to talk too. Seriously, that was really creepy. The bio on the candidate's page is also weird, the most important fact about him is that "eight grandfather's ago" his relative was a minuteman?
posted by saucysault at 7:56 PM on March 4, 2012


You read the description, and you think, "That sounds pretty awkward... But creepy? Really? How creepy could it be?" And then you watch it, and you go, "WOAH, YEAH, PRETTY CREEPY."

I am so confused, right now. I really need to understand what's going on there.
posted by meese at 7:56 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


astapasta24, there are three credible explanations, in descending order of likelihood:
1) that's not actually a child, it's a ventriloquist's doll - but Hinckley's not a very good ventriloquist.
2) the kid has been coached to within an inch of his life, dad is unconsciously repeating the lines he's drilled into him.
3) dad can see his son in the monitor in front of him, he's repeating everything that his son is saying as he sees it (frankly the most preposterous explanation)
posted by wilful at 7:57 PM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Why is the father mouthing the words as his son speaks?

Nobody can say for sure, but one thing is for certain, When Scatman Crothers tells you to stay aout of Room 237, for god's sake listen to him.
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:00 PM on March 4, 2012 [34 favorites]


Using your child as a prop is absolutely disgusting. It's in the worst possible taste.

I don't know, I don't think it was such a bad thing to have him in the commercials. However, that interview was stupid for more than just whatever dad was doing with the lip-syncing. He should have just said yeah, it's a gimmick, but I am also trying to make a point. Where's Hudson right now? He's playing at home like a normal kid. No, he doesn't really understand any of this but he wants to help his daddy.

3) dad can see his son in the monitor in front of him, he's repeating everything that his son is saying as he sees it (frankly the most preposterous explanation)

Actually this seemed plausible to me just because I thought the father was mouthing the words a moment after they were spoken. Either way, it was weird, and the stupid thing was pretending that a five year-old kid actually cares about the national debt. Who is he trying to fool? Oh yeah, the voters.

Something just occurs to me; I wouldn't be surprised if the reason that the kid doesn't know what his friends think is because he's home-schooled, or his dad takes him on the road for campaigning. Just a guess.
posted by Edgewise at 8:06 PM on March 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


I agree with Edgewise, a cute kid in a commercial is nothing new, and if the dad had left it at that...meh, no harm no foul.
posted by ian1977 at 8:15 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Loved the "gotcha" moment when Cavuto got the kid to say he didn't really care about the national debt. Even he recognized the absurdity of the interview.

Oh, and FWIW, I've seen creepier uses of kids in politics.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:16 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


A Obama's failed economic policy's forced him to do that.
B It was a poor choice of facial movements and was meant humorously and I am sorry you are offended.
C That never happened.
posted by Iron Rat at 8:18 PM on March 4, 2012 [10 favorites]


Loved the "gotcha" moment when Cavuto got the kid to say he didn't really care about the national debt. Even he recognized the absurdity of the interview.

Inside, Cavuto was saying to himself "Neil, what the fuck are you doing? What the fuck are you doing? What the FUCK are you doing, Neil?"
posted by zardoz at 8:48 PM on March 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


IronRat, I see what you did there. LOL.

And when they trot out Mrs. Hinckly to stand-by-her-man, we won't know if she's there as the wife or the mom.
posted by webhund at 8:50 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


When your name is Hinckley and you are running for public office, you need to be dialing the creepiness way, way further down than this guy is.
posted by jayder at 8:56 PM on March 4, 2012 [23 favorites]


This is the political equivalent of "Toddlers & Tiaras". If he doesn't win the Senate seat, at least he'll get a show on TLC.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:59 PM on March 4, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't understand why anyone was upset about the original commercial. Did you get upset when they put a kid in that Volkswagen commercial as Darth Vader? What about the Oscar Meyer kid?
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:08 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


You just know the kid is going to be beaten when he gets home, even though he'll have no clue what he's being beaten for.
posted by clarknova at 9:10 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's hard to campaign against a five-year-old. For one, they're very good at mudslinging.
posted by Nomyte at 9:22 PM on March 4, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'd like to see him go just full-on honesty at this point. "What, me mouthing along, yeah, that was weird watching it later. Totally unconscious of me, but damn that looked unsettling. What happened was I spent days trying to think up everything someone could ask him and giving him his responses word for word, because, well, we saw how well it all went when he went off-book, right?"
posted by Navelgazer at 9:25 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, when I read the article I laughed my ass off.
When I was watching the video my face was all contorted in uncomfortable-ness.
posted by Evernix at 9:28 PM on March 4, 2012


Sometimes I wish things like this would turn out to be a stupendously long, comedic con ... like he put in all the groundwork of a real campaign so that he could do subtle, crazy, insidiously hilarious stuff like this just for the lulz, and that the campaign will get nuttier and yet still remain plausibly real, with the gag being revealed only after the election.
posted by jayder at 9:34 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nice puppet... but where does your hand go?
posted by markkraft at 9:36 PM on March 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


In regards to the father mouthing the kid's words: my babydaddy moves his mouth when I speak. He isn't aware he's doing it, and he doesn't do it all the time, just when he is hyper-focused on what I'm saying. So it could be something like that, as opposed to every word out of that kid being majorly scripted.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 9:51 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


Maybe the kid is getting prompted in an ear piece that his dad is also listening to?
posted by empath at 9:55 PM on March 4, 2012


Almost ditto with esmerelda_jenkins. My grandmother would mouth everything you said to her when she was looking at you and paying attention. She did this as long as I can remember, and along with a propensity to call you a siblings name at random (and then proceed to go through all of your siblings names until reaching the right one) and demanding you eat more if you ever cleaned your plate... it was just a well know family quirk.
posted by zengargoyle at 9:58 PM on March 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of Balloon Boy.
posted by starkeffect at 10:15 PM on March 4, 2012 [2 favorites]



Are we there yet, Daddy?
posted by mule98J at 10:43 PM on March 4, 2012


with the gag being revealed only after the election

Isn't that what usually happens?
posted by mattoxic at 10:56 PM on March 4, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just a case of echolalia or something similar perhaps? Though he doesn't say the words out loud. I had a primary school friend who often repeated silently what someone had said, although after it had already been said, not at the same time.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 11:49 PM on March 4, 2012


All (all) work (work) and (and) no (no) play (play) makes (makes) daddy (daddy) creepy (creepy).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:03 AM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Kid's got a cheap mouthpiece.
posted by telstar at 12:20 AM on March 5, 2012


I don't understand why anyone was upset about the original commercial. Did you get upset when they put a kid in that Volkswagen commercial as Darth Vader? What about the Oscar Meyer kid?

A bit, sure. I have a problem with young child actors, because they can't actually consent to what they're doing. Young children don't fully understand what acting is, and they certainly don't understand politics. What if the Darth Vader kid latently believes that VW is a poorly constructed Nazimobile, and will later resent his folks for the endorsement? What if the Oscar Meyer kid came to regret his time convincing people to eat hog anus?

A young kid can't decide what "integrity" means for themselves, so they shouldn't endorse products like lunch meat or politicians. And while it's certainly not criminal, it's in very poor taste for their parents to lead them to do it. Five years old is a bit young to have a pimp.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:29 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Winner: creepiest use of a child in politics.

It's only the creepiest use of a child in a Senate race. When you get to presidential politics they trudge out the stillborns and the Down's Syndromes and the alcoholics. And that last child actually got elected!
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:55 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can someone clarify this for me please? Why is the father mouthing the words as his son speaks?

They're both hooked up to the same brain-in-a-jar that's tucked behind the chair.
posted by Ritchie at 4:30 AM on March 5, 2012


The bio on the candidate's page is also weird, the most important fact about him is that "eight grandfather's ago" his relative was a minuteman?

His grandmother sure got around.
posted by Tuatara at 4:44 AM on March 5, 2012 [13 favorites]


One of the things I love about conservative politician bios (like Hinckley's, linked in the FPP) is when they talk about how business small simply can't ever thrive in the current era of crushing tax and regulation, and then go on at length to trumpet how successful they have been for so long at running a business in this climate.

As far as the interview, I'm inclined to think he and his son practiced the answers together beforehand so intensively that Hinckley unconsciously recited them even in the live interview. Rhode Island would be in good hands if they want a Senator who can direct elementary school plays, though.
posted by aught at 5:45 AM on March 5, 2012


Man, Nathan Petrelli's political aspirations have gotten desperate since "Heroes" was cancelled.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:30 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, here's my serious take: maybe the kid is wired, or taught to listen intently, and to repeat what his father says under his breath.

Dad says practiced line "A"; kid recognizes it and repeats immediately, with no real visible delay.

Reporter goes off-script (off the practiced script of father & son), and the son says the first spontaneous thing of the interview - with no lip-sync from the dad.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:42 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just a case of echolalia or something similar perhaps? Though he doesn't say the words out loud. I had a primary school friend who often repeated silently what someone had said, although after it had already been said, not at the same time.

Yeah, in my Expert Internet Opinion it doesn't seem likely with the lack of lag and the precision of miming that he was following along and repeating on the fly. Heavily rehearsed responses seems like a pretty obvious solution to putting a five-year-old in a performance position.

I'd expect the same mouthing-along stuff from a stage parent or a kindergarten theater director, basically; you work with a kid, you iterate their lines until they're saying them right, you get invested in their performance of lines you wrote and they're memorizing. Maybe mouthing along is an artifact of you actually reciting the lines with them earlier in the rehearsal process as a guide, maybe it's entirely a subconscious sympathetic thing.

Maybe it's just having spent time in drama settings in grade school and high school and having a young kids' performing arts teacher type for a mom, but this really does feel totally familiar in those terms.

The contrast between the really close miming on what sound like solid stock phrases from the kid and the sort of mumbly-joe twitching on the stuff that seems more off-the-script makes sense in that light, too; the sympathetic line-recital thing kicks in every time, but if Dad doesn't locate the line then he's sort of false-starting and just watermelonbubblegums a bit.
posted by cortex at 7:48 AM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Kids are cute. Kids repeating lines adults think are cute are just uncomfortable. Unless you're teaching them to sing "Call Any Vegetable," in which case it's funny.

To me, the creepiest part of the whole thing is the thought that the Dad scripted a response to "what do your friends think?" The degree that someone must be a control freak to think that question needs a canned response that won't embarrass him is just astounding.
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:12 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


REPUBLICANS THINK THEY CAN GET ELECTED BY TALKING TO US LIKE WE ARE FIVE YEAR OLDS.

And, historically, it has worked for them.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:24 AM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Prepared questions, written answers. The father moves his lips when he reads, so it appears he's lip-syncing with his reading son.

The off-script mistakes happened because...they were unscripted.
posted by NationalKato at 8:29 AM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd expect the same mouthing-along stuff from a stage parent or a kindergarten theater director

"Sing out, Louise. Smile, baby."
posted by NorthernLite at 8:36 AM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can someone clarify this for me please? Why is the father mouthing the words as his son speaks? It's pretty obvious that this ad was supposed to have been scripted, but why did the dad need to mouth the words too?

It was probably involuntary. You can sometimes catch Jon Stewart doing this (mouthing the other person's lines) during scripted exchanges on the Daily Show and I can't believe he's doing it on purpose.
posted by dfan at 9:46 AM on March 5, 2012


Reminds me of Balloon Boy.

From the FPP article:
"Look, I don’t even need to talk about the uncomfortable, Balloon Boy-esque moment where Cavuto asks Hudson if he actually cares about the economy, the boy replies 'no,' and Hinckley looks furious. That’s weird enough. But the only thing I can see during this segment is the fact that, every time Hudson talks, Hinckley MOUTHS EVERY WORD HE IS SAYING SIMULTANEOUSLY."
posted by ericb at 10:19 AM on March 5, 2012


Two observations:

1) There's clearly a mirror in front of them, as evidenced by the faces Hudson is making into it from :44 to :63.

2) Hudson just as clearly misinterpreted the question about the national debt, and Hinckley missed a wide open opportunity to clarify it.
posted by Caviar at 11:29 AM on March 5, 2012


Have we covered the fact that the kid is really bad at making graphs?
posted by obloquy at 11:36 AM on March 5, 2012


To me, the creepiest part of the whole thing is the thought that the Dad scripted a response to "what do your friends think?"

I just assumed Fox had provided the questions to Hinckley in advance. Which is allowed him to work with his son to prepare memorized answers that the son recited and the father involuntarily mouthed, and why Hinckley was so visibly angry about the gotcha moment.
posted by aught at 1:06 PM on March 5, 2012


"I do my own drilling and the men that work for me, work for me and they are men I know. I make it my business to be there and see to their work. I don't lose my tools in the hole and spend months fishing for them; I don't botch the cementing off and let water in the hole and ruin the whole lease. I'm a family man- I run a family business. This is my son and my partner, H.W. Plainview. We offer you the bond of family that very few oilmen can understand."
posted by onebadparadigm at 1:12 PM on March 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Did anyone else notice how shortly after the dad got done saying how much his kids loved campaigning with him, his son shook his head and quietly said "It sucks".

(Watch from about 1:06 to about 1:38)
posted by marsha56 at 7:53 PM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


My grandmother would mouth everything you said to her when she was looking at you and paying attention.

But ... he's not looking at his son. His son is behind him.

"Like a ventriloquist without a dummy, a dad channels his son in a bizarre interview. CNN's Jeanne Moos reports."

Nothing new, but interesting how the Internet affects TV coverage.

Hinckley's answer to why he did it? "Not sure."

Teleprompter would be the obvious explanation, but I'm not sure why he wouldn't cop to it afterward. Some good slo-mos in that CNN clip.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:41 AM on March 6, 2012


Sometimes I wish things like this would turn out to be a stupendously long, comedic con ... like he put in all the groundwork of a real campaign so that he could do subtle, crazy, insidiously hilarious stuff like this just for the lulz, and that the campaign will get nuttier and yet still remain plausibly real, with the gag being revealed only after the election.

Forever to be known as "Herman Caining"
posted by billyfleetwood at 9:19 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


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