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Fearless Leader
November 24, 2004 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Apparently, the reports of our leader's pictures being taken down around the country aren't true. WTF???
posted by jpburns (198 comments total)

 
"A billboard recently put up in Orlando bearing a smiling photograph of President Bush with the words “Our Leader” is raising eyebrows among progressives who feel the poster is akin to that of propaganda used by tyrannical regimes..."
posted by jpburns at 8:42 AM on November 24, 2004


Wait, somebody's taking down pictures of mathowie?

::follows link::

Oh. That leader.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:48 AM on November 24, 2004


If ever there was a picture begging for the moustache and devil horns treatment...
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:49 AM on November 24, 2004


I thought mathowie already had a moustache??
posted by devbrain at 8:52 AM on November 24, 2004


I was thinking that a little, uh... Prussian mustache would be appropriate...
posted by jpburns at 8:54 AM on November 24, 2004


My immediate Pavlovian response before following the link was "Dear Leader," Kim Jong-il. Well, he's got good company, now.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:57 AM on November 24, 2004


This vexes me.

I am ESPECIALLY vexed because it's from a private entity. And I can't speak too loudly against the exercising of 1st Amendment Rights. (damn you Voltaire!)

However, the degree to which some of the corporations in this country are in bed with the government is truly disturbing. Most "dystopian" novels feature the government ruthlessly controlling the media to make sure the populace only believes what they want them to.

But has anyone seriously considered the possibility of the media voluntarily selling themselves out to the government?

Reality - Weirder than Fiction for a billion years and counting...
posted by InnocentBystander at 9:02 AM on November 24, 2004


a political public service message brought to you by Clear Channel...

Because they realized that the TV, radio and newspapaer efforts just weren't connecting with the public somehow.
posted by catachresoid at 9:03 AM on November 24, 2004


a political public service message brought to you by Clear Channel...

Well, they're clearly setting out to educate the public in who the various people in their community are. In all fairness, I fully expect a series of "Your Sheriff", "Your Mail Carrier", "Your Bag Boy", and "Your Neighborhood Bully" billboards soon.
posted by mkultra at 9:08 AM on November 24, 2004


You can fast forward through TV advertising, change the radio station or TV channel, and not purchase the newspaper. You can't get away from being stuck in traffic with that grinning moron looking down on you. Billboards are great for both the number of eyes on them and the length of required exposure.

Who cares if they're an eyesore (with or without Shrub's picture on them?)
posted by FormlessOne at 9:08 AM on November 24, 2004


As far as I'm concerned, this is not at all about freedom of speech. I, along with millions of other people, aren't about to argue someone's right to put this billboard up, but rather simply wish to question the sanity of the company behind the move. (Not to mention there is a difference between a company and a person, despite what corporate law would say)

I'd be just as confused (though not as outraged) to see the same format with: KATHY L. DAVIS -- OUR COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE

... it's just such a childish move. It doesn't inspire me, it doesn't make me feel happy, or good, or (surprisingly considering advertising's purpose) make me want to buy anything.

I just, it's... it doesn't make any sense. All of this enters my mind before considering that it's reminiscent of dictators and their giant faces on public surfaces, which it most definitely is.

It begs the snide comment, "Well, somebody's insecure..."
posted by odinsdream at 9:10 AM on November 24, 2004


First thought when opening the thread then seeing the billboard - someone missed a deadline. The thought that the billboard was for the elections which are over. I agree with the concern letter though yet after watching the State Opening of British Parliament, it could be worse.

" New Jersey public-school teacher claims she was bushwhacked by her principal yesterday when he ordered her to "get out" of the building after she refused to remove a photo of President Bush and the first lady from her classroom."
posted by thomcatspike at 9:14 AM on November 24, 2004


Oh, and I forgot to mention my ashtonishment over the wording itself. Leader? Since when was he a leader, even technically? If anything, he's the President, or the Commander in Chief. The whole phrase reeks of blind faith.
posted by odinsdream at 9:17 AM on November 24, 2004


I thought about FPPing this, but couldn't find any link other than the Raw Story story, which was only one thing, and thus didn't seem enough for a FPP.

jpburns, what are you talking about when you refer to "reports of our leader's pictures being taken down"? Because that would be two things, and thus enough for a FPP.

And, on the "Our Leader" meme:

My Leader! (Turkmenbashi)

Our Great Leader (Kim Il Sung); Our Dear Leader (Kim Jong Il)

The Great Leader, the Supreme Commander

The Man of Steel (no, not that one!)

And, of course, One People, One Land, One Leader.

That meme doesn't have a very noble history at all. Just sayin'. Although a poster of disembodied zombie-child heads saying, "Thank you, Our Leader, for a happy childhood!" does have some weird depressing appeal.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:17 AM on November 24, 2004


Begging for an "impeach".
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:18 AM on November 24, 2004


I don't think the billboard should be taken down.

I think it should just be translated into German.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 9:18 AM on November 24, 2004


When's the Little Red Book coming out?

(Get it? Red? Like the states? Oh I make myself laugh sometimes)
posted by Turtles all the way down at 9:18 AM on November 24, 2004


I'm just hoping some other media moguls get into this genre of public service announcement. I would love to see what Larry Flynt could produce.
posted by Crackerbelly at 9:19 AM on November 24, 2004


If anything, he's the President, or the Commander in Chief

leader-er (n): One who is in charge or in command of others.

Just.. you know.. saying..
posted by rulethirty at 9:26 AM on November 24, 2004


minus that last -er.. ;) damn typos
posted by rulethirty at 9:27 AM on November 24, 2004


Merely another reason not to live in Florida.
posted by codeofconduct at 9:27 AM on November 24, 2004


leader-er (n): One who is in charge or in command of others.

Well, then put the sign up on an Army base. He's certainly not in command of me.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:29 AM on November 24, 2004


a projectile launched with sufficient force to blow a hole right through dub's face would significantly alter the tenor of the message.
posted by quonsar at 9:31 AM on November 24, 2004


Bush: Our Leaderer
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:32 AM on November 24, 2004


a projectile launched with sufficient force to blow a hole right through dub's face would significantly alter the tenor of the message.

Your incautious remarks have been duly noted, citizen.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:33 AM on November 24, 2004


nana nana nana nana,
nana nana nana nana,
leader!

posted by Foosnark at 9:36 AM on November 24, 2004


Mein Fuhrer! I can advertise!
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:36 AM on November 24, 2004


What thomcatspike said.

I'll take a poster of your glorious leader anyday, if the alternative is watching our elected idiots fawning over our unelected multi-billionaire head of state, as she briefly emerges from one of her many palaces to don a rat-skin cape, put on a sparkly hat, and announce to us, her subjects, that we're going to have to be cattle-tagged in order to protect us from the terrorists.
posted by veedubya at 9:37 AM on November 24, 2004


The leader is good,
the leader is great.
We surrender our will,
as of this day.
posted by purephase at 9:37 AM on November 24, 2004


Whenever I see these billboards, the phrase that jumps immediately to mind is "With This Wiener I Thee Taunt."
posted by ticopelp at 9:38 AM on November 24, 2004


Wow. Two Simpsons references.

Well met, Foosnark.
posted by purephase at 9:38 AM on November 24, 2004


I....um.....what the....who do they th....um....somebody should t.....ummmm.......the last thing I need see is that mug looking down on me while I'm driving. I'll be awfully bummed if one of those billboards replace the morning zoo, casino, or gentlemen club billboards that dominate our highways. There is no way that these things will be able to escape the attention of some cultural monkey wrenchers. Where's Mark Pauline when you need him?
posted by HifiToaster at 9:44 AM on November 24, 2004


Okay, instead of actually doing any work, I was playing around with this.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:47 AM on November 24, 2004


After seeing a Once Again God is talking through a Bush T-shirt, I am thoroughly desensitized to these hints of a coming paternalistic dictatorship. What? A phoneline to inform on your neighbors called TIPS.. hey, I am not a terrorist, so why should i care!

sigh
posted by ba3r at 9:50 AM on November 24, 2004


Ladies and gentlemen, I just learned of a change in this station's management! Welcome, Movementarians! Continue to improve our lives! I love you, perfect Leader...and new CEO of KBBL broadcasting!
posted by dwordle at 9:50 AM on November 24, 2004


If I were to go all conspiracy theorist, I'd say that this was an effort to cause anti-Bush people to make the obvious comparisons to other "leaders" with huge portraits everywhere. Then they can say "See, the evil liberals are comparing Bush to Hitler!".

Since I'm not feeling quite that conspiracy theorist, I'd guess it was the result of a local brown noser at Clear Channel looking to gain valuable lapdog points. Eris knows that Clear Channel has been working to become the official mouthpiece of the Republican party, prolly someone just got a bit over zealous.

But its still funny.
posted by sotonohito at 9:51 AM on November 24, 2004


jpburns, what are you talking about when you refer to "reports of our leader's pictures being taken down"?

Are you serious?

I was employing irony, which, despite reports to the contrary, is not dead. I was contrasting the existence of these billboards with the cult of personality evidenced in North Korea. I think it's a bad thing to elevate someone who is supposed to be working for all of us into a central figure of... uh... worship, I guess.

This is seriously scary.
posted by jpburns at 9:51 AM on November 24, 2004


So Bush Beans are now Leader Beans?
posted by ticopelp at 9:52 AM on November 24, 2004


"Our Pole Dancer"
posted by tpl1212 at 9:53 AM on November 24, 2004


InnocentBystander
...However, the degree to which some of the corporations in this country are in bed with the government is truly disturbing. Most "dystopian" novels feature the government ruthlessly controlling the media to make sure the populace only believes what they want them to.

But has anyone seriously considered the possibility of the media voluntarily selling themselves out to the government?
This is not the book that you are looking for

/mind trick

PS. enjoy.
posted by C.Batt at 9:57 AM on November 24, 2004




C'mon, somebody had to do it.
posted by fatbobsmith at 9:59 AM on November 24, 2004


Perhaps someone could change the message to "The right strategery for America" or "My evil is strong" or something like that. Or draw a moustache on Bush, or perhaps a goatee.
posted by clevershark at 9:59 AM on November 24, 2004


What do you know, but the moment I suggest that someone's already done both things :-)
posted by clevershark at 10:00 AM on November 24, 2004


Nice, fatbobsmith, but try "Unser Fuhrer" for a direct translation.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:00 AM on November 24, 2004


Those of you who weren't born yesterday will recall that similar, non-campaign billboards celebrating President Ronald Reagan were seen in the south during the 1980s. One billboard in particular, I recall, had a picture of the President, with the line: "God has blessed America... With Ronald Reagan." And guess what: we survived. These "Our Leader" billboards are obnoxious, but if you let them get to you, the Republicans have won.
posted by Faze at 10:01 AM on November 24, 2004


Nice, fatbobsmith, but try "Unser Fuhrer" for a direct translation.

Yeah, I thought about that, but most the German propaganda posters I've seen used "Der."
posted by fatbobsmith at 10:02 AM on November 24, 2004


Oh, man, I totally can't wait for the Fark Photoshop contest on this.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:03 AM on November 24, 2004


the poster is akin to that of propaganda used by tyrannical regimes

Yeah, the cover of WIRED mag with Arnold on it was just like the murals of Mao in China.

Jesus, do these "progressives" hear themselves saying this kind of stuff? Do they want to lose every election going forward? Saying dumb over-the-top shit like this isn't going to attract any followers to the cause.

It's the president. It's america. It's a private company. I might not care for it or any of the other fluff billboards with conservative messages on them, but this isn't pre-WWII Germany or China or North Korea.
posted by mathowie at 10:04 AM on November 24, 2004


When I saw this, I wasn't sure if I was doing more harm or good.
I mean, even to a conservative-leaning citizen, this sign must be pretty damn creepy.
I think that instead of finding funny ways to make fun of it, those crazy activist kids should copy it exactly and start putting it inside bathroom stalls, next to security cameras, and on police cars.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 10:07 AM on November 24, 2004


In all fairness, I fully expect a series of "Your Sheriff", "Your Mail Carrier", "Your Bag Boy", and "Your Neighborhood Bully" billboards soon.

There already are "Your Neighborhood Bully" billboards. They say "Our Leader."
posted by the_bone at 10:08 AM on November 24, 2004


But, with what mathowie said....it's not really Orwellian in its current form, nor that unexpected. Just some proud people with a big budget for this sort of thing.
And it's not exactly like it's not true. However you feel about that.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 10:10 AM on November 24, 2004


rulethirty: Commander in chief of the Army,and only in times of war.

I agree he's a leader in most senses, but just saying.
posted by abcde at 10:11 AM on November 24, 2004


But has anyone seriously considered the possibility of the media voluntarily selling themselves out to the government?

never occurred to me. i mean why would the owner of a few hundred radio stations and FCC licenses want to suck up to the government?
posted by three blind mice at 10:13 AM on November 24, 2004


I think he looks cute. The billboard should say 'Our Hottie'. Then I'd definitely love him more.
posted by OmieWise at 10:18 AM on November 24, 2004




inspired by this.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:19 AM on November 24, 2004


jpburns, my question was this--when you said "reports of our leader's pictures being taken down", were you referring to a) any reports of pictures of GWB being taken down, or b) any famous statement about some terrible despot's picture being taken down (in real life, or in the movies/tv) that I was supposed to recognize your post as a takeoff on? Because if a), you didn't linky to them, and if b) I didn't get the reference.

Matt! It is so rare that you don't get the joke. Of course someone putting up a billboard that says "George W. Bush: Our Leader" doesn't mean that the US has turned into Turkmenistan/North Korea/Mao's China/Stalin's Russia/etc.

However, it's such a completely idiotic thing to do that you have to laugh at it. Because, in recent history, the putting-up-of-big-billboards-with-stylized-portraits of "Our Leader" is something that tends to be associated with crazy totalitarian dictatorships. Which, I'm guessing, is exactly the opposite of the message that the Clear Channel people wanted to send to passing punters.

And that's why it's funny, see. Because they're hoist by their own petard.

Speaking of "Our Leader", I think this one worked a little better.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:21 AM on November 24, 2004


I believe that Mayor Curley has just beat my sad Photoshopping skills into whimpering submission. I like the blimps, too.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:22 AM on November 24, 2004


WTF is an understatement.
posted by fungible at 10:23 AM on November 24, 2004


Sidhedevil, there've been stories in the last week or so about Kim Jong-il's pictures being removed from North Korean places, bringing people to speculate on a coup or a power shift.

However, most people are now reporting that the pictures of Kim aren't being taken down.

So this was a riff on that.
posted by u.n. owen at 10:23 AM on November 24, 2004


Ah. Well, see, I missed that. A link to the Kim Jong Il rumors in the FPP would have been helpful.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:24 AM on November 24, 2004


Faze, dear, I'm not "letting them get to me"--I'm ridiculing them for the completely moronic idea that they are.

Anyone who, for a second, thought that a good way to make USericans love their President was by erecting ginormous billboards of him with the caption "Our Leader" must have been smoking a much, much higher grade of crack than I can get around here.

Most boneheaded propaganda strategory EVER.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:27 AM on November 24, 2004


I think this one is more befitting:


posted by clevershark at 10:30 AM on November 24, 2004


Where is the BLF when we need them???
posted by samlam at 10:39 AM on November 24, 2004


Here, apparently.

I was trying to do something with Our Leader and one of Angelyne's billboards, but my kung fu is far too weak.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:43 AM on November 24, 2004


In fact, I am liking this so much that I am now going to refer to GWB as "Our Leader" exclusively from now on. This has made me happier than a little girl! (And I was a little girl once, so I know just how happy that can be.)


Also, I'm surprised that, while we were collectively channeling Kent Brockman, nobody said "I, for one, welcome our new billboard overlords."
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:45 AM on November 24, 2004


I can't help but feel like there is some sort of message hidden behind this billboard ala[URL=http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0096256/]They Live[/URL] Where's Rowdy Rdoody with those sunglasses when we need him!
posted by ifoughttheapemen at 10:47 AM on November 24, 2004


I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, if this one were to fall,
I’d never see a Bush at all.

apologies to Joyce and Ogden.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:51 AM on November 24, 2004


*sigh*

I guess corporate funded propaganda is the next logical step.

I for one welcome our new capitalistic fascist over lords.
posted by hex1848 at 10:51 AM on November 24, 2004


more lame billboards
posted by mcsweetie at 10:52 AM on November 24, 2004



posted by elpapacito at 10:54 AM on November 24, 2004


Saying dumb over-the-top shit like this isn't going to attract any followers to the cause.

As opposed to dumb over-the-top shit like posters of Our leader you mean? If these people purposely choose iconography with obvious fascist overtones, it might be worth taking note.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 10:57 AM on November 24, 2004


I like the Cardhouse ones a lot (see mcsweetie's link above). They have a weirdly hectoring tone, like some crazy person who comes up to you on the street and starts shouting. Good times.

{On preview: Armitage Shanks, I'm just assuming that Matt doesn't see why this is so insanely funny because he's still dealing with real-life stresses, as he mentioned in MeTa the other day.

Because the Matt we know and love definitely gets why we think this is the most hilarious act of sucking-up cum propaganda in a loooooong time. But Matt with a lot on his mind might just be overreacting to the linkies and not seeing why we put 'em there.

It doesn't mean that the World As We Know It Is Ending. But it does mean that some people are extraordinarily stupid. And that's what provides the laughter that keeps me going!}
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:01 AM on November 24, 2004


George W. Bush has no Elvis in him, in fact he has such a grossly negative amount of Elvis in him, he's so much antiElvis in him that Micheal J Fox doesn't have actually have Parkinson's, so much antiElvis that Micheal J Fox isn't the antiElvis, he's just heroiclly resisting the unholy antiElvis gravitational pull of the shrub... attempting to become the ultimate universal cosmic doomsday singularity of UberAntiElvis.

'cause Elvis is everywhere!
Elvis is everything!
Elvis is everybody!
Elvis is still the king!
posted by loquacious at 11:07 AM on November 24, 2004


Apparently, the reports of our leader's pictures being taken down around the country aren't true.

When I first thought the post was about reports of widespread anti-Bush vandalism.

Maybe I'm not parsing this right. What's being taken down, the reports or the pictures?
posted by hydrophonic at 11:12 AM on November 24, 2004


That "One Nation, Under God -A reminder from ClearChannel" one is damn creepy.
posted by loquacious at 11:15 AM on November 24, 2004


Did you hear the one about the billboard on the expressway in Virginia Beach for a store called "Everything's A Dollar"? In glowing yellow on pink it said "BUCK IT!" One morning, the "B" became an "F". Certainly some enterprising young individuals in Orlando could arrange for something as clever. The Photoshopping is fun and all (nice work Mr. Mayor!) but let's get down to some real business, shall we? Photos please!
posted by Dick Paris at 11:16 AM on November 24, 2004


So, I'm guessing we didn't get a lot of right-wingers in the new intake then?
posted by squealy at 11:27 AM on November 24, 2004


hydrophonic, see u.n. owens's comment to me. jpburns was referring to reports that Kim Jong Il's pictures had been taken down in North Korea as a lead-in to the story about the Bush billboards.

I didn't get it, either.

And, loquacious, seeing you quoting Mojo Nixon is the cherry on the top of my happiness sundae.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:30 AM on November 24, 2004



Hey, this is fun!
posted by AlexReynolds at 11:38 AM on November 24, 2004


Heh. You think those little old billboards are bad? You ain't seen nothing yet.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:40 AM on November 24, 2004


Hee! on the second photo (but doesn't everyone do that at Mount Rushmore? It seems like the equivalent of pretending to be holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa).

As for the first link and the link that it linkys to, all I can say is that there seem to be lots of people with access to that premium crack.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:51 AM on November 24, 2004


Mine kinda sucks:


posted by Devils Rancher at 11:53 AM on November 24, 2004


That portrait is an obvious Photoshoppification of this official photo.

Weirdly enough, it makes Our Leader look an awful lot like a Breck Girl.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:56 AM on November 24, 2004


Mini iLeader!
posted by kindall at 12:01 PM on November 24, 2004


Devils Rancher:
A photoshop pointer: do it all in one typeface. There's nothing about the "Leader" font that makes it special. Replace the whole thing with one font. It will look cleaner.

posted by jpoulos at 12:08 PM on November 24, 2004


(Man, that's small. Sorry.)
posted by jpoulos at 12:08 PM on November 24, 2004


I have said it before and I will say it again. The best thing that could happen to this country right now is a constitutional amendment removing the presidential term limit.



/Just think about it for a minute...
posted by Yellowbeard at 12:08 PM on November 24, 2004


I too was confused by the reports of our leader's pictures being taken down around the country aren't true. The link sure didn't support that statement.

That said, what's the big hairy deal? The President of the United States' portrait is hung in all public buildings, including post offices, public schools, courthouses, DMVs, etc. Or am I from a lost generation and completely out of touch with the current political correctness?

So some yahoo spent some bucks to suck up to the prez. What's new about this? I would much rather see Bush's mug on a billboard than the usual pro-life crap that lines 35W in Minnesota.

Are people really that stupid and easily suggestable (is that a word?) that this billboard would somehow turn the populace into Bush-zombies?

On preview - what matthowie said.
posted by Juicylicious at 12:08 PM on November 24, 2004


jpoulos:

A photoshop pointer: do it all in one typeface. There's nothing about the "Leader" font that makes it special. Replace the whole thing with one font. It will look cleaner.


True, dat, but hey, I'm SUPPOSED to be working.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:10 PM on November 24, 2004


Juicylicious, nobody's going to turn into a "Bush-zombie".

The reason this is funny is that it's a completely misguided attempt by said yahoos to suck up to Our Leader, because it demonstrates a complete tin ear for history--at least, for the history of the "giant public photo of head of state in unexpected location" meme.

And that's why it's funny. It's not a sign that OUR PRECIOUS FREEDOMS ARE BEING TAKEN AWAY--it's a sign that someone is completely wrong-headed about what might be a convincing piece of political advertising.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:12 PM on November 24, 2004


I honestly don't understand why people don't see the difference between thinking that these billboards, the "Bush pledge", etc., are hilarious (which they are) and being some kind of loony paranoid zealot.

They're fucking hilarious. They'd be just as funny if they had a President I liked on them. It's the stupidest commercial idea I've seen since the store in Coolidge Corner that sold nothing but pudding (named, of course, "Pudding It First").

I'm really concerned that so many people are either a) losing their senses of humor, or b) terrified that the scary right-wing people won't get the joke, and will think that we really think that Bush pere et fils = Kim pere et fils.

I see the differences. But the unintentional comparison created by these billboards themselves--and thus sending the EXACT OPPOSITE message of the one they were intended to convey--is funny.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:17 PM on November 24, 2004


wow. all that billboard, just sitting there smirking. doesn't anyone in florida own a paintball gun? some big greenish splotches would look nice on that billboard...

hell, they'd look nice on any billboard. i have to get me a paintball gun.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:18 PM on November 24, 2004


Are people really that stupid and easily suggestable (is that a word?) that this billboard would somehow turn the populace into Bush-zombies?

No one's made that (fairly typical straw man) argument so far. Most of us just find it extremely creepy and reminescent of similar objects in places like Saddam-era Iraq, Cuba and North Korea. It is funny in an ironic way -- because evidently Clear Channel, which has a history of doing whatever they can to keep its proboscis deep up the Republican rectum, did not intend the billboard to be creepy at all.

Hope that clears it up for those who don't understand the thread so far...
posted by clevershark at 12:22 PM on November 24, 2004


In fact, I am liking this so much that I am now going to refer to GWB as "Our Leader" exclusively from now on.

Sidhedevil, I think you will enjoy this site.
posted by 327.ca at 12:27 PM on November 24, 2004


I'm really concerned that so many people are either a) losing their senses of humor, or b) terrified that the scary right-wing people won't get the joke, and will think that we really think that Bush pere et fils = Kim pere et fils.

I think the links in mcsweetie's post are hilarious, but that's because I imagine them put up by some random local nut, and I don't have to live with him.

But Clear Channel isn't some random local nut; it's a major corporation with big budgets and highly-paid marketers and focus groups. The fact that they're comfortable with this kind of iconography means something.

Ranting about how progressives look like fools for drawing the parallel doesn't change the fact that of all the western democracies, the US is the only one where I can imagine this kind of idea wouldn't be laughed out of the room long before it made it onto a billboard. It's depressing.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 12:35 PM on November 24, 2004


Hope that clears it up for those who don't understand the thread so far...

Thanks for clarifying. I'm sure that you didn't intend to be patronizing.

Based on the FPP, I thought this was about our leader's pictures being taken down , which clearly it is not. I simply don't see the billboard as either hilarious or creepy. I am however a bit tired of the never-ending attempts to turn anything republican/Bush/right wing/conservative - related into something that it is not.
posted by Juicylicious at 12:38 PM on November 24, 2004


Juicylicious, do you honestly not think a billboard with a giant retouched portrait of Bush looking like the Breck Girl and the caption "Our Leader" isn't funny?

Because I can't imagine anybody not thinking it's funny. It's just so incredibly ironic that whoever designed those billboards for ClearChannel echoed, presumably unintentionally, the style and approach of the hagiographic public billboards of famous despots like Mao, Stalin, the Kims, et al., when obviously their intention was to praise Bush, not to bury him.

How do you not see the humor in this?
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:43 PM on November 24, 2004


Note: I meant "do you honestly not think a billboard...is funny" or "do you honestly think a billboard...isn't funny" above.

I'm an idiot, and I approve this message.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:45 PM on November 24, 2004


And that's why it's funny. It's not a sign that OUR PRECIOUS FREEDOMS ARE BEING TAKEN AWAY--it's a sign that someone is completely wrong-headed about what might be a convincing piece of political advertising.

To be honest, it is funny but if you can't see it also as a rather creepy warning sign in a mid-1930s Germany way then you're not paying much attention.
posted by AlexReynolds at 12:49 PM on November 24, 2004


I honestly wonder if isolated incidents like this aren't serving as some kind of trial balloon, sorta like an authoritarian thermometer up the rectum of a slice of the populace?

That said, I really hope someone smears culture jam all over it.
--
This was my big chance to jump in on a political thread and I was sleeping, so came late to the party!
posted by undule at 12:51 PM on November 24, 2004


AlexReynolds, it's debatable whether or not it is a sign/indicator/harbinger that OUR PRECIOUS FREEDOMS ARE BEING TAKEN AWAY.

However, it's completely indisputable that it's IRONIC COMEDY GOLD as the billboardeers get hoist by their own propaganda petard!

I'm willing to have a conversation about the first question, but there is no way I'm going to give in on the second question. The wrong-footedness and tin ear of the folks making these billboards is inherently funny, regardless of one's personal political point of view or degree of satisfaction in Our Leader.

And, 327.ca, I love that site so much I want to marry it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:55 PM on November 24, 2004


But has anyone seriously considered the possibility of the media voluntarily selling themselves out to the government?

Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman proposed this in 'Manufacturing Consent'. This review sets out the main arguments quite well.
posted by freddles at 12:57 PM on November 24, 2004


Our leader, mathowie (with one t), is correct; the billboard is an example of free speech, which should be respected. Defacing the billboard would be criminal and counterproductive.

But someone like George Soros could buy preceding billboard space to highlight some of the Leader's other accomplishments. Without a hint of sarcasm, they could form a Burma Shave sequence:

Our National Deficit.
Our International Reputation.
Our War Dead...
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:06 PM on November 24, 2004


Well, you don't need to be as, er, tendentious as Chomsky to note that:

a) two of the biggest companies in the billboard field are Viacom and ClearChannel;
b) two of the biggest companies in the broadcast media field are Viacom and ClearChannel;
c) Viacom just got hit with an enormous fine by the FCC for someone saying "poopie" on the radio or something.

Now even the least cynical might think that someone at ClearChannel might have thought--"Hey! If I put up some billboards shamelessly fawning over Our Leader, maybe He'll get his FCC buddies to slack off on the 'poopie' patrol. The worst that could happen is that we get a reputation for being patriotic, and anyway, we didn't have an ad for that billboard this month."
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:07 PM on November 24, 2004


Or if you're even more cynical, you remind yourself of all the campaign contributions ClearChannel sent to the GOP, and wonder how far media corporations seem to be going to please those in charge, and ask how far is too far?

I'm not sure that media corporations are entitled to take and express political positions when they refuse to display advertisements from opposing, leftist viewpoints, which happened on many occasions during the 2004 election. At that point, a line has been crossed.

There is the concept of equal time that has been lost in the simplistic conclusion that this is a first amendment issue. Commercial speech has already been found in the SCOTUS to not qualify as such. This is definitely creepy stuff.
posted by AlexReynolds at 1:14 PM on November 24, 2004


AlexReynolds, there is much in what you say (although most corporations feel very comfortable about greasing both sides of the aisle, depending on who is in power at the time).

But even if one rejected every single conclusion you draw, and thought quite sincerely that George W. Bush was doing a fine, fine job as President of these United States, these billboards should still strike one as funny.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:19 PM on November 24, 2004



posted by AlexReynolds at 1:20 PM on November 24, 2004


More like...


posted by eatitlive at 1:24 PM on November 24, 2004


Sidhedevil, I split a gut laughing when this guy flew in to Iraq for a photo opp with a rubber turkey. I belly-laughed when this guy stuffed his package to play fly boy on an aircraft carrier. This guy kept me in stitches until he got re-elected and so now, I'm afraid I'm nearly all laughed out. The best I can muster is a weak "heh heh." All in all, I would rather have a less amusing *leader.* Or if we must be entertained by our overlords, then my poison would be the sex scandal variety over this village boy idiot and his photogenic costumes.

I usually try to avoid countries that like to display giant heads of their leaders in public places. But hey, that's just me.
posted by madamjujujive at 1:26 PM on November 24, 2004


OMG, eatitlive, that's hilarious. I totally forgot about that movie. Where's Roddy when you need him to kick ass?
posted by AlexReynolds at 1:29 PM on November 24, 2004


Off, chewing bubble gum, I guess.
posted by eatitlive at 1:30 PM on November 24, 2004


america seems like a very scary place, where everyone is politically polarized, religiously fundamentalistic, morbidly obese, xenophobic, but damn your burgers are good! i travelled through wisconsin on the way back from winnipeg (in canada) and decided to try hardee's (cause we don't have those in canada). i had this massive 1/2-lb. burger and it friggin' rocked! they don't make them like that up here. you americans sure know how to do fast food. then again, you did invent it!
posted by yedgar at 1:32 PM on November 24, 2004


I'm arguing for a somewhat value-neutral judgment of the ads' idiocy and wrongheadedness, even for those who support Our Leader and his unique foreign policy vision.

Because bad ads are inherently funny. Brawny, for example, makes perfectly fine paper towels at a reasonable price, but their logo looks straight out of Tom of Finland, which is not the message they want to be sending.

So regardless of whether one thinks that GWB actually is a scary megalomaniac, these ads are funny because they make him look like a scary megalomaniac, even though they are trying to do the opposite.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:34 PM on November 24, 2004


There is no way in hell that's real. You guys are waaay gullible.
posted by phrontist at 1:36 PM on November 24, 2004


Clearly, the billboard needs a giant red "V" spray-painted over it. If Cheney ripped off his face to reveal a lizard beneath, would anyone really be surprised?

I think the creepiest part is not so much the kissing up, but the vaguely threatening tone of it; the subtext being "and don't you forget it...or else."
posted by emjaybee at 1:37 PM on November 24, 2004


i don't think your leader is a megalomaniac. i think he's a smug cowboy who wants to make a name for himself. well, maybe that is a bit megalomaniacal.
posted by yedgar at 1:39 PM on November 24, 2004


Oh, and shut up, yedgar, or we'll send some fat evangelicals up there to sit on you.

And I've seen plenty of spherical humanoids tucking into enormous Bacon Cheese Burgers with a side of fries and chasing it down with a cake as big as Nunavut at the Swiss Chalet, so don't go pretending that Canadians don't know from crap food.

Y'all got yourselves a nice little obesity epidemic of your own there, so I wouldn't be pointing any fingers.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:40 PM on November 24, 2004


Perhaps this is just an attempt to assure the populace of Florida of the outcome of the election.
posted by clockzero at 1:41 PM on November 24, 2004


Yep, word on all the references to John Carpenter's They Live.

I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass--and I'm all out of bubblegum.

If you haven't seen it, rent it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:43 PM on November 24, 2004


Sorry sidhedevil, I'm just not seeing the Breck girl-thing. Then again, I only have a vague rememberance what breck girls looked like ala 1970s. Long blonde hair and big white teeth, right? Still not seeing it. On the upside, I'm finding you kinda humorous. That counts for something, I hope.
posted by Juicylicious at 1:49 PM on November 24, 2004


But Clear Channel isn't some random local nut; it's a major corporation with big budgets and highly-paid marketers and focus groups. The fact that they're comfortable with this kind of iconography means something.

Well-said. This is the point a lot of people are missing by asking why this billboard is any different from other controversial billboards or advertisements from loony people. It's different because this message is coming directly from the company that owns an enormous percentage of the media in this country, essentially being put up for no cost to them, and highly aligned with a particular party.

Trust me, this is a bad thing. Free speech is not a bad thing, this is a bad thing.
posted by odinsdream at 1:50 PM on November 24, 2004


yeah, fat people are everywhere, man. lots of them in canada, no doubt. it's crazy. but really, you don't get burgers that big in canada, regardless of what you think. the swiss chalet website shows a picture of a chicken wrap, not looking all that monstrous. i'm serious, that hardee's burger was huge and i could have had it doubled up! it was not the biggest burger on the menu by far. but it was the best burger i've ever had! canadian fast food sucks. while being a jerk, i'm also saying that americans honestly know how to give good food value for the money. the portions are massive. it's just more than most people need to eat in one sitting.
posted by yedgar at 1:57 PM on November 24, 2004



posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:58 PM on November 24, 2004


it's a sign that someone is completely wrong-headed about what might be a convincing piece of political advertising

Why is it wrong-headed? Why do you think Bush's loyal base won't like them, because a bunch of liberal elitists think they're ironic?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:02 PM on November 24, 2004


Well, that's why I linked to the Breck Girl ads for comparison. (To me, it's the blurry pinkness and the big smile that says "Breck Girl" in that billboard.)

Rush Limbaugh liked to call John Edwards "the Breck Girl" and had a funny Photoshop of an Edwards "Breck Ad" on his website for a while, but it is gone now--this blog has a thumbnail of it in its December 27 entry.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:03 PM on November 24, 2004


I fully expect a series of "Your Sheriff", "Your Mail Carrier", "Your Bag Boy", and "Your Neighborhood Bully" billboards soon.

Me, I'm waiting for the "Your Cabana Boy". But I'm like that.

Major: Rock on with your bad blimpiness

AlexReynolds: brilliant. Yay You.

Sid: "Pudding It First"? Really? Cause that's comedy gold right there.

All in all, I would rather have a less amusing *leader.* - MJJJ

I love you, I do.
posted by dejah420 at 2:05 PM on November 24, 2004


Armitage Shanks, I don't know what Bush's "loyal base" thinks, but I do know that the people who voted for Bush in the last election include a lot of people who are skeptical about advertising and the cult of personality in politics.

And, in general, Americans like to think of themselves as smarter than those damn Communists in China and the former USSR who felt the need to adorn all public spaces with big old portraits of their Leader.

"Pudding it First" was a real store, dejah. I kid you not.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:06 PM on November 24, 2004


Damn, I'm moving to Canada. They have better fast food then us.

On a more serious note, I'm sure if I moved somewhere that cold I'd eat a whole lot more. I'm frequently inhumanly ravenous now, here in the depths of California's "winter". It's uhh, mid 50s and sunny out.

And I second the motion that this whole billboard thing is excessively creepy and doubleplus ungood.

Citizens should have rights - including free speech - not corporations. Can someone point out to me where fictitious legal entities are covered under the Constitution?

The previous has been said before, but it stands to (my) reasoning that this is indeed a major component of the world's ills.

Corporations are so quick to take up the mantle of Constitutional protections or civil rights when it serves them, but even quicker to become inhuman, unaccountable and faceless entities when it serves them. It shouldn't go both ways.
posted by loquacious at 2:12 PM on November 24, 2004


america seems just as dogmatic and slogan-friendly as those communist pigs. is there not something of a "there's us and then there's the rest of the world" mentality with americans? do you not believe that you are more advanced, more powerful, more wealthy than the rest of the world. that your way of life is the best way? that american democracy needs to be exported to all corners of the globe so that peace and freedom, and above all, material wealth might reign supreme?
posted by yedgar at 2:14 PM on November 24, 2004


Correct me if I'm wrong and I know that you will, but didn't a private citizen pay for that billboard?
posted by Juicylicious at 2:20 PM on November 24, 2004


And, in general, Americans like to think of themselves as smarter than those damn Communists in China and the former USSR who felt the need to adorn all public spaces with big old portraits of their Leader.

Wow, are they in for a surprise, then.
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:20 PM on November 24, 2004


furthermore, g.w. is one of your own. he represents the values and sentiments of at least half of the american electorate. terrifying.
posted by yedgar at 2:23 PM on November 24, 2004


Correct me if I'm wrong and I know that you will, but didn't a private citizen pay for that billboard?

ClearChannel put it up as a PSA. Interestingly, PSAs are tax-exempt, and so cost CC nothing with billboards that otherwise go unused. Propaganda was never so profitable!
posted by AlexReynolds at 2:24 PM on November 24, 2004


yedgar, we are very messed-up, but only Bush voters believe what you just said. (If they even know about the PNAC, etc) Our fast food is the best tho : >

and i love that V reference, emjaybee!
posted by amberglow at 2:26 PM on November 24, 2004


I personally find this billboard hilarous in some way I can not quite put my finger on. I just can't imagine something like this flying in Canada. The closest I can remember seeing is Chilliwack BC used to have a big billboard inviting you to call the mayor. I don't think it had his picture on it though.

On the fast food thing: Infrequent travelers to the US from Canada be warned, when you super size a meal at MacDonalds they give you a drink in a cup big enough to wash in. You can easily fit a half sack of beer into one of these cups.
posted by Mitheral at 2:27 PM on November 24, 2004


No, see, yedgar, when I say "shut up," I mean "shut up", not "please enlighten us more with your incredible insights into how Canada is the most wonderful, most moral, most intelligent country in the entire world, and how the US only makes fun of you guys because we're jealous."

And Juicylicious and AlexReynolds--one of the billboards, apparently, was put up by a local business, and the others were put up by ClearChannel itself. None were put up by individuals paying out of their own pockets, as far as the coverage I've read suggests.

AlexReynolds, note that I didn't say "are smarter than" but instead said "like to think of themselves as smarter than".
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:28 PM on November 24, 2004


And, in general, Americans like to think of themselves as smarter than those damn Communists in China and the former USSR who felt the need to adorn all public spaces with big old portraits of their Leader.

Yeah, but those were Communists. They needed to put up those pictures because they were bad people with no mandate. These billboards are just an expression of patriotism and pride. What could be wrong with that?

The fact that we think these things are "obviously" silly just plays into the the impression that we're the ones out of touch. They put out the Wolves ad and we said, "How ridiculous. They've gone too far this time." They put out the "Liberals want to ban the bible" flyers and we said "OK, that's really ridiculous. They've really gone too far this time." And we were wrong. Every time. Why should this be different?
posted by Armitage Shanks at 2:29 PM on November 24, 2004


The link states:

A second billboard bearing the same image along the same route says it was paid for by Charles W. Clayton Jr. Clayton’s firm, Charles Clayton Construction, said he was traveling this week and couldn’t be reached for comment.

The Clear Channel-sponsored billboard was not lit up for drivers Monday evening. The Clayton billboard was.


Is all this ado only referring to the ClearChannel sponsored board? Or, is the private citizen also in wrong for spending his money on this?
posted by Juicylicious at 2:30 PM on November 24, 2004


Juicylicious, if the Breck girl thing isn't working for you, try the Marilyn motif.

/ waves to dejah!
posted by madamjujujive at 2:35 PM on November 24, 2004


sidhedevil, i'm not saying any of those things about canada. i don't believe the u.s. is jealous. in the meantime, i'll say what i want despite your hostility. piss off.
posted by yedgar at 2:35 PM on November 24, 2004


Speaking of public iconography in Canada, who do you guys have on your coins, again?

We have people we actually elected to office in our country. Or people who were influential in some other worthy endeavor.

You, on the other hand, appear to have some lady with a bad hairdo who inherited a whole lot of stuff from her dad. Odd, that.

On preview: Juicylicious, I think that Mr. Clayton (or his company--I read that the billboard was paid for by his company, not him personally) is vaguely silly for posting a gigantic love letter to the President. Certainly within his rights, but vaguely silly.

When ClearChannel does it, on the other hand, under the guise of a "Public Service Announcement", that's a) much sillier, and b) much creepier. Still within its rights, but kind of troubling as well as ridiculous.

And ClearChannel apparently created the content, which makes it a) completely idiotic for not getting the resonances (which is especially stupid in an enormous international media conglomerate), and b) kind of odd given the current controversy with its hated rival Viacom.

posted by Sidhedevil at 2:36 PM on November 24, 2004


eatitlive: Well done!!! "They Live" is a perfect movie to watch to get an idea of what's going on today... (ok maybe they're not aliens, but...). Anyway I just laughed really hard at that picture, so thanks!
posted by knave at 2:38 PM on November 24, 2004


yedgar, I know that you will say what you like regardless of my hostility. I'm just pointing out to you that you're a flaming idiot. I have lost all patience with Canadians gleefully pointing out how the US IS THE NEXUS OF EVIL AND WE'RE ALL BIG MORONS BRAINWASHED BY OUR TELEVISION AND FAST FOOD on these boards. It's a fucking load of crap, especially coming from Canada.

And, Juicylicious, I'm pretty sure that I would find it just as silly if Mr. Clayton, using his own personal funds and his own personal time and energy, erected a sign in his own personal front yard with a big old retouched glamour picture of GWB with the caption "Our Leader".

It's the fact that he didn't have to do that--that there was already an enormous international media conglomerate that was ready to do it for him (or his business) as well as for themselves--that I find a little troubling.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:40 PM on November 24, 2004


I mean, again--imagine being so excited about any elected official that you wanted to put up a giant Valentine to them on the side of the highway.

With your own (or your company's) own money.

Now that's comedy gold.

It's not even like it's a campaign ad or anything--it's just an invitation for those driving by to share in the Love for Our Leader. WTF? How can that not be funny?
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:42 PM on November 24, 2004


Because I can't imagine anybody not thinking it's funny. It's just so incredibly ironic that whoever designed those billboards for ClearChannel echoed, presumably unintentionally, the style and approach of the hagiographic public billboards of famous despots like Mao, Stalin, the Kims, et al., when obviously their intention was to praise Bush, not to bury him.

Well, Sidhedevil, the way I see it, I guess that even among ClearChannel employees, and particularly amongst their "creatives", there may be some humorous lefties that, when told that they had to design a billboard to brownnose...eh...extol Your Leader, may have thought: "Oooh, let's see if we can get away with this".

What is scary, though, is that even if they meant it ironically, whoever gave the green light for those billboards apparently didn't. And even if these ads aren't by themselves harbingers of totalitarism, they show that some people in some corporations do have just the same mentality as those in charge of personality cults elsewhere.
posted by Skeptic at 2:43 PM on November 24, 2004



posted by rusty at 2:44 PM on November 24, 2004


the queen is on the coin, but is that supposed to be analagous to these ads in some way? we also have beavers and schooners and caribou on the coins but we don't plaster these on billboards trumpeting them as "Our Leaders", the queen included. besides, i never said anything about these billboards, good or bad. i'm not the one saying that communists are/were dumb or bad people for their iconography. but a lot of people would put (some) americans in that category. just being honest here.
posted by yedgar at 2:44 PM on November 24, 2004


why am i a flaming idiot? not nice, sid. anyone else care to jump in?
posted by yedgar at 2:47 PM on November 24, 2004


canadians wouldn't be the first or only ones to say such things about america, which aren't nice to say and we all know it's not so. people are people. i don't feel that way about america but listening to sidhedevil certainly corroborates certain stereotypes.
posted by yedgar at 2:51 PM on November 24, 2004


you're not an idiot, yedgar. don't let anyone get to you.
posted by amberglow at 2:53 PM on November 24, 2004


You are a flaming idiot for the following reasons, yed:

a) You don't use capital letters.

b) You're condescendingly lecturing about the horribleness of the US and all its residents, as though Canada were some kind of wonderful paradise of physical fitness and intellectual brilliance.

Now, I may be the only person on this board who finds b) completely exasperating, but I know I'm not an army of one on a).

I swear to God that if my Canadian relatives had the money and time to put up a billboard of the Queen with the caption "Our Queen" they would do it in a second. There's some serious Liz-olatry going on up there, even today.

Are all Canadians like that? No. Are all USericans like the private citizen/company president who put up this billboard on his own/his company's dime, or even like ClearChannel? No.

51% of the people in the US voted for George W. Bush, not because they love him (though some of them do), or because they think of him as Our Leader (although some of them do), but because they thought he would be a better President than John Kerry.

Now, I disagree with those people. But that doesn't make all of them idiots (though some of them are) or Bush-zombies (though some of them are). So, frankly, attacks on my fellow citizens with whom I simply happen to disagree, even though it's about something quite important, piss me off.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:58 PM on November 24, 2004


Sidhedevil: Go take a nice and relaxing walk, eh? Chill oot.

On preview: Here, take some Northern Lights with you. Just the ticket.
posted by loquacious at 3:00 PM on November 24, 2004


Which "stereotype" am I confirming, yedgar? One of us is lecturing everyone about how 250 million people are idiots; one of us began by pointing out specific ways in which one person was being an idiot in a mildly teasing way, and then got extraordinarily pissed off by that person's "know everything, speaking from the tippy tip top of Mount Olympus" attitude.

I'll tell you what stereotype you're confirming for me, right now, yedgar--you're reminding me an awful lot of the Kids in the Hall character "DarrELL". You know, the incredibly condescending guy with big glasses and a ponytail.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:02 PM on November 24, 2004


Thank you, loquacious.

I should point out that, yedgar, you may very well not be a flaming idiot in general. I meant to say that you were being a flaming idiot on this particular thread, in those particular comments.

My apologies for not having been clearer about that, at least.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:04 PM on November 24, 2004


As opposed to dumb over-the-top shit like posters of Our leader you mean? If these people purposely choose iconography with obvious fascist overtones, it might be worth taking note.

Exactly.

Bush and Clear Channel make very apt bedfellows.
posted by rushmc at 3:04 PM on November 24, 2004


that's fine, sidhedevil, but i think you're confusing how i was saying what i was saying with how you would say it. perhaps you are condescending and think of people as idiots. that's how you've been talking to me. maybe if i was american you wouldn't have such a problem with what i'm saying. because i never said that canada is the most moral, intelligent, etc. and that america is the nexus of evil, blah, blah. you said these things. i never said that american residents were horrible and i'm pretty sure i didn't say that canada was some kind of paradise of the physically fit and intellectually brilliant. you've said all these things, some of them more than once. *sigh* there's no point, you've made up your mind and i guess by bothering i'm further proving your point that i'm an idiot for trying to reason with you. i think you read my comments (ok, maybe there was a hint of condescension in some of them) but then you noticed that i was canadian and bam, i'm one of those freaking canucks who thinks their better than americans, etc. i think my point was to just air out some of my own misconceptions and prejudices against america. sorry about that. but i think you totally misread much of what i was saying.
posted by yedgar at 3:09 PM on November 24, 2004


yeah, kids in the hall was funny for awhile. but you see you keep on with this condescending theme and how i said that all americans are idiots. hmm, i don't think i said that. are you frustrated with your fellow citizens? do you think they're idiots? do you feel like an idiot? maybe i am condescending. oh well.
posted by yedgar at 3:14 PM on November 24, 2004


Man, and here I thought my remark from earlier was going to be noticed and commented on. Oh well, I guess it's more imporatant for Canadians and American liberals to battle it out about... uh... something.
posted by Yellowbeard at 3:17 PM on November 24, 2004


Back to Chomsky...

Uh... SidheDevil, Manufacturing Consent is hardly tendentious, obvious perhaps but hardly biased. Chomsky is tendentious, but the book is one of the driest collect of facts and data that I've seen outside of a lab. It just happens to answer the questions he raises in chapter 1 (and/or the forward, if you're reading the newer edition) and for me, support the concept of the Propaganda Model of media behaviour.

As a matter of fact, that book is a struggle unless you love reading chart after chart.

/NOT a Chomsky fan-boy
posted by C.Batt at 3:18 PM on November 24, 2004


yedgar loves sidhedevil.
ok, i'm leaving now.
posted by yedgar at 3:22 PM on November 24, 2004


Use capital letters, please. I'm begging you. God made that shift key for a reason.

Other than that, I admit that I may well have been overreacting to your comments because there has been, since the US election, what seems to me like a spate of posts on these boards by Canadians who take what seems to me like great joy in telling the boards that the US is a doomed country, ruled by idiots, awash in commercialism and trivialities.

Now, as someone whose mother came from Canada and who still has many relatives there, I have some personal hot-buttons about this kind of thing. Perhaps I was wrong, yedgar, in reading that attitude into your posts. If so, I apologize.

I adore Canada. I often vacation there. If I had to leave the US for some reason, Canada would be my first choice for another country to live in. But my own experiences since childhood in Canada have shown me that Canada, just like the US, contains both smart and dumb people, both credulous and skeptical people. The US contains both people who put up public Valentines to "Our Leader" and people who get that this is, at best, an incredibly silly thing to do. Canada contains both people who subscribe to Majesty magazine and prize their Balmoral tea-towels and the photo of themselves at Prince Andrew's garden party (those would be, er, my cousins) and people who get that the Windsor family wasn't appointed by God to adorn currency and china mugs.

They're both big, complex countries with a lot going on in them. I try not to lecture Canadians about what I think Canada is like (though obviously I fail a lot of the time!) and I kind of don't, as a USerican, like to be lectured about what someone else thinks the US is like.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:23 PM on November 24, 2004


Just to jump on the thread while it's still moving:

Bush Billboard = Funny.

Sidhedevil = Overreacting.

"Shut up And Suck It Hippies" Photoshopping = laughed out loud.
posted by rooftop secrets at 3:24 PM on November 24, 2004


Also, sometimes I get very crabby. And I do apologize for that.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:24 PM on November 24, 2004


I have to say that rooftop secrets is 3 for 3. I'm going to go now. I got WAY too emotionally involved in this thread.

But what I am going to do is put up a big billboard with a photo of yedgar on it. Because I love him, too.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:27 PM on November 24, 2004


ok i'm still here and now i feel the warm and fuzzies. but yedgar refuses to comply with the capital letters request. the shift key is optional, like all the other keys, but even more so. i'll get you that photo soon.
and i'll apologize because canadians can be very annoying about how canada is so much better than america because, what, we rock at hockey (who the bleep cares?) and we have such great beer (whoopee) and we are so tolerant (of our own governmental regimes?). the thing is that america is the world's mega(lomaniacal)-super-huge-power and because of its preeminence it is SOOOO (look, capital letters!) easy to criticize. y'all already know this but america is an amazing country. and canada is even better.
posted by yedgar at 3:41 PM on November 24, 2004


Americans should be proud of themselves and foreigners to this day still marvel at the country.

I think it's fair, though, to accept the criticism and doubt that comes with the cultural currency that is the States. It's not natural for other countries to thoughtlessly accept a model of modern society (that really is touching other countries) that in many ways is confusing and corruptive of clear thought.

Where I live, I don't have to watch 100 ads per 3 hours of Saturday morning cartoons like British 3 year-olds or loud, endless American movie previews.

It's not hysterical to overestimate the importance that advertising has on the psyche. If this billboard were selling hamburgers, what would it say to you?

In general, the salesmanship that this billboard represents wouldn't be so bad (and Sid sort of put a finger on it, about the comic irony of the ad) if it didn't pretend to advertise its complete opposite. This is supposed to represent the fruits of a society of free thought and financial freedom, but it's really about dampening your ability to clearly process information and showing that you can buy all kinds of power in America.
posted by faux ami at 3:43 PM on November 24, 2004


...and showing that you can buy all kinds of power in America.
And showing that you can sell all kinds of shoddy, damaged goods, too. ; >

(and--the fact that someone thought this was necessary or helpful speaks volumes in itself)
posted by amberglow at 3:46 PM on November 24, 2004


Disclaimer: I don't think Bush is even remotely equivalent to Stalin but I do love the style of Soviet posters...Besides, this fits well with the red state motif.

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posted by pandaharma at 4:05 PM on November 24, 2004



Now that's some finely designed poster , lame CChannel billboard looks like a Fark banner.
posted by elpapacito at 4:15 PM on November 24, 2004


51% of the people in the US voted for George W. Bush

Actually, it was 51% of those who voted, voted for George Bush. Minor point, perhaps, but let's not give him more credit than he is due.

I think the "Quit second guessing and doubting" billboard from the Arizona Billboard link was even a bit more disturbing. "Support President Bush and our troops." This is a double whammy. 1) Don't question the government. 2) Supporting the troops is impossible unless you are lined up 100% behind the government.

Funny how America is so far superior to all those commie countries because we have free speech and all, yet it is so unpatriotic to actually use these freedoms.

America: We got more freedoms than we choose to use.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:22 PM on November 24, 2004


Well, yedgar, as long as I know that your shift key works, I guess I'm happy. Thanks for the return fuzzies. Seriously. I was way out on a limb of hostility there.

el papacito, I just want to point out that I like that Mao poster, too.

But I bow to pandaharma's superior PhotoshopKungFu.

And what SLoG said about the "51% of the whatever% who voted" thing (and, of course, it does seem to be even less than that, given the weird voting mishaps--so maybe "a little more than 50% of the whatever% who voted, plus some "mistakes" by the machines" would be even more accurate). In fact, pretty much everything SLoG said.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:34 PM on November 24, 2004


Mis-
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:44 PM on November 24, 2004


Maybe it's simply true that a country has to live through an authoritarian regime before they realize they don't like it.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:50 PM on November 24, 2004


I volunteer for benevolent leader who makes us live through an authoritarian regime so we realize we don't like it. NOW BRING ME PUMPKIN PIE! IT'S TIME FOR PIE!!
posted by loquacious at 4:55 PM on November 24, 2004


Keep in mind these are the people who brought us Air America... so maybe the billboards are ironic! jk
posted by ism at 5:04 PM on November 24, 2004


Good points, SoG.

Maybe there's a link, though. Maybe, the advertising and our inaction (unwillingness to use our free speech rights) are inter-related somehow. Living with and being bombarded by so many powerful brands and the carrot-and-stick of financial success, all telling us what to do and how to act, we gradually become incapable of acting on our initiative or speaking out freely. Not 'cause we're dumb, incapable or lazy, but because it's tiring fighting it all the time. McDonald's is frightening not 'cause the food sucks, but because it's just easier to go there than to make your own hamburger. The funny thing is, even Bush will be steamrolled by big business and being on a poster is probably just the first step in that direction for him.
posted by faux ami at 5:05 PM on November 24, 2004


sidhedevil, I think you're overestimating the american response to this kind of iconography. I would bet plenty of people see this is as more or less a non-issue, a simple patriotic billboard, like a bumper sticker on someone's car or one of those church-sponsored god-loves-you billboards. You and I may immediately think of communist propaganda, and doubtless that occurs to some percentage of people, but I bet it seems far less sinister if you support the guy.
posted by mdn at 5:30 PM on November 24, 2004


see how evil this billboard is already? Its torn apart yedgar and sidhedevil... propaganda does have an impact...
posted by buddhanarchist at 5:32 PM on November 24, 2004


But the thing is that it's not advertising anything--it's a simple Valentine to Our Leader.

I love Diet Coke, but I'm not going to spend money to put up a big billboard saying so. To me, any time that someone puts up a billboard without a specific market reason, it's risible. Cf. Angelyne.

And, given the current unpleasantness in Iraq, I think that most people in the US have a (conscious or subconscious) aversion to big old photos of heads of state all over the place. We've seen so many images of US and Coalition troops and/or pro-Coalition Iraqi people happily tearing down Saddam posters/billboards/portraits that it seems impossible to me that that resonance isn't going to hit lots and lots of people who see these billboards.

As for the "loyal supporters" who might think it's just fine--well, they're already "loyal supporters", and this past election showed that you need more than your core base to win.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:40 PM on November 24, 2004


I still don't see any pumpkin pie. I'm going to stand here and look very cross until I do. *taps foot*
posted by loquacious at 6:05 PM on November 24, 2004


Why is it wrong-headed? Why do you think Bush's loyal base won't like them, because a bunch of liberal elitists think they're ironic?

We "liberal elitists" (as opposed to the "true" people who have "seen the light", I suppose -- there is a whole new elitism of the right) give Middle America a lot of credit by assuming that Peoria will find it funny.

If instead this sort of thing elicits fond feelings from deep within the heart... well, that's where the 1930's Germany stuff becomes relevant.
posted by clevershark at 6:18 PM on November 24, 2004


It's either funny or scary.

If it doesn't work as freaky propaganda, as Juicylicious and Matt suggest, then it's funny because it's so wrong-headed.

If it does work as freaky propaganda, it's scary.


...and funny.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:21 PM on November 24, 2004


And if it is propaganda, mocking it is the best way to undermine it.

Monica Lewinsky jokes; Dukakis-in-a-tank jokes; Gerald-Ford-is-clumsy jokes; Howard Dean's scream; Dan Quayle...well, everything about Dan Quayle. Mockery is a fantastically powerful force in US politics.

But it has to be really funny mockery, not heavy-handed, sententious bludgeoning a la Michael Moore. This is one of the reasons for Rush Limbaugh's enduring popularity--he can be damn funny sometimes (cf. the Edwards-as-Breck-Girl meme above).

Maybe someone should send this link to Howard Stern.
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:26 PM on November 24, 2004


I, for one, welcome our ...

... wait ...

no I don't.


Eeep.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:06 PM on November 24, 2004


Hey look, it's a fark "photoshop thread"! or even a standard fark thread. I often just scan the large threads on fark looking for pics. I just realized that I did the same thing here. Oh, Metafilter.
posted by tomplus2 at 10:27 PM on November 24, 2004


/NOT a Chomsky fan-boy

Well, WTF is wrong with you?
posted by codeofconduct at 11:07 PM on November 24, 2004


god bless the fox news channel
posted by mcsweetie at 11:36 PM on November 24, 2004



posted by 99th Percentile at 11:46 PM on November 24, 2004


and another! get well soon rush
posted by mcsweetie at 11:46 PM on November 24, 2004


" I still don't see any pumpkin pie. I'm going to stand here and look very cross until I do. *taps foot*"- loquacious

loquacious appears to be channeling giblets. This is disturbing, although I suppose we should be grateful it's not the Medium Lobster.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 4:35 AM on November 25, 2004


Here's a quick and dirty photoshop of Bush in Pinochet's uniform =)


posted by RemusLupin at 7:34 AM on November 25, 2004


I swear to God that if my Canadian relatives had the money and time to put up a billboard of the Queen with the caption "Our Queen" they would do it in a second. There's some serious Liz-olatry going on up there, even today.

The Queen doesn't have any power, that's the really important point here. Having someone who represents the country, the past and all the pagaentry and whatever that goes with it, yet has absolutely no power, is quite useful.

I'm talking for Britain however. Canada should ditch the bitch.
posted by Summer at 8:08 AM on November 25, 2004


(I would like to point out that I'm not a monarchist, find the royal family a bit embarrassing and would rather have an elected head of state. However, I'll take the Queen and all her tawdry trappings over President-worship any day)
posted by Summer at 8:35 AM on November 25, 2004


don't misunderestimate my skepticism, but I'm still not sure this is real. After 193 comments, does it even matter anymore? I can't find it on Google or Yahoo images, and it seems to me that somebody in Florida would want a picture of this to send to their like-minded relatives. Who's up for a Thanksgiving weekend road-trip??

And shouldn't real Christians be offended by this? Isn't there some rule on a rock saying something about worshipping false idols? Isn't that a big reason for America/Christians hating Communist/Fascist regimes?

Besides, I have my leader...
posted by hellbient at 1:04 PM on November 25, 2004


don't misunderestimate my skepticism, but I'm still not sure this is real.

I know someone who has physically seen the billboard in Orlando. the ones in Arizona are anyone's guess, and the "god bless fox news" and "get well soon rush" boards are real because I took the photos.
posted by mcsweetie at 3:08 PM on November 25, 2004


Ahem. The billboard was funny yet scary. President-worship scares me, so I'll stick with the Queen too, even in Canada. I still love Sidhedevil. I miss hockey, but still like Canadian beer. And I think clockzero hit the nail on the head way up there.

There we go, all caught up.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 3:25 PM on November 25, 2004


Use capital letters, please. I'm begging you. God made that shift key for a reason.

what is this, more christian fundie strong arming...? i don't believe in your god, and i don't believe in his shift key either, so back off woman :-D hmm, you kinda went off the deep end in this thread, but i'm chalking it up to it being thanksgiving 'cause most people lose their grip during the holidays - see me at xmas, we'll go nuts together in a thread or two.

President-worship scares me, so I'll stick with the Queen too, even in Canada

no shit, she's just a figurehead, not someone with the potential to destroy our future as a democracy.

*consoles yedgar* (hey, i like winnipeg too ! got my first acting gig there, at the rainbow stage theatre.)
posted by t r a c y at 7:10 PM on November 25, 2004


Am I the only one noticing that Sidhedevil posted like half of this thread? I think I got your point that it's funny after the first twenty or thirty times you made it, thanks.
posted by beth at 8:48 PM on November 28, 2004


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