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Peace, Little Girl
September 14, 2007 12:44 AM   Subscribe

DAISY: The complete history of an infamous and iconic ad.
DAISY... is a multimedia extravaganza that is the definitive examination of the notorious 1964 television campaign ad that featured a little girl plucking daisies before being obliterated by stock footage of an atomic bomb explosion. Produced for the Democratic National Committee and designed to decimate the presidential aspirations of Senator Barry M. Goldwater, the Daisy spot has come to be regarded as an iconic moment in pop culture history.

CONELRAD has spent the last year tracking down everyone associated with the ad that [they] could find—including the elusive Daisy Girl herself—as well as locating long forgotten historical documents (textual, graphic, audio, and film) in order to create the most authoritative history ever published on this iconic advertisement.
posted by carsonb (17 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I tried to dig up supporting links for this, but CONELRAD really has covered everything.
posted by carsonb at 12:50 AM on September 14, 2007


Push th' little daisies!!!
posted by ItsaMario at 1:53 AM on September 14, 2007


Daisy, Daisy, Give me your answer do...
posted by Merik at 2:38 AM on September 14, 2007


Hey, nice post. These ads ran after Barry Goldwater had accepted the party's nomination in July and fired up the crowd with this famous speech:

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice...and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

It was within the echoing political rancor that followed, and that always accompanies the ramp-up to a November election, that these ads appeared. They effectively gave voice to middle-of-the-road fears that Goldwater was a rigid idealist, a dangerous man.

The 'anxious' vote went to Johnson. Who then escalated the Vietnam 'conflict' to the cost of tens of thousands dead. Republicans countered 4 years later with Nixon. Politics=awesome.

Incidentally, if in listening to Barry's speech, you wonder "Hey--the running mate's wife is 'Stephanie Miller,' just like the radio personality, on Air America." That's her mom, those are her parents. Boing.
posted by toma at 2:54 AM on September 14, 2007


Fascinating post -- thank you.

The Auden connection is interesting -- Auden was so incensed by the ad's misuse of his line 'we must love one another or die' that he cut the poem out of his Collected Shorter Poems the following year, and refused to allow it to be reprinted in his lifetime.

I hate to say it, but I still think 'Daisy' was a price worth paying to keep Goldwater out of the White House. Others may disagree.
posted by verstegan at 3:22 AM on September 14, 2007


Flower. Petal. Green. Root in beginning,
posted by Mblue at 3:30 AM on September 14, 2007


Excellent post carsonb. Great story, beautifully researched. Loved the details and history.
posted by nickyskye at 4:14 AM on September 14, 2007


The Auden connection is interesting -- Auden was so incensed by the ad's misuse of his line 'we must love one another or die' that he cut the poem out of his Collected Shorter Poems the following year, and refused to allow it to be reprinted in his lifetime.

Also, Auden disliked the line long before this instance and, after its initial publication, revised "September 1, 1939" to read, "We must love one another and die," which is definitely an improvement -- and much more Audenish. I believe in some later versions, he cut the whole stanza.
posted by FelliniBlank at 5:44 AM on September 14, 2007


Nice post!

Auden was so incensed by the ad's misuse of his line 'we must love one another or die' that he cut the poem out of his Collected Shorter Poems the following year


Don't be silly. The poem was revised in 1955. You don't seriously think Auden rewrote his poems based on ads, do you? The story is very well known: he decided that the original line was "a damned lie" because we all die anyway. He later dropped the stanza entirely. (Dear Poets: Do not revise your earlier work. Just write new stuff and pretend the old doesn't exist. Thank you. Signed, A Reader.)
posted by languagehat at 5:50 AM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Heh. But I totally disagree with FelliniBlank about the "improvement." Poetry is not logic.
posted by languagehat at 5:51 AM on September 14, 2007


(Dear Poets: Do not revise your earlier work. Just write new stuff and pretend the old doesn't exist. Thank you. Signed, A Reader.)

Seconded. A Listener.
posted by toma at 6:33 AM on September 14, 2007


Thank God Johnson was elected in '64,
instead of that warmonger Goldwater!
posted by king walnut at 9:44 AM on September 14, 2007


Mormons may be interested to know about Ezra
posted by hortense at 12:18 PM on September 14, 2007


Care to explain any further, hortense? What does that have to do with daisies, little girls, presidential campaigns, advertising, or, um, anything having to do with this post aside from being hosted on the same site?
posted by carsonb at 1:10 PM on September 14, 2007


I thought that it was interesting to point out that Ezra Taft Benson was tapped by Eisenhower to be part of a shadow government,"This letter will constitute your authority." in case the commies nuked the US,he was anti gay anti communist anti intellectual who later became prophet seer and revelator. and the first mormon to be a cabinet member. truly sorry if this tangent was a derail.
posted by hortense at 1:37 PM on September 14, 2007


(Dear Poets: Do not revise your earlier work. Just write new stuff and pretend the old doesn't exist. Thank you. Signed, A Reader.)

Agreed. When I think of how many more stellar poems Yeats could have written if he had stopped messing about with the old ones, for god's sake, I get all cranky.

Poetry is often not logic, but it sometimes is. Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress," for instance, ain't nothin' but teh logic.

In the context of the original stanza and poem and of Modernism in general, "We must love one another or die" is cloying, sentimental and disingenuous whereas "We must love one another and die" is a largely dispassionate if vaguely regretful statement of the bare fact. Maybe Auden should not have rewritten the line, but I have to like his recognizing and acknowledging his own moment of coasting shallowness. Stuff like the divine "Lullaby" demonstrates his more customary stance on what love can and can't do.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:50 PM on September 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Don't be silly.

LH, I always try to check my facts before posting here. My comment was based on Edward Mendelson's Later Auden, which discusses Auden's revisions to 'September 1, 1939' and mentions the 'Daisy' ad as a possible reason for Auden's rejection of the poem.

Yes, Auden's doubts about the poem went way back, and, as you say, he revised the last stanza in 1955. But in his Collected Shorter Poems he omitted the poem completely, and later told Mendelson that he didn't want it reprinted in his lifetime. Now, the 'Daisy' ad was shown in 1964, and the Collected Shorter Poems came out in 1965. I don't think it's unreasonable to suppose that the two events might have been connected.

You don't seriously think Auden rewrote his poems based on ads, do you?

I don't know why you think this is such a preposterous suggestion (unless it's because you think that Great Poets don't soil their hands with popular culture -- which I wouldn't have expected from you). Auden was a highly political poet. He had strong views on American politics, and given the enormous public exposure of the 'Daisy' ad (amply documented by this website) he would certainly have been aware of the way his poem had been misappropriated. It's not difficult to imagine what his reaction would have been.
posted by verstegan at 3:53 AM on September 15, 2007


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