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November 11, 2009 1:47 PM   Subscribe

MTV vs. martial law.

Larger YT link.
posted by zardoz (44 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Weren't these videos made several years ago?
posted by tiger yang at 1:54 PM on November 11, 2009


I know the Holocaust happened to people like me. I'm Jewish.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:56 PM on November 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


Well, thanks goodness those aren't shrill or hyperbolic or two years old [PDF] or anything.
posted by dersins at 1:57 PM on November 11, 2009


Eh, they're what you make of them. I read them as "don't be complacent to authority." Why that message is being put forth by a television channel that makes you stupider merely by knowing about it and has more commercials than content, I don't know. Probably because the marketing department decided that it's time to be "edgy" again. Maybe a couple of kids will get riled up about it, but they'll forget by the time the time "Pimp My Sister" or whatever is over.

Honestly, it's probably a viral campaign for ringtones.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:57 PM on November 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


I thought it was a big mistake on Spielberg's part to film Schindler's List in black-and-white - since it made it easier to distance oneself from the events portrayed as something that could only happen in a distant time or place.

Meanwhile, check the news stories on the nterception Modernisation Programme...
posted by Joe Beese at 2:01 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


GOOGLE FEMA DEATHCAMPS
posted by dersins at 2:05 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, the shot where suddenly you realize they've just recreated a historical photograph is a really neat trick. Or the historical photographs were faked, which is a pretty tricky feat itself. Kinda neat.
posted by scrowdid at 2:05 PM on November 11, 2009


ROCK THE VOTE
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:06 PM on November 11, 2009


I'm trying to decide what it means that a disproportionate number of people are blond/blue-eyed.
posted by jefficator at 2:08 PM on November 11, 2009


Early in 2008 MTV aired this ad as a way to educate young people about the Holocaust and now the Oathkeepers have appropriated it to support their paranoid anti-Obama militarism. Because, you know, it's more important to think that Obama is Hitler than to remember the deaths of millions of people.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:14 PM on November 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


The original purpose of the shorts:

Director/photographer Michael Franzini worked with the group at Arnold for six months to craft the most compelling message to engage U.S. teens with an episode in world history that is in danger of being forgotten.
“My generation, Gen X, barely knew what the word Holocaust meant,” said Franzini, referring to a 1993 study by the Roper Organization which found that 53% of U.S. high school students could not say what the Holocaust was. “We were horrified to find that teenagers today know even less.”

Franzini sent out video crews in four cities last year, approaching teenagers on city streets, asking them what the Holocaust was. Responses included speculation that the Holocaust took place in Iraq and that Hitler was a Jew fighting against the Nazis. Almost 2/3 of those questioned had little or no idea what the Holocaust was. The interviews can be viewed at http://michaelfranzini.com/holocaust/interviews.mov
“We all recall black and white images of the holocaust in our minds. But the Holocaust happened to real people, in full color,” said Roger Baldacci, EVP, Creative Director of Arnold Worldwide. “We hope to make these ads relatable to young people by illustrating what some of the events of the Holocaust would look like in the context of today’s world.”

posted by The Light Fantastic at 2:20 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Like, dude, isn't this a viral for the PS3 game Holocaust Death Camps?

I totally can't wait to play it.
posted by photoslob at 2:22 PM on November 11, 2009


So does Godwin's Law apply to television or just the Internets?
posted by crapmatic at 2:23 PM on November 11, 2009


Funny, when I wiki "Oathkeepers" I get a link to Kingdom Hearts, rather than some kind of creepy Freikorps-type organization.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:23 PM on November 11, 2009


"I'm trying to decide what it means that a disproportionate number of people are blond/blue-eyed."

It means they used the standard MTV casting department?
posted by potch at 2:28 PM on November 11, 2009


I know the Holocaust happened to people like me. I'm bisexual.
posted by Mike Mongo at 2:29 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


So does Godwin's Law apply to television or just the Internets?

It applies to everything. In fact, the primary reason for the Nazis' defeat in WWII was that they were constantly Godwinning themselves.
posted by The World Famous at 2:31 PM on November 11, 2009 [11 favorites]


In fact, the primary reason for the Nazis' defeat in WWII was that they were constantly Godwinning themselves.

Also, Hitler kept losing his temper over stuff that had nothing to do with the war effort.
posted by EarBucket at 2:35 PM on November 11, 2009 [16 favorites]


I know the Holocaust would happen again in a heartbeat if certain sects of our society were to have their way regarding the rights of gays and "immigrants."

When nearly half the voting public votes for a political party that was a horrific eight-year disaster of escalating social rights abuses culminating in the dismissal of War Crimes as pish-posh, you know you're in a society that's teetering on the brink of descent of mad chaos.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:35 PM on November 11, 2009


I know I'm old because my first thought was "Wow, is MTV still relevant for kids?"
posted by oddman at 2:36 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


A shocking way to promote something socially conscious - a way for MTV to repent or at least to try to not appear as the pop-culture-diarrhea-firehose that they are.
posted by hellslinger at 2:37 PM on November 11, 2009


Wow, the shot where suddenly you realize they've just recreated a historical photograph is a really neat trick. Or the historical photographs were faked, which is a pretty tricky feat itself. Kinda neat.

Actually, (from dersins' link above):
"Both spots end with a freeze frame that dissolves to an actual historical photograph, provided by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC."
As The Light Fantastic points out from the press release, these PSAs were intended as an historical lesson.
"Through a partnership with Facing History and Ourselves, MTV will offer its audience a way to learn more about and take action on the lessons in the PSAs."
The only conspiracy theory is one of educating the "53% of U.S. high school students [who] could not say what the Holocaust was."
posted by ericb at 2:42 PM on November 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


Think MTV covers many topics/issues, such as: Crime, Discrimination, Education, Environment, Faith, Health, Human Rights, Politics, Poverty, Relationships & Sex, Substance Abuse, War & Peace.

Its founding partners include The Case Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Goldhirsh Foundation and the MCJ Amelior Foundation.

The "too cool for school" kids will likely rag on it since it was started and is maintained by MTV -- a division of a large corporate media operation. Others will likely appreciate it for tackling topics and issues and presenting them to young people in a compelling manner.
posted by ericb at 2:51 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


How dare MTV do something other than promote stupid shit!
posted by brain_drain at 2:53 PM on November 11, 2009


How dare MTV do something other than promote stupid shit!


This is stupid shit.
posted by nola at 2:56 PM on November 11, 2009


I thought you meant this Martial Law, and I got all excited.

What you were actually referring to was much less exciting.
posted by Pecinpah at 3:01 PM on November 11, 2009


MTV just played a video? And it wasn't Will Smith? Are you sure?
posted by porn in the woods at 3:14 PM on November 11, 2009


I know the Holocaust happened. I had a great-uncle who participated. (one of the best things my dad did as a parent was keep me away from his family)
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:17 PM on November 11, 2009


RedFoxRadio comments
We need to stop spending money on things we dont need if we all boycott America they will loose alot of tax money and they will not be able to keep the system of goverment running. We need to break them by collapsing the economy and forceing heavly on government to feed and take care of us this will break them if everyone prepairs for only food water guns ammo and important thing to stay healthy and alive we can win and if chaos of desperate people who didnt perpair or government should come after us then let them come! It like putting sanctions on our own government.
Motherfucking Oathkeepers. Beyond the highly ironic thought of loosely federated coalitions of hemi-loyal militias "taking oaths" to protect the noble homeland from a Dolchstoss threat, it freaks me out that these Third Generation geniuses are lapping up every word that any little Lee Atwater says without realizing what they're doing.

Is there a word for basic fiscal innumeracy? I dunno, I hear "break the government, boycott companies" more and more all this shit about going Galt, and it turns out it's some unshaven Bostonian yahoo in a apartment that already looks like a detention cell and you know what? Fuck it; the lot of you. Withdraw from it all, deprive us of your labor such as it is. You're not driving the economy; you're not making steel or something fucking well worthwhile: you're middle-men in an economy of middle-men. You're the telephone-sanitizers; the marketer; the consultants. The only reason we haven't shot you into space ourselves is because your idiot lot cut NASA's funding.
posted by boo_radley at 3:21 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


RedFoxRadio comments

"I'm comin' to join you, Elizabeth!"
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:24 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Kids may not remember it, but in a highly controversial move, the first versions of these ads were accompanied by Prussian Blue playing in the background.

Unsurprisingly, MTV execs quickly nixed those. Focus groups had a strong negative reaction to MTV coming dangerously close to playing the first music video in years.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:27 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I haven't watched these ads at all, but whenever you feel the urge to take one of those "X number of those damn kids today don't even know Y" polls at face value, you should probably read this first.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:28 PM on November 11, 2009


I now regret making such a lazy post; thanks to The Light Fantastic, ericb and others for filling in the blanks I didn't.
posted by zardoz at 3:38 PM on November 11, 2009


OK Counter-contrarians: despite the fact that -Think MTV- may be well meaning and is supported by people and organizations that are also nice and noble, MTV is still an organization whose presence and reputation is defined by a cable TV channel that spews content that might be disagreeable or even less than virtuous to some of us. This content, which might not explicitly or directly be contradictory to the spirit of Think MTV, might still be a way to clear their conscience or make an attempt to establish more favorable credibility to those who see it this way. This could be a reason why we see Think MTV in all of its righteousness as a hypocrisy and the organization as two-faced and dishonest.
posted by hellslinger at 3:43 PM on November 11, 2009


It's a shame Hitler and the Nazis have been so demonized. Wait, hear me out.

What they did was undeniably atrocious. I'm no sympathizer, at all. I'm just saying, the hyperbole surrounding them has been layered so thick that they've become the universal symbol of pure Satanic evil and if anyone dares to acknowledge that they were in fact human, that person must be an anti-Semitic genocide apologist. Nazis couldn't have been human, we think. Or at least, they were Evil Humans who had nothing in common with Good Humans like us.

But Nazis were humans just like you and me, and they've been so demonized to the point of ridiculousness that we can scarcely make that connection anymore. I think it's absolutely critical for the future of humanity that we realize we're fundamentally no different from them.

It's a bit cliché to say that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. But surely we should be at least a little more aware of the dangers of zealotry, blind obedience to authority, personality cults, and militant ideologies in light of what happened in the Third Reich. All of these dangers, it could be argued, are still alive and well and even mainstream in many places today. Have Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo taught us nothing?

I don't know exactly when the level of Nazi vilification surpassed all common sense and became a parody of itself. Definitely before the rise of "you know who else..." jokes. Probably before Seinfeld and "no soup for you." How long have "grammar nazis" been around? Regardless, at some point it became acceptable to associate anything remotely bad with Nazism, however unrelated it was to the original brownshirts. And like the boy who cried wolf, we began to react by dismissing any legitimate comparisons as GodwinFilter.

Now the people comparing Obama to Hitler are caustic, reactionary folks but I've got to sympathize with them just a bit (because hey, I've already decried demonizing Nazis, so what have I got left to lose?). If there are any parallels between Obama and Hitler, we need to be objective enough to look out for them. And there are some: tenuous ones, the same kind of parallels that can be drawn with any political figure. The point is, we have to stay on our toes and never stop asking honest questions of what's happening on the world stage. Because this shit sneaks up on people.

There's no merit in dismissive handwaving and "Godwin!" shouting if our only reasons for doing so are culled from the following list:What does anyone gain from that kind of intellectual dishonesty? I'm not saying that dismissive handwaving and "Godwin!" shouting should be replaced by FUD. No, they should be replaced by vigilance and awareness and the knowledge that we are intrinsically not superior to the people of 1940s Germany, and we're equally susceptible to committing the same types of atrocities and absolving ourselves by passing the buck. Overcoming denial is the first step to recovery.

I'm with hellslinger: MTV is a pop-culture-diarrhea-firehose but I for one am glad they made these videos. And a bit grieved when they, and other works like them, are glossed over as unrealistic pieces of fiction.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:49 PM on November 11, 2009 [14 favorites]


Dude, it's not like we told them they had to have skull pins on their hats.
posted by The World Famous at 3:53 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought it was a big mistake on Spielberg's part to film Schindler's List in black-and-white - since it made it easier to distance oneself from the events portrayed as something that could only happen in a distant time or place.

Black and white is used for dramatic effect. I think it would have been a different film in color, not a better film, and I doubt the impact would have been as strong. I don't see it as archaic at all.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:20 PM on November 11, 2009


I thought it was a big mistake on Spielberg's part to film Schindler's List in black-and-white - since it made it easier to distance oneself

If you mean crying and shaking until I nearly lost it, yeah, I distanced myself. As a cinemaphile I do have reservations about the film, but having been filmed in black and white is not one of them. If anything, as in the searingly lovely sequence with the girl in the red dress, it was a means of bringing historical photography to life.

But Nazis were humans just like you and me, and they've been so demonized to the point of ridiculousness that we can scarcely make that connection anymore. I think it's absolutely critical for the future of humanity that we realize we're fundamentally no different from them.

I said something similar, but not so well, in a long-forgotten thread. While the tagline for these ads is The Holocaust happened to people like us, it's really almost more sobering to say that it happened for, by and of people like us. (This is a little like an anecdote ISTR told by Asimov: someone waxed poetically about how nice it would have been to live in an era when "everybody" had servants, and he replied, "Not really. We'd be the servants.") By focusing on the victimhood aspect, we neglect the self-regulation aspect. It's not how horrible it would be if nice white people were victimized; it's how horrible it always has been that nice white people (or any other nice people, but this is an argument about identification) are used to create totalitarian or otherwise oppressive societies, and how a modern and educated society can be distorted by a transparent and idiotic Othering process.

It's why I find the repurposing of these ads by Obamaphobes particularly disturbing. It's not that they don't want to be part of an oppressive society; it's that they feel they have to become that in order to defend themselves from being victims of one. In so doing they become ripe fodder for demagogues and charlatans. (Years ago, my dad's NPO board was assailed by a fellow who railed against its cliques, then when let in himself, tried to bring in ... his own clique.) Instead of focusing on the checks and balances and the process, they only see the Other.

It doesn't help that we've spent the last eight years in a great national Othering regarding Islam, of course. We even have a nationally published columnist putting out a book defending the Japanese internment, normalizing racist dispossession of rights. And now we have people who are driven around the bend by a black President ("I want my country back!").

I find the obstacles to reaching such people nearly insurmountable. I'm not sure how we get back to the basically decent and fair American psyche, now that it's been infected with this nationalist, nativist strain.
posted by dhartung at 5:10 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is like the worst episode of "Jaywalking" ever. Don't click the link if you don't want to weep for the future.
posted by ColdChef at 5:30 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]




In fact, the primary reason for the Nazis' defeat in WWII was that they were constantly Godwinning themselves.

Also, Hitler kept losing his temper over stuff that had nothing to do with the war effort.


Plus the fact that every time they had a secret meeting in the bunker, someone would play a new hilariously subtitled scene from The Downfall, and they would never get any work done.
posted by Liquidwolf at 6:03 PM on November 11, 2009


dhartung: the obamaphobes have made absolutely no intellectual connection to who the Nazis were and what the Obama administration is. It is exactly how Winsome Parker Lewis states it, it is a thoughtless label used to vilify anyone who they see as supporting some kind of greater centralized control. The right wing in this country has been doing this for as long as we can remember.

And this brings up an even more important point; they have absolutely no evidence to show that Obama's administration is doing this, they're just echoing the asinine rhetoric and bullshit that right wing pundits are spewing. As far as I can tell, their perception is only formed insofar as they heard Glenn Beck say that he is going to be a tyrant or increase federal control.

They're hording guns and ammunition based upon some nonsense speculation and bar talk that the Democrats want to take their guns and therefore they are Nazis. If any shooters have noticed, it is hard to buy ammunition right now. If anyone has any real information or data about why these people are equating Obama to Hitler other than the fact that they like to be scared about guns (because they have a persistent wet dream about a shootout with the federal government) and are racists, I would honestly like to know.

And back to the FPP, I don't think it is good that MTV is showing this. Once again, I don't believe they have the credibility to be hosting this kind of morally weighted subject matter because it requires a lot of real responsibility and humility that MTV doesn't exactly have a track record for.

So the people who have marketed misogyny, greed, drug abuse, and self-absorption to children for the past 20 years want to start educating us about the Holocaust. The fucking audacity and self-importance of these assholes makes me sick.
posted by hellslinger at 6:18 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Others will likely appreciate it for tackling topics and issues and presenting them to young people in a compelling manner.

MTV has ruined more young minds than pinball and syphilis combined. So what if they show a little challenging vignette between an ad for zit cream and an alleged reality show more scripted than a Kubrick film? This is the equivalent of having a diet of 98% nachos and banana splits, and calling it healthy because you eat one bowl of quinoa and lentils every-other Sunday lunch
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:34 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm trying to decide what it means that a disproportionate number of people are blond/blue-eyed.

it means they didn't want the apartment scene to look like an inner city drug raid - people might get the crazy idea that they were showing current government repression instead of 20th century history
posted by pyramid termite at 9:01 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe MTV is right to run these ads. I mean, blonde and blue eyed people would never see a Holocaust coming, right?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:45 PM on November 12, 2009


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