The Meatball Ad
October 27, 2000 8:57 PM   Subscribe

The Meatball Ad is mostly being run in California by the Buchanan Campaign. Today was the first time I saw it running in New York. I have not seen any of the other presidential candidates are running any TV ads here. The ad shows a man passing out while waiting for the 911 voice choice menu after choking from eating a meatball as the TV news in the background declares that English is no longer America's official language. (The link is to a quicktime file.)
posted by tamim (22 comments total)
There should not be an "are" in the sentence: "I have not seen any of the other presidential candidates are running any TV ads here."
posted by tamim at 8:59 PM on October 27, 2000

911 sucks anyway.
posted by Brilliantcrank at 9:05 PM on October 27, 2000

On a related note (sleazy campaign ads), a Texas-based non-profit has produced a remake of the "Daisy" advertisement from the 1964 Johnson/Goldwater race in order to smear Gore in battleground states (like my lovely Ohio). Given the fact that the original aired only once due to bad publicity, you would think that Bush backers would employ a bit more sense.
posted by Avogadro at 10:08 PM on October 27, 2000

Oh, the "Daisy" link is also to a Quicktime file.
posted by Avogadro at 10:11 PM on October 27, 2000

wow, the meatball ad is enormously offensive. i can't beleive that it exsists seriously and not as a parody. that's insane.
posted by palegirl at 12:03 AM on October 28, 2000

I've seen it and am not surprised. Buchanan has always had a beef against immigration. (Odd, since he's always going on about his family' Irish roots-I eman, didn't the KKK hate Irish Catholics at one time?)
Since a chicken can't change the color of its feathers, he's just gotta do what he's gotta do.

posted by black8 at 2:43 AM on October 28, 2000

I was surprised to hear one of his radio ads the other day. It's kind of amusing how he is accusing Bush of being liberal just like Nader criticizes Gore. Unfortunately the tv spot is not downloading correctly for me, but here are some disturbing responses to it from a page on his website:

Californians Respond to Meatball
by: Editorial
LA Times

Buchanan's Ad

Re "Buchanan Immigration Ad Met With Quick Criticism," Oct. 10: I thoughtthe Buchanan Reform Party "meatball ad" [a man chokes on a meatball after hearing on a news broadcast that English is no longer America's official language; he calls 911 and passes out while listening to a menu of language options] was right on the money. It was not only witty and pointed to get my attention, but it woke me up to a real issue (unlike the boring debates!). Ultimately, I took home from the ad a message of unity and acceptance--in this country our English language is a major point of unity (not to mention that English is the primary language of international business and even of the air traffic controllers and pilots). It's also an issue of acceptance--the acceptance of this country by the immigrants who decide to live here. My grandparents were from Eastern Europe and did not speak English when they came here, but they quickly learned English so that my grandfather could get a job and so they could be part of their community and of America. Pat Buchanan has a good idea for America.


Kowtow to the divide-and-conquer approach of the Democrats and Republicans? No way. We are not hyphenated Americans, speaking dozens of historical languages. We are American Americans, and we speak English. And vote for those who support it. Keep it in mind, politicians.


I imagine that this is only a very small sampling of whatever was in the unabridged article, though.
posted by kidsplateusa at 9:27 AM on October 28, 2000

We are American Americans, and we speak English.

The irony is overwhelming. (Let alone the comment about "historical" languages.)
posted by holgate at 9:52 AM on October 28, 2000

Anyone seen the Buchanan ad for "family values"? This includes a bunch of "they" classifications and covers such things as the 10 Commandments not being allowed to be posted on school walls (Which shows anonymous hands ripping down a concrete version of the 10 C. from a wall, it falls and shatters). The ad also covers the Boy Scouts fiasco (Even though the Boy Scouts won the case) and some other things. I guess Buchanan needs to read up on his American History, ever heard of Seperation of Church and State?
posted by thirdball at 12:22 PM on October 28, 2000

Well, I do think all immigrants who live here should learn to speak English. It is annoying when someone can't speak the language of the country they decided to live in.

Buchanan is still a nut though!
posted by FAB4GIRL at 12:25 PM on October 28, 2000

FAB4GIRL: I'll concede that learning English has benefits. The obvious incentive is survival -- my wife, an Indian (New Delhi, not Navajo ;/)), says "it's something we have to do because we live in this country," but then again she wants to know why MeFi users aren't all speaking Navajo, Iroquois, Sioux and Cherokee -- but more often than not I'm wary of emphasizing English as a way of "fitting in" with other "American Americans." People from overseas do want to learn to speak English, but I would argue that people don't come to America for the opportunity to speak to others -- they come to make a better life for themselves.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 1:13 PM on October 28, 2000

well, you can't improve your situation economically without speaking to people, wherever you are.

I'd like to remind everyone to go out and learn spanish *right now*. there will be more spanish-speakers here in a few years than english speakers. even with english as the "official language of the united states", it will be a help to us all to know the language of the majority.

plus maybe we won't look so damned ignorant and arrogant to everyone else in the world. (okay, I'm dreaming, but my point stands.)

posted by rebeccablood at 1:19 PM on October 28, 2000

Well, there's no "official" language in the US: not even a specified language of government. So the de facto primacy of English as the "first" language is, as Rebecca suggests, simply a matter of numbers.

Learning English has social advantages: in particular, it empowers the individual against exploitation by employers. But I don't see Buchanan pushing for the better teaching of English in American schools.
posted by holgate at 2:45 PM on October 28, 2000

That's kind of what makes the ads so ridiculous Cray, that he just lets out a string of nonsequiturs in every speech he gives: "english is the United States' official language... all of america's drugs come from Mexico... civil unions are an abomination..."

As for non-english monoglots living in the US and potential social impairment, I think it will be interesting to see the path that this takes over the next half century as spanish becomes at least as dominant as english. Will a creole language arise? Or will it kind of be a reverse of the Normans coming to England in 1066, with a pidgin language being used to communicate between middle class anglophones and spanish speaking workers?

I would prefer rapid adoption of bilingual teaching in all schools (of course giving a priority to those with the most rapidly growing hispanic populations).
posted by kidsplateusa at 3:05 PM on October 28, 2000

Oops, I didn't read rebecca's comment where she said almost the exact thing as me :).
posted by kidsplateusa at 3:06 PM on October 28, 2000

Will a creole language arise? Or will it kind of be a reverse of the Normans coming to England in 1066...

I'd suspect something closer to the situation in Wales, where local government sustains and encourages bilingualism by enforcing the use of Welsh even in those areas that are traditionally monoglot. Once US districts have primarily Spanish-speaking residents and local government, it'd be easy to imagine the same happening.
posted by holgate at 5:06 PM on October 28, 2000

Ni we konven tuta rajti paroli lerni esperanto. Mi hav mal ne ideo domag me est sentenco.

posted by ZachsMind at 2:00 AM on October 29, 2000

Bah zachsmind, na tal ut mi ek enkli minyg. Zal mi na meyr tali ekon angit, na esperanto oyna zal.

posted by Mars Saxman at 1:58 PM on October 29, 2000

Esperanto would be good, except for the fact that teaching it to everyone would be too costly and time consuming. Since language is best learned through immersion, it would be at least 2 generations before many people could learn it. The only other options are teaching it to a few intellectuals, whereupon you cancel all the advancements in communication over the past 500 years, or just let language evolve on its own- I think that's what will happen.
posted by kidsplateusa at 2:53 PM on October 29, 2000

Heh. A great would to get kids to learn would be telling them that their parents would have no idea what they're saying to each other.

Give it a few years for the kids to talk to their friends on the phone (do kids still do that, or is IM the New Phone? :-) without their parents knowing what they're talking about, then the parents would learn it (secretively, of course) to spy on their kids. Boom! 10 years, and everyone knows it.

It's all about marketing. :-)
posted by cCranium at 5:49 AM on October 30, 2000

Give it a few years for the kids to talk to their friends on the phone (do kids still do that, or is IM the New Phone? :-)

Surprisingly, among mid- to upper-middle class kids, that's almost completely true. I often see kids walking around with printouts of AIM conversations spreading gossip and stuff.

I only have one good friend with a computer though, so for the most part I just talk on the phone or see people "for real" since I don't like telephones that much.
posted by kidsplateusa at 2:34 PM on October 30, 2000

Instant messaging (we called it "ytalk" back when I was a teenager :-) was my saviour. I hate telephones. I hate hate hate hate hate them. Being able to chat with a friend and arrange when we'd get together, or when we'd MUD together was a boon. Especially since I didn't have to hang up to do it! :-)
posted by cCranium at 4:40 PM on October 30, 2000

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