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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Distortion and Hypocrisy Galore

The latest internet outrage-bubble started with a post at Politico titled RNC's below-the-belt shot at Nancy Pelosi, regarding a Republican National Committee YouTube video about Nancy Pelosi. I agree with AllahPundit that the RNC should not have produced the video, among other reasons, because "they simply have to be more attuned to how their message will be received and whether they’re giving their opponents easy opportunities to distort it."

And most of the distortion comes from the fanciful post by Andie Coller at Politico, which reads way too much into the video. The point of the Politico post, right up front, is that "when you see Nancy Pelosi, the Republican National Committee wants you to think “Pussy Galore.” To substantiate its theory, Politico says that the video compares Nancy Pelosi to the fictional character Pussy Galore of the James Bond film Goldfinger.

But the opening camera-aperture shot and theme music are not from Goldfinger, but from the movie Dr. No. Politico also states that the video "puts Pelosi side-by-side with the aforementioned villainess" (Pussy Galore). Don't blink or you will miss the "side-by-side" screen shot, which lasts maybe a second, and doesn't clearly indicate who is the other woman next to Pelosi. And the closing tag line refers to: "Lack of Leadership. Democrats Galore."

So there is precious little in the actual video to suggest that the RNC intended to "equat[e] the first woman speaker of the House with a character whose first name also happens to be among the most vulgar terms for a part of the female anatomy." I agree, as stated at the beginning, that the RNC should not have produced the video, but the Politico has erred both in its facts and in asserting that the video "implies that Pelosi has used her feminine wiles to dodge the truth."

The Politico article is mostly about the inner-workings of Andie Coller's mind and the need to generate news on a holiday weekend, not about any true outrage.

The reaction from the blogosphere to the Politico post is mostly hypocrisy from the left. The left-wing blogs which savaged Sarah Palin and Carrie Prejean with the worst sexual innuendos and mockery, are aghast with feigned indignation at the RNC's dig at Pelosi.

Ta-Nahisi Coates writes of the video that the Republicans couldn't help demeaning an opponent rather than debating her because "it's just who they are." This is the same Ta-Nahisi Coates who wrote of John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin: "I don't care if you know a thing about foreign policy. I don't care if you know a damn thing about the economy. Here is what you are to me--breasts, hair and a lovely smile." And who referred to Sarah Palin's selection as being the result of "bigotry, ignorance and cravenness."

Taylor Marsh's comment on the ending tag line is as follows: "Imposed with a naked woman behind the tag line. Get it? Subtle it is not." Actually, very subtle. Look at it and it's hard to tell what is behind the tag line, much less a "naked woman." Don't stare too long, though, and or you might start making up more things, just like Andie Coller and Taylor Marsh.

A misguided video which fell far, far short of the abuse heaped on Republican or conservative women, yet fodder for the left-wing blogosphere on a slow news weekend.

UPDATE: I've been criticized for having a victim mentality because I pointed out the distortion by the left-wing blogs, yet still don't think the ad should have been run by the RNC. The two points are not inconsistent. As I well know, the left-wing blogs are shameless and dishonest in their ability to distort. I agree that such distortions should not shape our conduct. But the RNC, being an organization which has to carry a larger message and organizational effort, needs to be more careful in how it makes its point. What the RNC does as an organization affects not just the RNC, but candidates down the line. An individual blogger or non-party entity has no such concern. Take away the James Bond theme, and the video is compelling, effective, and appropriate for a national party to run.

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  1. I don't think I've commented here before. I have read several posts in past, and have enjoyed them very much.

    And ... wait for it ... However ....


    I don't see your reasoning for why the video ought not have been made. You explain how the video is misrepresented by the left. You thus make an argument in favor of making and distributing the video.

    The video may not be your style, and legitimately so. You may have artistic tastes which are not satisfied by such juvenile stuff. And I'm not being sarcastic. The video is some silliness.

    Yet, it's silliness which doesn't misrepresent anything. I don't see how we can say "We must not make silly videos which we enjoy and which do not misrepresent anything." We ought not cede our free speech out of fear that our speech will be misrepresented.

    You perform a service by pointing to the misrepresentation by Andie Coller. You show how to stand up for free speech. I just don't understand your assertion that the video ought not be made.

  2. Yeah, and one of the dopes at Hot Air agrees with them.

  3. Working hard, trying to come up with more than "Meh" or "Heh" for the video.
    So this full-length post of yours seems total over-analysis, sir.

  4. I didn't think the video was funny. It's hard to make this funny, because it is not funny at all. One of the guys at Power Line had the same take on it that I did, which was: "Anyone who saw her self-destructive press conference must wonder, further, whether she requires medication to get through the day and sometimes forgets to take her pills." Studies have just shown that Botox really does go to the brain, I'm completely serious, and, although it's a logical leap, you've got to wonder...
    Regardless, I think a better spot would have been just straight-up footage of Pelosi, Gibbs (that fatuous (and fat) gobshite), whatever Fox anchor asked that good question, and also there was some footage of a senator literally putting his arm protectively around Pelosi at the last press conference she did. She is not well. The truth is she should step down. I guess it's up to Dick Cheney, the only guy around with some balls, to point that out. And speaking of Botox brain, Biden has had like several brain aneurisms... as well as Botox....

  5. Rosita - I agree that playing a minute of Pelosi fumbling through her papers trying to find her prepared statement would have been the most effective video possible.

    gcotharn - I'm not trying to suppress anyone's speech, just pointing out that the RNC plays a special role which it needs to keep in mind if it wants to be successful.

  6. Professor Jacobson's argument is a perfect example of "Tu quoque".

    You'd think a college educator would be smarter than that.

    Just saying.

  7. Bill,

    The problem with this "ad" is that it doesn't bring a single voter to the Republican Party.

    We know that Democrats are a bunch of pussies. Galore!

    Where the Republican Party is failing miserably is that their isn't a dime's worth of policy difference between Democrats and Republicans.

    Democrats want to spend the country into the gutter in a pussy-like fashion. Republicans want to spend the country into the gutter in a more macho-like fashion.

    Keep in mind that it was George W. Bush who gave the country to Goldman Sachs.

    That's hardly a message that will move voters to the Republican Party.

    And it is that aspect that should be driving the criticism of the RNC.

  8. You laid out a wonderful case for exactly why the video is comparative and sexist. Well done. But from the comments section, the 21 percenters who read your blog lap up the sexist stuff.

    Congrats also on tracking down a couple of "left wing blog" references to support the hypocrisy claim that have barely enough traffic to register on a search engine.

  9. TheAtlantic.com and Politico.com get "barely enough traffic to register on a search engine"? Delusional at best, liar at worst.

  10. I had not heard about this video. I think it's great and doesn't go far enough, but then I think she's utterly unfit to be a mail carrier much less Speaker of the House and #3 in line. Then again, #1 and 2 are unfit to be #3.