Yes We Can

I watched this once two days ago and it’s been stuck in my head ever since. I haven’t decided if that’s a good thing or a bad thing yet. On my first viewing, I found the layering of Obama’s speech with spoken and sung versions of the text by celebrities fairly inaccessible. A lot of the timing is off just enough to make it hard to hear exactly what’s being said.

Jeff Jarvis is certainly on to something when he writes:

To me, this only underscores the notion that Obama’s campaign is the most rhetorical of the bunch: speeches and slogans so neat they can fit in 4/4 time.

Of course this also gets at the fact that a blurred version of his speech, when spoken by beautiful celebrities, is still really uplifting. Improbably so. As in, his words are being somewhat poorly repeated by somewhat vacuous spokespeople for a profound political message. I’m still finding it appealing in a way that makes me feel guilty, like a music connoisseur  who loves The Mars Volta but is accepting the fact that he also kinda digs Panic! At the Disco.

This video doesn’t make me want to vote for Obama any more or less than before I saw it, but as it has already gone viral I’m sure it will turn on lower information voters at a time when he needs to be turning out everyone he can.

2 thoughts on “Yes We Can

  1. This is for low info voters, no doubt. it’s also for a bit of a push on GOTV. And for that, it’s perfect.

    What it says to me is that more of OUR political ads should be produced by hollywood and music video directors.

    this is how political messaging becomes art. the former is the communication of a piece of information to facilitate a thought process, exinde, a vote.
    the latter is the communication of an emotion to facilitate a feeling, exinde, a vote.

    in 2004, the GOP did the latter brilliantly. only, the feeling they were going for was terror and hatred of liberals.

    the democratic message should give you goosebumps, the audience should get choked up. if the editing and sound design is built to draw out emotions, then good.

    i want more of this. the more we can gear our political messages to resonate emotionally in some way other than fear or hate, the better.

    does this make me think that obama is any more likely to be the captain awesome hero President Bobby Kennedy would have been? no.

    what did it do though? it got me choked up with a chanting refrain of “we want change” and “yes we can.”


  2. All good points Fred. I agree, this is certainly a more creative and elemental appeal to voters than a lot of the old hat Democratic ad campaigns.


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