As I suspected, the Clint Eastwood “Halftime in America” commercial for Chrysler that aired during last night’s Super Bowl turned out to be quite controversial.
This AP article discusses some of the reaction to the ad from various points on the political spectrum and quotes Eastwood as saying the ad was not intended to be political, but rather just about job growth and the spirit of America.
Interestingly, some people apparently construed the ad to be a pro-President Obama endorsement of the federal government bailout of Chrysler and GM. I guess I’m just dense, but I didn’t get that message if it was intended. In fact, if I were the President I don’t think I would want that ad, with its emphasis on tough times and America needing to come from behind, to be associated with me. If President Obama wants to highlight what he considers to be positive accomplishments during his term, you’d think he would be able to come up with a better subject than poor, broke, decimated Detroit.
My name is Penny.
I don’t bark much. It’s tiring and hard on my throat. I don’t feel like I need to say much to the other dogs in the neighborhood.
Other dogs around here bark all the time. Marley is a big barker. So are Tiger and Sassy. I think they’re just showing off to the other members of their packs, acting like they are big deal watchdogs.
There is another dog the old boring guy calls Barkington who barks whenever we walk by in the morning. He is a big dog, but his bark is high-pitched. It’s embarrassing to hear it. Whenever he starts barking, I shake my head. If I had a bark like that, I wouldn’t bark at all.
Then there are the sneaky barkers. Ms. Beagle down the street is one of those. When we walk by her house and she is outside, she will stay quiet and run up behind us as fast as she can. Then she will start barking and howling as loud as she can. It always makes the old boring guy jump, and makes me laugh. Ha ha! Well played, Ms. Beagle!
I expect that the most talked-about commercial from the Super Bowl is the Chrysler ad featuring Clint Eastwood.
In the commercial, the gravelly voiced Eastwood says that just as it is halftime in the Super Bowl, it’s halftime in America, too. Times are tough, he says. We’re down and out of work, we don’t understand each other, and we’re stumbling in a fog of discord and recrimination. But you can’t knock out America with just one punch. We need to come together to figure out how to come from behind because the second half is ready to begin. Detroit is showing us it can be done, Clint says.
Huh? America as a whole is supposed to follow Detroit’s lead? For the record, Detroit is on its knees. The city is losing money and deeply in debt, and the city government and the state of Michigan are trying to figure out whether the city can avoid being governed by an emergency manager who would have the ability to revise union contracts, restructure government, and sell off city assets like parks. I’m hoping Detroit can pull through, but let’s not kid ourselves — Detroit is no model and no inspiration.
I recognize that the Chrysler commercial provided an excuse to hear the welling music and to see the by-now-standard shots of courageous firefighters, mothers and children, and families standing strong. But it cheapens our country and its circumstances to compare America to a football game, and it’s jarring to receive a commercial message about coming together and sacrifice in close proximity to an over-the-top Super Bowl halftime show featuring Madonna.
Can’t commercials just stick to selling products, rather than trying to send us irksome, ankle-deep inspirational messages about our country?