Rick Perry for President of exploding Superamerica


First of all “Superamerica” is totally in the OS X spellcheck dictionary, which makes me think it’s existed all along. Wouldn’t you rather live there than in the peeling, dilapidated husk of America depicted in this Rick Perry advertisement? The Perry campaign released this spot—titled “Rick Perry: Proven Leadership”—on Tuesday, and it joins a long line of Republican ads that portray the United States as, well, Detroit. Even the parking meters have garbage bags over them in Wrecked Now America, a place where everyone voted for Barack Obama just before vanishing. The only human being that appears in the first 30 seconds of this video is the President, plus a couple of TV anchors shown on pictures of TVs. The rest of the country is empty, except for that sound which has become so commonplace now that we hardly notice it: air raid sirens.

Micky sent me the link to this video, along with the observation that “it’s like he shrunk Armageddon into a 2-minute commercial—and not Armageddon the movie.” The ad does draw a clear distinction between good and evil. The first 43 seconds are all about zero job growth and all-time high poverty levels—incidentally, the poverty rate is not higher today than it was during the Great Depression, or even during 1993—and President Zero, as he is now known. “I’m just getting started!” he shouts ominously. Then we smash cut to a horse walking out of the ocean. It’s like when the Indians first saw Columbus. The Indians are us, and Rick Perry is the wise Christian governor we’ve all been waiting for.

The next phase of the video can best be described as trains, flags, children. As Perry says a great country, we get the first shot of America that is not in an urban environment—a verdant farm, followed by the Statue of Liberty, a man walking with the sun at his back, photographers, Rick Perry at a podium, a man’s legs and a freight train. All of these images appear in the time it takes Perry to say requires a better direction. Then there is an explosion sound and a child holding an American flag. He is the first of many.

Here’s a fun quiz: of all the human beings to appear in single shots after this point in the video, how many are not blonde? The answer is one: Rick Perry. “The United States of America really is the last great hope of mankind,” he says. This statement is completely fucking terrifying. First of all, what were our previous hopes, and what happened to them? Now that deductive logic and antibiotics and an altruism-based social contract have failed us, are we really down to this nation of boarded-up barber shops and constant, wailing sirens?

The answer is yes, reinforced at 1:04 by a brief shot of Earth from space. Remember our whole Armageddon theory? That right there is what God sees when he looks at America. We are going to win this Earth thing or else humanity is dunzo, and the rest of the video contains an inordinate number of shots of fighter jets, aircraft carriers, Rick Perry riding in a military helicopter, Rick Perry in front of another jet, and Rick Perry saluting—saluting servicemen, saluting some lady at a speech, presumably saluting himself in the mirror as he walks into the men’s room. I believe her best days have not yet been lived, he says, and the sky is filled with F-16s. Then it’s a church and a Macy’s.

These are all pretty much stock images, and we therefore shouldn’t put too much stock in them. Yet in this commercial of carefully constructed dualities, it’s worth noting that Rick Perry’s America contains a preponderance of everybody’s three favorite things: work, church and war. Maybe those aren’t your personal favorites, in which case you are welcome to stand with President Zero and the highest poverty rate of all time the period since Nevermind came out. The rest of us will be here to move America forward, into the fondly if not faithfully remembered past.

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  1. Upon watching this (and before reading your post), I got a definite Michael Bay twinge on the back of my neck. Glad to read that this was apparently a common response.

    Also, at 1:10, the image of Perry in front of a jet looks almost exactly like George W Bush standing in front of a jet. Which makes sense for appealing to their constituencies, since Jesus loves jets.

    This ad, combined with 2008’s Hopey/Changey ads, makes me wonder what hex or curse transformed us from a population capable of comprehending (and staying awake during) the Lincoln-Douglas debates into whatever we are now.

  2. I think the trend toward Michael Bay political commercials is bad. Low information voters love Michael Bay and don’t notice the conspicuous addition of the orchestral soundtrack to a video like this. There are people who are persuaded by images of F-16s and blond kids with American flags, and I don’t want any politician exploiting that fact, even the politician I want to win.

    Leave the fascist propaganda to Rickamerica “Fuck Yeah” Perry.


  3. I am especially fond of the title card at 1:08 that simply says “An American.” See, that’s the problem with Obama–he’s not an American.

  4. I would rather make an insane Michael Bay style commercial for Rick Perry that juxtaposes out of context quotes and images of him with pictures of crying babies, serial killers, and unicorn furry porn. Because if things appear on the screen within a few seconds of each other, they are obviously part of a narrative whole.

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