By Eric Kohn | Eric Kohn August 1, 2008 at 10:15AM
The latest John McCain ad slandering Obama eschews real ideas in favor of some of the most idiotic rhetoric I've ever seen this side of a Nazi propaganda film. It's not even skilfully put together! Nevertheless, the current slew of anti-Obama ads coming out of the McCain camp suggest that the Republican candidate has decided to take the low route, which, sadly, has the potential to damage Obama's established persona through disingenuous tactics. Maybe not the first video, maybe not the second, but once they hit the gas with this relentlessly downbeat portrait, there's no question that the Obama campaign has to fight back -- or, at least, get a lot of people to fight back on his behalf. (Obama's last e-mail to his supporters said, "they're not just attacking me. They're attacking you.")
My suggestion? Hire Jonas Mekas.
The guy is a spectacularly insightful artist, a legend of New York's underground art scene still trekking along after all these years, and no less relevant than when he used to hang with Ginsberg or Warhol or whoever.
Am I kidding? Yeah, a little. But I thought about Mekas the other day when the first confounding, utterly mindless attack on Obama was launched in the video above In the opening moments, we get a fleeting shot of Britney Spears, followed by Paris Hilton, and crappily arranged cross-fade to Obama, immediately suggesting that this unofficial trio belong in the same bunch.
Mekas would surely find this offensive. As others have pointed out in the past, it was actually him, not Chris Crocker, who coined the "Leave Britney Alone" phrase. And he did it beautifully:
Here's my favorite segment from Jonas' rant (but do watch the whole thing):
All of you there! The tabloids, and television. Yapping there.
So pompously proud of yourselves.
Who are you?
Just look at yourselves tomorrow morning in the mirror.
Look at yourselves, and look at [Britney's] face.
One day, should be the day when we all shave our heads, so we realize we are all on the wrong track.
Let's shave our heads!
But I know we are not going to do it, because we are stuck.
So, I congratulate you, Britney, for your courage.
Now what if Jonas gave this same speech to the McCain campaign?