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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Perspective on Perception

If the grace of God miraculously operates, it probably operates through the subliminal door. William James (1842–1910), The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902).

Porcupine is fascinated by subtlety, if not a practitioner of it. One interesting example of this can be found in Barack Obama’s ‘infomercial’ broadcast on television last night.

First, Porcupine would like to take a moment in a brief sidebar to give credit where it is due. This was first commented on by David Kravits, proprietor of the wildly liberal Blue Mass Group, where Porcupine is a frequent critic and curmudgeon. The fact that a liberal, nay, a PROGRESSIVE, blog is the firs place this is noted is a tribute to BMG’s fair-mindedness. Deluded, but fair-minded.

Here is an image of Sen. Obama from an ‘establishing shot’ at the beginning of the half-hour:

Here is an image from Mike Huckabee’s infamous ‘floating cross’ television commercial:

As David notes, the similarities are striking. Indeed, it appears to be a subtle, subliminal retort to all the dopey ‘Obama is a Muslim’ emails floating about, refuting without acknowledging.

Obama’s media use has been remarkable, going all the way back to his ‘1984’ commercial, with an energetic Progressive tossing a sledgehammer into a giant screen of Hillary Clinton addressing a slack-jawed crowd of grey proles, who immediately rise to frolic in the sunshine and vote for Obama.

This past weekend, a local columnist ‘Digital Grind’ wrote an interesting piece about playing an Xbox game, driving along in a virtual red Corvette – and having an Obama billboard on the side of the ‘road’. The rest of his column (
HERE) explored the web presence of the candidates (Obama is a notorious spammer) but the issue of subliminal advertising had been raised. Indeed, Porcupine had a similar experience playing a ‘match three’ game which he enjoys (but is too cheap to purchase) on-line – during one of the mandatory ‘commercials’ that pop up in return for free play, there was an ad for – Vote NO on Question One!

These digital billboards may be the future of political campaigning – omnipresent and unavoidable. But the subtle and subliminal character of these intrusions give rise to concern that logic and issues may be even further decrease in policial discourse in favor of the cult of personality, which has a great deal to do with campaigning but little to do with actual governing.

Obama is in many ways a perfect candidate for the beach head of subliminal campaigning – a tabula rasa, an enigma, a Rorschach, upon which ones hopes and convictions can be projected. It is to be hoped that there is more than mere cunning inside that empty suit

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