Devious Camp: Raining McCain
Many a blog on my feed reader has something on this inspired, campy would-be pro-McCain viral video (see here particularly). Chuck Tryon, at his (fantastic) blog, The Chutry Experiment, has long been discussing YouTube candidate videos, and noting the lack of pro-McCain videos he has continually asked readers to point him towards one, and now here it is, in all its awful yet spectacular glory.
More below the fold . . .
I’m fascinated in this from an extratextual standpoint, as it seems an exercise in tactically authoring a candidate (as text) from the extratextual/paratextual space. Of course, all attack ads, articles, polls, etc. attempt to do this, but what’s different here is that video purports to come from within McCain’s own camp (pun intended). Thus, it lays claim to being canonical in the same way that, for instance, a Joss Whedon penned Buffy comic can yet a fan vid on Buffy can’t.
This is also the kind of satire that I often find the most inspiring and nuanced: satire that either forces the target to subvert itself or that seemingly does so. Colbert’s excellent at making people satirize themselves; Michael Moore can sometimes do it (though his self-reverence too often gets in the way these days); Sacha Baron Cohen and Chris Morris are the masters. But all of them do it in a frame in which viewers know that they set out to do this. What’s great with “Raining McCain” is that it’s not definitive that the clip is intended as satire, playfully leaving open the door that these three women really do like McCain and that this is his fan/voting base. After all, YouTube has offered us many other horrific/wonderful pro-candidate videos, such as this one and this one:
This weekend I was watching some of the SciFi original (B-)movies in which some odd creature terrorizes some people (this weekend it was Beyond Loch Ness, Rock Monster, and Kraken: Tentacles of the Deep). My wife and I agreed that the best ones (such as the inspired Mammoth) don’t break frame, convincing you that they’re genuine and sincere, not deliberately bad. Camp is so much more funny when it doesn’t label itself as camp. The difference, I think, is that self-professed camp lets you enjoy the camp spectacle on the screen, but camp that doesn’t label itself also lets you enjoy the pleasure of imagining a bunch of film-makers and actors who really thought they were producing something noble and artistic. Ditto with the “Raining McCain” video, whose camp extratextually suggests that this really is what McCain supporters see as cool. Hence its political bite as satire (and its significant enjoyment factor), in suggesting how very very uncool McCain supporters might be.
I’ll admit to being a touch uncomfortable with how the women are used here, given that the clip seems clearly to parody the Obama Girl videos, thereby suggesting that the best McCain can muster is these conventionally unattractive women. So its gender codings are regrettable, relying on the rather moronic level of effectively saying, “dude, the ugly chicks like McCain.” This therefore stops me from enjoying it completely and without restraint . . . but it’s still very funny, and as Daily Kos points out, “attacks” like this on McCain could prove monumentally important in the culture war that surrounds the election campaign.Tags: camp, McCain, parody, politics, satire, viral videos