Opie for Obama
Yet another celeb endorsement video using the actors’ characters as the centerpiece. In the midst of the McCain campaign’s insistence that Obama isn’t like you, isn’t a “real American,” isn’t from a “pro-American” part of the country, etc., there’s particular extratextual power at work here. First, surely if Palin and McCain think that anywhere’s the “real America,” it’s Mayberry, and so Andy Griffith and Ron Howard hail their simple, decent, smalltown folk characters’ images to endorse Obama. Then Howard channels Richie Cunningham from the ultra-schmaltzy Happy Days, a show straight from the nostalgia zone, full of teens who come home before curfews and rebels as unrebellious as The Fonz.
I find it interesting that it’s the pro-Obama side that’s calling up images of the all-white sitcom (supposed) wonderland. As amusing as the clip is (and as surprised as I was to see Griffith endorse Obama), I find it a little worrisome that the strategy aims to make Obama seem safe by surrounding him with these images of white small town nostalgia. It’s a little too close to the insistence that Obama is not a Muslim — ideally, just as I’d love to hear more of a defence of Muslims as real Americans who aren’t all hell-bent on destruction and spousal abuse, rather than a quick “no m’am, no m’am, he’s a decent family man,” I’d rather that we fight for the image of a diverse, open America that I think Obama represents, rather than surrender to the Mayberry model (cf. Pleasantville). I’m not blind to the rationale behind the strategy, or to its tactical importance when it’s the independents and undecideds who are left, but I’d rather see and herald a Lt. Cedric Daniels, Sergeant Carver, and Detective Freeman for Obama PSA.Tags: politics, Ron Howard, stars