Tag Archives: Barack Obama

The Road We’ve Traveled (isn’t far enough)

I just watched Obama’s (just shy of) 17 minute video/commercial/short film directed by Academy Award®-winning director Davis Guggenheim on YouTube.

The video, which was posted on BarackObama.com and YouTube yesterday, provides an overview of the past four years of Obama’s presidency.

According to the description on YouTube,

This film gives an inside look at some of the tough calls President Obama made to get our country back on track. Featuring interviews from President Bill Clinton, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Elizabeth Warren, David Axelrod, Austan Goolsbee, and more. It’s a film everyone should see.

Here’s the video.

Whether you’re a fan of Obama or not, the video makes a persuasive case that President Obama brought us back from the brink of disaster.

I’m certain that few would doubt that former President Bush left the country is a bad way.

The video uses the condition of the country as the starting point for making the case for Obama’s success.

But despite the eloquent narration of Tom Hanks, will this video really have the desired impact?

The Washington Post provided an insightful review of the video and it’s intended purpose.

How many people are going to view this video and come away with the desired impression of Obama?

Will people see this video as a summary of success or pure propaganda?

Regardless, it’s clear that Obama’s re-election efforts will have to confront a more basic issue (again) in 2012.

Race.

Trolling Facebook yesterday, I came across the following bumper stickers:

Really?

Re-Nig? Wow. I. Am. Speechless.

Will the video be able to put a dent in the attitudes and opinions of folks creating propaganda like this?

I doubt it.

No matter how well the Obama campaign casts the past four years, some folks just don’t give a damn.

For them the issue is as simple as black and white.

Despite all that Obama has done, what’s clear is that the road we’ve traveled isn’t far enough.

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Brand Dude, It’s All About The Dude

I recently saw a trailer for the movie ‘I Love You Man,’ a comedy starring Paul Rudd, whose character goes on ‘man dates’ to find a best man for his wedding. It’s apparently about one guy’s search for ‘bro love’-the kind of relationships that heterosexual (and platonic homosexuals) males have for one another.

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Being a ‘man’s man’ myself, I thought it appropriate to talk about the prototypical man’s man, Brand Dude.  

Who is Brand Dude? you ask. And what makes Brand Dude, the Dude? Good questions, and I will answer each, in turn.

Who is Brand Dude? First, Brand Dude is the iconic Dude (I know it’s bad form to use a word to define a word, but in this instance it’s appropriate). Brand Dude is any man that elevates being a dude to an art form. He’s the one you think of when you think of cool. Suave? (Need you ask?) Check. Confident? Of course, but never arrogant. Handsome? Duh! Women swoon and blush at a mere, ‘do you have the time?’ Brand dude is what every regular dude aspires to be.

We’ve seen countless examples of Brand Dude in our lives, but they’re sometimes so cool, that we fail to acknowledge their innate dudeness. Ashton Kutcher, (funny, cougar-loving) dude. Steve McQueen, Brand Dude. George W, dude (dumb dude, but dude nonetheless). Barack, Brand Dude.  A-Rod, (trifling, lying, two-timing, steroid-poppin’) dude. Hank Aaron, Brand Dude.  T.I., (small, bout-to-do-a-bid-for-illegal-gun-possession) dude.  Jay Z, Brand Dude.

What makes Brand Dude, THE Dude? Brand Dude makes being a dude look easy. We all know ‘dudes.’ They’re the ones who show up at the party with the six pack of Bud. Brand Dude arrives with the case of Heinekens. Dudes will buy you a drink. Brand Dude runs a tab. Dudes brag about their sexual escapades. Brand Dude kisses, but never tells. While dudes walk about with chests a’ puffin’, Brand Dude glides through life with an air of quite assurance.

Women, don’t settle for any ol’ dude, find yourself a Brand Dude.  

Dudes, don’t let women pass you by because you’re just a plain ol’ dude, improve your stock and become BRAND DUDE.

This has been a public service announcement.

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The World According to Barack

I’ve been watching the presidential race unfold, and just had to comment about how different things are today, than they were just four years ago.  The Barack infomercial was a game changer for me (even moreso than the announcement of Joe Biden as his Veep via SMS) because it showed just how far one can take a brand.

The equivalent of Barack’s 30 minute spot on prime time TV, was the full page ad in the New York Times of years ago.  If you wanted to make a statement, you bought the entire page in a prestigious newspaper, and made your case to the public.  It was a ground breaking and effective strategy, turning the pages of a reputable and widely circulated newspaper into a launchpad for your platform.

Barack brought that strategy into the 21st century, by launching his platform directly into the homes of millions of Americans simultaneously.  I don’t have the numbers, but I’m sure Nielsen can tell you that a butt-load of people watched what Barack had to say carefully the day before yesterday, and were inevitably swayed by the quality production, the heartfelt stories, the message and its clarity, and the singular intent of the man of the hour.

Unlike a commercial, which is fleeting, and whose message is invariably countered by a commercial of the opponent, the infomercial can only be countered by another infomercial.  McCain has neither the prediliction, cash or first mover’s advantage to pull that off.  Moreover, if the McCain camp were to try to cobble something together to blunt the effectiveness of that move, it would be too-little too-late.  With only four days before the election, there is little likelihood of mounting any significant counter-attack.

McCain is left to send his storm trooper in lipstick out to do his dirty work.  All the Republican party has left, is that attack instinct, and they’re frothing like rabid dogs, at the prospect of forging a comeback.  They’re just so all over the place, that they look like rank amateurs, especially when juxtaposed against Barack’s unflappable cool demeanor and expert use of the media, at all turns.

Its like Barack has moved from a presidential candidate, to an awe-inspiring figure and every-man, simultaneously.  He appears to be one of the most approachable people in the world, yet he still portrays an air of greatness.  Now I’m no Obama jock-rider, caught up in the groundswell, but from an objective standpoint, it is clear to the most casual observer who our next president SHOULD be.

McCain is no slouch, but I’d never put a man in office who states (without hesitation) not to know ‘too much’ about the about the economy.  I would also not put a man in office who so thoroughly fails to vet his VP selection, to the point that her selection has become the punchline for SNL jokes for weeks.

As a Black man in America, I hold no disillusions about the capacity of my fellow Americans to disappoint.  When GW won in 2000, I wasn’t surprised.  When Kerry gave it away in 2004, I wasn’t surprised.  If the Bradley effect kicks in, and the GOP steals yet another election, I won’t be surprised.  I am surpsied, however, that Barack has gotten this far (and is still alive) considering the magnitude of what could realistically be a defining point in American history.

Win or lose, I take solace in the fact, that this moment in time is actually happening.  It has opened up the minds of millions of children of color, whose realm of possibilities include one day being president of the United States of America.  Its one thing to hear it (as a general aspirational statement of possibility), its another thing entirely to witness it, and create a firm basis for belief in that (for Black people) once abstract thought.

We’ve come a long way.  We’ve got a great distance to cover yet, but we’ve come a long way.  And for that, I’m glad.

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