BRIAN BOITANO STEPHEN HARPER DO?
(He'd make a plan and he'd follow through, that's what Stephen Harper'd do!)
Oh boy! The first TV campaign spots are up at the Conservative Party of Canada website. I like how they have a couple of French-language ads trying to present themselves as an alternative to the Bloc Québecois de Losers for Quebecers disgusted with the Liberals. I don't know how well that's going to work, and I hope that future French language ads will mention specifics, but I hope this indicates that the Conservative Party isn't just considering Quebec to be one giant 75-seat write-off, because I hate how federalists, provincially and federally, treat the supposed near sweep of the Bloc Québecois de Losers outside of the West Island, the Eastern Townships, and the Outaouais, as an inevitability (and are also acting like a sweep by the Parti Québecois de Losers is a foregone conclusion *a couple of years in advance*, as though absolutely nothing can be done between now and then to stop the momentum, not that I have a lot of confidence that Jean Charest will grow a pair and stand up to the separatist true-believers, the unions, and the language hard-liners). "Federalists can vote for the Bloc too!" my ass, Gilles "Loser-Boy" Duceppe. (And I love how separatists are such mollycoddled, spineless pussies that they can get all up in arms about the lamest insults. "Loser" isn't exactly the first word I'd use to insult separatists, but I definitely tip my chapeau to Pierre Pettigrew for managing to touch a nerve with the most G-rated and TV-friendly of all slurs. Though I disagree with Pettigrew that ALL former PQ leaders are losers. Pierre Marc Johnson is now officially "not a loser".)
But let's look at one of the Conservatives TV ads, "Crime". Needless to say, it would be easier for me to "look" at these commercials if they actually had downloadable, re-sizable Quicktime ones and not just tiny Flash ads about the size of a Chiclet on the side of the page, meaning I have to double-size the screencaps myself in Photoshop, and, since Photoshop can't really add resolution that isn't already there, it results in blurry screencaps.
The ad opens with the reporter on a mock interview show pointing at a screen and telling Stephen Harper to "Look at this". Which journalism school did this reporterette attend? Because I really want to go there. Pointing at a screen and saying "Look at this" is within the range of effort I can tolerate exerting. Almost without breaking a sweat, even!
We cut to a screen with
"I'm sick and tired of seeing drug dealers and gang members back on the street. Criminals get deported but don't leave. What would Mr. Harper do?"
Is that supposed to be a run-down street? Looks fairly upper middle-class to me. I can't speak for every middle-class street in Canada, but I can't say I've particularly noticed an overabundance of stereotypical drug dealers and stereotypical gang members on middle-class streets in either Montreal or Ottawa over the past few years. Or stereotypical pimps, like "Alabaster Jones", the Snoop-voiced pimp from the OKC (Oklahoma City) on the fifth-season King of the Hill episode, "Ho yeah!" I'm reminded, a bit, of the Saturday Night Live "Old Glory Robot Insurance" ad (with Law and Order's Sam Waterston scaring old people about robot attacks to get them to buy insurance. "Robots are everywhere, and they eat old people's medicine for fuel."), because, while crime is, undoubtably, always a real concern, I'm not too fond of when people overplay the fear of crime for political gain.
Also, I shouldn't have to point out that drug dealers would get off the street instantly and gangs would lose most of their financing if drugs were legalized, since there is a demand that isn't going away anytime soon, so, when you put the "supply" in the hand of the bad guys, that's when you get nonsense like the ongoing spate of violence in certain areas of Toronto. Certainly, if you legalize at least the softer drugs, like marijuana, you'd drastically cut the money going into the hands of the violent thugs. Legalization is the capitalist thing to do.
Cut back to Harper.
"We've got to put people who play by the rules first, not the ones who break them. We'll ensure minimum prison terms for serious crimes, we'll end house arrest, and we'll make sure deported criminals actually leave this country."
Fine with me, excluding my position on drugs as outlined above (and as long as the definition of "serious crimes" only includes crimes where there are actual victims, not certain kinds of "thought crimes" where you're made a criminal for saying distasteful things about certain groups or looking at or reading fictional accounts of distasteful acts).
But let's look at some of the other things in this scene that are really important. Like why does the reporterette's coffee mug have the handle facing to the right? Did she put it on the table and rotate it 180 degrees? Why would she do that? And, before anyone points out that she might be left-handed, from her perspective, the handle would be clear on the other side of the cup, in a position that would be completely unnatural for anyone of either "manual orientation" to have put it. I know having both handles face right is probably a subliminal message, but it's pretty damn distracting for those of us who have a tendency to notice small details.
And I'm not "finger gesture" guy, but I presume that Stephen Harper, by repeatedly hitting the fingers of his left hand with the index finger of his right hand, is gesturing that he's serious and tough. Either that, or he's trying to start a small fire with his fingers.
The ad ends with a bunch of people walking towards a nondescript (though isn't "nondescript" in and of itself a description? That's a paradox for ya!) institution-type building for no discernable reason, though I presume they're voting and they're not being rounded up by the New World Order to be sent to the concentration camp under Denver International Airport. A signboard, of the sort that you usually see at the side of the road with a message like "NOW BACK AT TIM HORTON'S: BANANA CREAM DONUTS" (why don't they bring them back? Banana cream is the absolute best flavour!) saying "STAND UP FOR CANADA!" Fine with me. Except for the "standing up" part. I prefer "sitting down for Canada". At my computer. And blogging sporadically about politics. Every once in a while. Between about 99 posts about Japanese cartoons and slightly amusing links I found on the Internet.
And that two note guitar chord "theme", if you can call it that, isn't going to get very grating very quickly. No sir. Especially not when it's repeated at least twice in the span of 30 seconds. And they'll repeat these ads ad infinitum between now and the end of January.
Aside from the couple of serious points I made, this "deconstruction" was all in the spirit of good fun, and taking mild shots at your own side every once in a while. And they managed to incorporate a variation of "What would Stephen Harper do?", which almost seems like a parody of the song "What would Brian Boitano do?" from the South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut movie, which itself was a parody of the "What would Jesus do?" catchphrase that was all the rage with Christian t-shirt clothiers and bracelet manufacturers in the late 1990s.
"When Stephen Harper built the pyramids, he beat up Kublai Khan, because Stephen Harper doesn't take shit from an-y-bod-y!"