Yes We Can: From Meme to Car Sales Pitch

7 thoughts on “Yes We Can: From Meme to Car Sales Pitch

  1. It’s true. For years being here in DC I have seen the Black Middle Class exploit Dr. King. Because so many jobs here are government, they would take off Friday and make it a 4-day weekend of shopping and partying. The addage, Party With A Purpose, is rather recent and used by the same group to justify against the criticism of their empty intentions to throw parties at clubs in Dr. King’s name or for groups that call their events, networking events, when the embodiment is a meet-and-greet for hooking up or showing off your bling, fashion, or bragging. So why would not some Whites make fun of it? I’ve been waiting for years for someone to bring it to our attention how we attach comedy nights to Dr. King or fashion shows to Dr. King. Most young people born in the 80’s don’t even know about how Madison Avenue did not even cater to use us in advertisements until the campaign by Coretta and Stevie Wonder and others who complained that Corporate America “was not using us”. It’s true about not really knowing what you are asking for when you do so blindly and willfully. Most Gen Ys grew up thinking that the commercialism was normal and progressive because we were being targeted with attention and we followed suit to rape the King Legacy as well.John Stewart did nothing wrong or sacriligious. He just aired our dirty laundry and the addiction of Corporate America and the likes to tie commercial advertising to figures of the Black Community that are animated, larger than life, or grand in delivery and performance of simple speech. When I used to speak I would purposely speak with minimal animation or exertion of passion or energy because it is too familiar of the stylizations of Black Religious figures. I did not want to seem like I was trying to TRICK people into believing what I was saying as gospel to then find out when it got hard, they look at what I sold them as hype. So I remained calm and deterred from sounding like I was speaking with a fiery gospel tongue or in and with stylized Black speech inflections. When you do that, you take on the offering the opportunity for people to identify what you are saying as religion because it takes on the ownership of religious cultural tendencies in the act. So Barack Obama learned this from his church and used it to as his tool to energize and mesmerize while now business people are using the free market opportunities to exploit what he has offered as now relevant cultural history. His performances in speaking is cemented. He is just not some ordinary candidate that ran. He ran using the oratory of style that has pulled White People as well as ours and others’ attention. He is a marketing tool and that is what happens sometimes when you simply put yourself and your essence into the universe. But as well when you use the stylizations of Black Preachers and you are a public figure, you are bound to become a pop culture piece. White America loves to look at us perform even in religious speak. They loved that ever since they beat Christianity into us to see us perform it for their approval and to the fruition of the creation which is not a respected artform, our spirituals and the beauty of seeing and hearing them sung in sorrow. Our heritage is rich and Corporate America and others love the dividends from it.

  2. andrea: I just thought it was dead-on satire. Especially the fact that someone had already latched on to this political campaign, which already has some faddish aspects to it due to the “cool kid” factor, and turned it into commercialism. I love absurdist, social satire. It was so outre, yet so deft at the same time.And I can recall the push by Civil Rights figures and activists to recognize the purchasing power of African Americans, but the US is a consumerist society. It was only a matter of time for us to become part of it. Some of us were part of it even when we weren’t welcome. It’s such an ingrained part of the American experience. People are obsessed with commodities. Even though we were once a “commodity.”It’s a side effect of the American belief in the individual over community and capitalism by any means necessary. No one is immune.As per the “Obama campaign as meme,” that was bound to happen. It is so compelling in its design and packaging and has such an allure. For some reason it reminds me of Julius Caesar, with the adoring public, first swooning over Caesar, then being wowed by the younger, talented Marc Anthony after Caesar’s assassination. Or Citizen Kane. It’s all very immersed in our emotions and desire to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Kind of like the youth novel “The Wave,” that was an exercise in how a movement can develop. Although that book is a little messed up. It was addressing the Nazi party via a high school exercise. I don’t think the Obama campaign is about Nazis, just really intelligently created marketing and charisma.

  3. What am I missing? Why does Dr. King’s holiday have to be treated with any greater “reverence” than any other holiday in the USA? Do we “revere” Memorial Day weekend, July 4th weekend, etc? Of course, we remember who the holiday honors and the fight to obtain it, but I don’t think we have to attend a church service that weekend in order to properly honor Dr. King. Yes, holidays in the USA are commercialized (Christmas, anyone?). It’s unrealistic to expect that Dr. King’s holiday, especially as time passes, would be treated any differently.

  4. Sandra,Your telling your age and your special-interest. It’s not that the cynicism and jaded cultures of “how it is” should be the status quo marker of any holiday. The purpose of holidays is to celebrate the purpose of the proposed holiday. No one is saying that people should have to go to church on Dr. King’s Holiday. I doubt if Dr. King would see that as fitting for proper works and direct action in meaning of illustrating our commemoration of his life when most of his duty service was not in the church. He would want us to be using his holiday as a service day and that was never fully constructed. so many were fitting for the attention of Dr. King that they never thought in projected terms of what would really play out. They saw the immediate dates of celebration but they did not have benchmarks and culmative goals even dealing with variables and variable changes. It’s like this filmmaker told me once that he regrets that Spike Lee advised the people so blanketly to “create film” and pressed it as that because it opened a can of worms for more crap that produced a culture of what is part of the almagamation of what we live. Visions shared have to be concise because in a free market environment as the US and with the lack of balanced and equal education, most people in the majority who lack acute hearing and perception and cognitive skills, they get everything twisted to how they want to see it or how they were born into seeing life and interpretations.

  5. hmmm….that was interesting to say the least. Never have been The Daily Show watcher. When I first thought about watching the show, I had learned that a good chunk of young people watched that show as a main source of news–I just refused to be that anti-intellectual.I think andrea’s first comment was about the best I could say. I didn’t really think any way on the particular clip. Yes, satirical in nature, and clearly poked fun at Obama’s ability to do anything and to “sell” this concept of change versus that of a car salesman. Although, not because of the reverence I have for King, I just didn’t quite get the parallel that he was trying to draw between the two.Not saying that the clip lacked any depth, but I think it was definitely tailored to an audience that did not and would not have the same connection to King as that of the black community. I say that because in my mind, Barack Obama and MLK have (had?) two different agendas–hell, one is running for president and the other I’m sure didn’t even remotely dream about the reality of that idea in his era. Furthermore, it’s just kind of my own personal irritation that King is always reduced to that particular soundbyte as the epitome of what he stood for, and clearly he stood for much more than that, so to see it lampooned in THIS particular instance was interesting.It was fair grounds for jokes, I’m not mad that it was satirized, I just think that the writers of that skit, perhaps, were unaware culturally of certain nuances in the black culture where the parallels drawn in that skit didn’t quite line up.meh, I rambled on that post, oh well, this is my fifth post today.JLL

  6. uppity: I was more fascinated by the commercial than the MLK spoof. That felt kind of stale and tacked on. I think the were just reaching for edge and fell flat. I would have made more sense to use someone who ran for president than MLK, but I think they wanted to drive home the point of the absurdity in exploiting historic figures for pushing product, especially with such a quick turnaround.And per The Daily Show, as a news junkie I enjoy the show and truth be told, you do have to know something about politics to actually enjoy it. So while it is cool with the kids, so to speak, the show does spur you to actually consume news and information otherwise it would be utter nonsense for the uninitiated.Plus, like disguising V-8 veggies in fruit juice, the show serves as a way to get people interested in actually knowing what’s going on. As it’s necessary to understand most of the humor of the show, which typically is relevant and smart. Also, Jon Stewart tends to have authors, politicians, historians and journalists on as guests and they usually have a pretty informed and humorous interaction which is refreshing because as a comic Stewart sometimes gets away with much more reveling questioning.So that’s my defense of “The Daily Show.” I’m less defensive of The Colbert Report because that’s just a parody of The O’Reilly Factor and sometimes the show doesn’t interest me, although it too can be funny and usually has authors and journalists on as guests as well. It’s just “The Daily Show” is the “nerdier” show.And I’m a nerd.

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