Dissecting Alabama’s Political Ads for Fun and Profit

I don’t know if there’s an actual term for it, but there’s a point when something that has been parodied to the high heavens actually becomes the parody. Shatnerism? Let’s go with that.

Political ads, for better or worse (usually worse), have been a part of the electoral process from the beginning. Television, and the ever-decreasing cost of production and post, has allowed any freakshow with his name on the ballot to produce ads. Television campaign ads have also been a prime subject for parody; name most any sketch show, and it’s made fun of political ads. But, thanks to this year’s crop of candidates from Alabama, we now have ads so ridiculous, SNL’s got nothing on them. They could air as is, and people would think they were filmed for the show. Let’s watch.

Dale Peterson

OK, first off: dogtags and the Constitution. Did his father die fighting the Constitution? Did he lose a grandfather at the Constitutional War of 1914? The motif is “shootin’ and laws,” which actually does set the scene for the ad. So, Dale comes in wearing aviators and riding a horse. It’s like Mitchell Goes Country. Then he starts barking at you.

I’ve been a farmer, a businessman, a cop, a Marine during Vietnam, so LISTEN UP!

Was he those things in that order? “I was a farmer, who then headed a respectable bed and breakfast, but tired of it, and became an officer, who was then drafted into the Marines to fight in Vietnam. I haven’t done anything else since 1975. So LISTEN UP!” Stop fucking yelling at me, Dale.

Then he says the “Ag Commissioner” position (look, we’re not on an abbreviation basis, here, chump) controls $5 billion dollars, and is very powerful. OK, fine. That does sound like a lot of responsibility. Then he cracks, “Betcha didn’t know that!” So, now he’s insulting his potential constituency?

“Betcha didn’t know the Earth rotated ’round the Sun, now didja, faggots? Vote Peterson, pussies!”

He then says the reasons his potential constituency is so stoopid are “thugs and criminals” who “keep you in the dark” so they can do whatever they want with the money. WHO THE FUCK ARE THESE THUGS OF WHOM HE SPEAKS? And how did they seize control of the Ag Commission’s (dammit, Dale, you got me saying it) purse? Did a bunch of gangbangers get the AgCom’s checkbook and stamp? “Sorry, no more farm subsidies; some wiggers bought a bunch of Xboxes.”

“AND THEY DON’T GIVE A RIP ABOUT ALABAMA!” Clothing makers, consider yourselves hired. Welcome to every hipster’s T-shirt in about 10 years.

Family farms are going down left and right; “illegals” are bused in by the billions, or whatever; and unemployment is at an all-time high. What is Dale’s accusation against his opponents? Stealing yard signs. Not “a lack of ideas about curtailing the illegals,” not “unrealistic budget expectations,” or anything else like that. No, pranking is his big accusation. Oh, and boasting on your Facebook page. That, too. “And, also, someone put a flaming bag on my pappy’s doorstep! The one who died fighting the Constitution!” And then we get a random, badly-framed shot of his horse.

“We’re Republicans; we should be better than that,” says the candidate who at this exact moment is hoisting a rifle. Doesn’t get much better than that, I say. The remainder of the commercial, if he were not armed, would be standard “support my campaign” boilerplate. But “naming names” and “take no prisoners” has a different feel when the guy’s holding a fucking gun. I think “Hobo With a Shotgun” just made his campaign ad.

This would all be bad enough, but the editing is just aggravating. Parts like the unnecessary cutting during his job descriptions just make you want to punch your monitor. “A COP! A MARINE! A BUSINESSMAN! HER SISTER! HER MOTHER! A BUSINESSMAN AND HER MOTHER!” AAAAAUGH!

Forget it Louis; it’s Alabamatown.

Tim James

So, this commercial begins with James entering his office (?, set of a softcore porn?) and dropping this on us: “Why do our politicians make us give (get?) driver’s license exams in twelve different languages?” This is what kept Timmy up at night: multiple languages on a state exam. Doesn’t he know thugs and criminals are stealing from the Ag Commish war chest?

Then, he… enters the room again, and gives us his T-shirt slogan:

This is Alabama. We speak English. If you wanna live here, learn it.

Spoken with the steady calm of a practiced politician, but also with the subtextual contempt for dark people of a secret racist. James’ reading of that sentence is so layered and nuanced; it’s like a Pinot Grigio of prejudice.

Then, he… enters the goddamn room again and proclaims that, if elected, he’s only giving the test in English. Good for him. Because, as is statistically proven, all car accidents and carjackings are perpetrated by illegals. And keeping them from getting licenses means they can never physically drive a car. Problem solved. Let’s get some ribs.

“Maybe it’s the businessman in me,” he says, acknowledging that his proposed law is precisely for business reasons, “but we’ll save money, and it makes sense.” I’m sure you’ll save some setup costs with only one book to print, but you’ll still print the same number of books. So, how much are you really saving? He then looks down, pauses for a really long time for a 30-second ad, and then asks, “Does it to you?” This is funny because I don’t think that’s a sentence in English. It needs a couple more words.

It’s almost like someone who didn’t know English, the “official language of Alabama” or whatever, wrote it.

Young Boozer

Honestly, this one’s not all that noteworthy in terms of the content. It’s a standard “Hey, get to know me!” ad. It doesn’t even get into policy; it’s just his qualifications. But, his name is YOUNG BOOZER. His name is the same as when comedy writers come up with a satirical rapper’s name. Fuck satire; some real rapper with this name will hit it big in five years.

And it’s just funny to hear the narrator lady (the politically correct term for that job) seriously discuss all of the notable achievements of a guy named YOUNG BOOZER. And what the hell is with all these southern politicians and their fucked-up names? Between him, Zell Miller, and Saxby Chambliss you have… well, I don’t know what you have. It’s just a bunch of weird names.

And I love that the ad is using the Smuckers tactic of “with a name like [BLANK], it has to be good.” Why wouldn’t you elect Young Boozer? He couldn’t be named that and be bad at his job, right? “Young Boozer Resigns After Drunken Speech.” Of course that would happen! So, he’s obviously going to try hard not to do that! You can trust Young Boozer, for precisely the reasons you would think you can’t.

For all the sniping between Whitman and Poisner (his name rhymes with “poisoner,” guys!) in California, I really wish these Alabama ads were running 24/7 on TV here. I’d leave the TV on the local news and be guaranteed a laugh. Maybe Whitman can carry a rifle in her next ad.

“See this gun? I got it on eBay!” And the election is hers.

About Louis

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