There’s a lot of wrong to unpackage in this ad. Using children to promote political agendas and/or villify your opponents is, IMO, gross and unethical. Also, considering the fact that this was Lyndon B. Johnson – of later “Hey! Hey! LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?” fame – this ad is kind of ironic. WHY this child had an ice cream cone is beyond me; someone else is welcome to explore it if they want.
Propaganda is a necessary part of any political campaign.
Are you suggesting that it wasn’t necessary to convince people that Barry Goldwater, the ultimate conservative candidate at the time, was BAD?
My whole thing with ads like this is:
The majority of Americans are completely out of touch with the ACTUAL policies of the candidates in most elections (mostly due to the fact that there’s not alot of unbiased info available on candidates and the media is the only real way to find out anything about them) so therefore people need to be persuaded on a personal level, which is wrong, but on the other hand it is the way of our country. This ad is actually kind of ironic because it is talking to the American people like they are little children!! I’m not all for LBJ, just saying I dont think this ad is WRONG and messed up in the way you propose. To me its more of an interesting document to show how elections in our country are won.
I’m guessing your comment isn’t directed at me since I didn’t share any of my views on the ad. However…
This ad is actually quite unique in that it uses a child (and is not explicitly about children-related issues such as education) and employs story-like narration as though the audience is full of children. Neither of these aspects is common of presidential campaigns in this country. As far as candidates relying on emotional responses and voters’ underlying attitudes about things like race, class, and so on to arouse support – that is common. But it’s not the idea of propaganda or skewed advertising that makes this ad interesting or objectionable.
This ad is entertaining and at the same time a bit disturbing in that it uses a white girl child eating ice cream to communicate an idea about the candidate’s stance on the use of nuclear weapons. There are a few different messages being communicated here, all of which depend on distinct reactions from the viewer. The overall message is “Something bad will happen to this little girl if you don’t vote for LBJ”. The simplicity of this message is exacerbated by the kindergarten teacher-esque narrative, which makes no pains about condensing a threat to humanity (particularly during this time) like nuclear war down to “it can make you die”. Pretty plainly, this ad needs and expects viewers to identify with this white girl child – whose innocence is symbolized by her eating an ice cream cone – and to feel compelled to protect her. This ad, quite frankly, falls in a long racist tradition of media’s need to portray white female vulnerability (and more commonly, chastity) as being under some kind of attack. I’m not saying that this ad in and of itself is racist, however, it certainly employs tactics similar to those of racist media (ie Birth of a Nation).
@the black scientist: Couldn’t have said it better myself.
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