During Sunday’s Super Bowl, no ad was more popular than Chrysler’s “It’s Halftime in America”. The ad, featuring Clint Eastwood channeling his character from Gran Torino, said many things about the nature of the American spirit, and it tugged on the heartstrings as it showed how Chrysler and the city of Detroit have risen from the ashes like the phoenix. The commercial, which can easily be found on YouTube where it is garnering all the level headed (and grammatically correct) praise you’d expect from a worldwide comment section, has Clint delivering propaganda disguised as a soliloquy. The following is what he really meant to say.
We’ve paid for this to air during halftime because it’s a heavy-handed metaphor, and the real football teams have nothing to do with this because heavy-handed metaphors always focus more on something completely ludicrous and intangible like a national halftime for an economy.
It’s halftime in America too, because of companies like Chrysler that received billions of dollars in bailout money from Washington against the wishes of the taxpayers. People are out of work and hurting because of how impractical and stubborn Washington has been with major industry, and we’re all scared because by all accounts I, Clint Eastwood, am a normal guy; so why am I waxing poetic and patriotic about a car company that is now Italian owned?
The people of Detroit really have very little to do with this ad, but they’ll be referenced anyway. This ad was actually shot in Los Angeles and New Orleans but hey, halftime doesn’t discriminate. Detroit almost lost everything and now it has been upgraded from a sell to a don’t buy because Chrysler now wants an additional three billion or so from the federal government to fund further green initiatives and that has proven to be bad business. So the Motor City is fighting again, but not for long, because this business model is not even remotely sustainable. Look how well Europe is doing with their bailouts. If it’s halftime here, soon we’ll be joining them in their own personal overtime where the opposing team is marching into the red zone and your defense just came down with a late case of food poisoning.
I have seen a lot of ups and downs in my time, which makes it all the more discouraging that I don’t recognize that by appearing in an ad designed to manipulate the emotions of the average citizen by conditioning them to equate Chrysler with American success, that I am drinking the same Kool-Aid that the federal government did when it deemed many of its major automakers too big to fail – which is inherently anti-capitalist which seems strange for a country that is founded on capitalist principles.
And after these supposed trials and tribulations apparently America rallied around what was right, if one of the stipulations of the bailout was that the definition of right is wrong and wrong is right and that rhetoric trumps results.
All that matters now is what’s ahead: a recession during a recession that knows it’s a recession that knows we know it’s a recession (it’s postmodern, people). So how do we come together? Spending money wisely would be a start. And how do we win? Well if we’re sticking with the metaphor we should turn around our offense and have them actually head in the right direction.
Detroit’s showing us it can be done because we’re showing clips of people in Detroit working. But if we’re looking for something more tangible then no, Detroit isn’t showing us how it’s done. Detroit has nice people and some beautiful stadiums and building cars is an admirable business but the system itself is broken and bloated and inept bureaucracy and Super Bowl ads will never fix a thing.
This country can’t be knocked out with a single punch because it’s a country and that’s impossible. And we’re coming to the end of this metaphor so be sure to visit the gift shop and we’ll get right back up and don’t forget it’s still halftime in America. We know we told you that ten times but in order for an ad to be successful we need to imbed this deep in your frontal lobe and hope that it sticks. And now, our second half is about to begin, because the second half of the game is about to begin. Isn’t that clever? I thought of that myself.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's own and do not necessarily represent those of The Prince Arthur Herald.
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