McCain Goes Back to The Future

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The thing about a viral video is you have to want to watch it. Unlike a television ad, which arrives without consent, the web spot requires a mouse click, or an email from a friend telling you this thing is not a total waste of time.

With this in mind, judge the success of the latest offering from the McCain campaign, a two-minute flight through time and space (literally), which wraps together some of McCain’s favorite lines with the bellicose rhetoric of Winston Churchill and the patriotic devotion of Teddy Roosevelt. It is a weird and confusing ride. (Is it possible to fly to a nebula? Why do the clouds move away while the stars come forward?) But I keep clicking replay, as if hoping that on the seventh viewing the whole thing will suddenly make sense. A viral video, indeed.

As others have noted, the ad owes its aesthetics as much to the wordless films Koyaanisqatsi and Baraka as anything ever done in political advertising.

UPDATE: As kbanginmotown notes in the comments, the title of the ad, “Man in the Arena,” comes from a famous speech Roosevelt delivered at the Sorbonne on April 23, 1910.