It’s only a commercial for God’s sake!

Or is it?


When I first saw the Clint Eastwood/Chrysler commercial during the Super Bowl I did not think, ‘Wow. What a refreshing liberal message for a commercial.’ Instead, I thought, ‘Cool! It’s Clint Eastwood!’ Yes, there was some of the usual sociological imagi-ruminations that are the hazard of my discipline (social constructions of masculinity linked to automobiles, roaring engines and Americanism—but that would make for a boring post).

The right wing pundits, hyper-sensitive to even the slightest wisp of a lefty thought contaminating the minds of real Americans, can sniff out even one drop of liberalism in an ocean of conservatism. The rest of us might have missed it, but be sure, if there was even the hint of liberalism in that commercial you can count on it being attacked mercilessly from the right.

What the right wing has forgotten with regard to this commercial is…it’s a commercial. The primary function of a commercial is to sell a product. The advertisers who commissioned and created the commercial are probably not trying to make a political statement. They are trying to get people to purchase Chryslers. Of course, this alone is enough to send conservatives into a tizzy. As Paul Krugman pointed out, there’s few things conservatives hate more than to be reminded that the reviled auto-industry bailout was a success.

That a lifelong Republican, like Clint Eastwood, is sending subliminal liberal messages through a car commercial is nothing short of absurd. But that’s really not the point at all. What conservatives should be concerned about, and may very well recognize, is that advertisers gear their message to the attitudes of the public. If anything, the Chrysler ad reveals that, at least in the eyes of the advertisers, America is gaining optimism in the face of adversity. That hard work, and more importantly, hard workers are the key to getting this country moving again.

These are two messages that the representatives of the 1% cannot allow. There can be no optimism and fighting spirit in the age of Obama. Such drive can only exist under a Ronald Reagan or the conservative du jour. And if anything is going to lead America beyond “half-time” it must be the CEO’s, corporate board members, the so called “job creators.” No emphasis must be given to those who actually do the jobs.

The message isn’t liberal, per se. This blog is, admittedly, committing the same error as the conservative pundits. That is, putting way too much thought into a commercial. At least, as a sociologist, it’s my job to overthink things. But I believe this backlash against Clint and Chrysler is more an act of desperation than of observation. America is turning a corner. It may be unfair to credit Obama for this, but it is an election year.



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