Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A shootout in the saloon while the honky-tonk plays on

Here is the Obama campaign's latest attack ad, which has been noted mostly for the winking Sarah Palin at the end.

I'm more interested in the bulk of the ad: the typographical representation of John McCain's ill-advised self-deprecation about his knowledge of economics, backed by a cheery piano soundtrack. I know it's easy to look clever when things are going well, but this approach strikes me as a clever way to operate within the current campaign, when McCain is being skewered for negative advertising. The Obama ad is an all-out attack, to be sure, but it doesn't sound like one.

This approach brings to mind Wordsworth's comments on the interplay of metrical language and traumatic content in the Preface to Lyrical Ballads:

This is unquestionably true; and hence, though the opinion will at first appear paradoxical, from the tendency of metre to divest language, in a certain degree, of its reality, and thus to throw a sort of half-consciousness of unsubstantial existence over the whole composition, there can be little doubt but that more pathetic situations and sentiments, that is, those which have a greater proportion of pain connected with them, may be endured in metrical composition, especially in rhyme, than in prose.

1 comment:

Tim said...

If Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the inquisition might have let him alone.
-- Thomas Hardy