Election campaigns are hard work. You have to glad-hand, smile, kiss babies, and amidst all this confusion, you must convey your ideas for change. Recently, it has become easier to address the public, but also easier to cloud the message.
In today’s digital age, politicians have new tools to help juggle myriad messages in the center ring of the political circus. There are MySpace pages, YouTube clips, and candidate websites that attempt to convey convoluted platforms and policies with easily interpretable generalities.
Since the beginning of the 2008 Presidential Campaign, we’ve been witness to politicians getting hip to internet jive…or trying to. So ardent are their efforts to interact with the digital community that Barack Obama has even taken over a fan run MySpace page and Hillary Clinton has unknowingly embarrassed herself while trying to speak the language, on more than one occasion.
As the political videosphere grows, it becomes harder to disambiguate the value of each clip. PrezVid (Tilzy.TV page) has stepped in to help filter through the fluff and analyze what the candidates are really saying.
Journalist extraordinaire, Jeff Jarvis established the site and provides balanced assessments of the varied online video campaigns. Jarvis sees this boom in political video as an excellent way to gain unprecedented access to candidates and affords viewers an opportunity to learn more about who’ll eventually receive their vote.
Barely Political sees this boom in political video a little differently. The site has birthed the satirical "Obama Girl" whose value is up for debate. The video is the brainchild of Ben Relles and Leah Kauffman (yeah…the Relles and Kauffman of "Box in a Box" fame) and pictures what is essentially Girls Gone Wild for presidential candidates. Not strictly coeds getting into "trouble", but attractive girls in their underwear, shakin’ that thang for a beloved president-to-be.
More on political videos and how "Obama Girl" fits in after the jump. ###
"Obama Girl" is funny, yet I’d be hard-pressed to remember if there are any issues, party platforms, or anything barely political (ohhhh…so that’s how they got the name) mentioned. The same can be said of the platinum track’s follow-up single, "Obama Girl vs. Giuliani Girl". Here we see cuts between Obama Girl belting out her love for Barack against the ancillary vocals of an equally enamored, equally attractive female supporter of Giuliani.
Realistically, there’s a slim chance that these videos are serious, despite what the creators say. But that doesn’t mean they’re without value beyond pure entertainment. They raise a few interesting questions and provide some commentary on pop culture and its relationship with political candidates. Do these videos damage the democratic process? Do they increase the consciousness and get more voters in booths on election day? Does it matter?
When compared to blogs that scathe candidates’ personal backgrounds or commercials that unfairly contest a rival’s integrity, "Obama Girl" almost seems validated. She’s absurdly far out, just on the opposite end of the political spectrum. She’s another evolutionary step in the political process that I learned through watching Jimmy Stewart’s filibuster in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Robert Redford’s transformation in The Candidate.
If the Colbert Report contrasts the O’Riley factor, and both are considered to be some form of real political discourse, then maybe "Obama Girl" also has a niche. It’s a troubling thought, but when hasn’t politics been a little unsettling?