Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Red, Red Lines....

Before you gag, I do not mean the direct variety.

I mean those indirect political ads. They do not remind us of all the dirt we already know about a politician, but still manage to reinforce any negative one may have towards their candidate’s opponent.

They let our minds do the dishing…

Family Moments

One type of such “negative ads”, they use “common knowledge” to discredit an opponent or highlight their candidate’s “good side”…

One of the best such type was the Carter political ads that aired back in 1980, when he was facing off a challenge from Ted Kennedy. It showed Jimmy enjoying a serene breakfast with his family, at the height of Kennedy’s attacks against him… That was it. It did not talk about Ted’s indiscretions, but sicne more people knew about Chappaquiddick than knew how to spell it…

Another example is the display of patriotism, with all the ads from businesses and “private citizens” extolling the army, and the coverage of the funerals of the fallen heroes...

Why is that an example of negative ads? Well, a cynical mind would expect Nahr El-Bared to be completed in time for August 14th, just when Hezb is due to celebrate their “divine victory”.

And a few cynics may even consider that, martyr-for-martyr, the collective Lebanese Consciousness will still favour those of army, who washed quite a few Red Lines with their blood… Those ungrateful heathens will even note that the Army has responded to unprovoked attacks, rather that those of a party which, after 2000, has been doing (most of) the provocations…

Odi et amo: quare id faciam fortasse requiris

Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.

A Public Serving of Crow

Some may view another type of such “negative ads”, as more “Lebanese” with all its cultural double-entendre…

Those ads “link” to some unfortunate utterance from the opposite side, and reuse them. It works well with those verbal mistakes that stay in people’s minds, and with Arab politicians’ logorrhoea, this is all too easy… Recall Bashar’s zhoom-zhoom imprethion, Lahoud’s “غَذيلين” speech, or his swimming discussion

And closer to us, the pro-government “I Love Life” campaign, which was recycled by the opposition, only to be re-recycled by the pro-“Araftouna” crowd…

A similar on recycles Nasrallah’s ill-advised “Red Lines” speech that did not scare the Army from sticking it to the Granted, he was not the only one to draw lines, red or otherwise, but his defence of Fatah-du-Jour and their FPLP-GC-AMA-IGAF was a wee bi’ o’er the top…

So it is no wonder his opponents picked up on it, with their campaign entitled “Beirut is a Red Line”, and has just been launched in support of Mohammad Itani, the Future Movement’s candidate…

لِسانُكَ حِصانُكَ

،إن صنطَهُ صانَكَ،

إن خُنتَهُ خانَكَ

... و المحبّين كتار... ناطرينك عَ الكوع

1 comment:

ghassan karam said...

A commercial advertising campaign has a lot in common with political ads. The aim is often to create a special feeling about the product/candidate either by association or through an outright effort that highlights the special features of the object that is being promoted.

The Lebanese have excelled in the commercial advertising field all over the Middle East and also in the political field. At times wonderful images have been created to combine both areas as in the Johnnie Walker campaign.
Yet I have my suspisions regarding the effectivness of political advertising in an electoral campaign in Lebanon especially one that is only two weeks long. My understanding of such efforts is that they have at least two aims: (1) invigorate the base and 92) reach out to the undecideds/independents.

Preaching to the choir is never a total loss. If no one preaches to the choir then even some choir members might lose interest . In that regard it is not difficult to justify such expenditures although what is likely to be more effective is a well orchestrated effort to get out the vote. As for appealing to the undecideds , I feel that is a total waste of time and effort in a short campaign since few of the potential voters are fence sitters. It seems that this swing vote group that is crucial in US politics and in European elections is practically non existent in what is essentially a tribal society.

As I said in a previous post, I am glad that the Aounists have chosen to challenge the Phalange. Elections require at least two candidates in order to be meaningful. I am at a loss , however, by what is being offered as the rationale for the Aounists position. Does anyone really believe that the road to Ba'abda goes through the Metn?