Clint Eastwood’s Super Bowl commercial for Chrysler started something whose ending is just now being written. In the various public responses to his flinty exhortation to Americans about “getting back in the fight.”
Political paranoids aside, most viewers reacted something like we once did to those old B&W war movies in the Forties. You know, John Wayne, Humphrey Bogart and Brian Donlevy blasting their way through Nazi and Japanese front lines. The difference in today’s war epics — like “Saving Private Ryan” — is now they portray the bloody facts as well as the patriotic fictions.
Why is this…?
One explanation is today’s generation knows too much to be fooled by flag waving. Another is today’s kids are interested in making money not war. And yet…! Eastwood’s steel-jawed call to arms was embraced by tens of millions of young people today who cheered and blogged their gut-deep response. Apparently there was something in his pitch about getting off the canvas and getting back in the fight that felt like a Rocky flick.
Most Americans haven’t really felt unabashed passion for battle since World War II when there was no 99 vs 1%. Virtually everyone — father and mother, parent and kid, rich and poor `– were convinced this was THEIR fight.
We don’t need to over-analyze this. If you lived through that War, you understand. If you didn’t, stay up for some of those old B&W flicks on cable television. They look like they were made for Clint. Listening to him, he makes us feel like we were made for them. What does all this have to do with selling Chryslers? Not much. But selling America? Aha, now that’s a question to which everyone this year claims they have the answer.
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