Taking a Crap in Web 2.0
And just how long did it take Hillary Clinton to produce a parody of the final episode of "The Sopranos," not only starring one of the normal cast members, but asking for a campaign donation in order to see the money shot? Ten days? (The highlight for me was just seeing the Clintons sitting across a coffee shop table pretending to be a married couple.) The result was a torrent of publicity which may have either helped or hurt Clinton's campaign--you be the judge.
But the online video effort sets a dangerous precedent for politicos (and others) who may think that this peculiar kind of "social media" is a cool way to show the electorate just how au courant they are and how well they "get" Web 2.0. I suspect if Clinton gets even a modest lift in the polls that can be traced back to the parody, it will unleash a spasm of imitations that could turn the 56-candidate race into one long "Amateur Hour." Will Obama make an appearance as a character in "Medellin" on "Entourage"? "All I have in this world are my balls and my word, and I don't break either for no man." Or maybe "Say hello to my little friend..."
Will Romney drop into an episode of "Big Love" to denounce polygamy? (Or maybe see if Jeanne Tripplehorn might not consider jumping ship and becoming Mrs. Romney II on the DL?)
I can see McCain doing a YouTube video send-up of "Hogan's Heroes," but set in Hanoi showing how he pulled the wool over some Vietnamese Hans George Schultz's eyes to get out of camp--just in case there are three people left in America who don't recall he was a POW.
I think Kucinich can appear on any Fox sitcom and not a soul in American will know that he is a candidate. They'll think it's just another routinely unfunny episode.
Giuliani is camped out in front of FEMA waiting for a disaster of some kind, so he can be on the first truck in (and that night, on the first truck back out).
Brownback, Gilmore, Huckabee, Thompson, and Gravel could appear in "Britney's Secret Porn Tape" and they still would be invisible to the public (but might keep the tape from going viral).
It is ironic that in the last couple of presidential races, the campaigns had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the online space while still spending the majority of their advertising dollars on local spot TV. No amount of talk from smart online consultants could convince the campaign directors that online they could use a variety of targeting technologies and methodologies to send messages that would resonate with particular subsets of voters who cared more about one issue than another. They could do their usual policy reversals in real time and not have to wait for the evening news. Or they could test reactions to positions before they set them in concrete.
But now that they all have video cameras, who knows what other crap they will dump online.
The story you have just read is an attempt to blend fact and fiction in a manner that provokes thought, and on a good day, merriment. It would be ill-advised to take any of it literally. Take it, rather, with the same humor with which it is intended. Cut and paste or link to it at your own peril.