14 August 2004

I've been waiting for this moment for months -- the Errol Morris ads for MoveOn PAC are complete. The idea was nothing short of revolutionary. Take a master of filming ordinary people, and have him get them on film talking about why they want to vote for/against somebody. The credibility of these ads, I imagined, would be infinitely greater than the faux patriotic backdrops and anonymous voice-overs of normal political ads.

Now that they're here, I'm disappointed.

The best of the ads are available for viewing here. The winning ad is ok, and so are all the others (although I must say that the ads featuring women with southern accents seemed more gripping to me -- I'll leave others to speculate as to why). The problem is in how the thing was set up. First off, Morris only interviewed people who voted for Bush in 2000. That leaves out a lot of viewpoints, and means that the ads are really only going to be good at attacking Bush. You cannot lay out much of an alternative agenda, and really shift people to a more long-term political movement, when you focus all your energy on the shortcomings of one man.

That said, the ads aren't even as hard-hitting against Bush as they could be, because no one person represents America, and any one person can be dismissed as a whiner outside of the mainstream. I wish, I wish, I wish that he would have made a mini-documentary, maybe a one minute or two minute piece, pulling together five or so of these people and cutting between them. Maybe he has plans to do that. In the meantime, I hope (and I plan on writing to MoveOn with the suggestion, for whatever it's worth) that they use these ads in rotation, and not focus on airing just one.

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