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June 18, 2008

The internet filters! They perform inadequately!
Posted by Patrick at 12:25 AM *

Actual human beings over the age of 12 thought this campaign video was a good idea.

Produced, of course, for the very same gathering of Texas Republicans where these buttons were openly for sale.

(Wonkette is overcome.)

Comments on The internet filters! They perform inadequately!:
#1 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:44 AM:

First? Wow!

I was just coming in to post a link about that button.

There are a lot of things I like about living in Houston. Shit like this runs counter to every single one of them.

#2 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:52 AM:

I guess they figure they have nothing to lose but their seats.

Oh, wait.

This is astonishing. Who's the Dem running against Cornyn, and can I give him or her some money?

#3 ::: A. J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:58 AM:


What gets me is that the doggerel is clearly done as some sort of Dr. Seuss pastiche, meaning this video is targeted at the perhaps extremely narrow demographic of people who read to their children but somehow still like Bush.

#4 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:00 AM:

"This is astonishing. Who's the Dem running against Cornyn, and can I give him or her some money?"

Why, yes!

#5 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:00 AM:

Xopher, Cornyn's opponent is Rick Noriega. He's from Houston and has been endorsed by the local GLBT political group.

Man, I can see the counter-shot to that video right now. List every single Cornyn vote for a Republican bill that screws the troops or damages middle-class Texans, with the constant under-caption: "This is God's Work. John Cornyn says so."

#6 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:07 AM:

A.J., #3: You're not American IIRC. What you're missing is that the commercial is based on this song. (Most people are more familiar with the Johnny Cash version, but this was the only set of lyrics I could find that didn't have mistakes in it.) The narrator is even doing a fairly decent Johnny Cash impression.

#7 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:09 AM:

I could feel IQ points being stripped away every second that was running.

Now I have this horrible urge to buy a giant diesel pickup so I can bolt a rubber scrotum under the rear bumper.

#8 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:13 AM:

Oh, damn, I'm sorry to make my redneck roots so clear, but I just plain loved that. Especially the Johnny Cash thing. It takes me back. In a squirmy, conflicted way.

If I'd never left Indiana, I'd be even more susceptible, I suppose.

It's brilliant. (I do like the idea of saying, "This is God's work, John says so." That's even more brilliant. Somebody get in touch with Noriega's people.)

#9 ::: Ron Sullivan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:23 AM:

Oh man. I gotta get a slide scanner. I hope we still have the slide.

In 1980, when we first drove through Texas, we encountered a campaign poster: just a tad larger than life-size photo of a perfect stereotype of a big-bellied lawman with his thumbs in his belt, etc. Plus:



#10 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:38 AM:

Leave the final "n" off the Senator's name and you have a perfect description of this commercial.

Just think of how hard God must have worked to make it come out like that! Color me impressed...

not. The stupid, it burns.

Stefan @ 7, I recently saw my first pickup with that adornment. And I wondered what I'd done to deserve having it parked in front of my house. ***sigh***

#11 ::: Karen Williams ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:54 AM:

I think this is brilliant, given their audience. Texas is not like the blue states, not at all.

#12 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:59 AM:

I hope that runs out-of-state or in the border areas. "Made lesser states squirm" indeed.

#13 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:08 AM:

Whew. There's a certain Village People quality to the overwhelming manliness of it all.

#14 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:16 AM:

Wow. Using the Man in Black's image to sell John Cornyn is almost criminal.

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,

Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,

I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,

But is there because he's a victim of the times.

I doubt Johnny Cash would approve of the modern Republican party...

#15 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:35 AM:

From my perspective, it's a hilarious, cringe-worthy video. Then again, I feel about as qualified to judge a campaign video designed for Texas as I would a campaign video designed for Iceland, or Pakistan.

#16 ::: John ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:55 AM:

The version of the original "Big Bad John" song I recall was by Jimmy Dean, who later made sausage, which bears some passing resemblance to legislation.

I'm hoping the voice in the commercial isn't the actor Sam Elliot, whom I like too much to think of him associated with this kind of dreck.

#17 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:10 AM:

Wake me when Texas enters the 21st Century. I think I need a long, long nap.

#18 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:25 AM:

The version of "Big Bad John" that I remember was called "Irving, the 142nd Fastest Gun in the West". I actually never before knew the song that it was based on.

#19 ::: Phil Palmer ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:04 AM:

Quite a foot-tapper.

#20 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:33 AM:

Well, I recognised the reference, but then I have a husband who can sing 'Sixteen Tons' word perfect. Apparently his grandfather was one of the Cotswolds' biggest C&W fans. Go figure, I believe the expression is.

Moving swiftly on, my first thought was, hang on, isn't that one of those songs about some kind of tragedy? Oh yes, and thanks to Lee@6 for enabling me to check the lyrics, the man gets buried when a mine collapses.

Any chance of a Democrat landslide to fulfil that subliminal prophecy?

(as for the button, words just fail me...)

#21 ::: JKRichard ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:49 AM:


I ...



#22 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:55 AM:

When my headmeat stops cringing I'm going to forward this to Warren Ellis. He will know what to do with it.

#23 ::: Elusis ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:13 AM:

I swear, the mouldering corpse of Johnny Cash is, even now, clawing his way out of its coffin so he can lead a shambling army of undead, June at his side and the Tenessee Three at his back, straight to Texas to throttle that man and his pack of loathsome hyenas with a guitar string for daring to trade upon the life and image of a man who championed underdogs in order to advance their cause of the wealthy elite.

#24 ::: JimR ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:47 AM:

I have to say, I'm a fan of that song. I was named after the writer/original singer. (That's JimR as in Jimmy Dean R. For reals.)
I'm also a HUGE fan of Johnny Cash! What a great singer, and a man of integrity and honesty.
There is nothing else about this worth commenting on. Like my momma taught me, if you can't say anything nice...

#25 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:15 AM:

The first time I recall that song being used for political purposes was back around 1960 when it turned up in The Ballad of PT-109.

As for the video itself, Cornym isn't running for Senator from New York, now, is he? I think it's perfect for his constituency.

#26 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:37 AM:

"Texas is not like the blue states, not at all"..."I think it's perfect for his constituency"

Actually, big chunks of Texas are a _lot_ like the "blue states." For instance, it's one of the most urbanized states in the country. If, for instance, Minnesota had maybe 5% more yahoos, it would regularly elect freaks like Cornyn, instead of doing so only 50% of the time.

The idea that "it's perfect for his constituency" makes sense if you define Cornyn's "constituency" as the ever-present contingent of Moron-Americans. But there are feckless nincompoops in Vermont and California, too. Texas, a big, diverse state full of non-morons--including plenty of non-morons who live out in the country, own guns, and drive pickup trucks--deserves someone better than this homunculus.

#27 ::: Ryan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:44 AM:

Wow... Brokeback Cornyn.

This is the kind of stuff that gives gay cowboys a bad name.

On the plus side I believe I can actually *hear* the slashers drooling.

#28 ::: Martin G. ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:50 AM:

John @ #16: You probably know this - Otto von Bismarck once said "there are two things you don't want to see how are made: laws and sausages."

He also once said "I have seen three emperors in their nakedness, and the sight was not uplifting." He was eminently quotable, Bismarck. Speaking of which: Big "John"? Phone call for mr. Entendre, mr. Double Entendre.

#29 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:34 AM:

David Goldfarb @ #18: Yes! I immediately thought of Irving as well.

Things I disliked:
* Denigration of other states
* Unnecessary invocation of religion
* Cornyn himself as a lawmaker, and thus bits of voiceover that reflected his stances
* "Big Bad" designation
* Words flashing on screen as narrator said them (always reminds me of bad Powerpoint)
* Length (pretty boring for 2:30)

Things I liked:
* Scenic Texas
* Use of chorus

Perhaps I am so unused to seeing TV ads for politicians that I find the use of cowboy imagery novel instead of corny, and am less sensitized to the markers that distinguish ordinary macho-cowboy posturing from camp.

#30 ::: Jennifer Pelland ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:37 AM:

You know, at I watched it, my first thought was, "Well, this a little stupid, but I've seen worse." But then I got to the line about the "lesser states" and my hackles went up. "Doin' the lord's work" pretty much sealed the deal. It made me glad I didn't live in Texas, because I would be livid if that man were my voice in Congress.

#31 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:47 AM:

I recognized the song. I thought it was in desperately bad taste to use the Johnny Cash impersonator.

Juliet E McKenna @ 20, I know the words to that too. It's one of the few pro-worker folk songs that crossed over into popular radio. I always wondered what its fifties audience thought it was about.

#32 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:52 AM:

Sooner or later someone's going to use Manowar's "Defender" as a campaign theme...

"For I am the Defender, God has sent".

That record pretty much sums up Dubya's world view - but I've heard said, "If Dubya is What God Sent, God needs a good slapping".

#33 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:04 AM:

I love the way the opening montage *implies* he can ride a horse. Which means he can't, or they would have shown that instead.

#34 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:24 AM:

I'm still giggling about "I'm from Texas, where we do things quick."

(And I too remember "Irving."

141 were faster than he,
But Irving was gunning for one forty-three....)

#35 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:24 AM:

I'm still giggling about "I'm from Texas, where we do things quick."

(And I too remember "Irving."

141 were faster than he,
But Irving was gunning for one forty-three....)

#36 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:33 AM:

(gack! Sorry!)

#37 ::: Alan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 08:43 AM:


The first few bars sound like Enya

The girly finger-wiggle wave at 2:13

#38 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:01 AM:

Some of the things I've heard about gerrymandering in Texas, I can imagine somebody having a constituency of morons.

#40 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:07 AM:

Ah yes, "Big Bad" John.

#41 ::: Julia Rios ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:16 AM:

Martin @28: "Laws and sausages"

Everyone keeps mentioning Johnny Cash here, but the version of the song that I know is Jimmy Dean's. He won a Grammy for it in 1962, and then started the Jimmy Dean sausage business in 1969 (so says Wikipedia, at least).

That video is cringe worthy no matter who they're impersonating, though.

#42 ::: Wrenlet ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:43 AM:

Patrick @26:

Thank you, and we REALLY are trying. It didn't get much press nationally, but Dallas County swung massively Democratic at the local level in 2006, and Harris County (which is Houston) may do the same this year. We're a lot more purple than many people realize, and part of that can be chalked up to the sort of imagery Cornyn's commercial is playing up. That ISN'T a full picture of Texas, but it's what people like him and Dubya trade on elsewhere in the world.

... I miss Molly Ivins. I have ever since she passed, but times like these I feel the loss most keenly.

#43 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:49 AM:

Mary Dell @ 33

Well, at least he can sit a horse. Maybe he prefers hobby horses.

That mid-shot of him that they used as a backdrop for some of the captions, especially, "Ya see, I'm from Texas", with the quizzical, slightly constipated, expression reminded me of something. It's a watered-down version of the maniacal expression that's the trademark of the character on "The Riches", who's the sleaziest real estate speculator in Louisiana, and who is emotionally about two years old. Every so often (maybe 2 or 3 times per episode) he gets a truly wacko idee (usually about either bilking someone or boinking them) and gets that expression on his face. Then he goes to the lead character, played by Eddie Izzard, who is a 2-bit con artist posing as a high-powered contract lawyer, and says in effect, "Make it so" (though with an accent of "or I'll hold my breath until I turn blue"), and Izzard does. The last episode I saw, the current season-ender, has the real-estate guy running for mayor so he can prevent oversight of his latest scheme, with Izzard as his handler, and his bimbo wife as his "campaign manager". Sort of reminds me a little of Dubya and Rove.

#44 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 09:53 AM:

Wow, that's hysterical.

Apparently, no one's told them that real tough guys don't talk about how tough they are. Nor do they need their surrogates to do that for them.

Maybe that doesn't matter. This sort of machismo is how George W. Bush rose in Texas politics. Or, at least, it certainly didn't seem to hurt him much in Texas. At the national and international level, of course, it's just embarrassing. (I wish I couldn't believe that he actually said to the Pope, "Your eminence, you're looking good.")

#45 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 10:11 AM:

Well. Time to go scrub my brain out.

I loved that song for a long time. Apparently the planners for this little video never listened to the lyrics. John of the legend died. Maybe this video will be John C's political headstone.

#46 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 10:15 AM:

Seems to me this is a golden opportunity for Cornyn's opponent. Noriega needs to get Jimmy Dean, who performed the original "Big Bad John," to do a spot for him:

"Hello, I'm Jimmy Dean. You may know me from my hit song "Big Bad John," recently used as the basis for an ad by Senator John Cornyn. I also had a hit with "PT-109," about a personal hero of mine, John F. Kennedy. Senator Cornyn, you're no John Kennedy."

#47 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 10:26 AM:

The commercial, inexplicably, reminds me of this one (from SNL):

"Here he comes, from the frozen north
Big Red!
A mighty man from the land of Thor
Big Red!
Big Red!
You pour in the goop
In the helmet thing
But you better watch out
When you pull the string!
Big Red!
Big Red!
Big Red!
He's big, big, big!
And he's red, red, red!
And that's how he got
to earn the name Big Red!
Big Red!
Big Red!"

#48 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 10:57 AM:

I'm amazed that a campaign would produce an ad with so much rebuttal and parody potential.
Same video, new words: "Real Bad John"
Or, for that matter, use Irving (thank you WERS for having a Jewish music show that plays everything from Israeli folk music to Klezmer to Yiddish parody).

#49 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:13 AM:

Hey, I'm convinced! Only they forgot to mention what kind of used car I'm supposed to buy.

After the election, perhaps, we can finish Big Bad John's song the way it was intended:

"At the bottom of the polls lies one hell of a man..."

(Or maybe back to Irving:
"He was sitting there, spinning his guns around,
When 'Butterfingers' Cornyn gunned himself down!")

#50 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 11:42 AM:

Even on the range he used two sets of dishes!

#51 ::: Litch ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:07 PM:

Real Cowboys don't wear fringe

#52 ::: markdf ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:20 PM:

I smirked and chuckled at first, but then the weird hagiographic chorus chanting "big john" really started to creep me out. It was sort of like laughing at zombies, only for them to hear me laughing and sloooowwwwly tuuuurrrning toward me.

#53 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:54 PM:

Dan #17: You might want to ask to be woken when Texas enters the twentieth century.

#54 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 12:59 PM:

Martin G. #28: Yes, indeed. It was Bismarck who called politics the 'art of the possible'.

#55 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 01:12 PM:

"If Dubya is What God Sent, God needs a good slapping".

If Dubya is What God Sent, I can think of no better argument *against* public prayer. Obviously God is rather seriously pissed off, and would prefer not to be bothered. Imagine what *else* God would send if Dubya is just the divine warning shot...

Failing that, someone may need to have a word with God regarding Their shipping agent. It seems a lot of goods are being damaged in transit.

#56 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:16 PM:

Linkmeister, #12: Given that he's running for a Texas position, it's not going to be broadcast out of the state. There might be some bleedover in border areas, but how much do you care about who the next state's Senator is? (Unless it's Jesse Helms, of course...)

Patrick, #26: In point of fact, the people who elect Cornyn are exactly those who will find that video powerful and moving. There may be a lot of people in Texas who are more like me and Wrenlet, but to date they haven't been getting out and voting so much. (For example, the infamous "Defense of Marriage" amendment to our state Constitution passed overwhelmingly here in Houston. Where were all the gay and gay-friendly voters then?) In that sense, it is targeted precisely to his constituency -- the people whose views and interests he represents. The rest of us? He doesn't consider us to count.

Julia, #31: I had a recording of "Sixteen Tons" when I was a kid. It had been severely bowdlerized; for example, the chorus was:

I loaded sixteen tons of number-nine coal,
I'm diggin' like a gopher down deep in the hole.
I'll be back tomorrow, don't you know what for?
To load that wagon with sixteen more.

When I first heard the REAL lyrics, it was a revelation.

Victoria, #45: I think they're hoping that the people who hear the commercial won't remember that. This happens over and over again with car commercials -- for example, the one that actually thought the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" was a positive image for their brand.

Chris, #46: Wow, I didn't realize he was still alive! That's a positively brilliant idea.

#57 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:22 PM:

Michael @50: New keyboard, please. Nu, you'll send?

For everyone who refs "Irving"--I had that record as a kid. I did not know until I was 27 years old that it was a parody of another song. Made for a long discussion between me and the husband, let me tell you.

I think it's the angelic chorus in the background that gets me every time with this ad...

#58 ::: Chryss ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:22 PM:

Michael @50: New keyboard, please. Nu, you'll send?

For everyone who refs "Irving"--I had that record as a kid. I did not know until I was 27 years old that it was a parody of another song. Made for a long discussion between me and the husband, let me tell you.

I think it's the angelic chorus in the background that gets me every time with this ad...

#59 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:45 PM:

Wrenlet #42: I miss Molly Ivins. I have ever since she passed, but times like these I feel the loss most keenly.

"Good thing we've still got politics in Texas -- finest form of free entertainment ever invented." -- Molly Ivins.

At least we have Jim Hightower to pull in some of the slack these days; he gave Cornyn a Gooberhead Award a few years ago. Hope he notices this one.

#60 ::: Carl ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 02:48 PM:

At what point does an ad like this cross over into parody? Is it purely intent, or just when enough of the audience are either weeping or laughing from the sheer absurdity of it all?

I had that Jimmy Dean record when I was a kid, and remember the original well enough to (as always) want to smack Cornyn with a rubber chicken or molotov cocktail or something.

#61 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:01 PM:

Meg @ 55 - You owe me a keyboard. Also, if this was livejournal, you'd be metaquoted for that.

#62 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:31 PM:

julia @ 31: Juliet E McKenna @ 20, I know the words to ["Sixteen Tons"] too. It's one of the few pro-worker folk songs that crossed over into popular radio. I always wondered what its fifties audience thought it was about.

"Sixteen Tons" is actually not a folk song, at least not in the sense of being traditional or anonymous in orgin. It was written by Merle Travis, who also: wrote "Dark as a Dungeon," "Nine Pound Hammer," "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette," "Too Much Sugar For A Dime," and "No Vacancy"; invented the style of guitar playing known to this day as "Travis picking"; and was generally all kinds of awesome.

#63 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 03:43 PM:

I feel sorry for "his" horse. He's constantly monkeying with the reins. Not exactly giving the desired impression of firm, decisive authority there.

#64 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:01 PM:

I noticed that they hardly mention his last name. They just say "John", or "Senator John", and describe him as a "straight-shooter".

I wonder if they're either hoping for some spillover for McCain, or maybe hoping that if they build up an association in voters' minds, that McCain's campaigning will boost their candidate too.

#66 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:14 PM:

Jimmy Dean and Tennessee Ernie Ford must be spinning in their graves. Not to mention Johnny Cash, whose voice and delivery this guy imitates.

Love, C.

#67 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:16 PM:

Avram #64: Yeah, I spent about a third of that video being like, "But that's clearly not McCain! Am I supposed to think that's McCain?" Maybe I'm slow, but gawrsh, it confused me.

#68 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:17 PM:

Jimmy Dean must be spinning in his grave. Not to mention Johnny Cash.

Love, C.

#69 ::: Constance Ash ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 04:22 PM:

Not to mention that barbed wire is now a museum and collector's item.

For a long time now.

Razor wire, however, is a favorite item among those who presumably are the target audience.

Love, C.

#70 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:06 PM:

Jimmy Dean died? (quick check of outside sources) Nope, didn't think so.

People sell ornaments made of rusty barbed wire. I've got sufficient to make a couple of million crosses with fake lilies (recently seen on sale in a Montana gas station), but I've also got standards.

#71 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 05:19 PM:


Barbed wire is also a feature of some Texas objets-d'art.
A teapot with a barbed-wire handle is not something you want to pick up in the morning before you're fully awake, unless you want to be fully awake a lot faster than usual. Nice-looking, apart from that.

#72 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 06:42 PM:

Jennifer #30: It made me glad I didn't live in Texas, because I would be livid if that man were my voice in Congress.

I've been livid ever since he got elected; the only saving grace is that I occasionally believe he's actually an improvement over Phil Gramm, the nutbar he succeeded.

The problem is, up until the current campaign with Noriega, the Texas Democrats have had a history of nominating complete nebbishes and nobodies, and then not really running anything that looks like a campaign. I'm hoping this year is going to be way different, given the presidential primary fervor down here.

#73 ::: Lin D ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:22 PM:

I don't have speakers on this computer. I'm quite glad now.

#74 ::: A.J. Luxton ::: (view all by) ::: June 18, 2008, 07:32 PM:

Lee @ 6: Actually (cough) I was raised in California, but apparently missed out on complete sections of popular culture. I'm pleased that I come off as non-USian, though. Using some amount of British English is actually a conscious choice.

Avram @ 64: I definitely got that intent, especially with some of the vague lyrics. I hope that if there is spillover it will simply serve to make McCain less appealing to those non-Moron-Americans who watch the thing.

If anyone here would like an antidote to the whole gung-ho Johnny Cash pastiche thing: the Dana Lyons track Cows With Guns should do the trick nicely... There's a video but it's really better without the visuals as the song relies heavily on puns.

#75 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 12:54 AM:

Jimmy Dean is still plugging his song for the new Virginia state song, which, yes, we've been without for many years now. Our legislature managed to decide that "Carry Me Back To Old Virginny" was too racist, but have not been able to decide on a new song.

#76 ::: hamletta ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:50 AM:

Y'know what's funny to me?

Sen. Cornyn's complexion. I'm a firm believer in the power of sunscreen, but if you're going to pass yourself off as a cowboy, shouldn't you have a little cragginess going on?

He looks like a saggier Pillsbury Doughboy.

#77 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 04:09 AM:

Tim@62, it's Tennessee Ernie Ford's 'Sixteen Tons' that we know here, so many thanks for the further background there.

Julia@31/Lee@56, the lyrics are really interesting, aren't they? Dunno what folk in the heart of rural England made of them in the 50's. Mind you, Witney's traditional industry was blanket-making and this was still a mill town then, with five very influential local families pretty much running the show. I suspect it struck a few chords...

To all Texans out there. Even here in the depths of rural England, we see evidence that your state raises intelligent, generous, decent non-morons. Like the exchange students we had from SMU when I was an undergrad at Oxford.

#78 ::: Carrie S. sees non-English spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 08:19 AM:

I'm going for Turkish, but I could easily be wrong.

#79 ::: Pete Darby ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 08:44 AM:

"Didn't like they way they do business here..?"

What, he's complaining there's not enough people bought off with oil money?

Just checking here..

Hmmm, a humble, barefoot, Attorney General, so much of a renegade outsider in Washington, he's only on going on for a dozen subcomittees, chairing a few of them, tipped for Supreme Court as long as he stops picking fights with, err, John McCain.

And on to OpenSecrets...

Top 5 Contributors

JPMorgan Chase & Co $59,347
Bass Brothers Enterprises $47,000
Exxon Mobil $45,900
United Services Automobile Assn Group $38,700
Contran Corp $37,900

Top 5 Industries
Lawyers/Law Firms $996,766
Retired $735,738
Oil & Gas $725,050
Health Professionals $552,438
Misc Finance $538,475

you can buy a lot of frontier justice when you're JP Morgan Chase & Co....

"Sent to Washinton with Banker's money
Said he stood for the little man, thought it was funny,
Big John.

"Got cash from the lawyers to represent the state
Said, you'll be supreme one day, but you gotta wait,
Big John."

#81 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 19, 2008, 01:08 PM:

Way out west they call wind Maria
They have their words for smoke and fire
A John's a haircut as you'll find
And now you know what's on Cornym's mind:

Big John
Big John
Big Bad John
Big John

#82 ::: Greg Machlin ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 06:05 PM:

Apologies if this point has been raised already--posting quickly. My userid at dailykos is 6612. A quick click on my "view all by" should be enough to establish my proud liberal credentials. I'm concerned this video isn't nearly as bad as everyone else seems to think it is. If I were a Republican, or an average Texas independent, I imagine this video would hit all the right notes: "Big John" standing up to those g-damn Washington elitists and outsiders, told in a country song. I wouldn't know about Cornyn's massive corruption or box-turtle idiocy or right-wing troglodye-ness (not a word, I know.) The video's cheesy, sure, but many people are okay with cheesiness. This video is clearly designed to push emotional buttons, something the Republicans are very good at. So, for me, the bigger question is, what are the best *emotional* buttons to push to counter this? Because I think it's more effective, at least with Cornyn's base & leaners (which in Texas, even in 2008, could be enough) than many suspect. Doesn't make Cornyn any less repugnant--it just means he's got a really good media team.

#83 ::: Carol ::: (view all by) ::: June 20, 2008, 07:35 PM:

I think he looks tired. Does anybody else think he looks tired?

#84 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 10:30 AM:

Yes, he looks very tired -- pale and drawn.

Side comment: Every time I look at this thread, I wind up with the tune as an earworm. However, my brain has been dropping in some interesting alternate lyrics. The melody also scans with:
- Tom Smith's "Domino Death" and "Cat Macros"
- Ogden Nash's "The People Upstairs"

"Cat Macros" is especially interesting because it's originally done to a rap beat. This makes me wonder how much overlap there is between 50s-era C&W and rap, musically speaking -- would it be possible to "rap up" some of those corny old chestnuts just for shits and giggles?

#85 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 12:43 PM:

I'll admit I don't think this commercial is much dumber than the average political commercial I've seen. At least they stole good music. Most politics isn't about ideas, but rather identity and emotional reactions. He's hitting the right buttons for a certain kind of person, I think, who he needs to vote for him.

#86 ::: Jim Satterfield ::: (view all by) ::: June 21, 2008, 09:42 PM:


While Texas may have multiple large urban areas, remember the phrase made famous by a certain film, urban cowboy. How much of that urban Texas landscape is ruled by a self-image fueled by myths of the 19th Century? And look at what they elect to run their school system. Children I care about moved to San Antonio last year and I worry about that.

#87 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: June 23, 2008, 12:25 PM:

Well, to change the subject COMPLETELY, I just Googled Warren Ellis, only to discover that George Carlin passed away yesterday. DAMMIT. And I had a chance to see him live in Denver this Spring. I just never quite got around to getting tickets... (You'd think I'd learn.)

#88 ::: Jennifer Evans ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 01:52 AM:

This makes me somewhat happy that I don't watch television. At least I get to avoid the horrible political ads, but I do kinda miss getting to throw things at the screen.

No, really, not everyone in Texas rides horses, votes Republican or thinks Bush hung the moon. "Big Bad John" sounds like a really scary toilet cleaner. I'm sure that's not what his advisers wanted from that ad, but there you go.

As for that button... Oh, my. That is so not representative of all the people who live here in Texas, but sadly, it does represent some of them. I want to smack people when they express those sorts of opinions/beliefs. If only corporeal punishment worked...

#89 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 06:12 PM:

Cornyn's opponent, Rick Noriega, just put up a YouTube video-fisking of the ad. It's pretty good.

#90 ::: Syd ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 06:32 PM:

Re: Linkmeister's link @ 89--

That has got to be the most perfect response to campaign-commercial idiocy I've ever seen. Almost makes me wish I lived in Texas so I could vote for Noriega!

#91 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: June 27, 2008, 08:00 PM:

Syd #90:

Just consider me your proxy.

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