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July, 30th 2007

The only thing that could be said of any positive substance about Romney's stupid "Oceans of Flip-Flopping" ad

– Liz Mair

I can't even begin to think of anything clever to say about this, so I'll just reproduce the great bits of a post at Democracy for New Hampshire:

I would not have imagined that my thoughts would have turned to the Velvet Underground while watching an ad for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. But there I was, staring blankly at the TV while Romney's newest ad ran, musing about how, 40 years ago, the Velvet Underground knocked off an experiment in sound echoed decades later by the Romney campaign, albeit unconsciously.

What, dear reader, am I talking about? Mitt Romney's new ad 'Ocean' and the Velvet Underground's classic track 'the Gift' from their still awe-inspiring 1968 album White Light/White Heat.

On this song, the VU cranks out a feedback-drenched instrumental while bassist/violist/keyboardist John Cale's Welsh accent balefully intones a short story about love, loss, innocence, betrayal, and ultimately - mortality.

But in one of those mixing gimmicks beloved by adventurous '60s rock bands, the Velvet Underground put the abrasive jams on your stereo's left channel while Cale's voice reverberates all by its lonesome on the right. By sliding your balance control, you can decide to either listen to red-lining amps or the forlorn Welshman, or both.

One suspects that Marvelous Mitt spent 1967 more focused on his dad's dubious presidential campaign than on the smack-influenced avant garde noise of the VU. However, his TV folks seem to have walked closer to the wild side - Because his new ad entitled 'Ocean' (not to be confused with the Velvet Underground song of the same name) uses a tactic very similar to the Velvet Underground's.

To those quick on the trigger with their TV remote's mute button, Mitt's new ad seems an ode to the natural desire of parents and grandparents to hand down nature's bounty to their children. Children frolic on an unspoiled beach, like so many Kennedy kids in Hyannis, and it ends with Mitt hoisting a grandchild over his head while smiles abound.

Turning up the volume, however, exposes us to a Romney voice-over every bit as solemn as Cale's moody brogue. While children play innocently on sandy beaches, Mitt reminds us that the cultural waters in which our offspring swim are polluted by internet porn and violent video games. Sexual predators chum the waters and potty-mouth rappers spawn in our cultural waterways. Like a pool in need of a chlorine shock, our culture is brackish and polluted, Mitt's new ad reminds us.

While totally artless, this move is just as experimental as the Velvet Underground song.


Apparently, there is something for everyone to like about Mitt Romney, and his campaign. Thus far, his only appeal to me has been restricted to his hair (which is really, really good). But now, as someone who quite likes the Velvet Underground, I have another reason to cheer Mitt on-- because he's just so Lou Reed-like, so experimental, so clever, such an artiste.

Not that this in any way compensates for him being totally clueless on foreign policy, or having increased taxes and lied about it, instituted a terrible health care plan and then lied about its successes, been happily pro-choice and friendly with Planned Parenthood and then flipped to being on the same page as Tony Perkins, having been a friend of the gay community and then moved to one step away from being gay-basher in chief...

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