Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What Would Edward Bernays Say About Herman Cain's Cigarrette Smoking Man Ad?

Cigarettes are a symbol of male sexual power and the penis.

Question: Why is Herman Cain using this symbol in his newest campaign ad? Is Herman Cain telling folks to grab his metaphorical cigarette, to work its shaft, his large, thick, heavy "torch of freedom?"

How nasty...

Herman Cain is a master of political theater. This is one of his strongest points, and logically a go to recurring trope. I am unsure if the gimmick will continue to work for Mr. "9-0-9," as Cain is rapidly being revealed as a candidate who has no clothes.

But let's take Cain's cigarette smoking ad seriously for a moment. He is clearly signalling to some notion that cigarette smoking is politically incorrect, and that "real Americans" must "take their country back."

Question: when did putting a cancer stick in one's mouth become an act of resistance to tyrannical state power and a symbol to rally around the flag against an oppressive State?

Sigmund Freud wrote a great deal about oral fixations. How would he analyze Herman Cain's newest ad? What would Frantz Fanon say about Herman Cain's habit of prominently featuring white folks in his ads and on his campaign's website?

Closely analyzing and viewing Herman Cain's video, what is in fact being suggested there? Is Herman Cain really a black man who is an "all American" white guy who smokes? Or can white folks seamlessly find their interests validated by working with a "good negro" like Herman Cain?

As I often do, let's take a swerve to the far lane, one quite relevant and revealing.

Edward Bernays, the father of modern public relations, had a thing for cigarette smoking flappers. It would appear that Herman Cain has a thing for "real American" white men as the ideal spokespersons for his campaign.

A rich coincidence, is it not?

My common refrain, once more history echoes--


Throckmorton Treebeeizle said...

Smoking rates in the US are highly income-dependent:


This means that the cigarette smoking doesn't just symbolize political ideals, it also symbolizes class.

Also, what's up with that close up of Herman Cain's corny smile at the end? Did Cain think that people would like that? Honestly I find it a bit creepy.

ish said...

When is a smile not a smile? This ad is utterly fascinating. I think the cigarette is bait. I'm not sure what it all means yet but I think it's laden with subtext....isn't Cain kind of saying Fuck You if you don't like him?

40 said...

I watched this again as it made the morning news rounds, and if this ad is already rankling people then its gonna be a long political season. It also did what its supposed to do - got people talking about Herman Cain. In 14 hour hindsight, I actually dig the cigarette bit at the end. I'm glad people can't huff anywhere like in the era of 'Mad Men", but when its even regulated where you can smoke outside I do think that's a bit much, (like here in NYC) and that piece at the end (giving his campaign possible undeserved credit) was a wink to that.

As an addendum to that I think the hullaboo raised by this speaks to the fragile nature of the Democratic political machine. What has always annoyed me is the the false notion that they're "taking the high ground" in all of these elections and wouldn't "stoop" to "such behavior". I'm waiting for this party to grab their collective nuts and go to war with their adversaries and not play this victim card of being picked on by the muck-slinging Rethuglicans. Its gonna be a long 12 months if a cig & a smile in a viral video become world news.

CNu said...

40 is truth...,

MaMu1977 said...

It's official: Herman Cain is the bizarro Barack Obama. That is all.