I may be in the minority, but I find most of the National Rifle Association’s ‘Stand and Fight’ political ads to be off-putting. It’s not because I can’t identify with the content of the ads or their core message, it’s simply because I hate the format, the way the message is being presented.
To explicate, I hate that cheesy voice over dude that is supposed to sound all indignant about government hypocrisy over gun control and I hate that ominous background music.
To me, together with the music, the narrator comes across as being cartoonish. As in, ‘whatever the heck he is saying I can’t take it seriously’ sort of way. You know what I mean?
The rhetoric and imagery, which are arguably over the top, don’t help much either.
Consider this scene from the ‘Welcome to Barack Obama’s Middle Class’ ad, the narrator states “And the madmen, drug cartels, and home-invading killers will still get them [high-capacity magazines] from the same market that sells drugs, stolen cars and everything else that criminals buy.”
Now, this sentence is accompanied by an image of a rolled-up $20 bill snorting up a white powder (presumably cocaine) and a masked gunman in a leather jacket glaring over his shoulder at the camera.
There’s just something hyperbolic about this whole sequence; note it’s not ‘home invaders’ it’s ‘home-invading killers’ – that little semantic modification, which sounds almost lyrical when read aloud, added together with the ‘bump’ of cocaine is borderline comical.
Again, I should state that I wholeheartedly agree with the premise of the ad – if elected officials can possess high (which we should rename ‘standard’) capacity magazines, so should law-abiding citizens – but the way it’s portrayed is too surreal.
Okay, in contrast to that ad, the NRA released another ad on Tuesday (see video below) which I find to be infinitely more appealing and infinitely more effective at delineating our beef with Obama’s gun control agenda.
Why is this?
Well, the tone is civil. There’s no theatrics, it’s not cartoonish, there’s no menacing music; it’s a simple and straightforward ad that highlights several important facts everyone should know about universal background checks and the proposed ban on assault weapons.
Watch the entire ad below, but NRA-ILA Director Chris Cox recaps the central points at the end.
“So the Obama administration believes a gun ban will not work without mandatory gun confiscation and universal background checks will not work without requiring national gun registration.”
“Still think President Obama’s proposals sound reasonable?”
In examining these two ads, I am reminded that what we say is as important as how we say it. Sure, we want to educate the public and we want to make an effective case for gun rights, but we also want to do it in a manner that reflects our values and our ethos.
Given that enthusiastic gun owners and NRA members are often portrayed as zealots and crazies and radicals in the mainstream media, it’s more important than ever before to present ourselves as the rational, fair-minded, Constitution-loving patriots that we are.
Now, I’ve argued that one NRA ad does a much better job of this than the other – what are your thoughts?