Verily, Maud Getteth It
Maud Newton and I have something in common -- something we do not share with most of our colleagues and neighbors and friends, nowadays, at least since each of us moved to Yankee-stan.
We both grew up in the South, not just "around fundamentalists" but within the shadow of all those "beasts with seven horns and ten crowns," and "baskets of locusts with scorpion tails," and "golden cups filled with the abominations of the world" and whatnot described in the apocalyptic books of Daniel, Ezekiel, and St. John. (Some friends have urged me to write about getting out from under that shadow -- but man, how do you even start?)
Thus it is that we can watch this John McCain video and see the same thing:
Maud gets it, though I might venture to quibble very slightly:
It is designed to galvinize a very specific group: Evangelical Christians of the End Times, Rapture-Ready variety. It is designed, more to the point, to scare the shit out of these people by insinuating that Barack Obama is the Antichrist. This is a particularly nefarious and crafty argument to make because it is the one context in which all the candidate's strengths -- his smarts, his articulateness, his contagious smile and way with people -- can become evidence against him. All these traits are associated in the Bible with the charismatic, popular, well-spoken man who is supposed to become the leader of the world and bring about the Tribulation.
My possible point of dispute is based on a recollection that there is another character in this scenario -- a false prophet who works with the Antichrist (preparing the way for him more or less as John the Baptist did for Jesus).
So maybe that's supposed to be Obama's role, rather than that of the Beast himself? Either way, it is not good.
The people who created the ad know that most of the public won't pick up on any of this.
But as someone who grew up in the 1970s listening to a rock opera called It's Getting Late for the Great Planet Earth! (not reissued on CD, alas) I have no doubt the message will be received loud and clear by the audience it's aimed at, which otherwise might not feel that enthusiastic about McCain himself as a candidate.
On second thought, this might not help the campaign very much. If you are waiting for the Rapture, it's not like preventing the rise of the beast with seven horns and ten crowns etc. is a huge priority. (You sort of want to get it all over with, ASAP.)
The RNC panders to these folks, but it doesn't actually consist of them. The ad's makers know their audience but not quite well enough to grasp how it really thinks.
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