“Aren’t you going to thank Aunt Gertrude for the lovely gift?”
”Thanks for the lovely gift, Aunt Gertrude.”
You may not have an Aunt Gertrude (I certainly don’t), but being pushed by grownups to reluctantly express scripted gratitude is a part of pretty much everyone’s childhood. Even the King of Pop did it to his kids.
And now, thanks to a glossy new video from pro-Trump PAC America First Policies, Incorporated, you can have that feeling all over again! AFP was founded this June by top Trump campaign advisers to help back the Trump agenda.
“Some of the same like-minded individuals who put their energy into getting Mr. Trump elected are now going to be part of a grassroots group to go out there and help with the agenda, help the White House be successful,” Trump’s digital and data director Brad Parscale said.
According to this pumpkin-spiced propaganda video, everyday Americans have so much to be grateful for this Christmas!
Yes, ONLY this Christmas … if you don’t celebrate it, you’re not an everyday American, so you’re basically off the hook this year!
(Not so fast, Jewish Americans … you still need to say thank you to Trump for the embassy in Jerusalem. )
Let’s take a look at the technique here:
“Everyday Americans are standing up to thank President Trump for making America great again!” the narrator intones in a voice fit for a Star Wars trailer. With sparkling subtlety, “everyday Americans” is said precisely as the camera pans over a beaming middle-aged white couple in front of a gabled yellow house. And just in case “standing up” didn’t make you think of Colin Kaepernick and the NFL, that same couple comes back later: the man claims they’re veterans, and that’s why they’re grateful to Trump for “reminding us” to stand up for the Star Spangled Banner over curiously ineffective stock footage of sporting events.
Clocking in at just 33 seconds, the word “thank” is used 13 times! That’s too many times. That’s once every 2.5 seconds. Some of the actors even have to say it TWICE.
Assuming the movie-trailer narrator is a white guy, eight of those “thanks” fly from the mouths of white actors (nine, if you count Silent Veteran Wife), including one twice-utilized woman who happily expresses gratitude to Trump for “supporting Israel” while “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” blares in the background.
Now, the internet is pretty outraged about the little girl who wasn’t allowed to say “Merry Christmas” until 45 got elected. And rightfully so.
Little girl in a new Pro-Trump ad: “Thank you, President Trump, for letting us say ‘Merry Christmas,’ again.”
This is nuts! pic.twitter.com/VvN5qQqSyQ
Ã¢ÂÂ Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) December 21, 2017
Which of course begs the question of how and why this child came to believe that she couldn’t say “Merry Christmas” last year. Nine out of ten Americans celebrate Christmas in some form, according to a recent Pew study. Christmas was never in peril.
Anyway, it’s worth noting that the actors paid to be grateful in this half-minute of seasonal peer pressure aren’t ALL white. No, these producers knew enough to mix it up a little. But America First was picky with their representation.
There’s Older Black Guy In A Jacket Who Embraces “America First,’ Light-Skinned Factory Worker At Work Who Got A Tax Cut, and Blonde Asian Lady In Her Driveway Whose Family Was Kept Safe By Trump. Woman Whose Gratitude Is As Ambiguous As Her Racial Background is the first person we see, and poorly-shot rally footage helps shoehorn in Grateful Probably Latino Guy Who Shook Trump’s Hand That One Time And Called Him “Sir.”
The narration really drives home how grateful we all should be to Donald Trump by touting a bunch of questionable “achievements” and non-accomplishments that, according to his 35% approval rating, weren’t on many people’s Christmas list at all this year.
It’s like Aunt Gertrude’s ugly handmade scarves all over again: being told to say thank you to someone who makes you really uncomfortable for something you don’t like, want, and/or need.
But fine. You win, America First, Incorporated. We’ll say thanks if it means we can have some egg nog. Especially now that the 63-second version has been released.
PS. Happy Holidays, everybody!