Wisconsin protest used as symbol of “discord and blame” in Super Bowl Chrysler ad


I could just cry to see Wisconsin protests used by a corporation even for these few seconds in a Chrysler super bowl ad. The seconds of footage include scrubbed signs so you can’t make out what we were trying to say.

The videographer who sold the footage feels otherwise:
“Matthew Wisniewski @mwisniewski
Hi everyone. Too many mentions to reply to. @chrysler legally licensed my footage. I thought the message was great.”

I’m caught off guard by feeling this strongly about the ad because I’ve been thinking I almost don’t have the heart to revisit the square – -as I am supposed to want to – – at the 1 year anniversary of Walker’s unveiling of Wisconsin Act 10 and our protests.

There’s so much work left to do to just regain political power for regular people. This ad tells me that clearly Wisconsin also has the task of telling its own protest messages before the Chryslers of the world scrub them for profit.

All right. It sounds like I have talked myself into attending the 1 year anniversary events after all to reenact Wisconsin protest history. I hope a CNN reporter is there this year and every subsequent year. I’ll need to deliver my annual chewing out for their shoddy journalism.

The Wisconsin scene is at the 49 second mark. Wisconsin protesters rapidly recognized the ad’s footage as a match for Matthew Wisniewski‘s and began to make comparisons of stills from the superbowl ad to stills from Matthew’s original video. Look lower in this post for those images as well as another photo of the heart sign.

Image below is courtesy of SSWIDTMS

The sign with hearts in the top is this sign:
"Care about educators like they care for your child"

The image is from Rochelle, just rochelle of flickr.


  5 comments for “Wisconsin protest used as symbol of “discord and blame” in Super Bowl Chrysler ad

  1. Osori
    February 7, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I agree heartily with your observation about the relative intelligence of the bulk of American liberals. As an educator who sees very clearly the impact that cultural symbols have in creating the world-view and linguistic scripts used in understanding and describing the world, I don’t have to guess about how this ad is read. I know damn well that this ad feeds directly into the zeitgeist that “people complain too damn much, protesters are just troublemakers, and things would be good if we’d all pitch in together.” Add to the mix the fact that this message is coming in a highly emotionally charged atmosphere and out of the mouth of the most masculine of masculine white patriarchs, and this is basically the closest thing to a homily most kids will ever hear and respond to. That’s why it immediately lit up my facebook feed with “you tell ’em Clint!” and the like. Liberals have become so addicted to a post-modern, wishy-washy “oh, there are many ways to see it” level of analysis that they are clueless as to how culture and politics interact. As a university level educator, I’ve learned really quickly that far from everything being so “complicated” and “nuanced” all the time, the world is sometimes a very simple reality to understand. What’s difficult is dealing with the consequences if those simple truths (“uh, your footage was used to make your movement look like IT’S the problem!”) are, in fact, true.

    It’s tragically amusing that your average liberals, afraid of their own shadows, are in constant fear that some other liberal is going to appear too radical, too angry, too full of criticism. They will label these actions as “purity tests” and “making the perfect the enemy of the good.” In reality, it is the analytical vapidity of your average liberal to truly cripples any hope of us making substantive change. As you say, however, Wisconsin progressives offer hope, precisely because they are thinking more like leftists and less like liberals (and yes, Americans, there is a stark difference, and the fact that most of you don’t know that basically proves my point).

  2. February 7, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    “nationally, it seems that this ad has delighted progressives” I don’t have enough time to answer fully–for the moment I’ll just say — and I’m not really trying to be insulting though it’s going to sound that way a little– that I’m not terribly impressed by “national progressives”. I’m impressed with Wisconsin progressives.

  3. Marcie
    February 7, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    I’m just wondering if your reaction is still feeling like you could cry. I see why some of us locals were taken aback by the photoshop scrubbing of the signs and stuff. But nationally, it seems that this ad has delighted progressives. Did you see how excited Ed Schultz is about it? Best of all, it has really, really irritated Karl Rove and Fox Noise. So, all in all, pretty good, right?

    I guess my feeling when I see the Madison footage in the ad isn’t, “they’re using us as a symbol of discord.” I think the footage is so beautiful, you can’t make it stand for something ugly. And in context in the ad, I can read it as standing for the kind of American grass-roots resilience and pulling together for “the second half” that the ad celebrates. (Yes, I recognize that the reference to “pulling together” is flawed, because Chrysler’s recovery as a result of the bailout was achieved in spite of deep division, the opposite of pulling together, with the Republican ideologues forever asserting that it couldn’t ever work.)

  4. Michael Gruber
    February 6, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Try this link to the ad.

    • February 6, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      OK. I tried it. Looks the same.

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