Friday, February 10, 2017

About that Wall Ad

I don’t watch the Super Bowl and so didn’t see the Lumber 84 ad until the next morning. Someone shared it enthusiastically on Facebook and I watched it. If you haven’t already seen it, here it is on YouTube.

My impression: It’s a bunch of movie-like footage, clearly designed to manipulate the viewer into sympathizing with the main characters, a Mestiza woman and her daughter. It’s nicely shot. The mystery of what the girl is doing with all that plastic film detritus along the way was a bit perplexing until it resolved.

There were also these oddly interspersed shots of a white guy building something somewhere. If I hadn’t known it was for a business called Lumber 84, I would have been totally at a loss about what that had to do with anything, and even knowing that, it was confounding.

Then suddenly, after trudging and struggling for what seemed like minutes of air time, mom and girl are confronted with a wall (Trump’s wall, obviously), blocking their path. Mom sadly freaks out. Daughter reveals that her found-object craft project was a tattered American flag all along.

For no apparent reason they walk to the left and find a giant door in the wall, which swings open to let them through as soothing music plays.

Finally, the camera cuts to the builder guy as he drives along some anonymous American highway in his pickup truck with tools and lumber in the back. Words appear over the final frame: THE WILL TO SUCCEED IS ALWAYS WELCOME HERE.

Generally, I thought the whole thing was kind of incoherent but moving. Trump built a wall, but this one symbolic guy made a door and these two people got through. (Though no one else appears to.) Weird, but okay.

Well, no. It turns out the owner of Lumber 84, Maggie Hardy Magerko, is pro-Trump, pro-wall, but also in favor of the “big beautiful door” that Trump talked about at some point during the campaign.

When I heard Trump use the “big beautiful door” phrase, I assumed he meant legal immigration through H1B visas for people with skills, or who want to work at places like Wisconsin Dells or Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate. But the funder of this ad seems to think it means access for exactly the kind of people the wall would keep out: women who come over the border with kids, women with no apparent skills except survival. As long as they’re patriotic enough to make a plastic flag.

Which is highly unlikely, as we already were pretty sure, and now definitely know as ICE has begun deporting undocumented long-time residents with no criminal history of violence, like Guadalupe Garcia de Rayos, who came to the U.S. when she was 14 and who has two children who are U.S. citizens.

Buh-bye, Guadalupe! Guess you didn't make that flag fast enough! Don’t let that big beautiful door hit you on the way out!

It funny-unfunny that the ad is so incoherent it can't get across the point of view its funder holds, and Trumpians are angry at Lumber 84 for being pro-immigration. We can only hope this incompetence continues at all levels until they are all driven out of power.


Here’s what veteran journalist Maria Hinajosa has to say about the ad.

1 comment:

Michael Leddy said...

I didn’t watch the game, but I saw the ad. At first I thought the lumber guys were building the wall — making wooden frames to fill with concrete. I was confused and then, at the end, sort of moved. But then I thought: this ad has it both ways. A wall, but also a way for people to enter easily. And the language about the door is from you-know-who. So are they for a wall, or against one? Or both? I am glad I have a background in deconstruction.

I’m cheered by your last sentence about incompetence. Here’s to the incompetence of the other side.