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June 1, 2005

Showing Some Ruffles Around The Edges


It’s surprising how many people wrote me about the controversial commercial Arnold Schwarzenegger just released.  If you haven’t heard about it, the acting Gov is being slammed for an ad he did filled with product placements on behalf of his largest financial backers.


As someone who earned his earliest press notice from Adbusters, I have a a big problem with product placement on t.v. and in movies, let alone in political ads.  This story has more going for it than just commercialism and conflict of interest, however.  At the BAG, where the parsing of the news is more of a visual issue, these stills lead to a different take on this story.


The thing is, Arnold Schwarzenegger is well known for meticulousness in planning, staging, shooting and editing every scene in which he appears.  But if that’s true, how can we account for the frighteningly kitschy lunch room setting, the abominable framing, the awkward looks and poses and the half-eaten food?


Apparently, the Gov was so desperate for a concept that could simultaneously accommodate Ruffles, Sun Chips, Cheetos, SoBe, Pepsi and Arrowhead, he completely caved on the aesthetics.  Which is too bad.  Because once contradictions creep into his look, it exposes the fact that there’s not much more beyond it. 

For my money, I think people will look back and realize Schwarzenegger hit bottom when he started shooting in fluorescent light.


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