The Denver Post published an interview with Jon Caldara this morning. Mr. Caldara is the head of The Independence Institute, a free market think tank located in Golden, Colorado.
The interview takes place at a local tavern, and Mr. Caldara does a good job of destroying any stereotypes you have about him being an uptight Republican. The interview (with Denver Post writer Bill Husted) is fun and engaging.
The interview brings to mind a controversy that has emerged in our entertainment industry. It is over the ABC TV series “V”.
The series tells a story about a visit to earth by extraterrestrials who say they are here to help us. Political pundits think there might be (gasp!) something suspicious going on with the script writers.
The series shows the universal appeal of the “here to help you” sales pitch. It is the same marketing technique that compels us to click on a link to a Web site because it has been noticed that our computer is “running slowly” or has “become infected”. If we just click on that link (or double-click on the e-mail attachment) all will be well.
But BEWARE! Things are not always as they seem.
The controversy with “V” is over whether this effect (things not being as they seem) is also delivering a subtle political message. The aliens are pitching universal healthcare to the earth’s inhabitants and this causes viewers to reflect on current political issues.
Unfortunately, it also breaks the spell of the series. We see a dissonance between the fantasy of the show and the reality of our lives. We end up comparing the sales pitch being offered by the aliens to the sales pitch being offered by our political leaders.
Substitute a “him” for the message delivered by “them” and note the similarities:
He will save us from global warming.
He will save us from Mideast turmoil.
He will save us from economic distress.
He will save us from world opinion.
As last year's national election proves, the marketing technique is pretty effective.
Will it work for the aliens? We will have to stay tuned.
In “real” America, we get to watch a political sales pitch encourage us to give up control of our lives in favor of control by a higher (governmental) power.
I sense a kind of religious appeal. But that’s another story.