December 18, 2007

Dude, It's Gotta Be A Shelf

Get a grip, people.

A large white "cross" hovers like a subliminal message behind Mike Huckabee in his latest TV ad, in which the Republican hopeful celebrates Christmas and mentions Jesus.

The unmistakable cross, possibly intersecting shelf lines or a window pane, appears alongside Huckabee as he comes into focus in the 30-second commercial, which was unveiled yesterday.

The cross, which looks as if it may have been superimposed by the ad-maker, slowly moves to the right on the screen until it's behind Huckabee's head.

"What really matters is the celebration and birth of Christ and being with family and friends," says Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister who has been riding a wave of evangelical support with his open religious appeals.

"I hope you and your family have a magnificent Christmas season. God bless you and Merry Christmas."

The Huckabee campaign had no immediate comment last night on the issue of the cross.

I am decidedly not on the Mike Huckabee bandwagon, but the ad "What really matters" is nothing to write home about, and hardly controversial.

The "cross" is obviously intersecting lines of a shelf—you can see the next row of shelves above Huckabee's head at the end of the ad—and it is just as obviously lit to look precisely what you think it looks like.

What of it? For Christians, Christ—which he mentions in the ad with apparently no backlash whatsoever—is the "reason for the season." Are we supposed to be offended at overt symbolism, but not a direct mention of what that symbol is universally understood to represent?

The ad opens with a stone fireplace behinds Huckabee's head. Perhaps Carl Campanile will now tell us that this simply must indicate Huckabee's association with the Freemasons.

Update: The Patron Saint of Lighter-Than-Air Campaigning checks in.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at December 18, 2007 07:17 AM

Thanks for pointing out the obvious and leaving the Twilight Zone for tv reruns. Attacking Christmas and Christians is safe, and making "prophecy-conspiracy" helps to fuel the hate when in truth it's being misplaced...
Eric Scheie stated and I agree. There is another aspect to it, I think. The left so want to criticize Islam because their progressive hearts know that what is being done in that religion’s name is an abomination to all that is civilized and decent yet they know that if they do, they put themselves at some amount of risk. They know in their bones that their silence as gays are murdered in Islamic nations, as young women are put to the lash or stoned to death for the temerity to identify themselves as anything but property, as the will to be free is being crushed out of millions of people runs counter to everything they truly believe about being “progressive”. So they attack the religions they know won’t fight back as though those religions were Islam. They’re displacing their anger onto safe targets.

Posted by: dr WNC at December 18, 2007 08:46 AM

I must respectfully disagree, Doc.

Lefty dislike and disdain for Christians was around long before militant Islam made the headlines.

Posted by: C-C-G at December 18, 2007 08:49 AM

With all due respect, Dr., I must disagree.

Lefty dislike and disdain for Christians existed long before Islamofascism made the headlines.

Posted by: C-C-G at December 18, 2007 08:52 AM

dr. While what you say has some valitdity, such as when Lawerence O'Donell said he wanted to say negative things against Islam but was afraid to do so. But what is more important to "progressives" is Bush hatred. You see, hatred against Bush and Conservatives trumps ideology every time.

Posted by: Capitalist Infidel at December 18, 2007 02:54 PM

As a liberal, and a non-Christian, I have to disagree with all of you.

I don't see why anyone would complain if Huckabee did have a cross behind him in that commercial. It Christmas. It's a Christian holiday. The cross is a Christian symbol. Huckabee is a Christian minister. What's the big deal?

All this talk about attacks on Christianity is a lot of trumped up umbrage, in my opinion, as phony as Hillary's laugh. (No, I'm no Hillary fan, either).

And Cap Infidel, I don't hate George Bush. I don't know George Bush. But I do believe his policies and the principles he's embraced, such as the Unitary Executive, are very dangerous for a democracy.

That's not hate you hear. That's anger.

Posted by: David Terrenoire at December 19, 2007 12:15 PM

It's obvious that the Christianity angle is all Huckabee has. Let him run with it if he thinks it will get him the nomination.

Posted by: Randy at December 19, 2007 01:22 PM

It really is a fine technic, arguing that "the left" hates or distains Christians. Say it often enough and it seems to be every good Christians duty to be a good right wing conservative.
Foster the myth that all "lefties" have this unreasoning hatred for Bush and you don't have to defend any of his policies. You can just chalk any dissent up to "Bush Deraingment Syndrom".
And if you get some blowhard on Fox News to scream loud enough that "Christmas is under attack!" then you can get the majority religion to feel victimized and start voting their religious beliefs into law.
But none of it is true. Most "lefties" are Christians os saying they hate christianity is silly. Many are angry at Bushs policies. This is not hate.
Christmas isn't under attack. But it's also not the only Holiday celibrated this time of year. I try to be polite and take a wish that I have a Merry Christmas in the spirit it was given. But would you think me polite to wish you a Happy Solstice? Or Hannuuka? Or kwanza? Because if I simply take the polite approach and not knowing your religion wish you a happy holiday I've aparently declared war on Christmas.
Most of you guys need to grow up and get your heads around the idea that everybody doesn't believe exactly as you do and that people with absolutely no malace toward you can have legitimate disagreements with you.

Posted by: iaintbacchus at December 19, 2007 01:22 PM

The only part that struck me was Christ's birth thing. I do recall learning that Christ was actually born nearer to October than December. The date was moved nearer to the winter solstice to attract Druids and Pagans to the religion. The Christmas tree was also adopted as it was a tradition of Druids and Pagans to find the highest evergreen in the area of the group and light it on fire in order to celebrate the return of the sun.
The whole gift giving thing came from the tradition of a big communal feast as a gift to all. (A big meal at the darkest point of year). Like St. Valentine's day, business whipped the gift giving into the commercial side show we see today. The whole add just gave me a chuckle.

Posted by: T-Ray at December 19, 2007 01:56 PM

Sure, it's a cross -- made from the angle of the camera on a bookshelf. Also, Huck. is a Baptist minister trading on his particular brand of Christianity to win him the nomination. His Christmas wishes may violate the Christ's command to "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." Matthew Chapter Six.
But then, Christ is only good for votes, evidently.

Posted by: psmarc93 at December 20, 2007 12:28 PM

Everyone misses the point of the ad which is truly objectionable. It's not the Christmas wish OR the cross . . .

Rather, the subtle message is the call for a truce over Christmas. Huckabee's in the lead, so by appearing to be above the fray and merely enjoying the holiday and wishing Iowans could do the same, he implies that his rivals' ads are inappropriate and even disrespectful of the holiday.

As such, it's brilliant. The worst that could come of it was the criticism, which would tend to create a backlash among those who believe the observance of Christmas is under cultural assault (coincidentally, the very same folks who are Huckabee's prime targets).

The best that could happen is that the other campaigns observe the "truce," cutting down their chances to overcome Huckabee's lead, or that some moron would say something truly stupid, like Ron Paul did.

Posted by: Jim Addison at December 20, 2007 04:20 PM

Is this Simon the one who worked for NPR?

Posted by: davod at December 21, 2007 05:46 AM