We’ve talked here before about the Governor’s use of new media. As concept, I have little problem with it, if it engages people who communicate that way (in fact, it’s a good idea). The problem has always been how Christie uses it: not to inform citizens, but to propagandize himself. Like a brand.
But even I’m amazed by this video posted both at the Christie administration’s official YouTube page and at Christie’s facebook fan site, which reads like campaign literature (“BRINGING FISCAL SANITY TO TRENTON”). We’ve seen Christie use YouTube to confront people who dared to disagree with him, or to try to humiliate teachers.
But this is different. Grander. Sweeping, even. For one thing, the militaristic music crescendoing behind Christie’s firm and certain voice. The scope, underscored by the phraseology: “The Big Things”. Gigantic national flag behind him. Glimpses of a large crowd applauding him. Word jumble at the :58 second mark: “Leaders. Growth. Health Compromise”. By the :51 mark, the voices singing behind his sound like the music of angels. It’s all too … much.
I wanted to post this for a few reasons:
1. Your tax dollars are paying for this.
2. This video is a departure, and uptick, in Christie persuasive material.
3. The first YouTube comment past the featured one, made today by user justinalpertesq , is jaw-dropping:
Sorry, folks. This isht is just effin scary. Ms. Riefenstahl, nice to see you working again.
(screen capture, below)
Ah, I can hear it now, the clamor of objection that Blue Jersey played the Nazi card. Let me be very clear. Chris Shelton’s Trenton rally speech invoking Hitler was undisciplined, but it was not without some truth. Weakening unions was among Hitler’s first steps to power. But this isn’t about that. Not about whether Christie’s a Nazi (he’s not). It’s about the methods employed to create Christie aura, even the whiff of destiny this skillful clip – produced on your tax dime- suggests. This what you want done with your money? Christie’s sense of himself as the kind of larger-than-life figure so effectively driven home here strikes me as seriously over-inflated. It’s just … wow.
Screen shot of the YouTube comment, after the jump
In case new comments push this comment off Christie’s YouTube page, here is a screen capture of the comment likening this video to one of the greatest propaganda films of all time: