March 1, 2008

Ann Althouse's Reality Distortion Field

Something, according to Ann Althouse, is hidden in this commercial. I'm not going to tell you what it is. You've got to see it. Can you see it? Ann Althouse did ... but only after one of her commenters told her to look for it.... Oh, wait, she didn't really see it, but she presumed it was there and wrote a carefully parsed and quotation-marked post about it.

(That post is HERE ... but no peeking. First play the Hillary's On the Phone commercial... once, twice, three times and see if you can spot it.) Answer after the jump....

This is Althouse's cleverly constructed headline:

annhead.jpg

Note the quotes so she can say, hey, they're not my words. (Except in a headline, Ann, they are. Even mainstream journalists know that.)

Did you see the letters "NIG" anywhere in that video? You didn't because they are not to be seen.

Here's a screen capture from the "offending" video during the 3 (count 'em... 3) seconds of panning action in the commercial.

youtubescreencap.jpg

Here's a blow-up of the "offending part."

youtubesection.jpg

What do you see? I see "NI" with another letter half in shadow. Could be "G" but could be "C." Could be "O." It could be Spaghetti-Os. But Althouse has had a brain wave and determined that the PJs worn by the kids have the printed motif of "GOOD NIGHT" on them. This means to "law professor" Althouse that the visible phrase is without a doubt "NIG!" (We will pass on whether or not the concept of "circumstantial evidence" is clear to the law professor.)

The question for Althouse then remains something on the order of "Is this an intentional or accidental slur?" on the part of the Clinton marketing team to haul "race" into this race that is not about race until Obama decides that it is -- in a positive and healing way.

Althouse, now in the fevered grip of an Obama-induced reality distortion field, determines that, well, it doesn't really matter:

"It is either deliberate or terribly incompetent. "
"This is either a revolting outrage or shocking incompetence."

Except that it isn't either. It isn't either because it doesn't exist. It is a vision that exists only in her mind. She is, plain and simple, simply wrong.

Althouse has been right about many things over the years, but this isn't one of them.

The comments immediately try to put her straight:

Pastafarian said...
You must be kidding, right? The G is partially obscured, on the side of the screen and slightly out of focus, written sideways, and present for a second or so; I wouldn't even have guessed that it was a G, had I not been told. I would have assumed a C, had I even noticed this.

Eric Muller said...
The pajamas say "Good night." You can see part of the word "good" above.

Seems to me that the only potential outrage or incompetence here is in your decision to elevate a commenter's absurd transposition of the first three letters of the word "night" into the first three letters of a hateful racist epithet, at the top of your blog.

Honestly, Ann, I would pull the plug on this post and thread right now. As a deconstructionist move, this does not even rise to the level of onion rings and the carrot slices.

But Ann isn't buying it. The Obama Effect has her too deeply in its grip:

Ann Althouse said...
Eric, this is a carefully written post that does not say anything incorrect. I state at the outset that I think the pajamas have the words "good night." But the 3 letters are isolated on the shoulder in a series of otherwise wordless images that are intended to create an intense emotional reaction in the viewer (and to imply that Obama wouldn't be able to get up at night to take a call). I say it is either deliberate or incompetent, and I say it absolutely deliberately and after much careful thought. This post is no accident, but I can see why it disturbs you and you wish it would go away. But consider that a politician is seeking the greatest power in the word and is doing it in this ad by manipulating deep emotions in millions of people. If we aren't to look closely at that with a critical eye, we don't deserve democracy.

Astute readers will note that at this point Ann lawyers up and schoolmarms out. It is indeed a "carefully written post" that has about five legalistic escape hatches built into it. Except that "the 3 letters are isolated" is actually 2 letters and a partial third, as you can see above. I'd make that as "not quite a fact, Jack." Indeed, it is a factlet. Something that might seem to be true in the telling of it that does not survive the seeing of it. It is indeed the classic fact not in evidence.

After presenting once more a supposition as a fact, she then moves into full schoolmarm mode for another jolt of "Author's Message:"

This post is no accident, but I can see why it disturbs you and you wish it would go away. But consider that a politician is seeking the greatest power in the word and is doing it in this ad by manipulating deep emotions in millions of people. If we aren't to look closely at that with a critical eye, we don't deserve democracy.

Translation: This post will not go away so why don't you? Who among you except the most secretly racist could possibly argue with me about what I see. And if you do you don't deserve democracy.

I'm with Ann on one sentiment here. We need to look closely at what is going on and with a critical eye.

And consider that when it comes to The Obama Reality Distortion Field we might, we just might, have a mote in our eye.



UPDATE: Since what can really be seen in the ad is "NI" it seem only fair to Althouse to give here the real origin of that word:
Arthur: Who are you?
Knight of Ni: We are the Knights who say..... "Ni"!
Arthur: (horrified) No! Not the Knights who say "Ni"!
Knight of Ni: The same.
Other Knight of Ni: Who are we?
Knight of Ni: We are the keepers of the sacred words: Ni, Ping, and Nee-womm!
Other Knight of Ni: Nee-womm!
Arthur: (to Bedevere) Those who hear them seldom live to tell the tale!
Knight of Ni: The knights who say "Ni" demand..... a sacrifice!

Ah, it only Althouse had been silly with this item her reputation might have still been saved.

UPDATE: Here's a comment by Gray that says it all in a much more concise form:

Do you think the ad agency storyboarded this ad?

Do you think they 'Blocked out' each frame in black and white sketches then taped the pajamas to the kid and bed and lit the scene carefully for those three frames so that the partial "NIG" of "NIGHT" would be partially visible?

"I'm not getting enought of the "NIG" here guys! Tape it down and tell the damned kid not to breath!"

"Goddamnit! I'm not getting any of the "NIG" now! Tell the kid to stop squirming! I'll give her something to cry about!"

Or do you think they hired an outstanding Hollywood CGI studio to perform the effect? Did they make the kid wear 'green screen' pajamas so they could add the effect in later?

And then swore them all to double-secret secrecy? Is this a LIHOP or MIHOP conspiracy? I'll bet the studio was the same damned Illuminati one in the basement of Denver International Airport that faked the moon landings and covered up for the demolition of WTC 7! Fire doesn't melt steel and kids pajamas DO NOT have N-I-G on them!

Do you know what the inverse of "Occam's Razor" is?

It's Smacco's Butterknife.

GOOD NIGHT!


Posted by Vanderleun at March 1, 2008 7:51 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

This dovetails nicely with your previous post.

Althouse thinks that crap like this merits dissection?

Where's the economy, or national defense, or hell, I don't know, how about fiscal transparency/earmark reform?

WhereTF does Obama stand on ANY of those issues?

Does anyone care? Does anyone think that maybe that stuff matters more than the popularity contest/soap opera that this campaign season has been reduced to?

If John McCain had served time in the Navy at the same time as ONE Navy pilot who had connections to the KKK (connections as distant as in maybe during his youth he appeared in a picture in his hometown paper watching some dudes in sheets parade by; and , oh, by the way he never actually MET or SERVED with McCain), we'd have 48 Hours specials dovetailing with NPR and 60 Minutes on how McCain represented a return to slavery. We'll actually see that very kind thing eventually, the media is just waiting for the pretext they can use. Whereas Senator Obama has attended a seperatist, racist church to this day and the press is mute. I forget, of course... can't be racist if you have black skin.

What a joke on democracy, and the ideals our republic is based on, our polity has become. MLK must be pretty bummed.

NIG on jammies under GOOD. Did she load the audio and play it back to get the secret message there, too? Holy fargin' heck we live in a silly world. This marks three times I've approached taking Althouse seriously only to have the Clown Car pop into my driveway.

Posted by: TmjUtah at March 1, 2008 9:15 AM

i think the subliminal message is that Bill answers the phone....

Posted by: RELIAPUNDIT at March 1, 2008 3:35 PM

Let's see ... NIG.
Assume that's what it says.
It's kids pajamas, idiot.
The word is NIGHT.

Now FOAD.
... btw, I'm for anybody but ... that woman, Hillary.

Posted by: at March 1, 2008 4:42 PM

I need to learn how to ginn up controversy like this...

Nahh.

Posted by: baldilocks at March 1, 2008 6:28 PM

Jeez, at least you could see the "floating cross" (aka bookcase) behind Huckabee.

Some people have been playing Abbey Road backwards for so long they really do think Paul is dead...

Posted by: Dr Bob at March 1, 2008 8:38 PM

Do you think the ad agency storyboarded this ad?

Do you think they 'Blocked out' each frame in black and white sketches then taped the pajamas to the kid and bed and lit the scene carefully for those three frames so that the partial "NIG" of "NIGHT" would be partially visible?

"I'm not getting enought of the "NIG" here guys! Tape it down and tell the damned kid not to breath!"

"Goddamnit! I'm not getting any of the "NIG" now! Tell the kid to stop squirming! I'll give her something to cry about!"

Or do you think they hired an outstanding Hollywood CGI studio to perform the effect? Did they make the kid wear 'green screen' pajamas so they could add the effect in later?

And then swore them all to double-secret secrecy? Is this a LIHOP or MIHOP conspiracy? I'll bet the studio was the same damned Illuminati one in the basement of Denver International Airport that faked the moon landings and covered up for the demolition of WTC 7! Fire doesn't melt steel and kids pajamas DO NOT have N-I-G on them!

Do you know what the inverse of "Occam's Razor" is?

It's Smacco's Butterknife.

GOOD NIGHT!

Posted by: Gray at March 1, 2008 11:33 PM

Ann's going to need a second shrubbery.

Posted by: Chris at March 2, 2008 5:42 AM

it's actually "zion" on its side.

just sayin'.

Posted by: doodah at March 2, 2008 8:10 AM

"...have you lost your mind?? This man is a Nig!"

Gov. LePetomaine to Hedley Lamarr, "Blazing Saddles"

Posted by: leelu at March 2, 2008 12:56 PM

Much to do about nuttin!

Posted by: ChiefTestPilot at March 2, 2008 4:46 PM