O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma, O-ba-ma

Do you find this video as creepy, disturbing, and scary as I do? Parse its elements.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    I’m less of a fan of Obama every day. A few months ago I said that I could see him as president, but not that I necessarily would want to.

    I think what he’s done rhetorically in this video is become the liberal Ron Paul. Ron Paulites terrify me. Their unblinking slavish devotion to him makes me think that if he were actually elected they would give him whatever power they could, beyond what is legitimate to give.

    Obamaites are even more scary, because Obama is electable. He’s a more probable demagogue than Ron Paul because he has a good chance of being elected.

    This video reinforces that. It’s creepy because it’s basically a cult recruitment video. I could see it being produced by a black fringe in the LDS. Take out O-bam-a and replace Je-sus Christ and you have a “testimony” from some sort of megachurch.

    I’m sure his staff knows what it’s doing rhetorically. I wonder, though, if they intended it to be so transparent.

  • http://chaz-lehmann.livejournal.com Pr. Lehmann

    I’m less of a fan of Obama every day. A few months ago I said that I could see him as president, but not that I necessarily would want to.

    I think what he’s done rhetorically in this video is become the liberal Ron Paul. Ron Paulites terrify me. Their unblinking slavish devotion to him makes me think that if he were actually elected they would give him whatever power they could, beyond what is legitimate to give.

    Obamaites are even more scary, because Obama is electable. He’s a more probable demagogue than Ron Paul because he has a good chance of being elected.

    This video reinforces that. It’s creepy because it’s basically a cult recruitment video. I could see it being produced by a black fringe in the LDS. Take out O-bam-a and replace Je-sus Christ and you have a “testimony” from some sort of megachurch.

    I’m sure his staff knows what it’s doing rhetorically. I wonder, though, if they intended it to be so transparent.

  • Rev. F. Bischoff

    Creepy. I was waiting for them to bring out the Kool-Aid.

    Also, did anyone notice that, except for George Lopez, it appeared as if everyone in the video was under the age of 35?

  • Rev. F. Bischoff

    Creepy. I was waiting for them to bring out the Kool-Aid.

    Also, did anyone notice that, except for George Lopez, it appeared as if everyone in the video was under the age of 35?

  • Manxman

    Yeah – it’s scary. It’s another manifestation of America’s minority-driven movement toward tribalism. It reminds me of those things you see on National Geographic specials in which they show some African tribal ceremony where the people turn off the rational part of their brains and all hop up and down in unison for hours at a time chanting some phrase over and over again.

  • Manxman

    Yeah – it’s scary. It’s another manifestation of America’s minority-driven movement toward tribalism. It reminds me of those things you see on National Geographic specials in which they show some African tribal ceremony where the people turn off the rational part of their brains and all hop up and down in unison for hours at a time chanting some phrase over and over again.

  • CRB

    Dr. Victor Hanson has a good article here opining on what the world might look like in 2009, regardless of who may be President of the U.S.
    http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson030308.html

  • CRB

    Dr. Victor Hanson has a good article here opining on what the world might look like in 2009, regardless of who may be President of the U.S.
    http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson030308.html

  • http://www.boomerinthepew.com David Porter

    All we like sheep have gone astray. Sheep…being sheep…want a shepherd. It seems to me that this is merely a group of people looking for hope in a lost world. I don’t happen to believe that they have put their “trust” in the right guy but I certainly think they have a right to voice their feelings.

    It makes me pause and feel sad that perhaps many of these folks don’t know Jesus Christ. Therefore, they seek to place their faith in someone…anyone who can fill their needs.

    Because of this longing, to the Christian, we see this no different then the longings we have for Christ. When we see them placing their faith in man, it is going to feel creepy to us. It does feel creepy.

    But the bottom line is that they are fulfilling a basic human need, put in all of us by God. The desire to worship the Creator.

    I believe they have the same desire. Problem is…Obama is just a man.

    Oh..by the way..a man that I take issue with on more than a few topics.

  • http://www.boomerinthepew.com David Porter

    All we like sheep have gone astray. Sheep…being sheep…want a shepherd. It seems to me that this is merely a group of people looking for hope in a lost world. I don’t happen to believe that they have put their “trust” in the right guy but I certainly think they have a right to voice their feelings.

    It makes me pause and feel sad that perhaps many of these folks don’t know Jesus Christ. Therefore, they seek to place their faith in someone…anyone who can fill their needs.

    Because of this longing, to the Christian, we see this no different then the longings we have for Christ. When we see them placing their faith in man, it is going to feel creepy to us. It does feel creepy.

    But the bottom line is that they are fulfilling a basic human need, put in all of us by God. The desire to worship the Creator.

    I believe they have the same desire. Problem is…Obama is just a man.

    Oh..by the way..a man that I take issue with on more than a few topics.

  • http://diary-of-a-wanna-be-supermom.blogspot.com/ Cate

    Yeah, kinda creepy. What would be fun is to do a follow-up video, one in which each actor was posed with the question, “And which policy position factored into your decision to support Obama?” I have a feeling we’d be greeted with blank stares and, perhaps, another cultish rendition of “O-bam-a, O-bam-a!”

  • http://diary-of-a-wanna-be-supermom.blogspot.com/ Cate

    Yeah, kinda creepy. What would be fun is to do a follow-up video, one in which each actor was posed with the question, “And which policy position factored into your decision to support Obama?” I have a feeling we’d be greeted with blank stares and, perhaps, another cultish rendition of “O-bam-a, O-bam-a!”

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    The creepiest thing about this video is that it is effective. I like to try to take in images, music, etc. very viserally at first. The combination of music, beautiful “diverse” faces and nice sayings about hope and saving the earth, living without fear, makes you feel really good about this person. The people who make these types of videos are not idiots. They are artists who know how to use their art to move people. It is extremely effective.

    As a Christian, it is frightening. We are going to put our hope in the next president??? (I think that he will most likely be elected. He’s the most likable, best looking, and best speaking one of the lot.) The video could most certainly, with a few key words changed, be a video seen at a megachurch, as one commentor has pointed out. The directors are using the same artistic tools.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    The creepiest thing about this video is that it is effective. I like to try to take in images, music, etc. very viserally at first. The combination of music, beautiful “diverse” faces and nice sayings about hope and saving the earth, living without fear, makes you feel really good about this person. The people who make these types of videos are not idiots. They are artists who know how to use their art to move people. It is extremely effective.

    As a Christian, it is frightening. We are going to put our hope in the next president??? (I think that he will most likely be elected. He’s the most likable, best looking, and best speaking one of the lot.) The video could most certainly, with a few key words changed, be a video seen at a megachurch, as one commentor has pointed out. The directors are using the same artistic tools.

  • crs

    David #5 links (perhaps inadvertently) the first post of the day with this post. In this “post-denominational” situation we have today, with it’s internalized, personalized, vapid, vagrant spirituality… the stage may be set for a “New Messiah” to emerge.

    Creepy.

  • crs

    David #5 links (perhaps inadvertently) the first post of the day with this post. In this “post-denominational” situation we have today, with it’s internalized, personalized, vapid, vagrant spirituality… the stage may be set for a “New Messiah” to emerge.

    Creepy.

  • http://necessaryroughness.org Dan at Necessary Roughness

    Substantive issues mentioned:
    0:26 “a cleaner earth” — also noted that “I” not “we” was bringing a child into the world very soon
    0:40 “our environment to be safe” — is this a crime issue or an environmental issue? :)
    1:19 “I want the war to end” — well, I’m sure the Muslim radicals want the war to end too, just differently than that poor girl would imagine
    1:30 “he’s going to be president of the United States” — what poor memories we have that we forget Pres. Bush said the same thing in his first SOTU.

    Otherwise, all about change, hope, and props to Manxman for mentioning tribalism.

    It’s a message that can be countered by espousing superior knowledge about how our world works. A “cleaner earth” comes at the expense of that mom not being able to get a job and support her kid. It will be interesting to see if John McCain learns enough basic economics to understand incentives and explain them to the public. Our enemies will not just lay down their arms and sing O-ba-ma with us. They will bring their human rights record with them across the ocean.

    I can’t let my friend Pr. Lehmann smear all Ron Paul supporters as slavish devotees. For me, it wasn’t an emotional deal. The Congressman was dead right about the effects of government spending and poor monetary policy. He would make a fine Secretary of the Treasury.

  • http://necessaryroughness.org Dan at Necessary Roughness

    Substantive issues mentioned:
    0:26 “a cleaner earth” — also noted that “I” not “we” was bringing a child into the world very soon
    0:40 “our environment to be safe” — is this a crime issue or an environmental issue? :)
    1:19 “I want the war to end” — well, I’m sure the Muslim radicals want the war to end too, just differently than that poor girl would imagine
    1:30 “he’s going to be president of the United States” — what poor memories we have that we forget Pres. Bush said the same thing in his first SOTU.

    Otherwise, all about change, hope, and props to Manxman for mentioning tribalism.

    It’s a message that can be countered by espousing superior knowledge about how our world works. A “cleaner earth” comes at the expense of that mom not being able to get a job and support her kid. It will be interesting to see if John McCain learns enough basic economics to understand incentives and explain them to the public. Our enemies will not just lay down their arms and sing O-ba-ma with us. They will bring their human rights record with them across the ocean.

    I can’t let my friend Pr. Lehmann smear all Ron Paul supporters as slavish devotees. For me, it wasn’t an emotional deal. The Congressman was dead right about the effects of government spending and poor monetary policy. He would make a fine Secretary of the Treasury.

  • David Thompson

    I cannot fathom any other candidate taking this this approach — the “new Messiah” approach, as crs called it above. If the others tried this, they would be rightly taken to task. For some reason, though, Obama can get away with it. Some would say it’s because of his minority status. But perhaps it is mainly because he, more than the others, speaks in terms of utopian goals, albeit with a great degree of vagueness. The scary thing is when you look behind the vagueness you find policies (the most liberal of any senator) that would further erode the foundation of civil society (marriage), more firmly entrench us in a culture of death (via policies and appointments to the Supreme Court in support of abortion, etc.), push us more quickly toward socialism (his Nanny-state policies), and undermine our national defense (his appeasement mentality). His sincerity and “genuineness” make him very appealing. But in view of his worldview and political philosophy, that is the frightening thing. History ought to teach and warn us. He’s not the first one to promise us utopia on earth. If he is elected, we could probably survive his presidency; but only because of constitutional checks and balances.

  • David Thompson

    I cannot fathom any other candidate taking this this approach — the “new Messiah” approach, as crs called it above. If the others tried this, they would be rightly taken to task. For some reason, though, Obama can get away with it. Some would say it’s because of his minority status. But perhaps it is mainly because he, more than the others, speaks in terms of utopian goals, albeit with a great degree of vagueness. The scary thing is when you look behind the vagueness you find policies (the most liberal of any senator) that would further erode the foundation of civil society (marriage), more firmly entrench us in a culture of death (via policies and appointments to the Supreme Court in support of abortion, etc.), push us more quickly toward socialism (his Nanny-state policies), and undermine our national defense (his appeasement mentality). His sincerity and “genuineness” make him very appealing. But in view of his worldview and political philosophy, that is the frightening thing. History ought to teach and warn us. He’s not the first one to promise us utopia on earth. If he is elected, we could probably survive his presidency; but only because of constitutional checks and balances.

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  • David Thompson

    I too would like to object to Pr Lehmann’s understanding of Ron Paul. I am not supporting him, but I would like to defend him. Even though he is not electable and does not come off as “presidential”, his policies are sound and actually the most respectful of the biblical understanding of the two kingdoms and the estate of family. Paul wants less power in the hands of the president and federal government, not more. He wants parents (according to the dictates of their conscience and their religious affiliation) and local units of government to take back the authority that was once theirs. He understands the importance of the estate of the family and the limited role of government. Though he may be unpolished, his policies are very similar to former great presidents such as Coolidge and Reagan, at least on domestic issues.

  • David Thompson

    I too would like to object to Pr Lehmann’s understanding of Ron Paul. I am not supporting him, but I would like to defend him. Even though he is not electable and does not come off as “presidential”, his policies are sound and actually the most respectful of the biblical understanding of the two kingdoms and the estate of family. Paul wants less power in the hands of the president and federal government, not more. He wants parents (according to the dictates of their conscience and their religious affiliation) and local units of government to take back the authority that was once theirs. He understands the importance of the estate of the family and the limited role of government. Though he may be unpolished, his policies are very similar to former great presidents such as Coolidge and Reagan, at least on domestic issues.

  • kerner

    Did anybody else notice how many celebrities there were in this video? There were a lot of actors and musicians I recognized, and, since I am an old guy, I’ll bet there were more that I didn’t recognize. Obama sure is the Hollywood/MTV candidate. I wonder how that will play in real America.

  • kerner

    Did anybody else notice how many celebrities there were in this video? There were a lot of actors and musicians I recognized, and, since I am an old guy, I’ll bet there were more that I didn’t recognize. Obama sure is the Hollywood/MTV candidate. I wonder how that will play in real America.

  • S Bauer

        Like, wow man, trippin’ back to the sixties. Like, you know, all you need is love.

        Although, like, the man can’t bum us out this time (translation: there aren’t as many institutional “speed bumps” left standing). You know?

  • S Bauer

        Like, wow man, trippin’ back to the sixties. Like, you know, all you need is love.

        Although, like, the man can’t bum us out this time (translation: there aren’t as many institutional “speed bumps” left standing). You know?

  • http://www.patrolmag.com nathan martin

    http://www.patrolmag.com/index.php?id=321

    something we posted a few days ago.
    this video terrifies me, and i don’t think I’m overreacting.

  • http://www.patrolmag.com nathan martin

    http://www.patrolmag.com/index.php?id=321

    something we posted a few days ago.
    this video terrifies me, and i don’t think I’m overreacting.

  • Eric

    Even Obama supporters have panned this particular “professional” fan video. See this example from a commentator to Andrew Sullivan’s Blog.

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/02/obama-obama.html#more

    This little mashup is a nice way to compare the Obama phenomena to the Reagan phenomena and tie in the best Congressman in America; Ron Paul.

    Reagan … Reagan … Reagan … O – bama … O – bama … O – bama

    American politics has always had cults of personality. It is just a little scarry when you are not part of the cult.

  • Eric

    Even Obama supporters have panned this particular “professional” fan video. See this example from a commentator to Andrew Sullivan’s Blog.

    http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/02/obama-obama.html#more

    This little mashup is a nice way to compare the Obama phenomena to the Reagan phenomena and tie in the best Congressman in America; Ron Paul.

    Reagan … Reagan … Reagan … O – bama … O – bama … O – bama

    American politics has always had cults of personality. It is just a little scarry when you are not part of the cult.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Why do people think this was put out by Obama’s campaign? I’m pretty certain it wasn’t, since it lacks any identifying marks as such at the end. This is at least the second of such viral videos put out by musician Will.I.Am (of the Black Eyed Peas) and a bunch of other actors and musicians. Don’t blame Obama for it, they’re just his fans.

    I think the point of this ad is to rally up the young vote for whom simple (and simplistic) sound bites from pretty and famous people are about all the politics they will take. Thus the high quotient of under-35 faces. I think it’s fairly obvious that a video of policy statements would utterly fail to be viral or effective among the youth. You can lament that, of course, but ultimately nearly all political ads — even the official ones — are fluff with a minimum of fact overwhelmed by emotional notes.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Why do people think this was put out by Obama’s campaign? I’m pretty certain it wasn’t, since it lacks any identifying marks as such at the end. This is at least the second of such viral videos put out by musician Will.I.Am (of the Black Eyed Peas) and a bunch of other actors and musicians. Don’t blame Obama for it, they’re just his fans.

    I think the point of this ad is to rally up the young vote for whom simple (and simplistic) sound bites from pretty and famous people are about all the politics they will take. Thus the high quotient of under-35 faces. I think it’s fairly obvious that a video of policy statements would utterly fail to be viral or effective among the youth. You can lament that, of course, but ultimately nearly all political ads — even the official ones — are fluff with a minimum of fact overwhelmed by emotional notes.

  • http://anastasias-corner.blogspot.com Anastasia Theodoridis

    We’ve all heard people chanting “Hil-lar-ee, Hil-lar-ee” over and over again, and others chanting, “Mac is back, Mac is back!” and “Huck-a-bee, Huck-a-bee!”

    There’s nothing wrong, nothing scary, nothing terrifying, about any of these chants – unless it’s not for our candidate!

    And there is nothing wrong with people being inspired, and no particular reason to suppose being inspired means being blind or uninformed – unless we disagree with their positions. Obviously whoever disagrees with our positions is not only uninformed, but an idiot.

    Obama does have a longish list of policy stances just as specific as those of the other candidates. The idea that he doesn’t is propaganda we shouldn’t fall for. To the contrary, we all need to inform ourselves on what those are. (Google ‘em.)

    All the candidates are talking an awfully lot of vague nonsense, Obama included, but no more than the rest of them. He just does it more skillfully.

    And I doubt anybody is wacky enough to want to substitute Obama for Jesus Christ. Really, there’s no comparison, no competition there!

  • http://anastasias-corner.blogspot.com Anastasia Theodoridis

    We’ve all heard people chanting “Hil-lar-ee, Hil-lar-ee” over and over again, and others chanting, “Mac is back, Mac is back!” and “Huck-a-bee, Huck-a-bee!”

    There’s nothing wrong, nothing scary, nothing terrifying, about any of these chants – unless it’s not for our candidate!

    And there is nothing wrong with people being inspired, and no particular reason to suppose being inspired means being blind or uninformed – unless we disagree with their positions. Obviously whoever disagrees with our positions is not only uninformed, but an idiot.

    Obama does have a longish list of policy stances just as specific as those of the other candidates. The idea that he doesn’t is propaganda we shouldn’t fall for. To the contrary, we all need to inform ourselves on what those are. (Google ‘em.)

    All the candidates are talking an awfully lot of vague nonsense, Obama included, but no more than the rest of them. He just does it more skillfully.

    And I doubt anybody is wacky enough to want to substitute Obama for Jesus Christ. Really, there’s no comparison, no competition there!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Anastasia, if anyone chanted “Hil-a-ry, Hil-a-ry” or “john-mc-cain, john-mc-cain” in this same robotic tone, that would creep me out too. It reminds me of Dr. Who’s Daleks on the attack, all chanting “Ex-term-in-nate,” “Ex-term-in-nate.”

    Please note, this is nothing against Obama, who, as tODD points out, didn’t produce this video. It’s his followers–or the followers of anyone–who would chant like this, as they say “I believe in Obama” (or in anyone else except Jesus) that I fear.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Veith

    Anastasia, if anyone chanted “Hil-a-ry, Hil-a-ry” or “john-mc-cain, john-mc-cain” in this same robotic tone, that would creep me out too. It reminds me of Dr. Who’s Daleks on the attack, all chanting “Ex-term-in-nate,” “Ex-term-in-nate.”

    Please note, this is nothing against Obama, who, as tODD points out, didn’t produce this video. It’s his followers–or the followers of anyone–who would chant like this, as they say “I believe in Obama” (or in anyone else except Jesus) that I fear.

  • http://planetaugsburg.wordpress.com Andy Adams

    All foam, no beer . . . just like Obama.

    It seems that the letter “O” is the perfect symbol for Obama: no hard edges edges, a thin crust, and absolutely nothing on the inside.

    Scary? Nah. Sad? Yes.

  • http://planetaugsburg.wordpress.com Andy Adams

    All foam, no beer . . . just like Obama.

    It seems that the letter “O” is the perfect symbol for Obama: no hard edges edges, a thin crust, and absolutely nothing on the inside.

    Scary? Nah. Sad? Yes.

  • http://planetaugsburg.wordpress.com Andy Adams

    Also, notice the single tone poster of Obama’s face that is held up by a couple of the participants. It reminded me of those “Che” shirts you see a lot of idiotic college students wearing on occasion.

  • http://planetaugsburg.wordpress.com Andy Adams

    Also, notice the single tone poster of Obama’s face that is held up by a couple of the participants. It reminded me of those “Che” shirts you see a lot of idiotic college students wearing on occasion.

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  • Deb C

    All i can think of is shades of 1984 by orwell

  • Deb C

    All i can think of is shades of 1984 by orwell

  • http://- Catherine

    I think that the reason the chanting is so creepy is because you do not see anyone actually chanting. If the video showed a group chanting “O-ba-ma” after a rousing speech by the man, I would not be bothered in the least. However, having it as a vague background music with the celebrities lip-syncing is quite like the Daleks, only less nasal.

    I too thought of Che Guevara when I saw the picture. I nearly jumped up out of my chair in surprise. I was also somewhat amused by the vague praise and propoganda fed to us by pretty celebrities.

    What really bothers me is that so many of my peers, smart, capable college students, have been taken in by Obama. Most have been unable to say exactly why the support the man, other than he purports that he will affect “change” and that he is an amazing speaker.

    I’m sorry, but anyone can turn a pretty phrase, but that doesn’t make one qualified to run a country. Additionally, the fact that they don’t recognize him for the socialist he is frightens me. Even more frightening is that my some of fellow conservatives have been sucked in by his pretty words and the fact that anyone can take his words and fit their own meaning into them.

  • http://- Catherine

    I think that the reason the chanting is so creepy is because you do not see anyone actually chanting. If the video showed a group chanting “O-ba-ma” after a rousing speech by the man, I would not be bothered in the least. However, having it as a vague background music with the celebrities lip-syncing is quite like the Daleks, only less nasal.

    I too thought of Che Guevara when I saw the picture. I nearly jumped up out of my chair in surprise. I was also somewhat amused by the vague praise and propoganda fed to us by pretty celebrities.

    What really bothers me is that so many of my peers, smart, capable college students, have been taken in by Obama. Most have been unable to say exactly why the support the man, other than he purports that he will affect “change” and that he is an amazing speaker.

    I’m sorry, but anyone can turn a pretty phrase, but that doesn’t make one qualified to run a country. Additionally, the fact that they don’t recognize him for the socialist he is frightens me. Even more frightening is that my some of fellow conservatives have been sucked in by his pretty words and the fact that anyone can take his words and fit their own meaning into them.

  • organshoes

    Even more frightening are those who like him for the socialist he is.
    ‘Yes we can’ means ‘You the taxpayer must.’

  • organshoes

    Even more frightening are those who like him for the socialist he is.
    ‘Yes we can’ means ‘You the taxpayer must.’

  • http://jordaininsurance.blogspot.com Elda

    Good words.

  • http://jordaininsurance.blogspot.com Elda

    Good words.


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