Comic relief as the campaign draws to a close

22.10.2012
Campaign poster for Eugene McCarthy

Give peace a chance

Only 15 shopping days til the presidential election and it seems everyone (including the candidates) can’t wait for it to be over. But, this being America, all manner of commercial interests are getting into the act and using humor to make their pitch within the confines of a campaign.

There’s Purina’s America’s Pet Debate that pits dogs against cats; Snickers’s appeal to the undecided (and hungry): “I’m voting for what’s his face” and my favorite, the FedEx spot featuring two competitors who one-up each other with insults and fake smiles (kind of like Ann Romney’s as she greeted Barack Obama at the Al Smith dinner the other night but with more warmth), all the while seamlessly pushing the company’s products and services. It cracks me up every time I see it.

I guess the theory is, it’s better to laugh than to cry.

Pivoting from the ridiculous to the sublime, designer, writer and visual arts thought-leader, Steven Heller, discusses a collection of new books on graphic design that analyze, among other things, the relative merits of printed graphics versus digital (or “generative”) and the challenges of creating meaningful data visualization in science and engineering. He concludes with a review of Presidential Campaign Posters, curated by the Library of Congress, that has something for everyone—from the history lover (Andrew Jackson portrayed as a tyrant) to the art lover (Ben Shahn’s peace dove standing in for Eugene McCarthy in 1968.)

One wonders if the current crop of campaign ads will make the cut in future editions.

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