The Chris Christie administration has put out a fake movie trailer for, No Pain, No Gain. It apparently has to do with a tour Christie will be doing this summer to push for ever more cuts from public employee benefits. Ed Kilgore says that he considers himself too out of it regarding pop culture to know if “this looks as stupid to other people as it does to me.” Well, as you all know, I’m not much up on pop culture either, but this doesn’t exactly count. It’s really very simple: movie trailers for the kind of film this would be really don’t look this way anymore. So I would say that as a parody, it’s about ten years out of date.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. The problem is who exactly it is going to work for. Take a look yourself:
Before I get to my analysis, however, I want to point out something that is kind of funny. When I went to the page to get the embed code, YouTube alerted me, “This video is unlisted. Be considerate and think twice before sharing.” I understand this. Sometimes, I put up work-in-progress that I only want a couple of friends to look at. But this clearly doesn’t fall into that category. What’s more, I’m generally a nice guy. I don’t go out of my way to hurt people. But Chris Christie does. He’s the last person who would be considerate to some poor guy who is trying to create a video and doesn’t want it to go public. So I found the warning ironic.
The whole trailer is made to sound powerful and important. It is not actually an ad about public pensions, it’s yet another ad for Chris Christie and his hope that come 2017, he will be President of the United States. And as such, it is the kind of thing that will appeal to people who already like him. I think it is a major mistake for Christie to pound away on how “powerful” he is, because it brings up three things about him that most people don’t like:
First, and most problematic, it highlights the fact that he’s really fat. The man has now lost so much weight that I would be dead if I had lost that much weight, and I consider myself somewhat overweight. Yet he is still morbidly obese. And everyone knows he’s lost this weight because of a surgery and not because he turned into Richard Simmons. That’s not to put him down. In my experience, the body wants to be the weight the body wants to be. But the lap-band surgery was clearly only done for political purposes. When most people hear the pounding subwoofers, they don’t really think “power,” they think “fat man walking down the stairs.”
Second, Christie’s entire political career has been defined as his using his power in unpleasant ways. The most obvious expression of this is a term I believe Paul Krugman coined, “Governor Yells At People.” And it is only the weak who he yells at. When he was in the middle of his little scandal, he was much nicer to reporters and regular citizens. When they asked him why he didn’t know what was going on, he said things like, “I should have. I guess I’m just too trusting.” Normally, he would have said, “I’m not going to answer stupid questions.” He rather reminds me of King Joffrey in Game of Thrones: mean and infintile, but a coward when facing anyone of equal power.
Third, Christie’s “power” is combined in this ad with his “bipartisanship.” Well, we all know what that was. That puts him in the same category with J Edgar Hoover and Richard Nixon. Except that in public, both of these men were more likeable. So the trailer is really saying, “Give me the compromises I want or I’ll shut down the George Washington Bridge again—or worse.”
I assume that Christie used state money to produce this trailer too. So in addition to everything else, he continues to be the fiscal hypocrite he always was. He’s going to milk this governorship as much as he can in order to fulfill his dream of becoming president. But obviously, Christie’s people aren’t idiots. This trailer is not meant to appeal to me, much less the young people for whom it would seem dated. It is aimed at his base of support in the donor class. It is also a preemptive strike against Scott Walker in the “who hates unions more” contest.
They also put out a fake movie poster, which you can see above. It’s funny, because they couldn’t even get that right. Movie posters are always presented with an aspect ratio of 3:2. But this one is almost square, with an aspect ratio of 6:5. But maybe they felt they had to make it short so as to cut off the worst part of Christie’s gut. It’s also poorly written and the design looks distinctly inferior to things Andrea grinds out for me in about an hour.
So Ed Kilgore is right that the trailer and the poster look stupid. But they aren’t meant for us. And it isn’t meant for anyone who would know any better.
Update (16 July 2014 11:38 am)
I see that the video has been removed. How pathetic!
Update (16 July 2014 1:57 pm)
Found replacement, at least for now.