Poets at the Superbowl

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“It’s halftime in America,” Clint Eastwood said on Super Bowl Sunday. It was during an ad that caused all the conversations at the party I was at to stop (mostly so everyone could say, “Is that Clint Eastwood?”).

But now that the bacon explosion has settled and I’ve given the ad a second look, it’s about as motivating and moving as an ad can hope to be. And Carolyn Kellogg seems to have figured out why. At Jacket Copy, Kellogg revealed that one of the ad’s copywriters is poet and Tin House editor Matthew Dickman.

Faulkner, Steinbeck, and Fitzgerald all wrote for the movies, and maybe advertising is this generation’s meal ticket and the Super Bowl its Hollywood. The ad is visually striking, and the message rather more important than which light beer to drink. The ad calls for us to come together and persevere, to rally around, well, the American auto-industry (it was an ad for the Chrysler, after all).

In spite of a bit of a mixed metaphor about punching cars (“This country can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again, and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines.”), I wonder whether it was the prose that made the ad so profound or if it was just the unifying power of Clint Eastwood.

The Guardian recently reported that a team of scientists are using fMRI brain scans and clips from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly to study the human brain. Results from their testing “led the researchers to the conclusion that films” (or poetry or football or Clint Eastwood) “can make their viewers’ brains tick collectively.” Apparently it also works on monkeys.

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— Benjamin Samuel is the Online Editor of Electric Literature, and when he’s thirsty he drinks Lite Beer by Miller. You can find him at here.

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