The '80s are back - and we're not talking leg warmers.
Last week Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) released "Chinese Professor," a campaign spot with overtones of xenophobia not seen since the Cold War.
The ad takes us to a Beijing classroom in 2030 AD where a Chinese professor is lecturing on the fall of "empires" like the Greeks, Romans, British -- and most recently the United States. As iconic American images are projected behind him, the teacher tells the students, "They all make the same mistakes. Turning their backs on the principles that made them great. America tried to spend and tax itself out of a great recession. Enormous so-called "stimulus" spending, massive changes to health care, government takeover of private industries, and crushing debt." And then the kicker: "Of course, we owned that debt," (professor chuckles smugly) "so now they work for us" (students laugh). The segment closes with a stern narrative voice telling us that we "have to" act or this will be our brave new world in 20 years.
The commercial is described by CAGW in an October 21 press release as, "... a chilling look at one potential future scenario if we continue on our current destructive fiscal trajectory ... a 2010 homage to a 1986 ad that was produced by W.R. Grace & Co. called "The Deficit Trials."
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"The Deficit Trials," dir. Ridley Scott (1986)
In response, Campus Progress Action released a smart parody poking fun at the overt fear mongering, xenophobia, and racism of the original. CAGW had the spoof removed from YouTube, saying, "We love parody as much as anyone (I was a huge fan of the Downfall series myself), but what Campus Progress did was not 'parody.' They basically hijacked and adulterated it to help raise money for themselves ... it is a copyright violation."
Lucky for us, the parody spot made its way onto Vimeo over the weekend. Much like Ridley Scott's avant-garde view of 2017, "Chinese Professor" will not see much airtime. The CAGW spot has been rejected by both the History Channel and A&E.