When I saw Mother Jones reporter Timothy Murphy tweet that phrase this afternoon, I was powerless to resist. I anticipated something either so unspeakably awful that I’d know Murphy was being sarcastic, or something so absurdly profound that it might do more than make us laugh – it might offer a deconstruction of the art form known as the political ad. High expectations, either way.
This nearly five-minute web video released today by Jeff Barth, Democratic challenger to Republican Congresswoman Kristi Noem of South Dakota, manages to be more of the latter than the former. It involves a bare-bones, perhaps-shot-by-iPhone approach with props ranging from a mannequin (wait for it), a hard hat, a chess set, a loaded weapon, and a reference to a local landmark. Barth, the son of a diplomat, is a very effective communicator – calling those running Washington now “idiots,” and knowing just when to drop in that anecdote about riding an ostrich.
What Barth’s ad is, exactly may be difficult to define. It is one thing most of all: worth your time.