It’s the post we’ve all been waiting for: our third annual Super Bowl commercial roundup. There’s only one commercial this year, and an interesting one at that. Is this a sign of a different public toward the founding, compared to recent years? Very much so, I think.
It’s finally up, for your full viewing pleasure: the session at the recent Society for Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) on Hamilton, starring R.B. Bernstein, Benjamin Carp, Nancy Isenberg, Heather Nathans, and yours truly, as taped by C-SPAN-3 (perhaps C-SPAN’s equivalent of ESPN The Ocho?). You should watch the whole thing, but for the kind of viewer out there who likes to skip to the end of novels to cut the suspense, my start turn occurs at around the 45-minute mark. Happy viewing!
In his Feb. 26 column, “The Governing Cancer of Our Time,” New York Times columnist David Brooks praised the founding fathers in contrast to today’s tea partiers and other zealots for favoring politics over brute force, and compromise over intransigence. He’s partly right in that solving social conflict through politics and compromise is one of the founders’ legacies. But he’s also wrong in a dangerous way: violence and intransigence on the issue of white racial power are also central to our founding inheritance, and we would be a healthier society for recognizing that.
There’s nothing like celebrating February 22, George Washington’s birthday, during a presidential campaign year. Mount Vernon, the historical site comprising George Washington’s home and plantation (oh, and the home of 300+ people legally owned by him and his wife, Martha), has been having fun this election cycle, with a tongue-in-cheek “George Washington for President” website, including videos with an actor playing our first chief executive spliced into primary debates and plenty of campaign gear for sale (among my favorites are the ones that mimic the Clinton logo, and poke at Jeb! (though now, of course, he’s dropped out), and parody Trump hats). Which begs the question: our first president, certainly one of its greatest, was elected unanimously twice. What sort of candidate would he be were he really to run in 2016?
First, mea culpa, for not even having a reference to this commercial in my Super Bowl American Revolution post, but for some reason it wasn’t mentioned in the media hype days before the game, and hey, it only was shown in the New York, Philly, and DC markets, so you’ll just have to cut me some slack. But more importantly, this commercial, which aired last night, has some people up in arms, for two reasons. One is that some people are offended by its reference to 9/11, in the service of selling Colonial Williamsburg (CW), or, perhaps, selling anything). The other is that CW, a non-profit, bought the expensive ad at all, at a time when it appears to be struggling financially. For it’s part, CW’s reaction has not been admirable. Here’s my question: why is it that CW picked 9/11 at all? Because, while CW says it wants to “challenge” Americans, it has shied away from that admirable task.