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Literally, one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read

By Griffin · March 2nd, 2008 · 1 Comment

Far be it from me to criticize another blogger, cause God knows the level of stupidity that goes on around here.  But a post yesterday at Althouse goes so far above and beyond that I can’t let it go.

In a post titled “Why are the letters ‘NIG’ on the child’s pajama’s?” Althouse accuses the Clinton campaign of inserting a subliminally racist message into the controversial Red Phone/3 a.m. ad they released two days ago:

Asks a commenter — “Tom” — on my post about the new Hillary Clinton commercial, the one that shows several children sleeping and then Clinton taking a national security phone call in the middle of the night. You can see the commercial at the link, and the pajamas in question are on display during seconds 11 and 12. On pausing, staring, and thinking, I believe these are pajamas that say “good night” all over them, but the letters “NIG” are set apart by a fold in the fabric.


Is the campaign responsible for sending out a subliminal message to stimulate racist thoughts in the unsuspecting viewer? It is either deliberate or terribly incompetent. There is no other writing on screen until the very end of the commercial, and if letters appear in any place in a commercial, they should be carefully selected letters. Certainly, each image is artfully composed and shot and intended to deliver an emotional impact. Could this be a mere lapse?

Althouse then goes on to compare this to the famous 2000 Bush attack ad against Al Gore where the word “RATS” was subliminally and deliberately highlighted:

The intense scrutiny of the “RATS” ad heightens the assumption that presidential candidates these days pay close attention to any incidental lettering that appears in their ads. “RATS” as part of the word “bureaucrats” in an ad criticizing Gore’s prescription plan is nothing compared to “NIG” isolated on a sleeping child’s shoulder in an ad intended to create doubts about a black man’s ability to take an urgent phone call at 3 a.m., an ad authorized by a candidate who has already heard accusations that her campaign is slipping racial material into its attacks on her opponent.

This is either a revolting outrage or shocking incompetence.

So in other words, the producers of this ad dressed a child in pajamas that say “good night,” then positioned the child just so, folded the pajamas to prominently display the letters “NIG” (nevermind that you can barely make out the ‘G’ due to the fact that it’s half folded over as well), and told the child not to move while they filmed the subliminally racist message on his shoulder designed to “create doubts about a black man’s ability to take an urgent phone call at 3 a.m.”

I see.

Or… here’s my theory.

The letters “NIG” are not part of a racial slur at all, but actually stand for the National Institute of Genetics.  This is a subtle reference to Nobel Prize-winning genetics pioneer James Watson, who as you may recall made several controversial statements last year claiming that black people are inherently less intelligent than whites.  Watson also said he was pessimistic about the prospects for Africa, because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really.”  And as we know, a lot has been made over the past few weeks about Barack Obama’s African heritage– the fact that his father was Kenyan and much of his family still lives there.  Also, we shouldn’t overlook significance in the fact that the ad plays off of Walter Mondale’s famous “Red Phone Ad” in 1984– the color red, of course, being the signature of the (RED) campaign founded by Bono, which is a charity that seeks to eliminate AIDS in Africa.

So follow me here.  You have a sleeping child, dressed in “goodnight” pajamas, the letters “NIG” prominently displayed, which makes the viewer think “National Institute of Genetics,” drawing a link in the viewer’s mind to James Watson and his claims that African intellect is genetically inferior to that of whites, causing the viewer to remember that Barack Obama is half African and therefore probably won’t be able to handle a national security crisis as effectively as Hillary Clinton, which is all conveyed under the umbrella of the Red Phone Ad, leading the viewer to link the color red to both Africa and charity, meaning that if Barack Obama is president he will need a lot of help to make what often will need to be split-second decisions.

So while Althouse and I strongly disagree as to the meaning of the letters “NIG,” we both agree that this is a clear and deliberate attempt by the Clinton campaign to inject racism into the national security conversation.

Unless it’s just a kid in “good night” pajamas, in which case we’re both idiots.

Tags: Barack Obama · Democrats · Hillary Clinton

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