Sunday, March 23, 2008

Charlie Ross Exploits Soldier's Misfortune

Charlie Ross is running for a seat in the US House of Representatives from Mississippi.

His latest television commercial features a young marine expressing his support for Ross and his position on the military. The spot opens with a broad shot of the marine from head to foot, wearing a USMC t-shirt and shorts. I mention the shorts because in particular you notice the young man's prosthetic leg. Presumably he lost it in Iraq.

Ross is a conservative and himself a veteran of the Gulf War so he has good reason to show his support for the military, but I question how he goes about it with this ad. The way the ad is shot, expressly showing the Marine's prosthetic leg, boarders on the exploitation of a wounded vet.

If they didn't want to emphasize the prosthetic leg, then why dress the marine in shorts? Why not have him in uniform? Why begin and end the commercial with long shots showing the prosthesis? Why not let the soldier's message stand on its own without drawing attention to his wounds?

The marine is well-spoken and has a message worth listening to. He never mentions his leg or being wounded, but it's hard not to notice. He's a good looking young man and clearly sincere about his service to his country. Anyone of good conscious will feel sympathy for his loss and pride for his courage.

Ross is known as a very aggressive politician and this ad is aggressive, too much so for my taste. I felt manipulated by the ad and angry at the Ross campaign for the way they made it. For me, it was shocking, disrespectful and unnecessary.


Doloroso said...

I know Aaron Rice (the Marine in the ad) and if you think he can be "used" you're wrong. He is brave and like you said sincere, but he is no one's tool. You may have felt manipulated by the ad, but Aaron wasn't. This was his choice, he wasn't forced into it. By the way, Aaron wears shorts a lot. I'm not suggesting it wasn't planned to demonstrate his commitment to the service even after such a sacrafice, just saying it alson isn't unusual. Here is some more information about Aaron Rice:

A Boyd said...

Oh, I'm sure Rice is sincere. I just think the ad would have been more effective if he'd been in uniform. Cool video, thanks for posting it.