The sub-genre of wacky political ads that troll desperately for buzz has two new entries this week, one from a Democrat, and one from a Republican. What's mildly interesting about this pairing , though, is that both ads attempt to play against type, and the Democrat's ad is the far more offensive of the two.
First, there's the ad from Senate candidate Mike McFadden (R-Minn.), which features his youth football team showing off the fruits of Coach's indoctrination, and climaxes with a punch to the candidate's balls:
McFadden is running against comedy legend Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), so it makes sense that he would try to show off his humorous side. What's comical is that McFadden has not only pulled off the nearly-impossible feat of creating an unfunny dickpunch, but also exposed his party's terminal humorlessness by actually offending some voters. Far more amusing than the ad is the McFadden campaign's first-ever walkback of a nut-punch:
The buzzy spot did its job and created a firestorm of conversation in and out of Minnesota. But not all of the comments were positive. Some objected to the hit in the groin. That led the campaign to formally say it was, in fact, not a hit to the groin but rather a hit to first “the gut” and later “the stomach.”
Of course, McFadden's has obviously relocated his balls to his stomach in order to throw off Joni Ernst.
Not to be outdone for humorlessness, Democrats then tracked the comments for the ad on McFadden's Facebook page, and found that three (THREE!) negative comments were deleted!
Look, McFadden's worst crime here is violating the number one rule of ball-annihilation humor: go big, or go home. Next time, he needs to let the kid take a big windup, then deliver an epic kick to the balls, followed by a flying elbow-drop. You're running against Al Franken, for fuck's sake!
Also out this week, though, is the latest Ad Featuring Overcompensating Candidate Firing a Gun, Democrat Edition (not to be confused with the subcategory of ads that combine guns with balls). In this spot, Yakima, Washington Democrat Estakio Beltran takes his aggression out on a piñata shaped like an elephant, then rides off into the sunset on a diminutive burro:
Aside from the irresponsibly violent symbolism, which takes Sarah Palin's crosshairs to eleven, and the weirdly-deployed cultural cues, did Beltran have to make the bullets come out of the poor piñata's ass? That is not okay.
But really, the violence is unacceptable, perhaps especially because it's played for laughs. However you feel about gun laws, all of these ads feature candidates using guns aggressively against political opponents, with varying degrees of symbolism. It's not funny, and it's not tough. Just like the real-life victims of mass shootings and political gun violence, piñatas and legislation don't shoot back. Show me an ad where you beat down Chuck Liddell in an Obamacare t-shirt, and I'll be impressed.
Given the choice, I'll take an unfunny nut-punch over unfunny gun-nuttery any day. Now, an ad featuring a candidate shooting himself in the balls might be a different story.