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The Latest From “Bear in the Woods”

Sunday, August 9, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The latest from our favorite anonymous ad exec, “Bear in the Woods”:


There certainly has been an explosion of grassroots and organization-driven messaging produced over the past few weeks. While I still don’t see much new from the GOP, I do see a lot of interesting, and effective conservative work coming from other places. Maybe this is as it should be. Probably not. But it’s definitely the way it is.

I read a commentary not long after Governor Palin announced her resignation. Forget who wrote it, but in essence, the thought was: If she really wants to be a force for change in society, she’d make more of an impact by being out of politics, and by being part of the media. I think the commenter is right. Sarah Palin as a conservative Oprah would probably change society more than a President Palin ever could dream of. The Beltway is the Beltway, and it tends to bind a bit. Possibly why orgs and regular people outside it are running rings around the GOP in conservative messaging.

Here’s a few that deserve comment. Some will be more familiar than others:

Steven Crowder. He’s young, smart, funny, conservative, and completely gets popular culture. He’s familiar to readers of Big Hollywood, or viewers of PJTV, but a lot of folks first saw him when he released his healthcare video a few weeks ago. There’s a whole archive of great stuff he’s done over the past year or so on his YouTube channel, accessible via his site: Watch this guy. He’ll cross fully into the mainstream — a process that’s already begun. He’s the next Dennis Miller, but not as smug.[# More #]

Political Math. Michael Steele calls him “The Pennies Guy.” He’s smart, and his videos are, too. Very DIY, very YouTube, very intelligent. YouTube/user/10000Pennies

Alfonzo Rachel. Another PJTV face who’s been around for some time, and is finally breaking into the mainstream – deservedly so. In my opinion, not quite as funny as Crowder, but still funny. And just as smart. Search YouTube for ZoNation, or find him on PJTV.

The Acton Institute. Coldwater Media sent me a link to a very nicely produced film they just released for The Action Institute. Well-shot documentary with nicely articulated talking points. Not new ground, but good to watch before discussing health care with liberal friends. YouTube/user/actioninstitute.

Let Freedom Ring. The “Not So Sure” videos that were highlighted on Tech Republican. I’m not quite as enthusiastic about them as TechGOP is, but I am pleased. The concepts are good, as is the cinematography. Acting is a bit stilted, though. On the upside, it’s better than anything that’s come out of the GOP in years. Find them at

Bosch Fawstin A graphic-novel creator and illustrator, Bosch has taken up the conservative cause with various images, and with his graphic-novel series, Pigman. For me, Pigman isn’t all that accessible. But I’m not a huge graphic novel fan, so it’s probably not for me. I am a huge fan of some of the single-image pieces Bosch has done. For contemporary comic style, his stuff resonates.

The Joker. Well, this is the elephant in the room, now isn’t it? Like many, I followed the reaction to it in real time. Love it, or hate it — it did what I’m assuming the artist wanted it to do. It got a huge amount of cultural play. The story, at first, wasn’t the image — the story was the fact that an anti-Obama image was appearing in L.A., of all places. And then the dissection began. I don’t pretend to know whether the artist had any intention to infer any of the subtext that has been attributed to this piece. My gut says he or she didn’t. My gut says the artist sees the President as a joke, and potentially a dangerous joke, and that’s the single intention of the visual. But that’s only my gut. Some argue it’s racist (I do not), some argue it’s a bad metaphor (depends on how deep you want to go into character development), and some argue that it’s inappropriate (might be, but as far as I can tell, inappropriate-ness is still protected, for now.) Others argue exactly opposite viewpoints, and yet, all argue with fervor. Which brings me to the conclusion that this poster did what I think it was probably intended to do: It threw gas on the fire.

Now, that’s not a tactic the GOP, or an organization like it, could, or probably should, ever take. But sometimes, yes, sometimes, a fire needs a little gas thrown on it, so people will notice. I think the end result of this poster is that it heightened the liberal cultural and media awareness of the existence of an extremely passionate opposition. They knew we disagreed with them. They just didn’t think we were so….angry. (Of course, if the poster didn’t convince them, I’m sure the townhalls have by now.) You know art, or marketing, or an image, is powerful when the opinions expressed about it are extreme. The middle is the place to get ignored. And the Joker — well, it’s nowhere near the middle.

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